Sunday, May 16, 2010

has capitalism finally doomed us?

I'm trusting it hasn't, because what's the alternative? But don't google worst case scenarios for the Gulf of Mexico if you're afraid to contemplate hard times ahead. Some of the answers are just plain crazy, but some facts are agreed on: That well is under a lot of pressure, and it was not designed to handle oil mixed with sand.

Some reading from conservative sources:

Green Inc. column - Gap in Rules on Oil Spills From Wells - NYTimes.com
One technology that could have been useful in the Deepwater case is an acoustic valve to shut off the well by remote control in an emergency. Such devices are required by Brazil and Norway, but not by the United States, where the oil industry successfully resisted a proposal years ago to require its use, according to Oystein Noreng, who heads the petroleum studies unit at the Norwegian School of Management.

“In Norway, for more than 40 years, we have had a fairly harmonious coexistence between a large offshore oil industry and some of the world’s largest fishing industries,” Mr. Noreng said in an e-mail message. “Nobody can say that a disaster like the one in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico could not happen in Norway, but we have invested in the additional line of defense, thanks to political wisdom.”
Less Toxic Dispersants Lose Out in BP Oil Spill Cleanup - NYTimes.com
BP PLC continues to stockpile and deploy oil-dispersing chemicals manufactured by a company with which it shares close ties, even though other U.S. EPA-approved alternatives have been shown to be far less toxic and, in some cases, nearly twice as effective.

6 comments:

  1. Sometimes I think they must actually be trying to kill us all. 'Cause even corporations can't really be that stupid, right? Only then, I think, there are faster ways to do it...

    As environmental disasters go, this one is probably on par with Chernobyl. Possibly worse.

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  2. Slowly killing us is the more profitable choice. And, yes, this is probably worse than Chernoybl. Some people are comparing it to Hiroshima. It could be worse than that.

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  3. Not killing us at all would be even more profitable. Years and years and years of profit. (Heh.)

    Admittedly, they'd have to go into a different business.

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  4. I dunno. Sometimes the logic of capitalism calls for strip-mining. That seems to be the approach to the planet just now. Though where they figure they'll go next, I haven't a clue.

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  5. Oh, sure. That's why Michigan burnt down repeatedly. I just figure there's a difference between destroying things because you've already gotten what you wanted out of them (as quickly as possible) and destroying things because you couldn't be bothered to make sure the batteries weren't dead.

    Not that one is actually better than the other as far as the dead are concerned... but you get more profit from the oil if you don't pump it directly into the ocean.

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  6. Maybe there's more profit than we know in treating the disaster. Never underestimate the ability of a capitalist to make a buck from someone's misery.

    Okay, this is sounding too grim. I'm still hoping the "deal with it at the last moment if we can't evade it any longer" approach of capitalism will manage to save our butts this time, because I'm fond of my butt and the butts of many others.

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