Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BP ignored safety concerns

Shocking article over at ProPublica, about BP's cavalier approach to safety and safety concerns. They should be ashamed of themselves.

For some years I have watched people defend capitalism, on the grounds that it is the "best" system, as though market forces would do whatever was necessary in the way of controlling the companies. I think one only has to look at Dow Chemicals (took over the company responsible for the Bhopal disaster; still hasn't cleaned up or revealed which chemicals caused the illness and deaths) Shell Oil (responsible for terrible destruction in the Niger delta, and now BP, to see that market forces in our capitalistic system are mainly concerned with profit, and not people, environmental responsibility or the future of the planet.

For years people have assumed that the alternative to capitalism is some sort of communism, but I think there is a middle way, which most people would support: a way of being ethical, people and environmentally friendly, and putting the planet first and profit second.

Many of the companies who have grown into successes recently have had good credentials for this... maybe it is time we as consumers demanded that the big old lumbering corporations should catch up.

If we used the free market to influence the companies who have been behaving so badly, we could collectively have a beneficial effect. I only hope that the doomsday scenarios are overstated, and that we still have time to put this into action.

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