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25 Years Ago in The Actuarial Review
How Much Has Changed?
By Walter Wright 

In May 1986 the AR printed the following poem from Boardroom Ballads by Bertie Ramsbottom, published by Adler & Adler, Bethesda, MD. The editors said it was “particularly apt today,” and it still is 25 years later.   

Friends of the Earth
We little thought that things would end
With OPEC seeming like a friend;
Or that we’d turn nostalgic eyes
To times when prices hit the skies,
And sing a eulogistic carol
For oil at forty bucks a barrel!   

But then, at least, we stopped to think,
While teetering upon the brink,
That maybe there were ways to foil
The needless tyranny of oil;
And other methods worth the learning
To keep the wheels of commerce turning.   

We even questioned was it worth
The raping of our Mother Earth
Or fighting never-ending duels
Like scavengers for fossil fuels,
And offering, in restitution,
A ravaged world and air pollution.   

And Nature seemed prepared to prise
The scales from our myopic eyes
And show what energies were there,
In wind and water, sea and air,
More rich for those with eyes to see,
Than all the oils of Araby.   

We thrilled to prospects of the union
Of man and nature in communion,
Harvesting the winds and tides
And energy the sun provides,
With some more promising equation
Between our needs and conservation.   

While even those whose vision ends
With forecasts of their dividends,
Were galvanized by leaping prices
To seek alternative devices
And place, upon a changing scene,
Their money where their mouths had been.   

But economics, with their crazy
Politics of whoops-a-daisy,
Look as though they’ll stand instead
Our expectations on their head;
And, with the price of oil declining,
Liquidate our silver-lining.   

If energy renaissance needs
The impetus of others’ greeds,
Let us, on our knees, implore
The privilege of paying more!
And may this masochistic pleasure
Teach us truly what to treasure!

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