Big Oil, Corruption, Global Problems

Michael Bishop forwarded me this piece by Juan Cole that places the blame firmly where it belongs: on big oil, captured legislatures, politicians working against the people’s best interests. This isn’t to say that each individual person shouldn’t proactively reduce their carbon footprint and be as active as possible on environmental and energy issues. It just points out that it shouldn’t be this bad, and corporations have way too much power–and that it’s simplistic to self-flagellate without considering the whole picture.

Maybe this isn’t news to anyone, but its important to remember, especially in the aftermath of eight years of Bush basically loosening often already loose regulations and in general bending over backwards for big oil and other corporations that cannot be trusted to serve the public good.

Then you have to factor in that this is a world-wide problem–case in point this revealing piece on oil spills in Nigeria, and how overlooked that problem has been.

Short of some kind of international oversight, I don’t see how this problem gets solved. These companies need to be brought to heel. Basically, we’re destroying our planet, and this is just one of the ways we’re doing it. Whether you’re left wing, moderate, or right wing, I hope everyone could agree that we need a combination of governmental, corporate, and personal responsibility to make any progress at all. How long can you keep fouling your nest before you die?

Comments

  1. says

    I see a bigger issue since the involvement of the government, who in turn gives Big Oil permission to run riot and trample individual rights (and it won’t be surprising if Congress lets BP off the hook for BILLIONS in damages, citing “the economy” as their rationale). If individuals were aware, for instance, that corporations operated unfettered, there would be greater cause for the individual to beware and use moral judgment in deciding which companies to buy from. But we operate under the illusion that we have regulators who keep us safe, when in reality we have regulators who raise costs and keeps big business afloat. I’m sick of piecemeal fixes. Throw out the entire bureaucracy and start from scratch.

  2. says

    I agree with the sentiment of this post.

    I also would like to mention that TESLA Motors is going public at the end of the month, and one could buy shares in an electric car company producing, by all accounts, quality product.

    I say this because regulation is only as good as the regulators, and their masters. We cannot count on congressional leadership consistently, year-after-year, when all it takes is one delusional district to send someone up to the big houses with a corrupt agenda.

    Business may have to be the solution to its own problems, in this regard. It seems to be the only way left to us after all this deregulation and incompetence. Hedging against the success of big oil, with our consumer dollars and investment decisions may be the only way to vote the planet back to health.

  3. Nathan says

    “there would be greater cause for the individual to beware and use moral judgment in deciding which companies to buy from.”

    It’s not even that easy, as many gas stations, including BP’s are franchised: deciding not to buy from them hurts your neighborhood far more than it hurts BP.

  4. says

    “It’s not even that easy, as many gas stations, including BP’s are franchised: deciding not to buy from them hurts your neighborhood far more than it hurts BP.”

    I think this begs an explanation. Allow me to say that I don’t think all people of conscience live in the same neighborhood before this explanation begins, though. And in my neighborhood, we have many different gas stations. So… please explain.

  5. says

    @ Nathan: “one could buy shares in an electric car company producing, by all accounts, quality product.”

    I fail to see how this solves our fossil fuel crisis, seeing as most electrical power is produced by burning coal. It is neither more economically beneficial for the average American, and nor do I see any information to suggest that plugging my car into a coal plant is less harmful to the environment than burning gasoline.

    The harsh truth is that our culture and technology are just not compatible at this point without oil. And by our culture, I mean the entire West, not just silly old, SUV driving America.

  6. Nathan says

    @G. Arthur Brown: What I’m saying is that what I’m hearing is that BP stations are apparently neither owned nor operated by BP. They are franchises, owned and run by small businesspeople; boycotting them hurts local business more than it hurts BP, at least in the short term. Which may or may not be true, as the franchising business model is unclear: http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/wsj_comes_up_short_on_bp_boyco.php

  7. says

    I couldn’t agree with this post more. And thank you for mentioning Nigeria, which is a clear example of an out of control oil industry. In all this talk about the Gulf, most of the concern has been for the businesses that will lose out of income this summer and into the future. While I definitely feel for them, no doubt they are innocent victims here, my main concern is for the planet. We keep doing these destructive things to it expecting that it won’t react. It is reacting. It’s acting like a person with a high fever burning out the infection. I think the infection is us.

  8. says

    “…and in general bending over backwards for big oil…”

    I believe you should remove a word from this sentence fragment: the one with the most letters in it. (I’ll state for the record that I really miss George W. Bush. MTV just hasn’t been the same since he and Beavis quit.)