After the BP Gulf disaster is ancient history, I want that company to thrive. I want it to be vastly more profitable than ExxonMobil. It should continue exploration and drilling all over the world, including offshore. And I’m asking for just one broad change in how the company operates: BP should donate all its profits for the rest of its corporate life.
The only fair way out of the gulf spill would be for BP to become just like Newman’s Own, a corporation that donates all profits to charity — in this case, to reparations for damage done by the spill. And by staying in business, BP would become a permanent trust fund helping the fishers, the hoteliers, the guides and families along the coast. This isn’t radical thinking, it’s just traditional Jiu-jitsu, taking the enemy’s force and turning it to your own advantage.
The alternative: that BP uses ExxonMobil’s criminal tactics of infinite delay and finally virtual absolvement (at least monetarily) in the courts, seems simply unacceptable today.
The crux, of course, is how you’d do this. Robert Reich got at the beginnings of this recently in a Huffington Post column, where he argued that Obama should put BP into temporary receivership. He wrote: “No president would allow a nuclear reactor owned by a private for-profit company to melt down in the United States while remaining under the direct control of that company. The meltdown in the Gulf is the environmental equivalent.”
So what if this kind of thing has never been done before? A spill like what’s happening in the Gulf has never been done before either.