David R. Henderson  

My University of Rochester Talk

The Wisdom of Robin Hanson, #n... Good Sentences...

On Thursday evening, Feb. 9, I'll be giving a public talk at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. It will go from 7:30 to 9:00, with ample time during that time period for Q&A. The talk is titled: "Do We Need to Go to War for Oil?"

Here are the details.

For those who won't be able to attend, which is most of these readers, you can read this piece I wrote on the issue a few years ago for the Independent Institute. Shortly after it was published, I briefed it to Congressman Ron Paul's Freedom Caucus in his office. Eight Congressmen, all Republicans, attended. I think I persuaded 7 of them although some of the 7 might have already believed it. Certainly Ron Paul already agreed with my bottom line.

I will also talk a bit about why I think the Iranian government, though it is a threat to Iranians, is not a threat to the United States.

I'm looking forward to going back to Rochester. I left there in 1979 after 4 years as an assistant professor at the Business School (now the Simon School) and returned once to visit in 1980. I haven't been back sense. At age 28 in 1979, I was kind of the Pied Piper on my street, Rockingham Street. I played with a bunch of the kids on that street. One of the parents was recently--I don't know if he still is--the mayor of Monterey.

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COMMENTS (10 to date)
Andrew writes:

I'll be there. Expat Canadian from the economics department.

Pat writes:

Rockingham is a great street. Always see gatherings on that small little wedge where it forks. I hope I can make it Thursday. (I graduated from Simon in 05, I enjoyed it.)

John Hall writes:

So I take it by pied piper you mean "a unique ability to identify with children" rather than one who offers to catch rats with a magic flute and then when the town doesn't pay you steal their children?

David R. Henderson writes:

@John Hall,
Er, yes. :-)
Well, not “unique" exactly. But I did like playing with the kids and their parents quickly started trusting me.

medwards writes:

Is there a wide spread belief that we are going to go to war for oil?

Ken B writes:

It's better to just buy it.

As for the Pied Piper thing, he (the Piper, not David, I can't speak for David) didn't -- from a strict libertarian persepective -- steal them. He persuaded them. This highlights one of the short- comings of the rigorous -- some might say doctrinaire or theological -- libertarianism: it doesn't play well with children. Unlike David.

Alan S. writes:


The campus is a lovely as ever (even better with former road along the river incorporated). I hadn't been back for 30 years and really enjoyed returning. And now my son is there.

Alan S. '74 (undergrad) '75 (Simon)

PS - What did you teach? I might have taken your course.

Fantastic! Thanks for the heads-up on this. I'll try to be there, and I know a UoR prof who I'm sure will want to see this as well.

David R. Henderson writes:

"Is there a wide spread belief that we are going to go to war for oil?”
I’m not sure. But the belief that we might need to go to war for oil has ebbed and flowed over the years. Also, I actually talk to people, not all of them dumb, who think that the reason we pay less for gasoline than those in Europe is the U.S. military’s presence in the Middle East.
Alan Greenspan says in his book that he’s absolutely convinced that the 2003 Gulf War over oil and Bush I, SecState Baker, and Henry Kissinger all said that the 1991 Gulf War was about oil. Certainly that was the justification Carter gave for forming the Rapid Deployment Force, which morphed into CentCom.
@Alan S.
You graduated in 1975. I arrived in August 1975.
@Ken B,
@Chris Meizenzahl,
Thanks. Please come up and say hello before or after the talk.

Kent Gatewood writes:

How cheaper would it be to subsidize coal to liquids plants?

We can pay for a military defense of sw Asia, or be self sufficient.

I don't think libertarians like either of those choices.

Also, there is the issue of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, but I'm assuming Israel takes care of that.

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