After 25 years away, I returned to the LSE and had a great time. Both the International Growth Center and the Department of Geography and the Environment were wonderful hosts. It was great to see old friends at the LSE Economics Department and to try to recall who I was at the age of 20 as I was starting my research career.
Switching gears, I want to pay homage to my friend Gernot Wagner. Good PR people are now pushing bloggers to notice his book and I reproduce a quote below that I received. Today's NY Times has an article that Gernot would have something smart to say about. West Hollywood is a funky town about 5 miles east of UCLA. This community (which is LA's Greenwich Village) has banned fur clothing sales. Could this action set off a chain reaction such that fur creatures are protected? Gernot and I would say, "no". The town's leaders know this but they seek to make a statement.
“This is a tiny city, so it’s mostly symbolic,” said Councilman John D’Amico, who sponsored the fur ban. “I think the impact will be heard from here to Fifth Avenue. People will talk about what a fur ban means in a new way.”
So, this is a new case of the "boycott". Since the coat you wear is observed in public, the people of West Hollywood can use shame and ostracism to enforce this new social norm. But, I doubt that neighboring Beverly Hills people will change their behavior. In fact, they may buy more fur coats if they think that the price may drop.
Here is the PR blurb for Gernot's book.
"In But Will the Planet Notice?: How Smart Economics Can Save the World (Oct 2011) Gernot Wagner, an economist at the Environmental Defense Fund, shows that the solution to climate instability will not be found in science, politics, or even activism—guiding market forces in the U.S. and around the world is the only solution. Wagner had a terrific op-ed in the New York Times tied directly to the book, titled “Going Green but Getting Nowhere”. The piece was the Times’ #2 most emailed story that day and has been attracting many reader responses."