Friday, May 28, 2010

Why are we drilling at 5000 feet?

Asked and verbally answered by Charles Krauthammer.

Visually answered by Mark Perry (see above).

Philosophically answered by Sarah Palin :

"No human endeavor is ever without risk – whether it’s sending a man to the moon or extracting the necessary resources to fuel our civilization. "

(but don't count on her consistency)



garret seinen said...

Beth, the coast of British Columbia is also a no drill zone. You need to keep in mind, we're California north. :-)

Anonymous said...

Garret, I'm not sure I understand your comment. It sounds like a bit of a case of NIMBY.

Drilling is not the problem. the problem is the dependence on the rational action of persons (remember, the Supreme court has recognized non-moral beings of the corporate variety as persons). According to reports I've read or heard on the radio, both of the backup measures that might have prevented the BP disaster were not functioning properly, but BP chose not to stop to fix them. I believe this decision was linked to a pending celebration of the drililng success for which BP executives were to be partying on the rig. Worse, more stringent safety measures required by Norway and Brazil were deamed voluntary by the Bush administration because they came with a pricetag of $250,000 to $500,000 per well, depending on which report you believe.

Worse, BP's liability, I believe, is statutorily set at $75 million. Perhaps the Norwegian safety standards would seem a little less costly, and installing them would seem a little more rational, if BP was accountable and liable for all damages, without limit.

The BP disaster is a perfect example of why non-corrupt government regulation is necessary in many industries. Namely, depending on rigorously rational behavior of natural people and, especially, corporations is not rational.

Human endeavor is not without risk, but rushing forward without understanding the risks and adequately mitgating them is a fool's mission. Palin's glib remarks suggest that she doesn't understand that.


HaynesBE said...

Just a quickie.
The way I interpret Palin's comment is thus:
Coronary by-pass surgeries occasionally go wrong, but we (appropriately) don't call for a ban on all future CABGs when someone occasionally dies b/c of a surgical error.
The same would go with oil spills. They make news b/c they are the exception.
BP should be held responsible (to what extent I could not say without more thought) and should have the equivalent of malpractice insurance. A criminal investigation is not inappropriate---as long as the standards of negligence to which BP will be held are reasonable.
Sorry I don't have time to say more. Just wanted to clarify my reading of Palin's statement---esp. since I am not a fan of Palin in general.

Anonymous said...

Beth, given your stance regarding funding of your local school, and your position on taxes, in general, you have no option but to advocate for BP and other culpable parties to be liable for every nickel spent on the disaster and cleanup and every penny of income lost by individuals and businesses. Letting them off the hook would be nothing less than use of government force to bar harmed parties from collecting adequate damages--i.e. the harming party would be absolved of the duty to make the harmed parties whole. Also, such liability is consistent with hundreds of years of English common law precedent.

Not only should the companies be liable, but their stockholders should be at risk beyond the cost of their shares, too. This would be consistent with the Libertarian/Ayn Rand notion of personal accountability and rejection of force. Limiting shareholders' liability to the cost of their shares is a form of government force in that the shareholders' contract absolves them of responsibility for things done by the managers they hire--remember, the stockholders are the owners of the corporation; and should bear ultimate responsiblity for the corporation's actions.


garret seinen said...

Beth, dare you use reasonable and Eric Holder in the same sentence?