Expensive short cuts

Already evidence is emerging of risky short cuts to sink the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico which ended up killing 11 on the rig and spewing as yet uncalculated barrels of oil into the ocean. The cost to the environment both at sea and on land is also beyond estimate.
One lesson that won’t be learned is that Capitalism and the system it has spawned is not fit for purpose. As President Obama has found to his cost it is out of control. The mining disaster in the US was down to short cuts. Methane was trapped but the company took short cuts and didn’t allow venting so men died needlessly.
In the UK privatisation of the railways led to unnecessary risks with passengers’ lives. Those with many years experience of signaling and safety went and management was handed over to novices with little if any experience – or concern – in maintaining standards that were part and parcel of the existing organisation. In my experience when a business is taken over the management might go into the hands of an accountant. Knowledge of figures and profits is no substitute for the technical understanding from hands on experience which was carelessly tossed to the wind.
BP are determined to pay dividends to shareholders in spite of everything. The US government is doing what it can to ensure that compensation is paid out fully, if that’s possible in this case. It might have an effect on persuading others to take greater care, but we had the Exxon disaster before which didn’t prevent this bigger and better catastrophe taking place.

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