I’m pissed off.
Specifically at the oilpocalypse happening in the Gulf of Mexico, just like any red blooded American. So partly due to build awareness of the underlying structural issue and partly to amuse myself, I’m proposing we create the Corporate Darwin Awards and nominate BP due to outstanding and exemplary stupidity.
I should explain what I mean when I refer ot that structural underlying problem. We’ve all heard the Tragedy of the Commons before, probably in high school or something. But the bigger existential threat to modern capitalism is the failure of our modern economy (and legal system) to account for revenues internalized to a company leading to costs externalized to society. It’s happening in the Gulf, at Goldman Sachs, and at health care insurers too. Primates in business suits press for revenues and push costs off on countries or societies. Can’t recover from deep well oil drilling? Well, suck it America – we’ll keep on drilling.
Besides it’s almost too easy to heckle and ridicule these guys. It’s almost too easy when BP’s CEO says he’d like his life to return to normal. Because nothing touches the heartstrings of Gulf victims like his concern for.. himself.
Maybe he can ask the Shamwow guy to come in and clean up the oil?
The kicker is that BP’s actions in the Gulf may have just wrecked BP itself as a going concern. Let’s do a little bit of math here. First, from the UK Guardian: ” under US law, BP is liable for $1,100 in civil penalties for each spilt barrel of oil and gas, to be paid to the US federal and affected state governments. If BP is found to have acted with gross negligence – and there is no evidence so far that it has – this fine would rise to $4,300 for each barrel” The article goes on to cite some scientist estimates that 115,000 barrels of oil per day are spewing into the Gulf.
So let’s see we’re on day 45 of the spill, and realistically we’ll spend the next 4 months drilling relief wells to ease the pressure of spilt oil. That would be 115,000 barrels times 165 days times $4,300 per barrel for a grand total of… $81.5 billion. Oh yeah and that doesn’t count the billions on cleanup, private party liability, and royalties on oil leases. BP’s market cap right now? $118 billion.
Congrats to BP for winning the 2010 Corporate Darwin !