Monday, May 24, 2010

Neoliberalism and technological hubris, a really bad combination

This is a really good op-ed by Bob Marshall from the New Orleans Times-Picayune on the BP oil catastrophe: Oil disaster brought to you by deregulation 05/23/2010. It not only gives a summary of the recent history of deregulation. He also addresses the industry argument that restricting deepsea oil drilling because of this spill would be like cancelling the space program because there were accidents:

You see, deep ocean drilling is much, much more dangerous and risky than the space program. We long have had the technology to travel, live and work in space. The sight of astronauts floating outside a space shuttle, tools in hand, to repair a satellite or the space station is so routine today, it doesn't even make Page 1. We know if a life-threatening problem crops up, we either have people on hand to make the repair -- or we can get them there -- even if the site is 50 miles above the Earth.

We don't have the technology to send them a mile below the ocean's surface.

So minimizing the catastrophic damage possible from an accident in these locations is beyond technological hubris. It is closer to criminal malfeasance on the part of those sworn to protect the public's property and health.

Look at it this way. We have the technology to operate robots on the surface of Mars. But would we permit, say, a mining operation with robots on Mars if an accident there could threaten health on earth?
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