The Good Samaritan and the ESG Debate
Ancient wisdom for a modern controversy
What does money have to do with the idea of worship? What does Bitcoin have to do with loving your neighbor? Everything. MereBitcoin exists to explore how the moral foundations of money (including magic internet money) shape societal goals, incentives, systems, and the economic participants themselves.
On one occasion, an expert in ESG stood up to test Wisdom. He asked, “What must I do to inherit a better world?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Wisdom replied. “Do this, and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Wisdom, “But what type of energy should I use?”
In reply, Wisdom said: “There once was a small city in the Congo. War broke out, and for years it was cut off from supply lines and infrastructure by guerilla fighters, leaving the people impoverished and without reliable energy sources. Several energy companies heard about their plight and came to see how they might help. The largest solar energy providers in the world came to visit but realized upon arriving that the Congo was home to some of the largest cobalt reserves in the world. So they hired local children to help extract the cobalt (destroying the land in the process), and maximized their profit by selling it to wealthy, comfortable clients in the US and Europe."
"The biggest producers of wind energy in the world considered the project, but due to the lack of infrastructure and the fact that they could make far more money in Latin America, China, and Europe, they too passed on the project."
"The people were desperate when an oil and gas company came to survey the Congo. After running tests throughout the country, they realized that the Congo was home to some of the largest oil reserves in all of Africa. The people of the city negotiated a contract and began to produce, refine, and use the oil domestically, and signed a profit sharing agreement in order to benefit from the oil exported overseas. Access to a cheap and dependable energy source generated tens of thousands of jobs and enabled greater independence and stability across Congoan society. With their daily needs not constantly in the balance, Congoans could dedicate more time to their marriages, children, and other lower time preference pursuits.”
“Which of the three energy sources made a better world for the people of the Congo?
The expert in ESG replied, “The one that served them in their time of need.”
Wisdom told him, “Go and do likewise.”