I have avoided talking about the BP spill. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been with me on a constant basis. I am incensed by what has happened in the Gulf. I am just as incensed, maybe more, that this is a case where shortcuts were taken to make more money. The Gulf disaster was engineered to fail.
I’ve been in the workforce for forty years. It’s not like shortcuts are a surprise to me. However, none of my jobs involved pumping dangerous/poisonous fluids up a straw.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster is a clusterf**k. It is so complex a project there were myriad ways to cut corners–and most were cut.
Pick your poison–literally. There was outsourcing which decentralized responsibility. Each subcontractor had an incentive to save money on their piece of the project without, by design, seeing the full picture
There was “convenience flagging” which allowed many of the projects largest parts to escape proper US inspection by being “flagged” as foreign vessels. There was a cavalier attitude toward safety when safety cost money.
It’s no wonder our government is powerless to fix this problem. We were assured… No, we were lied to by the companies doing the drilling they had all the technology necessary to solve any problem that might arise in this incredibly complex problem. Make no mistake, they lied and we believed them.
Nowadays industries often work in areas so technologically complex we have no choice but to believe them. Oil isn’t alone here. Over the past few years airlines have been fined for flying planes with unfixed maintenance problems. Hospitals have had their problems too. Here’s a Google search for the phrase, “hospital fined.”
Fines are not enough. They become another calculation–a cost of doing business. If you’re lawyered up well crime can pay.
I am now vindictive. People in suits need to spend long periods of time in prison. Rich, powerful, well connected people need to take perp walks.
Over the long run masters of industry need to be fearful that their actions will have real world downsides for them.
That probably won’t happen. It should.