Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cozy Conflict

As part of its sustainability reporting, the radio program Marketplace recently featured an interview with Abrahm Lustgarten, who has written Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. As the title implies, he argues quite credibly that the proximate cause of the world's worst oil spill may have been a technical failure, but the real cause was more systemic.

Specifically, the relationship between the regulators and the regulated industry was not structured in a way to ensure meaningful scrutiny of the actions of the latter. Despite the huge federal expenditures resulting from the disaster, Congress has so far allowed the regulators themselves to redefine the relationship.

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