If you check out this AP piece on the Obamoratorium and the growing pressure for the administration to get rid of it, you’ll see plenty to be hopeful about.
We’re not optimistic, mind you. We think it will require pressure from a newly-minted Republican House majority to make that nightmare go away. But at least there is publicity out there favoring a remedy for Louisiana’s newest federally-made economic disaster.
In the article, however, is a set of quotes from one Charles Perrow:
What’s changed is “not enough to make a big difference,” said Charles Perrow, a Yale professor who has studied the leak in the Gulf.
Some pieces will be ready around year’s end but others won’t be ready for another year or so. Salazar has said a fully operational system wasn’t a perquisite for lifting the ban.
But experts like Perrow, the Yale sociologist, wonder what’s the rush, given the devastating impact that this one leak has had. He says the U.S. would benefit if it waits for the government to write new rules that increases scrutiny of drilling operations. The industry also needs to find ways to keep rigs from drilling too quickly and putting their wells at risk of a blowout, he said.
“They don’t want accidents, they’re expensive,” Perrow said.
So who is Charles Perrow? Well, his Yale bio says his research includes “the development of bureaucracy in the 19th Century; the radical movements of the 1960s; Marxian theories of industrialization and of contemporary crises; accidents in such high risk systems as nuclear plants, air transport, DNA research and chemical plants; protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure; the prospects for democratic work organizations; and the origins of U.S. capitalism.”
Nothing about drilling for oil, apparently.
Perrow has written a number of books, with titles like The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters, Organizing America: Wealth, Power and the Origins of American Capitalism and The Radical Attack on Business. He’s an organizational behavior expert whose philosophical bent can be seen in an article he wrote about FEMA’s performance during Katrina in which the names Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin were never mentioned.
And he says “what’s the rush?”
Perrow apparently doesn’t take economics into much account when he makes pointy-headed academic statements like the ones he was quoted making over the weekend. Perhaps he should recognize that BP’s safety record was far worse than that of its competitors even before the Deepwater Horizon explosion and that the practices which led to that explosion did not conform to industry norms.
He would understand these things if he knew anything about offshore drilling. Since he doesn’t, it begs the question why he’s in the papers commenting on the moratorium – or why he was sought out for an interview on the topic in the first place.
But Perrow’s comments are relatively typical in the Age Of Obama, when “experts” without expertise hold forth on subjects which affect real human beings and rhetorically sacrifice livelihoods on the altar of a coming utopia. Whether Perrow fits in that category or not, his statements certainly seem dismissive of the tens of thousands of hard-working Louisianians and others who support their families working on offshore rigs or related industries. And it’s past time that detached elitists hold their tongues rather than lend support to policies which damage real lives.