Sunday, June 6, 2010

Anatomy of a disaster

Let's just say that a large part of what led to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico can be summed up thusly: no one seemed to know who was in charge. One also gets a bit of an idea of how federal government regulators have historically failed to regulate the oil industry. It would seem reasonable to expect that with any activity that could have wide-ranging disastrous consequences if something goes wrong, there should be a clear and streamlined set of rules in place - and a clear and streamlined chain of command. In an age of relying on contractors, subcontractors, and sub-subcontractors, each with competing interests and motivations, combined with regulatory agencies that more often than not look the other way, disasters are harder to prevent and when they strike responses tend to be unnecessarily delayed.

On a somewhat related note, it would seem that Frank Rich has some good advice for Obama and his administration. A lot of my own skepticism about Obama has boiled down to a skepticism that I've had for ages about similar DLC style Democrats: they're too tied to a belief that private, for-profit conglomerates will act in our best interests. The last couple years alone should be proof positive of the contrary.

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