Rochester I

     “You and your accomplice have been caught red-handed.  Together your  best hope is to cooperate by remaining silent:  You will each get off with a 30 day sentence.  But either of you can do better for yourself:  double-cross your partner and you will go free while he serves 10 years.   The problem is, if you each betray the other, you will both go to prison - and not just for 30 days but for eight years.

     When you think about it, you realize that no matter what your partner chooses, you are better off choosing betrayal.  Unfortunately, he is aware of it too - so the inexorable tide of self-interest is bound to carry you both up the river for eight years.  If only you could have cooperated...

     That in a bitter nutshell, is the “prisoner’s dilemma.”

     The words with which I began are from an article by James Gleicke in a recent issue of the The New York Times.  He goes on to say...

     “Half a game-theory paradox, half a behavioral metaphor, the prisoner’s dilemma has become a central model for psychologists, political scientists, biologists and economists trying to understand the dynamics of competition and - more important - cooperation.

     Much of game theory devotes itself to a logic pursued for its own sake.  The prisoner’s dilemma has proved a robust exception, finding unexpected applications far from its abstract origin.  One reason is the simplicity of its basic message:  that cooperation arises from a combination of restraint and retaliation.  It is a game-theory modernization of the eye-for-an-eye rule.”

     When I first read the article, it immediately crystallized for me what I wanted to say to you this morning, about some seemingly disparate concerns relating to the financial affairs of this little Association which is so large in all our lives.

     The Prisoner’s Game model tells us - if we play it out - that the most effective thing for us to do now is accept the decision made and the action taken - (I think it safe to say there is no sentiment in numbers among us to reverse it) - the most effective thing to do is to accept the decision and go forward from there in a spirit of cooperation about the continued fight against the repressive government of South Africa.

     You may say, of course, but some in our community are carping at this action.

     -  Implying that all of the possible positive and negative problems in carrying out divestiture were not adequately considered by the Board ahead of time.

     -  Implying that we did not realize ahead of time that South Africa related company securities tend to have better track records that those of non-SAR companies in which we would be limited in investing.

     -  Implying that if the General Assembly had decided the issue, divestiture would not have been voted.

     These statements are false and misleading to those not familiar with the decision making process as it actually unfolded, and do no honor to those who publish and circulate them.  Neither do they serve the cause of respect for the diversity which encompasses those of conservative political and fiscal perspectives -- among whom I  number myself.

     I spoke at some length in my report last year about how your Board of Trustees arrived at its decision to divest completely of South Africa related stocks.  Our ultimate conclusion was, as a religious institution, we needed to make a clear and unequivocal statement about apartheid - no percentage of the way, no adherence to business principles in the face of the greater reality of discrimination - a focus of the investment community in the world of charitable, religious and other nonprofit institutions, and in society in general on a world wide basis - yes, the holding of securities doing business in South Africa.

     Cooperation, friends:  the battle is fought;  the battle is over.

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