Homo Economicus is being thrown out of Monetary Eden, a place of previously lush and lazy living on the cheap. Notice of eviction has been posted at 28o44'N 88o23'W (see below).
Deepwater Horizon Burning In The Gulf Of Mexico
What does money have to do with deepwater-rig oil spills, you may ask? Pretty simple, really: fiat money debt relies on Permagrowth to keep the game going, i.e. to provide the near-religious belief that debt is currently serviceable and always repayable in the future. Take Permagrowth away and it all falls apart - unless we manage to give our financial/monetary regime a radical makeover before it's too late.
The fact that we have gone so far as to drill for petroleum (Permagrowth's fuel of choice) in places and ways that guarantee ecological disasters is proof enough that Permagrowth is unsustainable. The same can be said for most other resources, from clean water to basic foodstuffs.
From an engineer's point of view, BP (and most other oil and gas companies) routinely drill for oil in such inhospitable locations, obviously without first guaranteeing the quick resolution of serious emergencies. Is it because they are criminally negligent? No, I honestly don't think so - they aren't that stupid.
The simple answer is they can't. Scarcity of low-hanging-fruit resources means that producers competing for whatever remains MUST cut corners, if they are to bring their products to market at a marginal price that is affordable to an already over-burdened/over-indebted consumer. Let me put it another way: all other things equal, what should be the price of fossil fuels if we were to adequately price in spills? Or climate change? Or geopolitical risk? Or lives lost to "police actions"? Or outright wars?
Bottom line: Our fearless leaders have been injecting trillions of fresh debt into the system to prevent it from collapsing from... too much debt. But the only way to service this debt in perpetuity (once created, all fiat debt is perpetual unless it gets written-off/defaulted) is through Permagrowth. It's like a dog chasing his tail that keeps getting shorter and shorter.
Well, the Louisiana disaster is another reminder that Permagrowth is over and our days in Monetary Heaven are numbered.
(There is a parallel here with the securitization and derivativization of toxic debt: loan originators had to drill very deep into the pool of potential borrowers to come up with "raw material" to manufacture CDOs, CLOs and other such "products". What they came up with stank to high heaven, of course, and since they couldn't afford to adequately guarantee their products it wasn't long before the whole thing collapsed.)