Apparently BP had a party on the deck of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, for executives of the company, in the day or two before the accident which has befouled the Gulf of Mexico. They flew out to celebrate the completion of the drilling, which by some schedule was a bit behind, and apparently they were in a rush to get that gush of oil and the money attached. Faced with that it seems BP engineers, pressed by some deadline, decided to skip some normal procedures, saving a pile of bucks. For details, see this item from nola.com. (Thanks to Craig Groe for sending me this link.) And see as well this good blog, For the Heart of the Sun.
Cutting corners to save time, save money, make money is pretty much standard practice in the world of Free Market Capitalism, since the bottom-line point of it all is to make as much money as possible. According to our theorists of this way of seeing the world, this in turn leads to greater efficiency, and somehow when all is said and done, the maximum good for everyone. One wouldn’t seem to need a philosophy degree to see the obtuseness of this belief but it seems since Reagan and before him, Ayn Rand, this swill has been sold like snake-oil to the great American public (and the world at large) under various guises and names: The Chicago School, Milton Friedman, Globalism. The proof of the pudding though now lies all around in the shattered economies of America and Europe and surely soon to come will be Asia and the rest of the world which was largely forced to adopt the IMF/World Bank scheme to make money more fluid, which gave rise to the Great Financialization of our and other’s economies, which resulted in the great concentration of numerical wealth in London’s City, on Wall Street, and the other large financial centers where shuffling numbers was enhanced with brilliant computer programs, fortunes were made (and lost) in the rapid fire selling and buying that often in reality produced nothing except a fat bonus, a ridiculous pay-out, a CEO salary in the millions and billions as reward for playing a slicker shell game.
And, in more practical terms it lies in the expanding toxic sea which BP unleashed in untrammeled pursuit of filthy lucre, in which its oversight agency had been corrupted by the anti-regulation actions of the Bush administration, doubtless at the behest of, among others, BP-USA.
There is now, and likely will never be, a meaningful way to account for the damages inflicted by BP’s bit of corner cutting. The bean counters will try to leaven it all out in greenbacks, the only value of the nation accepted for such things. I doubt that any BP execs, or those of the subcontractors, will be trundled off to jail for negligence, murder, or a vast crime committed against the Gulf, the people who live and work beside it, or the Earth itself. The ethics and morals of our day simply don’t admit of such consequences.
Our tragedy is that we live in a society which produces tragedy like any other product, but has trivialized it to have the same moral weight as selling a tube of toothpaste. It is so in our vast over-killing war machinery busy in Afghanistan and still in Iraq, and it is so in this grotesque insult to nature which our masters have tried as best they can to minimize and tuck under the rug, whether with toxic dispersants which seem to have functioned to keep the larger portion deep underwater and therefore invisible and uncountable, or in the fabricated figures emitted by BP and the US government agency which supposedly upholds the public’s interests.
But lying has become an American norm, a social and political given. As in the case of Richard Blumenthal, who “mis-spoke” himself when he asserted numerous times that he’d served in Viet Nam during the war. Like George Bush and Richard Cheney before him, actually he hadn’t, but had done what he could to avoid service. Now he has a guilt complex and claims he did. He is running for US Senator from Connecticut – a place served dubiously by flip-flopping Joe Lieberman. He joins an ever enlarging rogues gallery of politician and social moralists hoisted on their own petards.
Well, here in Korea it’s a day off, for Buddha’s Birthday, so to leave all this misery with a smile, here’s to Buddha!