Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Risks and Rewards

You often hear propaganda to the effect that those who own and invest capital take risks with that capital, and thus deserve the extravagant rewards to the tune of millions and millions of dollars.  The worker on the other hand risks nothing and supposedly gets a fair wage for his day of labor.  This is of course bullshit, and nowhere is this so starkly clear than in the case of Don Blankenship of Massey Energy who was overlord to the deaths of at least 29 coal miners.  And these deaths were do to the Blankenship's purposeful attempt to dodge safety regulations.  From the Pro-Publica web site: 

The company poses a particular challenge to regulators. The Washington Post reported this week that for years the company managed to strike deals and get passes from regulators:
Massey's approach to federal regulation has been notable for two tactics that, according to critics, allow the company to thwart or skirt safety requirements. First, Massey has persuaded regulators to forgo safety rules on a case-by-case basis. Second, the company routinely contests federal citations in a manner that makes it virtually impossible for the government to force quick safety overhauls in the nation's most hazardous mines.
Under Blankenship, Massey had mastered the art of the regulatory waiver, a way to legally circumvent federal mining laws. The MSHA has approved 30 petitions from Massey to operate its mines outside of safety mandates, more than for any other company. Most were in the past decade.

As for the rewards, Blankenship gets to retire with a 12 million dollar severance, and I am sure that is already on top of the millions he already has.  As for the salt of the earth coal miners, the ones still alive get black lung, future unemployment in a degraded environment, and likely an early death.  Lets not forget who really takes the risks with life and health.


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