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I think right now every oil company in the world says, I don’t want to pay $100 million a day to cut corners on drilling a well.  And that’s where I believe the market system works. Nobody’s got more to lose in this deal than BP.

--Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi

You're not wrong Walter. You're just an asshole.

--The Dude

I'm not the first one to write about Governor Barbour's view that the calamity currently in progress right off the coast of the state he governs is nothing more complicated than a correction of the free market. Jed Lewison and thereisnospoon already did their own takedowns of Governor Barbour. Jed focused on a very simple aspect: if Governor Barbour were entirely correct about the consequences of catastrophe being so severe that oil multi-nationals would now think twice before playing fast and loose with proper precautions, then this situation would never have arisen in the first place. After all, this is not the first offshore drilling rig incident, and it's not likely to be the last. thereisnospoon's approach was slightly different: the way he figured it, it's entirely possible that Haley Barbour could be completely correct. The price that BP will pay for its lack of vision may yet be so high that no transnational oil company will ever make a similar mistake again--but in Haley Barbour's mind, everything else is mere collateral damage on the way to the the real objective of refining the free market by teaching BP a lesson. That's a good start. But I'd like to give this idea a slightly different spin:

You're not wrong, Haley. You're just an asshole.

Let's be clear: we should be doing everything we can to make sure we never have to drill for oil a mile under the ocean. But given the fact that it's happening, one simple fact stands out: from everything we've learned, this calamity could have been easily prevented with the standard modicum of industry precaution. The workers on the rig did not need to die in a fiery explosion. Hundreds of endangered sea turtles did not need to be burned alive in the cleanup effort (if you can legitimately call it that). An entire ecosystem did not have to be ruined. An entire way of life along the gulf coast did not need to be shattered.

But instead of focusing on the horror that lies before us and how anything like it across any industry can be prevented before it happens, Haley Barbour and his fellow free market supremacists are apparently incapable of seeing tragedy in any other context outside of cost. To them, all this needless death and wanton destruction is nothing but another brushstroke on the well-polished manicure of Adam Smith's unseen hand.

This worldview isn't just misguided; it is, in fact, sociopathic. At a smaller scale, this ethic of corporate Darwinism does indeed serve to refine business practices and ensure the survival of the fittest: businesses can fail through a series of bad decisions, or a competitor might develop a new "killer app" that completely changes the marketplace. Such is the nature of the business life cycle. Or at least, that's the theory.

And if the free marketplace existed in a vacuum, then this ethic would not be so problematic. But it doesn't. The stakes now are far too high. One company's "bad business decision" is now capable of wrecking the entire world economy. Another company's "oversight failure" in one rig is capable of triggering an unparalleled environmental disaster that threatens to destroy an entire way of life.

But despite the massive shared consequences that could follow the failure of a mere few at the top of any number of huge multinational companies, the cadre of free market supremacists, the acolytes of Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand, continue to insist that regulation--in other words, external preemptive action to prevent disasters before they happen--is counterproductive. Even in the wake of the worst financial crisis since the great depression, the usual suspects dug in their heels and fought tooth and nail against any efforts to restore sanity to Wall Street. Even after BP's corner-cutting created an epic calamity, the Governor of one of the states most affected continues to insist that the free market has absolutely no problem policing itself.

All of which leaves one very important question: how high do the stakes have to go before the ideology of free market supremacy must finally take a knee before the obviousness of the common good?

I'd like to propose a hypothetical for Governor Barbour. Let's say that a private company were using a Large Hadron Collider to try to develop, say, a fusion reactor. Now, the worry about Large Hadron Colliders is, of course, that under certain very unlikely circumstances, they could create a black hole that could swallow the earth into an infinitesimal point of roughly infinite gravity. Would Governor Barbour be in favor of heavily regulating that reactor, or would he be content to let the free market take its course? After all, in the event of a disaster, nobody would have more to lose than the reactor operators.

Except for everyone else sucked into another dimension. But this is business, so who cares about them?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:00 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  E Pluribus Unum? Not our Gov Barb n/t (6+ / 0-)

    www.yesweSTILLcan.org

    by divineorder on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:07:41 PM PDT

  •  He's like a CARTOON of a .... (14+ / 0-)

    ...corrupt, evil fat-cat ex-lobbyist bought & sold politician.

    Except for one thing.....

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:07:52 PM PDT

  •  They Take Common Sense (5+ / 0-)

    Run it through the Fox News/Micheal Steele/Bachmann/Palin Idiot Machine, and the sludge that comes out the other end will destroy the USA. Unless we can shut it off.

  •  Human nature is part of corporations. (15+ / 0-)

    Many of us are so vain that we think nothing bad will ever happen to our wonderful selves.

    So we drive while inebriated, never brush our teeth, don't use a condom, hold the bottle rocket in our hand, etc. etc.

    Corporations are run by people, and some are run by people who have this kind of mindset.
    "Exxon/Valdez? Hell, something like that will never happen to us!"

    This is why we need regulations...and inspectors.

    Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

    by Sirenus on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:10:39 PM PDT

    •  Well the Corporations Can Utterly Swamp the (10+ / 0-)

      reward and punishment scale of their human managers. That's the problem the New Deal thru Great Society era dealt with more successfully than any other approach America's tried most of our history.

      Protective progressive income taxes limit the ability of the humans to take home rewards that decouple them from dependence on society. Financial regulation prevents enterprise from gambling with society's assets. Trust restrictions maintain competitive markets by braking market competition at the point where winning entire markets themselves can become the reward for competition.

      And so on.

      The key is to remember that relatively astronomical sized activities are all being run by wild animals that're trivially simple to overpower. The job of government is to make sure they can't be overpowered.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:16:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Likely the corporations will adopt the (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drewfromct, moosely2006, brein, nellgwen

        mountain top removal ploy to limit liability and expensive restoration.  Each well will be operated by a separate S corporation that will walk away when it's time to make things right.  That's your free market economy.

        Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. --Will Rogers

        by groggy on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:28:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly (5+ / 0-)

      It's like all the safety features on cars today. 99.9% of the time, you don't need them.

      But that .1% of the time, they're all that stands between you and death.

      For some businesses, failure isn't that big of a deal - if the little restaurant on the corner makes some bad decisions and goes out of business, it affects them, and the neighborhood, and the people working there, but not the world economy.

      If a big bank makes some bad decisions, it can impact the entire world finance market. If some companies cut corners (auto manufacturers, power plants, mining companies, oil companies, airplane makers, etc.), it affects way, way more people - and people can DIE. Or entire areas can die.

      The bigger the danger to people and environments, the more regulation and oversight is needed.

      Because the company is out to make money. And they'll go with the odds, rather than spend money to prevent something that 99.9% of the time won't happen.

      But that .1% is a killer.

    •  It's also why we need to work our butts off ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nellgwen, FiredUpInCA

      The contrast between the democratic part and the party of free market zealots who want to free the rich from all taxes and obligations, who demonize the poor, unemployed, black, brown, native,Asian, LGBT or, in short, the other, could not be more stark. If we care about the future I think we have a moral obligation to work our butts off to keep strong democratic majorities in congress, and then to keep on organizing to keep pressure on congress, the WH, executive agencies, courts and the media to realize our vision for peace, justice, economic opportunity, and sustainable energy. Yeswe can.

  •  The Stupidest Idea the Left Has Had for 40 Years (16+ / 0-)

    is that there is a nearby tipping point where

    the stakes have to go before the ideology of free market supremacy must finally take a knee before the obviousness of the common good.

    We've had a generation or two to see that the right is both unwavering and accelerating.

    It's time to recognize that they intend to take it all, and there exists no level of harm that will dissuade them. They show every indication they'll pay any cost.

    So let's stop building epicycles on epicycles with the assumption that they're mistaken, and presume instead they've done their math correctly.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:11:14 PM PDT

    •  The Noose Is the Tipping Point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FightTheFuture

      As Marx noted, the capitalist will sell their executioner the noose to hang them with.

      The only tipping points our society, hellbent on fascism, will recognize will be either irrevocable fascism, probably theocratic, or total collapse. Or rather both, close on one another's heels.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 07:46:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can I just say that I think this is a brilliant (8+ / 0-)

    summation of the Republican POV:

    To them, all this needless death and wanton destruction is nothing but another brushstroke on the well-polished manicure of Adam Smith's unseen hand.

    Is it possible to nominate a sentence w/in a diary to Top Comments?

    "It's not enough to be right. You still have to use your nice voice." -said by my then six-year-old daughter; "Love binds us all."-willb48

    by be the change you seek on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:14:10 PM PDT

  •  Free Market does work? Please explain. . . . (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, moosely2006, annieli, nellgwen

    Follow up questions for Haley Barbour:

    So, what could we have done to make BP so afraid to cut corners that THIS disaster never happened?

    And....if the death penalty doesn't stop businessmen from cutting corners, cheating, endangering the public (China, for example). . . .what market solutions might prevent deaths, illnesses, injuries, and ecological disasters in future?

    Who will enforce the market? I ask because at present we need oil (esp. for military) and until we diversify our energy 'basket' the oil industry has us over a (proverbial) barrel.

    What business every closed down because of market pressures after they cut corners? (I don't know--the closest example I can think of are two food companies that closed because of public opinion....after botulism deaths the brand names were worthless).

    Further questions to explore:  In Japan, dishonorable businessmen used to commit hara-kiri. Did that discourage dishonorable business in general? (I don't know).

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:15:36 PM PDT

    •  Well, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LNK

      but then there are the liability caps and limited liability corporate structure.  So if the profits are limitless and the accountability is finite...

      The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

      by happymisanthropy on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:46:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That bit about the LHC creating a dangerous (7+ / 0-)

    black hole? It's total garbage.

    I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

    by doc2 on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:16:22 PM PDT

    •  I know (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      it's like worrying that BP is going to suck out the entire interior of the earth making the planet collapse in on itself....

      •  S'okay... Dante was just indulging in an abusurd (5+ / 0-)

        "what if"...to illustrate a point. But you do have to be careful in today's anti-science climate. The mob is touchy, and quick to reach for their torches and pitchforks.

        BTW - Fusion is going to be achieved at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore... and soon, I hope. They tested the Big Laser at full power just last January.

        You can download an excellent talk on the subject by Ed Moses here.

        Politicians who promise LESS government only deliver BAD government.

        by jjohnjj on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:05:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But he didn't need an impossible comparison (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OHdog

          Let's substitute some things that could happen, and that we understand well enough that responsible people would be able to recognize the risks.
            Suppose a bio-research facility that has all the precautions we think are necessary to work with level two pathogens tries to do just a little work with a level four virus. (Or look up Ebola Reston, where we had a strain of Ebola that fortunately only had lethal symptoms in monkees get loose in a research population and vector to a number of human labworkers in Reston VA, and try some reasonable suppositions about what could have happened there if the index monkey had been carrying E. Zaire or Marburgvirus.).
            Or suppose the next big anti-indigestion or insomnia treating drug turns out to have the exact same risks as Thalidomide, but gets the exact same level of cover up for the early problems exposed in the companies own initial research as Avandia did.
           

        •  Fusion is old... (0+ / 0-)

          and has been done in nuclear weapons. It also has been done with laser fusion (inertial confinement) in more locations that the National Ignition Facility. What the NIF is working on is getting more energy out than was put into the system to create the fusion reaction.

    •  But....but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nellgwen, stormserge

      Haley has created a whole new dimension of
      stupidity all by himself, by colliding with
      reality!  I'd pay some good money to see him
      swallowed up by a black hole about now.

    •  well, not if we could cram barbour's fat ass (0+ / 0-)

      in teh black hole!

      "Our 'neoconservatives' are neither new nor conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell" - Edward Abbey

      by stormserge on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:29:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It was a poor choice of analogy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybersaur

      It detracted from the original diary, which was otherwise quite good.  It's not as if "certain very unlikely circumstances" would cause the LHC to create a killer black hole. It's the laws of physics, which are inviolate. Big difference.  Treating it otherwise is to fall into the idiotocratic trap, wherein errors are treated as simply less-probable truth.

      Black holes here aren't a threat.  (Clue:  Black holes evaporate via Hawking Radiation.  Little ones created by the LHC evaporate in, roughly speaking, an instant.  They have no gravitational force to speak of, either.)  Oil wells, nuclear reactors, and even oil refineries are threats. But since they exist, and serve a useful purpose, regulation should exist to minimize the risk.

  •  However.... (0+ / 0-)

    It is hard to imagine an oil company that isn't going to be doing "extra" for quite a while.  No one wants to be the "next" BP.  

    There's a devil's advocate argument that makes Barbour's argument ring partly true.  Perhaps not wholly true, but at least partly.

    •  Why wouldn't they? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      Sure, people are mad at BP, but they are just proles.  Most of the government is busily trying to fellate Tony Hayward, while the other part wants to get in some rimming action just to make sure they convey how much they want him to like them.  I'm still waiting for the bill to come before Congress to absolve BP of all financial culpability and then add in some large cash payments to the company from the US government for all the pain and suffering BP has been through - and I expect to see the WH lead the push to get this poor, benighted company the relief it deserves.

      When you do what BP did and no "serious person" is doing more than proforma tsk-tsking, why not be the next BP?  When all the risks are socialized, screwing up is just another way to make a payday

    •  "Extra" is going to be interesting (0+ / 0-)

      The oil companies won't do extra.

      The circle-jerk of finance MBAs* with no actual rig experience don't see an engineering or drilling problem. They see a liability problem.

      The end result is that they will use the only tool they have (financial management) to shift liabilities. Don't be surprised if all new drilling is done by 'disposable' companies:

      If I were an oil company (or several oil companies), I would fund collectively fund a Transocean as the driller/operator of a rig. I would encapsulate the oil lease in a wholly independent, jointly owned corporation. I would have these run very carefully, obeying the various precedents set up by Berkey v. Third Ave. Railway, Kinney Shoe Corp v. Polan, etc.

      Each entity would be owned by several oil companies, such that by no company having complete control, no company could be solely liable. Any attempts at piercing the corporate veil of those subsidiaries would be hugely complicated by their administration, and could be mired in litigation for decades.

      Anyway, that's how I would do it. I wouldn't be surprised to see it in the next few years.

      ----------
      *I have respect for MBAs who come to it after years of experience in the manufacturing sector. Those who know the MBA is but one toolset of many, and take a holistic approach to long-term success, they do well.

      If an MBA thinks that their degree is the tool, and the only tool, they fuck shit up. See: GE, Enron, WorldCom, HP, Dell, Toyota, Goldman, WaMu, BP, every company that has ignored safety for short-term profit, and every company that has had supply chain problems due to outsourcing.

      It is curious to see the periodical disuse and perishing of means and machinery, which were introduced with loud laudation a few years or centuries before. -RWE

      by Gravedugger on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:30:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "the standard modicum of industry precaution" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    I think that's what we got, though.

  •  The Dude & Walter (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, Pam from Calif, Phil S 33

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:19:35 PM PDT

  •  I don't think Barbour really believes this crap. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, baybelletrist

    Haley Barbour is by no means intelligent. But there is no way in hell that he is stupid and close-minded enough to actually believe in the things he's saying.

    I guess the argument he makes can seem logical... if you don't think about it. But as Dante pointed out, it's really just a distraction from the reason why we need, at the very least, strict regulations on oil companies.

    It's totally possible that Barbour might be so blissfully ignorant of the suffering of the people he Governs that he doesn't think about the content of that talking point. But even if he did, I don't think he cares that it doesn't make sense.

    Barbour is, to say it lightly, a corporate whore. He takes inordinate amounts of money from multinational oil corporations (including bp) and then spouts the bullshit talking points that their lobbyists give him.

    If you live in Mississippi, I don't understand how you can vote for this disgrace. He doesn't care about Mississippi, he doesn't care about America, and he doesn't really even care about his own ideology. No, Haley Barbour cares about getting paid.

    It's time to stop treating politicians like this with legitimacy.

    "Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."-Malcolm X

    by Shields on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:21:52 PM PDT

  •  Or as Keynes would say... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, moosely2006, brein

    With apologies to the late Paul Newman, "what we have here is a failure to communicate".

    All Guv Bubba Barbour is sayin' is that in the long run, the free market works.

    But as Keynes once said, in the long run, we are all dead.  Of course, the way things are going, our chances in the short run ain't lookin' so hot either ...

  •  Build a... (3+ / 0-)

    Small Hadron Collider in Barbour’s backyard. Just big enough to suck him into his own personal black hole.

  •  Haley : Nobody's got more to lose than BP (7+ / 0-)

    Transcript:

    BLOCK: I wonder, Governor Barbour, if this oil gusher is testing your political philosophy in any way. You and many of your fellow Republicans champion smaller government, less regulation, more freedom for industry. Do you think maybe there is a role looking at what's happened in the Gulf for robust intervention for regulation?

    Gov. BARBOUR: Well, look, in every part of the government there is a role for good regulation that is properly done. But the idea that more regulation is necessarily better, I think a very suspect idea. In the case of this well, I believe it will be shown that if the regular protocols had been followed, that this well wouldn't have blown out. We'll see what the facts are.

    But I am comfortable that's what the facts are going to be. And that if there had been somebody from MMS on the well to make sure they had done it, well, maybe that wouldve made a difference. But I think right now every oil company in the world says, I don't want to pay $100 million a day to cut corners on drilling a well. And that's where I believe the market system works. Nobody's got more to lose in this deal than BP.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:29:17 PM PDT

  •  He makes me despair (4+ / 0-)

    of ever seeing sanity reign again.

    It's because of lug nuts like him that we need to work even harder to GOTV this election.

    This is no time for complacency. No matter what you think of our Democratic leadership, the alternative is simply unthinkable.

    We need to band together and elect Democrats just to keep from having to exist in a world where Haley and his ilk call the shots.

    Yeah, I want more from Obama - but I don't delude myself as to what the world would be like with Republicans in a majority in the House and Senate.

    Until we have an unfettered media, every battle we fight will be in the dark, uphill and against a head wind.

    by moosely2006 on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:34:22 PM PDT

  •  The cognitive dissonance is palpable (4+ / 0-)

    But guess who is making sense? Why, that would be US. The progressives.

    Note to liberal pressure organizations: unleash this street show!

    http://www.osborneink.com

    by Matt Osborne on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:36:14 PM PDT

  •  On the spill itself. . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, msmacgyver

    I commented earlier, (and was severely criticized for it) that BP won't be capping the well until they can siphon some oil off to pay for the damages.  They screwed up, and now they will reap benefits from the tragedy.  It is just like a serial killer selling their stories to the tabloids.

    As for regulating the so-called "free markets", I beleieve that when the public is endangered, albeit in an airplane, a ship, on a train or bus, the obvious need for some regulation is in order.  That keeps the public safe from the immeasurable harm that a company like BP can do.  Now we are facing a catastrophe of life-changing proprotions to people that relied on the Gulf for their very livelihoods.  And Haley Barbour doesn't think we need to stop and think about it, it's only a "market correction."  The absurdity of that statement is mind-numbing!

    Go Figure!

    •  They are entitled to produce the oil, and to pay (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ScottDog

      royalties (or payments in lieu of royalties) for the wasted oil.

      If you think they are going to see a net benefit from this well, may I suggest you take of your protestor's mask and (with apologies to Melville) doff your cabalistically cut coat?

      Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

      by oblomov on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:10:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I take your point (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jmcgrew, cybersaur, moosely2006

    I don't think you used the best possible example, though.  The idea that the LHC could create a a black hole that would swallow the earth is totally ridiculous, and encourages pseudo-scientific thinking. More energetic collisions happen with cosmic rays and atoms in our atmosphere, and none of those create killer black holes.  A better example would be Chernobyl. Somebody should ask Barbour if it would be worth contaminating a city, that would never be inhabitable again for centuries, in order to teach the market that nuclear power plants shouldn't be built and operated in an unsafe manner.

    The idea that the "market", rather than regulations, should be used to head off disasters with low probability but horrifying consequences is ludicrous on its face, as is Barbour. It is nothing but a pseudo-religious faith in some type of perfection that does not exist in the real world.  In fact, free-marketeers/libertarians resemble nothing so much as they do ardent Communists in their belief in a pseudo-scientific ideal that bears no relation to reality. They both completely fail to realize that economics is not an exact predictive science like physics is.

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:37:34 PM PDT

    •  In order for the LHC to make such a black hole it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ScottDog

      would have to be used to violate the conservation of energy by some unknown method, which is why a power plant would be using it.  Note that no such method is known to even exist, so you wouldn't see a LHC based powerplant but assuming you could use the LHC to construct a ZPM like power plant (with enough energy available to blow up the planet death star style) wouldn't you expect that to be heavily regulated?

  •  The Problem Is... (7+ / 0-)

    ...that Barbour is talking about corporations as if they are people. Corporations are run by people who are motivated by a lot of things including greed. So shaving $100 million dollars off the cost of a well drill will make sense to the person who's bonus is driven by cost reduction.

    Barbour would take us down the same road that Greenspan did with financial regulation---that banks would look after their own interests and thus regulation was not needed. We see where that got us.

    .

    "Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell's ass." ------Barry Goldwater

    by chicagorich on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:37:42 PM PDT

    •  Specifically, he's talking about corporations (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chicagorich

      as if they were homo economicus, a purely mathematical idealization of the purely rational actor. His argument is similar to the one that there's no need for employment nondiscrimination laws because a business that refused to hire a qualified employee based on color, gender, sexuality, etc. would be putting itself at a disadvantage.

      The thing is, human beings aren't perfectly rational. We're prone to all sorts of cognitive biases; for example, it's pretty much inherent to human nature that we're more influenced by information that tends to confirm our expectations/beliefs than information that goes against them (it seems that the brain quite literally has to expend more energy to weaken a belief than to strengthen it). Our "intuitive" judgment of how correct someone is is actually based on how self-certain they seem, and it takes quite a bit of effort to overcome this, even if you can recite Dunning and Kruger's paper in your sleep.

      When seeking advice on decisions that are emotionally important to us, we value perceived likability more than demonstrated expertise (this phenomenon could fairly be called "Jenny McCarthyism"). We also tend to weight advice from members of our own tribes more heavily than advice from "outsiders"; in large organizations, the tribe can simply be a department.

      The upshot of all this is that economics that presumes homo economicus is really abstract math that has little application to the real world, much like non-Euclidean geometry. In recent years, there's been a move toward what's called "behavioral economics" here and "post-autistic economics" in Europe (the latter phrase is based on an extremely arcane and archaic meaning of "autistic" that's so far from its neurodevelopmental meaning that the title can be considered obscurantist). This movement applies knowledge of social psychology (i.e. the study of how people actually behave in interactions with each other) to economic decision making; Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahnemann and Thomas Gilovich were pioneers in the field, and have written easily-accessible works on their research.

      From this, it follows that perfectly good people can and will make bad decisions that can cause quite a bit of harm, and that regulation is necessary (but not sufficient) to mitigate this harm. For example, we have laws against shoplifting even though a perfectly rational person would refrain from shoplifting because he knows it could put the store out of business and therefore deprive him of access to goods.

      Now that I think of it, Barbour's argument has a lot of structural similarities with Internet arguments I've seen from guys who, in junior high or high school, had crushes on teachers and resent that age-of-consent laws prevented them from acting out their fantasies (particularly, their absolute certainty that if they had had sex with their teachers it would have played out exactly according to their fantasies).

      If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

      by ebohlman on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 09:03:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing is more pathetic (9+ / 0-)

    that the Rightwing notion that Markets are entirely self-regulating and businesses will always do the right thing because they have a profit motive to do so.

    Here's the thing:

    They also have a profit motive to get richer quicker and enjoy greater amounts of profit by enabling corruption, writing their own environmental and marketplace rules and regulations, designing their own tax policies have having their useful idiots make it so, and transforming government into a profit enabling at all costs device by letting them rule themselves via proxy.

    It's like listening to a man argue that a plague of locusts has a moral motivation greater than their nature and that is why they will conserve and be responsible stewards of what lies in their path.

  •  a Free Market, a Cleaner Nation, & MORE JOBS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006

    "There has been much talk recently about whether Republicans and Democrats in Washington can produce a bipartisan clean-energy and jobs bill. The answer is: We already have. We are leading a bipartisan effort to put a lid on carbon pollution and in so doing unleash a massive investment in clean-energy technology. If we can tackle this issue in a predictable, transparent and free-market way, we can create millions of high-paying jobs while limiting the worst effects of climate change and reducing both our dependence on foreign oil and the risk of another oil spill."
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

  •  What I say (10+ / 0-)

    that usually shuts them up is, "So, if it is your child that is killed while the free market figures it out, that's okay?"  At that point, they usually start sputtering.

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - 9th Amendment

    by TracieLynn on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:44:22 PM PDT

  •  When It's Tough to Be a Republican (5+ / 0-)

    You are a politician from the U.S. state that comes in last in almost all categories of quality-of-life, and if not for SC, LA, and WV, would surely be last in everything.

    Your pro-business all the time advocacy has come to bite you in the ass in the form of a national environmental catastrophe off your (tiny) coast.

    You can't successfully blame your fate on liberals, blacks, Obama and the Democrats, gays, gun control advocates, or civil rights supporters.

    Each and every tar ball might as well have "Bush-Cheney" embossed on it.

    Your fisheries are dead.

    Coastal tourism might come back in a decade.

  •  Corporate incentives work the wrong way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, brein, divineorder

    Haley's spew is wrong for the same reason that the financial industry melted down.  It assumes that people who make decisions for corporations -- the big executives who take home ridiculous amounts of pay -- have the same interests as the shareholders.  This is flat-out wrong.

    Executives are rewarded for their quarterly and annual performance.  They get bonuses.  Making a huge sale in one quarter -- say, of credit default swaps that assume that real estate prices will never, ever fall -- will result in a big bonus to the jackass who made the sale.  And Tony and his other cronies at BP made their bonuses by squeezing costs and raising quarterly profits.

    The corporation is suffering.  Tony & friends already got their bonuses.  Yes, they are likely to get less in the future, but that was seriously bad luck for them, they'll assume, and those who think like them will assume.  Most quarter-cooking corner cutters will get away with it until they take their final severance or retirement Packages and move on.

    It's the shareholders who get their money clawed back.  They don't really control the company, either; they're just bagholders too.  If the executives faced clawbacks for future losses, their behavior just might change a little.

  •  Where's the free market in Mississippi? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, drewfromct, divineorder

    The most self righteous free market scolds in Congress have states or districts that don't have jobs I'd want, don't make things I want to buy, and don't have places I want to visit.

  •  Do you feel lucky, punk? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, divineorder

    Either we regulate them so they pay severely if they get caught not following safety regulations or we make the penalty so incredibly severe (i.e. they have to support the state of Alaska for 10 years) if they have a spill that it's not worth the risk, or both.  

    Our President is teh awesome!

    by GMFORD on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 04:56:52 PM PDT

  •  Wait a minute (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson, brein, divineorder

    According to the disciples of the "free" market, BP, or any other company that does wrong, will be punished by the market when consumers choose not to do business with them. Yet---the very same "free" market advocates are the ones who tell us not to boycott BP on the grounds that it will only harm franchisees and other low-level employees, leaving stockholders and top management unscathed.

    Which is it guys? If the "free" market works the way they say, consumers can and will give BP the punishment it so richly deserves. OTOH, if the market works the way they say, BP cannot be punished at all.

    As Yossarian might have said to Milo Minderbinder, "That sure is one Catch-22, that "free" market".

    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

    by drewfromct on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:00:05 PM PDT

    •  agreed (0+ / 0-)

      This is what capitalism is all about - using your dollars as your vote.  The conservative argument that a boycott is only hurting low-level employees and businesses does not fly at all.  We citizens have every right to spend our money on a product we feel gives us the quality we want.  If company A is suppplying a sub-par product, people will buy from company B.  It's not like people are just choosing to buy less gasoline (although i'm sure a few are).

  •  Barbour is not entirely wrong (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, brein, ScottDog

    NOW, after this disaster, no company will cut those corners, but BEFORE, the money men in authority (as opposed to the actual field engineers and technical workers) had no real-world example of how it could get this bad, so they were able to discount the projections of those in the know in their own organizations.

    In fact, it's safe to say that before this is over, BP will pay vastly more than the sum of everyone's estimates of the cost of regulation of the offshore industry from the days of the first offshore well, or about 80 years.

    Certainly, a hundred times more than the costs of regulation avoided thru the lobbying efforts of scum like Barbour (who, BTW, used to be half-decent for a southern Republican).

    This is yet another a demonstration of one of the chief flaws of corporate business structure, that it insulates its human components from the moral and financial consequences of their choices.

    This disaster is an argument for a return of the guild system whereunder the technical aspects of drilling are controlled by the drillers and engineers whose licenses are at stake in the event of negligence, and not by the operators ('operators' in petro-parlance being those money men in charge of the particular lease and its development).

    Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

    by oblomov on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:04:44 PM PDT

    •  You must be kidding. (9+ / 0-)

      NOW, after this disaster, no company will cut those corners

      The hell they won't. These people believe that they are bullet proof, Masters of the Universe. They have everything they want and they want more. Nothing will deter them from doing whatever they thing they want to do. Nothing.

      "If you are going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you." Billy Wilder 1906 - 2002

      by LeftOfYou on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:12:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A caricature, marinated in nihilsm. (0+ / 0-)

        n/t

        Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

        by oblomov on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 06:01:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not entirely (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thereisnospoon

        I think he's right about what oil companies will do in the next couple of years. But I also think that those lessons will be forgotten quite soon; after a few years of safety-conscious behavior resulting in no disasters, companies will start cutting corners again and rationalizing it on the grounds that there weren't any recent disasters, so the safety measures aren't necessary any more. It's an easy trap to fall into, one that seems to make sense until you look at it closely:

        Fido: (leaves large "present" on carpet)
        Mary: You need to clean that up now or the room's going to stink.
        John: (grudgingly cleans up mess)
        (Two hours later)
        John: You said the room was going to stink and it doesn't. I did all that cleaning for nothing.

        If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

        by ebohlman on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 09:22:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Except They Are (0+ / 0-)

      All the other oil drillers are continuing exactly what they were doing before BP blew out. Even though it's now proven that in the event of a leak or rupture down at the bottom of the Gulf, they will be unable to follow the response plans they fraudulently filed with the government.

      Now dismiss me with a meaningless comment like the one you just used on the other comment that easily debunked your theory that these highly destructive and immune corporations act rationally.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 08:00:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The other side of the issue. (0+ / 0-)

      Is represented by Bill Maher (and Dante?) who through much hand wringing and faux concern over the people who have lost their livelihoods either in the oil fields or in the greater Gulf economy, secretly (Dante) or openly (Maher) are thrilled that this is an opportunity to move to wind and solar power solely in a people powered economy of green jobs and community organizing.

    •  ASS-u-me. How do you know they will still not (0+ / 0-)

      cut corners?  You don't.  It's just that simple.   You are ASSSSSSSS-u-me-ing.

      Only be preemptive monitoring and sufficient adherence to good regulations that put safety and people and environment first over profits can you at least say you tried.

      Obama needs to channel TR+FDR: Walk Softly, Carry a Big Stick and Welcome Their Hatred. He has Walk Softly down pat. Time to get on with the rest...

      by FightTheFuture on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 03:53:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Say no more. (0+ / 0-)

    "If you are going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you." Billy Wilder 1906 - 2002

    by LeftOfYou on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:09:58 PM PDT

  •  So Haley favors repeal of the Oil Protection Act (6+ / 0-)

    cap of $75M on liability, right?

    Blahhaahahhahahahaha.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:10:04 PM PDT

  •  A wild market is not a free market. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm sure the Governor would not object if the U.S. Navy heads back to port and lets the oil shippers deal with Somali pirates on their own.

    Politicians who promise LESS government only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:11:40 PM PDT

  •  And 11 dead is just the cost of business ........ (3+ / 0-)

    as long as it's not Haley Barbour.

  •  Haley Barbour is no worse than Secretary Salazar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, Pam from Calif

    Interior Secretary Salazar is in fact worse than Haley Barbour because of his crass hypocrisy.
    In Colorado he caved into mining interests polluting with believe it or not a cyanide laced substance.
    Now as Interior Secretary he panders to the oil and gas industry. His number two was on a rafting trip and did not return to help with the oil spill.
    Fortunately the President seems to have soured on Salazar.  Hopefully he will get his walking papers sooner rather than later.

  •  some asshole on fox yesterday referred to this (4+ / 0-)

    disaster as "an industry misstep"!!!!  Sort of like boner's ant, i guess.

    "Our 'neoconservatives' are neither new nor conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell" - Edward Abbey

    by stormserge on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:27:29 PM PDT

  •  the real problem with Haley's view (3+ / 0-)
    is that it assumes that in a free market the oil company would actually pay the costs.  We know from experience (e.g., Exxon) that corporations will do whatever they can to avoid paying any costs, even costs assessed in a court of law.  
  •  (shrug) As long as electorates vote for these (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    sorts of people, they will continue.

    The snake isn't your problem. The millions of people who keep putting the snake in our bed are the problem.

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:30:06 PM PDT

  •  Of Course the Market Will Penalize Management Too (3+ / 0-)

    No doubt the free market will also force BP CEO Tony Hayward and former BP CEO John Browne to suffer comparable losses of their own personal wealth. After all, didn't all the bankers who made outsized bonuses for their risky behavior in the years prior to the financial crisis have to repay those bonuses after the crash? It's not as though shareholders' rights are so weak that executive pay boards would allow for market-misaligned compensation packages that failed to symmetrically penalize outsized failure as much as they reward risk-defying success.  

    Even if they did, that wouldn't be a problem since corporations are capable of thinking for themselves, independent of the financial incentives of the people who run them. I'm sure the computer superbrains that head all the oil majors have taken note of the crisis, and adjusted their firms' actions accordingly.

  •  The big problem with the "invisible hand" (6+ / 0-)

    The big problem with the "invisible hand"/"The market self-corrects" bullshit is that it presumes that people are rational beings that always do things that make sense.

    Clearly, anyone who believes such a thing does not know any people.

  •  Good notion, Dante (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, conlakappa

    But despite the massive shared consequences that could follow the failure of a mere few at the top of any number of huge multinational companies, the cadre of free market supremacists, the acolytes of Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand, continue to insist that regulation--in other words, external preemptive action to prevent disasters before they happen--is counterproductive.

    ...the invisible hand(job) of capitalism.

    "...calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni)

    by annieli on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:45:36 PM PDT

  •  Liz Sidoti loves her some Haley (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conlakappa

    Liz has found herself a new Republican to love but this time she should hold the donuts - Haley doesn't need them.

    Her article today is a about the wonder that is Haley Barbour:

    It's either Haley's comet to 2012 or GOP kingmaker

    Barbour's standing within the Republican Party is so high these days that he's certain to be a force in the presidential race even if he decides not to challenge President Barack Obama. The governor insists his top priority is helping his state, devastated by the oil spill, and lifting the GOP in the November elections.

    Beyond that, Republicans uniformly suggest that one of two things will happen: Either Barbour becomes a serious contender for president, siphoning staff and donors from likely opponents, or he takes on the role of kingmaker, giving his blessing and delivering his contacts as a former national party chairman to his anointed candidate.

    Barbour can easily stoke both possibilities through his current role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a position that allows him to travel the country, raise money and audition staff all under the auspices of getting his colleagues elected in four months.

  •  Oil dereg, tax cuts failed, Reagonomics failed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ms in la
    Oil deregulation and billion$ in oil subsidies and trillions for oil wars to secure Middle East oil supplies were supposed to bring prosperity. They failed.

    Tax cuts for rich were supposed to bring economic prosperity.  They failed.

    Yet we have Obama still praising Reagan, still trying the same failed tricks (half of Obama's stimulus was tax cuts for rich) so Obama hides the problem and imitates the failed policies with the same result.

  •  Some lessons are too late for the learning (0+ / 0-)

    Too many people have been hurt and killed by their dare devil ways.

    We didn't say Wealth Care, we said Health Care

    by relentless on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:49:12 PM PDT

  •  I'd love for Barbour to be trapped... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    in an event horizon myself.

    "I'll be damned if I let Mitt Romney take credit for all of the good things we've started." President Obama, as reported by Jonathan Alter

    by BarackStarObama on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 05:56:51 PM PDT

  •  Something Just Hit Me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebohlman, Positronicus

    I'm just sick of the "free market" arguments and all those cries for "corporate Darwinism."

    I really do believe in capitalism, but capitalism isn't a natural phenomenon. It's not Mother Nature, where the natural laws are driven by physics and biology (or by a Creator, if you believe in one).

    With Capitalism, we are the Creators - and WE define the "laws" that make it work. How stupid would it be to just "let the market do its thing" when we have centuries of experience to tell us what works, what doesn't, and what happens when thousands, no millions, of entrepreneurs each acts independently, as if each of them were all alone.

    We're smarter than that (I hope) - that's what man-made laws and regulatory requirements are all about. Anyone trying to advocate for completely free markets is willfully ignoring centuries of experience - they are no-nothings. And they should be called exactly that.

    But then we already know that, don't we?

    I still believe in the future - though it gets harder by the day.

    by jpw on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 06:09:15 PM PDT

    •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

      I once read (I think it was in John Allen Paulos' Innumeracy) about a casino game that actually has a positive expectation; in other words, if you play it long enough, you're guaranteed to win more than you lose. There's just one catch: there's no limit on how far into the hole you might have to get before you eventually come out ahead. So the game works in theory, but not in practice; in order to actually make money playing it, you need an infinite bankroll.

      Similarly, in theory a market will eventually reward honest players and punish dishonest ones. But there's no limit on the losses the honest players would have to take before the self-correction occurs. And that's not even considering the external harm caused by the dishonest players. Just as a game requires rules, so does a market.

      If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

      by ebohlman on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 09:33:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary. (0+ / 0-)

    I love the example of the black hole produced by the Large Hadron Colliders.  Haley should think about this.  If that were to happen, it would ruin Haley's end days theory of people floating up to heaven with only their clothes being left in their empty cars.

    That man is an idiot!

    It's time for a Progressive Party.

    by mdgarcia on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 06:19:25 PM PDT

  •  I'd find this diary more compelling... (0+ / 0-)

    ...if Barbour was correct and we were simply talking about a failure in business decisionmaking.  We're not.  We're at minimum talking that and a regulatory failure.  More to the point, setting aside all the simple counterfactuals thrown around here and elsewhere as of late, we're also talking about an engineering failure to an extent we can't even quantify yet.

    Given the number of government and commercial enterprises that could potentially threaten thousands if not millions of people and their resident ecologies, we should feel a great deal more than outrage at a single disaster.  We should feel terrified of our multitude of works, and a crisis in confidence not only in business but in government.

    That is the invisible hand at work.  It is merciless and, despite our best efforts, presently inescapable. We trivialize that fact at our own risk.

  •  "No sane bank would do that, but a sane banker... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thereisnospoon, DocGonzo, ebohlman

    would" was how one of the front pagers on Daily Kos (embarrassingly I've forgotten who) described the bank meltdown.  I think thats a good analogy for the other big issue here.  Suppose BP goes bankrupt.  Is Tony Hayward going to suffer?  I'm betting he was pretty well set for life after his first year at BP, and the big gambles were just to grab as much more off the top in massive bonuses based on stock performance before whatever circumstances sent him parachuting off to a retirement of wealthy pleasure.  The top managers at these huge corporations don't really care about the long term health of their corporations, because Wall Street is all about short term gains.  Tough shit, gulf residents, employees, pensioners, turtles and blue fin tuna and everyone else.  You're not a priority.
    Capitalism works when the decision makers have a stake in the loss as well as the gain.  That aspect is completely broken in the modern world.

  •  Self-Imposed Moratorium (0+ / 0-)

    If Barbour were right about BP's Gulf rupture being its own reason for Gulf drillers not to take risks, then they would have stopped their own various drilling operations until the exact cause was certainly known. Even if they've got good reason to believe that BP ordering Halliburton to finish cementing the well in the rushed, corner cutting method that it did was the reason, they cannot be 100% certain until the investigation is complete. And that investigation has hardly begun, with most of the evidence in a burnt heap a mile below the water.

    But they haven't stopped. Indeed, they pulled the strings of a judge who owns their stock to prevent the government from stopping them for even 6 months. And so they go on, even though their confidence they're safe is exactly the same as BP's up to the moment the well exploded, killing 11 people.

    Barbour is a fool. An obvious fool. Criminally obvious. And anyone who doesn't see through his inane lies is part of the criminal gang killing us. Right now, with an overdose of oil.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 07:43:15 PM PDT

  •  What happened to the Chinese execs whose (0+ / 0-)

    melamine additives killed pets and sickened children should happen to the BP execs except without the messy death part. Permanent incarcerate without parole for 15 or 20 of the top brass should send the right message.

    "Our republic and its press will rise and fall together."-Joseph Pulitzer (Good-by USA)

    by OHdog on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 08:32:34 PM PDT

    •  Messy death is okay with me. Until you put these (0+ / 0-)

      bad players into sufficient jeopardy for their acts, they will have no real incentive to change.  There is not such thing as permanent incarceration, especially for rich, powerful people.  Death on the other hand...

      Obama needs to channel TR+FDR: Walk Softly, Carry a Big Stick and Welcome Their Hatred. He has Walk Softly down pat. Time to get on with the rest...

      by FightTheFuture on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 03:56:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  100 Million a day (0+ / 0-)

    BP made 5.5B profit 1st quarter.  So you have to consider the penalty 100M per day in the light of that.  A quarter is 91 days, so you might think the spill had erased their profits.  But, most of the spill expenses are deductable and I know from my professional exposure to accounting software that oil industry accounting is a very special and "complicated" situation.  The item in quotes are so designated because of the legislative creativity that has been applied to their legislative definition.  The spill in the gulf, as much as it has threatened the lives and well-being of people all around the gulf, has cost BP nothing except profits and PR.

  •  When would these (0+ / 0-)

    guys realize that there is no such thing called 'Free market'. It cannot be free as long as human greed is involved.

    People like Haley are very dangerous. They always think about money and don't give a **** about environment or the affect of their decisions on society in general.
    They somehow managed convince people (especially Republicans) that

    1. There is no global warming
    1. Oceans are huge and anything we do won't impact it
    1. Don't believe anything reported by the media (unless it's Fox news)

    On one hand they are ruining the country in the name of free enterprise and on the other making loads of money. Even hell would be scared to have them

  •  Corporations aren't people, that's the difference (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jmcgrew

    No matter how hard the market punishes a company it is impossible to punish a company enough to prevent accidents like the gulf spill.

    That is because the people who made the bad decisions generally don't suffer adverse consequences commensurate with the damage done by the company. At worst the company goes bankrupt, the people lose their jobs and their stock options are worthless. But they benefited directly from the huge bonuses awarded because they were cutting corners and acting irresponsibly to artificially boost profits and they can most likely just go get another well payed job somewhere else.

    It is obvious to anyone that watches the business world that companies do what is in the short term interest of the shareholders because the executives are highly incentivized to behave this way. High damage, low risk events just don't warrant much attention in this kind of thinking.

  •  Chinese toothpaste (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FightTheFuture

    Every so often I run into these free marketeers, and I tell the following story.

    A Chinese company discovered that adding ethelene glycol to children's toothpaste made it taste sweeter, the kids liked it, and so they brushed more. But ethelene glycol is the main ingredient in antifreeze, it's poisonous, and some kids died. Once the word got out, people did in fact stop buying that kind of toothpaste, so the market correction worked, right?

    But what if it was your kid?

    My story is a bit embellished, but there really was an incident involving Chinese toothpaste and diethelene glycol a few years ago. Thankfully we have an FDA and they published a warning, and banned sales of the products in the US.

    Rightwingers always forget incidents like that.

    The invasion of Iraq was a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime against civilization. Prosecute the crime.

    by Positronicus on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 07:25:21 AM PDT

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