This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission.
This might be an opportune time to make a disclosure: I am a BP shareholder. Admittedly, I’ve never attended the company’s annual meeting, and if I did, I would have very little weight to throw around.
Those who believe that the price of my BP stock will recover in the next year might be wrong. Even if the stock bottoms out, however, that won’t restore a shattered Gulf, nor will it change a system that prizes easy consumption and deferred responsibility. We can only correct for the catastrophe oil has wrought by living according to a different measure.
I own two shares of BP stock. I received my stake in the company as a Christmas gift in 1989, when I was 14 years old. The previous June, I had taken a “summer enrichment” course in the Des Moines public schools, designed as an introduction to the world of business. The teacher gave each of us in the class a modest hypothetical budget to invest in the stock market.
Earnest young capitalists, we made our picks and then followed the quotes in the morning paper.... Read more