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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

BP and MMS: A Case of Regulatory Capture

In the U.S. Constitutional Convention, James Madison in particular stressed the nepharious quality of faction in relation to the public good. He argued that if a republic is extended in scope sufficently that there are more factions, none of them would be able to dominate and the public good would emerge. In a republic in which there are only a few major parties, the people's perspectives can become delimited by the parties' paradigms in an either-or dual macro-framework. That is to say, societal blind-spots can exist. To the extent that both BP and the relevant U.S. Government regulatory agency, MMS, were both culpable in the Deep Water Horizon rig explosion in 2010, both the Republican defense of business and the Democratic defense of government fall short. Even so, these respective defenses went on undaunted in the wake of the disaster and in the next year. To be sure, old paradigms die hard.