I do not recollect in all the animal kingdom a single species but man which is eternally and systematically engaged in the destruction of its own … When we add to this [the destruction of] other species of animals, the lions and tigers are mere lambs compared with man as destroyer. — Thomas Jefferson
I just can’t resist writing my thoughts about the Gulf Oil Crisis (with deep sympathy to Deepwater Horizon families and workers, and to the affected animals, marshes, swamps, beachfront properties, shrimp fisheries, and Luisianerites for another crappy summer season), but didn’t this scenario ever occur to anyone in the oil platform business? I mean really! Nasty ocean storms, hurricanes, waterspouts, heck – earthquakes have the power to uproot and destroy something bobbing on the ocean surface connected to a mile long drilling/oil collection pipeline. British Petroleum (BP Global) confessed to ignoring warning signs, to looking for fast cheap ways to bring in profits, to not having any experience in dealing with this type of problem. REALLY?
And lets not let Halliburton or Transocean off the hook for their misdeeds and motivated greed in the whole oily fiasco.
It’s common sense that man, master of believing he is invincible, would mess up big time where it would be next to impossible to fix the resulting catastrophe. It shouldn’t take Hollywood to come up with this kind of movie script (I seem to remember a Bruce Willis drill rig disaster film) but it should have been BP’s number one possibility to guard against. Where is Forest Gump when you need him most?
Now, the Republican mantra has always been “Drill Baby Drill” anywhere everywhere, just like their best retirement advice has been invest your savings in Wall Street – trustworthy, you betcha!?!! I haven’t heard any Republican push off-shore drilling lately, no one hardly even raised an objection to the president’s call for halting drilling off Virgina’s coast. In fact, aside from pointing fingers in President Obama’s direction (because he must be THE reason for the oil leak and gulf coast unemployment, right?) the Republicans have been uncharacteristically quite on the subject (they have tried to call the leak Obama’s Katrina – but this is not really sticking as he did respond to the crisis the day that the rig exploded, aide was sent immediately and he acknowledged that he was watching over the day-to-day progress at the drilling site). People are angry and impatient for results; being Americans brought up on Saturday morning cartoons we want instant fixes, we demand that money make everything better FAST with the least disruption to our lives. He didn’t ask the public to pray away the storm, like a certain former president, or ignore flood victim’s pleas to fix busted levees and make everything worse by sending an inept FEMA to mop up the mess.
There is just this annoying thing called private industry being in control of their projects and resulting consequences – that government regulates industry only when regulations are in place . Capitalism is like this – it allows businesses to mess up with or without penalty per private contract. How can Republicans have fits about lack of proper regulation when they despise government’s noses/hands in their business(es)? Remember that Republicans love laissez-faire government and trickle down changes. Haven’t we been hearing this over and over? So, even though we hate to see the TV oil leak plume reach ever closer to the beaches, and even though we hate to see BP fail in its efforts to stop the leak, we have to know that we, ourselves, are ultimately to blame. Our desire for cheap oil, to drill wherever we want, to disregard consequences does have nasty consequences which, truth be told, is NOT the president’s fault. Holding BP responsibly is President Obama’s duty and I have faith that this will be done.
THE EVOLUTION OF CAPITALISM
Capitalism was founded upon basic principles: production, supply and demand, and capital accumulation. It is a social theory whereby prices are determined by profit and loss, as well as market interest and fluctuations.
Although I understand the need for a free market enterprise, such a theory should not imply that we are willing to disregard our environment, or sacrifice the needs and comforts of our humanity in an attempt to realize higher profits (a.k.a., BP, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, etc).
Capitalism may be wonderful, but like anything else, it is still a flawed system. It’s a work in progress. It needs to be tweaked here and there in order to perfect its balance and to soothe the inordinate swings that occur day-to-day in our financial markets. If left unchecked, however, such a system will prove to be our economic downfall.
Well, for one thing, there is only so much profit a business can make from a product before it is left to cut costs in both quality and workmanship. In order to continually sustain a profit, businesses have to create those same products with lower quality ingredients and cheaper labor: which means that they must pull up stakes and move to other countries like China, Taiwan, or Mexico in order to survive. What does this eventually mean for people like you and me? It means that the very financial theory that promoted our country to super power status has turned on us. It means that the American workforce is now expected to work harder, longer, cheaper, and faster if we are to compete with the global economy now breathing down our necks.
Where do we go from here?
George Orwell had it right, to some extent, when he wrote his book1984. Many years from now, money will become worthless and the global populace will be employed and subject to hundreds (if not thousands) of individualized corporations that managed to survive attrition through merger aquisitions. It will be a feudalistic society: every corporation out for blood and vying for global dominance and absolute power. Our children and grandchildren will be there too: housed, clothed and fed by these various corporate entities; all the while being sent out on occasion, like brainless automatons, to errands of war, in an effort to absorb the weakest corporations into the fold. After all the dust settles, and everything is said and done, the remaining corporations will finally merge into a one-world government.
Science fiction, you say?
(…I’m left wondering.)
And then … a revolt against the machines [corporations] a la Terminator. Mankind then rebuilds, living in caves and tunnels deep under ground, in rebel packs bent on destroying what they had created. We have been warned for years, centuries, by our best prohets, that we would reap what we sowed. Science friction? Hardly. Corporations are controlling our government, our leaders are in their deep pockets – our freedom seems illusionary – we believe we have, and make, daily choices but in reality our “choices” are nothing more than “programed” responses.
jeese … thats prophets – I was visiting a friend when my netbook battery threatened to die and I didn’t have my charger with me. In a panic I closed, went home to plug in, and then got down to correcting my spelling error.
Back to capitalism, best illustrated by the busted housing market: housing prices went up higher and higher, weren’t based on any more reality than greed, and since the little guy couldn’t afford America’s dream lenders fiddled with the loan terms and interest rates. Since the values were false they couldn’t be sustained [these little sh*tboxes were only worth $350,000 on banking papers, and they sure weren’t worth half a million a couple years later when the homeowners wanted to roll them over]. I have escaped the rollercoaster ride 17 years ago by buying in a despressed area knowing that I am paying less than I could rent for, but not too many people are so lucky. I guess, at heart, I am left leaning socialist, I totally support social programs for the good of the whole. I detest the greed and gluttony of corporations that, as you wrote need to find countries and cheap workers to manufacture ever cheaper product to turn their ever increasing profit margin.
I am trying to shrink my footprint in today’s economy to live totally within a budget, stay employed [cross fingers] for at least 10 more years, read as many classics as I can cram into my brain, take as many free educational/professional offerings as I can and write on my blog to destress.
The oil fix didn’t take – now what?
Are the Saudis laughing at us?