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View Diary: Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #327 - Endless Fishin' - BP's Gulf Catastrophe (280 comments)

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  •  You're being too kind. They're greedy assholes. (13+ / 0-)

    "If you do not read the paper, you are uninformed. If you do read the paper, you are misinformed."--Mark Twain.

    by ovals49 on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:15:48 AM PDT

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    •  Honestly I think psychopathy and sociopathy are (13+ / 0-)

      apt. The thing about sociopaths is that they can be utterly charming.... like Bob Dudley. He's the slickest thing on 2 legs. It's not just greed.... they lack a conscience, which is paradigmatic of sociopaths. They appear to be and likely are totally w/o morals... except when it comes to their own (families, etc)

      "Sir, you are a very clever man, but not very wise. Everyone knows it's turtles, all the way down."

      by hester on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:24:30 AM PDT

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      •  You are correct, of course... (12+ / 0-)

        and far more civil than I.  I just needed to express some of the emotion of the outrage I feel about how crass and depraved the corporate world is, but not in the more refined an analytic terms of modern psychology.  I wasn't trying to correct you, just wanted to pile on in a different way using my own words.

        "If you do not read the paper, you are uninformed. If you do read the paper, you are misinformed."--Mark Twain.

        by ovals49 on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:35:26 AM PDT

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        •  greedy socio and psychopaths. n/t (10+ / 0-)

          "Sir, you are a very clever man, but not very wise. Everyone knows it's turtles, all the way down."

          by hester on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:40:55 AM PDT

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          •  But here I'd want to think a little differently (10+ / 0-)

            There are legal restrictions in corporate charters that require that the shareholders be the central beneficiaries of corporate decisions, so I'm pretty sure that the decision-makers would actually be breaking the law by being overly cautious.  (Check with an actual lawyer on this stuff, though!)

            The flaw might be less in these particular people than it is in the current system of chartering corporations -- there's nothing for stakeholders as opposed to shareholders, and so the whole incentive system is out of whack.

            Incentive systems have to be corrected systemically though because the incentive to cheat, to avoid being the sucker, to be a free rider -- this is pretty hard to resist stuff.  If there's room to avoid responsibility, it's actually kind of responsible to do so in our current incentive system.

            And of course, the tragedy of the commons is also pretty hard to avoid.  It just makes a lot of rational sense to judge your own individual actions based on your own perspective rather than looking at things as a whole.  If you are the only one to use the totality as your yardstick, you end up losing out on the gains, being stuck with the losses, and you still have the ruined commons.

            The Macondo mess has bits and pieces of many many cognitive biases, uses of unfortunate incentives, and a perfect storm causal chain.

            In other words, of course we KNEW it would happen eventually because things do happen, but we couldn't have known it would be this particular problem at this particular moment.  Being ready at all times wears people down and so we simply aren't ever ready for disasters.  If we were ready, they wouldn't be disasters.  Probably some kind of readiness somewhere has avoided some disaster.  But the avoidance means we'll never know about it.  And since we never know what we've avoided, we lose a major incentive to be prepared -- the feeling of relief at having dodged a bullet.

            So I think I wouldn't go as far as to call them all pathological.

            Far sadder is to call them all normal respondents to the set of incentives, rational choices and cognitive biases that people respond to.  That's way scarier, at least in my sense of things.

            Seriously, what if Macondo is normal, not pathological?

            •  Lots of food for thought here, Lissa. (6+ / 0-)

              There are many norms in the ephemeral world, are there not? What if Macondo is both normal and pathological?

              War does not determine who is right--only who is left. Bertrand Russell

              by ursoklevar on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 08:35:52 AM PDT

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            •  I don't disagree with your general comment. (7+ / 0-)

              But it should be pointed out, so that we all remember it, that BP (and Transocean, I believe) took many steps to bring disaster closer.  Turning off the alarms on the Deepwater Horizon, for example, with the justification that there were too many false alarms waking the crew at all hours.

              Just the most outstanding of many ways in which they begged for a cataclysmic event.  

              Your point about the observable effects of an event that's been successfully avoided is an excellent one (of course I'd say that: I've used that example in many other contexts).  But the practices need to stand, in spite of no disasters having happened.  BP might as well have designed their policies -- both above and below the water line -- to create a crisis such as this.

              Fascists don't take power. They're given power by an uninterested populace." -- Fishgrease

              by Yasuragi on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 08:56:02 AM PDT

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            •  The larger question may be (7+ / 0-)

              why the focus of corporations is allowed to be primarily or even exclusively about profits.  The very existence of US corporations was at one time linked to protecting the public interest:

              In the United States, government chartering began to fall out of vogue in the mid-1800s. Corporate law at the time was focused on protection of the public interest, and not on the interests of corporate shareholders. Corporate charters were closely regulated by the states. Forming a corporation usually required an act of legislature. Investors generally had to be given an equal say in corporate governance, and corporations were required to comply with the purposes expressed in their charters. Many private firms in the 19th century avoided the corporate model for these reasons (Andrew Carnegie formed his steel operation as a limited partnership, and John D. Rockefeller set up Standard Oil as a trust). Eventually, state governments began to realize the greater corporate registration revenues available by providing more permissive corporate laws.

               

              There's probably no chance of putting that genie back in the bottle now, much as I would like to see it.

              In any event, there is nothing to preclude corporations considering the public interest they might serve by acting as responsible "citizens" of the world.  Nothing but unbounded greed.

              "If you do not read the paper, you are uninformed. If you do read the paper, you are misinformed."--Mark Twain.

              by ovals49 on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 09:53:04 AM PDT

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      •  hester, I could not agree more about (8+ / 0-)

        Dudley. Tony Hayward was an up-front corporate skell--easily recgonizable. Dudley is a danger due to benign
        malice that presents as charm.

        "...always that space b/tween what you feel and, what you do, in that gap all human sadness lies. Blue Dog

        by rubyr on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 08:23:47 AM PDT

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