The Jury Talks Back

6/10/2010

What’s that going to achieve, exactly?

Filed under: Uncategorized — aphrael @ 2:25 pm

There’s a FB group meme going around today: boycott BP until they fix the oil spill.

I don’t get it.

I mean, I can understand “BP hosed us really badly so we should boycott them as punishment.” That’s consistent, and it’s basically what I did to Exxon after Valdez (and, while I now believe that I was wrong to do so because the people who were most hurt by it were the service station owners, I can understand the impulse). It’s not clear that an oil company which operates no branded service stations can effectively be boycotted – it’s not like I know who extracted the oil that was refined into gas/plastic/etc that I buy – but modify it to ‘boycott Arco because BP hosed us really badly and they deserve to suffer’, and there’s at least something understandable there.

But boycott them until they fix it?

That only makes sense if you believe that BP could fix it but hasn’t – if you ascribe to them some deliberate delaying action which they would abandon in response to the economic pressure of a boycott.

But that’s not really a reasonable way to look at it. The blowout is on the order of a mile below the surface of the ocean. It’s in a place where very few manned vessels can go, under intense water pressure which makes everyday activities slow and complicated. Fixing a leak of this sort at this depth is something which has never been done before; as far as I can tell, they have some theories about things which might work, but it’s not like those theories have ever been put into practice. They don’t know how to fix it; they’re trying the ideas they have until one of them works. Trying to use economic pressure to get them to do it faster isn’t going to help.


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