Home > Uncategorized > Such a big crisis, yet so few words? Scratching my head over sporadic, thin drive-by postings at LvMI on our growing BP/Gulf disaster

Such a big crisis, yet so few words? Scratching my head over sporadic, thin drive-by postings at LvMI on our growing BP/Gulf disaster

Yes, another BP post!

It’s a bit puzzling – and disturbing – that, in the midst of an ongoing and epochal pollution event, LvMI authors seem to have so little to say about BP, the federal or state governments that have arrogated to themselves the rights to own and manage shared marine resources, the local communities who can see their ways of life being destroyed but lack any right to respond, the heavy-handed BP/Fed-run cleanup, media black-out and community lock-out, the trashing of a very important commons, or the ongoing stream of misunderstanding and mis analysis by politicians, pundits and the public.

Here’s not simply a golden opportunity, but a NEED to discuss, on the basis of Austrian and libertarian principles how things SHOULD work and COULD be improved, but no.

Instead of any sharing of insights or calls for ideas, we are treated to:

What’s going on? Has the cat of smug hatred for “enviros” and “commons” and a conservative love of corporations and the burgeoning corporations-government partnership pretty much got everyone’s tongue? Are the issues not important enough? Or do Austrian insights or concerns simply not extend to pollution or to fishermen, shrimpers or oystermen or – shudder – when nature-lovers butt heads with corporations and government?

Our little oil gusher is now two months, something on the order of an Exxon Valdez every few days, and ticking, “Relief wells” are two months away, and we have no assurance that they will work. May I recommend abit of action?

I left the following comment on Doug French’s post:

TokyoTom June 17, 2010 at 8:48 am

Doug, so what is YOUR point with this post?

Just taking a stab at your Rorschach blot, could you be decrying the state interventions of limited liability and bankruptcy law, that (1) free shareholders from possible liability for the downside risks that their investment imposes on broader society and (2) let the executives of failing companies keep their jobs while jettisoning shareholders and short-changing voluntary creditors and involuntary victims?




Oh, in case anyone has missed it, I’ve done quite a bit of posting on the BP problem, in a manner intended to be fruitful (and not simply a noodge). Here are my posts, in chronological order:

Risk-shifting, BP and those nasty enviros

Poor statists! If we close our eyes tightly enough, we can see clearly that Corporations are innocent VICTIMS, of governments that foist on them meaningless grants like limited liability & IP, and of malevolent, grasping citizens

Sheldon Richman doesn’t feel sorry for BP, either

Corporations uber Alles: Conveniently inconsistent on “abstractions” like “the environment”, Austrians overlook their preference for “corporations” over individuals,& their lack of interest in problem-solving

Persons-R-Us? Here’s someone’s interesting thought experiment: “What If BP Were A Human Being?”

Does it make any sense to treat corporations as “persons”, given the differences in incentives structures?

As BP’s oil spills into one of those inconvenient “ecosystems”, now even Reason TV rants about “dying oceans”

Time-out for some light humor on BP’s “ecosystem”: The BP Oil Spill Re-Enacted By Cats in 1 Minute!

Who’s at the short end of the stick when Government “Play[s] Fast and Loose with Civilization” in the Gulf of Mexico?

Ed Dolan on Other People’s Money: Government, Oil Spills, Financial Crises & Limited Liability

Scott Sumner misses government role in “sh*t happens”; epitomizes discussions of BP/offshore oil development

Kevin Carson says, “In a Truly Free Market, BP Would Be Toast”

More useful discussion by Carson, both on BP’s fate in a free market, and on the inept, feckless and captured regulatory state

Matt Yglesias, like many Austrians, misses the role of government in “Agency Problems and Corporate Misconduct”

A BP Reader: statist corporations, “the environment” and the Tragedy of the Government-Owned/-Managed Commons

Sheldon Richman joins Gene Callahan in naively arguing that, IF man’s activities are responsible for climate change, we need not government but simply louder and more obnoxious enviros

As Callahan and Richman laud consumer/moral pressure on polluters, others tell us a BP boycott is stupid

Rand Paul: a caricature of libertarian views on energy

BP: Unless we are to get lost in legal fictions, like Harry Shearer we must look beyond the shareholder curtain


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  1. TokyoTom
    June 18th, 2010 at 16:58 | #1

    Thanks; fixed.

    But it’s not “just” a tort, but a complex problem of commons mismanagement, corruption, moral hazard and an Avatar-like deprivation by government of rights to local fishermen, etc. Uninterested in trying to analyze or suggest fixes to the obviously failed institutional structure? You know, the kind we offer for the financial crisis set off by deposit insurance, etc.?

    Oh, and BTW, if it’s “just a tort”, care to take a stab at who the tortfeasors are? No easy out by saying “BP”, as we know they’re just a fiction, and real people commit torts ‘and crimes).

  2. nskinsella
    June 18th, 2010 at 16:17 | #2

    arrogate, not abrogate. duh.

    what do you expect us to say? this is just a tort. Torts happen.

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