I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said here, Dr. Irvin! I am also concerned with a trend that I have noticed in our culture, whereby we deem institutions "too big to fail". We saw this in the financial meltdown and the subsequent U.S. government bail-out of failing banks and insurance giants. In this context, the "too big to fail" argument was used as justification for the government's intervention in the form of stimulus funding to keep the failing institutions afloat.With the BP disaster, however, I think that this "too big to fail" issue has turned a dangerous corner. This week, the media have been reporting that the Brits are upset with President Obama for speaking too strongly about BP's responsibility for the oil spill. The claim is that too much of the British economy, including a large percentage of pension funding, is dependent upon BP's economic viability. Strong language calling BP to account can apparently have a too negative impact on the British economy, and must therefore be avoided at all costs. Have we somehow reached a space where political correctness prevents us from holding the "too big to fail" institutions accountable for their culpability in economic and environmental disasters?
Svanberg's comments today, after meeting with President Obama, are a case in point. He talked about how Obama and BP care about the "small people". This dichotomy is just what I'm talking about...somehow, these oil magnates think of themselves as "big people" who are above the "little people" and are not accountable to the "little people" for their own malfeasance.