Each passing day shows the incompetence of government management when it comes to industry regulation such as regulation of the oil industry. To be clear, I'm against government regulation. Not that I want companies like BP to destroy the environment without oversight, but because I don't want companies like BP to destroy the environment.
This is the problem with debates regarding regulation. There's the mistaken idea that without government regulation there would be nothing -- no law, no means of oversight, no punishment for fraud and neglect, just free reign for companies to do anything they want to do. This is absurd.
Private oversight arrangements would develope and the law would not disappear. What's happened is regulatory capture where large, politically savvy companies have colluded with regulators to minimize the companies' reponsibilities. Government managers have proven to be poor managers, and I don't know if it's the government culture or the political hiring process, but it's subpar.
Management is an art that has been honed in the private sector based on performance and knowledge of requisite skills. Poor management in the private sector results in competitors gaining the upper hand. Government employees have to committ serious crimes before they're even slapped on the hand in many incidences.
Plus, as a result of government's ability to pass out favors to companies, the competition among companies now is based on political skills rather than business management skills, so regulation has even dulled the management skills in the private sector -- when a compnay is protected by government from competition, it becomes lazy and less cocerned with excellent performance. The government/corpration relationship has created dishonesty and incompetence.
Yes, I want companies to be held responsible when they committ crimes and violate the rights of the public, but as we're seeing, regulation is not doing a good job of prevention -- we don't want to get to the point where a company is violating the public's rights before there is action. We need a free market where excellence in performance matters and is rewarded and where incompetence and dishonesty is punished in real time. Government involvement has gotten this exactly backwards -- until there's a crisis where political pressure demands action does the government rise up like a savior. It's the lack of oversight before the crisis that needs focus.