Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All too true

Linda McQuaig contrasts the justified demand for improvements that followed past corporate fiascos against the growing sense that both financial and environmental disasters over the past couple of years will ultimately result in no meaningful changes:
Despite an environmental crisis of unknown and unknowable proportions, the ideology that allowed it to happen has proved resistant to change — just as it did in the face of the Wall Street meltdown, another devastating consequence of unbridled capitalism.

Among other things, the BP gusher (and the Wall Street crash) show that the corporate sector has become so powerful in recent decades that even catastrophic consequences — accompanied by public outrage — are no longer sufficient to block its profits-before-all agenda.

The 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island didn’t kill anybody, but it shocked the public, and pushed the nuclear industry onto the defensive. For 25 years, the industry laid low, and governments didn’t dare approve new nuclear plants.

There’s no such humility on the part of Big Oil today; even as the worst-ever maritime environmental disaster unfolded, BP CEO Tony Hayward went yachting. Corporate lobbies now have such clout, with politicians and the media so submissive, that a calamity like the BP oil gusher happens — and nothing really changes.

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