- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The Bhopal Factor

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on March 22, 1999 at 12:12:20:

OK- now, I assume we all remember Bhopal- a Union Carbide chemical plant exploded, killing hundreds, maiming thousands, in India. As yet Union Carbide still hasn't coughed up the compensation. Some people suspect bribery and corruption in the Indian Government.

Now, imagine under Anarcho capitalism, this incident happens, in fact, no, lets bring it closer to home, my home- Union Carbide owns a significant share in ICI Wilton, near my Hometown of Redcar. Redcar has a population close enough to 100,000, should that plant explode, lets pretend, some 2,000 might die, with a further 7,000 mimed.

Now, the good folk of Redcar want restitution, so they want to go to Justice Bob (this being anarcho capitalist Utopia after all) however, most of them were common workers, and lack funds to pay for lawyers, beyond that, the ten thousand directly affected no longer have jobs and cannot afford anything pretty much (and thus the famillies thereof)- but lets say they get a poublic subscription fund together (a collective communal effort and raise a million pounds for teh case.

Union carbide then looks at the case, decides that it could loose, lets say 30 million (the costs of the explosion were recouped through insurance), because they know that it was their cost cutting that lowered safety standards allowing the accident to happen, though currently they are blaming a dead foreman.

Thye decide to spend 10 million to fight the case, since there was no pre-existing contract, nor mutual criminal protection ganecies, they fight to choose their own favoured court (perhaps an in house court), through a few million about to buy out some of the campaigners (gagging clauses of course), and just delay long enough to ensure a few more claiments die, etc.

Effectively they may never be brought to book, may not even be found liable. Union Carbide may nto be paying out in Real life, but at least we all know that they are culpable murderers.

If it were teh other way around, a Corporations, say, suing a Union, they'd win- teh courts would just become a direct tool of class power.

McSpotlight: Little bit of relevant news; ICI was revealed to be the UK's worst water polluter last year, and was fined 385,000 (~$600,000) for things like releasing thousands of gallons of chloroform into the UK water supply.

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