ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Govmint good, business bad

"Companies will cut corners to make money."--Cathy Donnelly, WILK, just now, 4:16 p.m.

I cannot believe how much anti-capitalist rhetoric I have been hearing from what can only be called average Americans. What’s that old bit about biting off your nose to spite your face?

Some guy called WILK’s Sue Henry this morning to spout off about the continuing oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. And he was doing quite well until he uttered the following: “Money always trumps safety.”

That is outright sophistry of thought.

I am certified in 5 different categories by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to apply restricted-use pesticides as well as termiticides. And before this month ends, I will be adding 2 new categories to my license--Structural Fumigation and Commodity & Space Fumigation.

While this may sound kind of humdrum, fumigations gone wrong have resulted in numerous deaths. And as for my specialty--termite control--termite work gone wrong has led to contaminated wells, spoiled aquifers, massive fish kills and even a few deaths.

Trust me when I tell you that there is no more heavily regulated industry than mine. Pesticides can and do kill more than pests when grossly misapplied. And the responsible pest control operator makes it their mission to make sure that the horror stories associated with this industry are never married to them.

Unfortunately, not all operators are as responsible as are some others. And as I have always said to my kids, no matter what industry you may consider, the workers as well as the management in those industries are most likely comprised of former A students, as well as D students, GED types and drop-outs.

And because of the great responsibility that I feel is in my hands, I strive to do it right and do it safely and I spend my own money as part of my continuing education. But it also needs to be pointed out that I am the most heavily trained specialist in my industry the world over. My employer sees to it that I have the best available products, the best equipment, the latest industry updates as well the availability of continuing training that is literally second to none.

But most importantly, my employer has provided me with the power to cancel a treatment from out there in the field if I see anything I don’t like or anything I don’t really trust. As my now dearly departed district manager used to say to me over and over and over again to the point of annoying absurdity, “If you’re not sure, don’t do it.”

I hear that sh*t.

Very recently, I saw aerial pictures of a blast zone bigger than your own neighborhood. Homes destroyed. Ancillary buildings blown from their sole plates. A major highway closed. A technician vaporized. And all because somebody who wasn’t sure went ahead and did it.

Perhaps he wasn’t as heavily trained as am I. Perhaps he knew some bean counter back at the regional office would protest very loudly if he called in and said the site in question was ill-prepared for treatment. Perhaps he seriously underestimated the omnipresent danger that is mucking about with subterranean utility lines by way of a gas-powered auger. Maybe he was just good and hung-over.

Whatever the case, not that it matters to him now, he augured right through a high-pressure gas line that was not marked by the local natural gas provider.

Whatever it was that ultimately caused his untimely vaporization, I would place a wager that what happened to him would not have happened if he was treated to the same relentless ongoing training that I am. You see, my outfit sets me up to succeed, not fail badly and spectacularly. And our termite division, an entity unto itself in our company structure, stresses safety, safety, safety and still more safety. And that is one of the many reasons that I am proud to work for “America’s Finest” pest control company.

Our leading industry trade publication – Pest Control Technology Magazine – recognized my employer as America’s Finest Pest Control Company out of 18,000 providers nationwide.

So, anyway, when I came home earlier today and surfed the local blogs, I ran across this haphazardly inaccurate statement:

“You know how corporations like BP only care about profits irregardless of safety?”

You know, as a highly-trained professional who happens to take his pitfall-filled job very, very seriously, to that I can only say that inexperience breeds contemptuous nonsense such as that. Here’s the scoop on capitalism, greed, corporate greed or whatever other goofy name you want to attach to the lifeblood of the economic engine that has bestowed riches upon riches upon this country’s lucky inhabitants.

No company wants to be known as the company that polluted the entire Gulf of Mexico. And no company wants it’s misadventures in the field playing out on the nightly news. No company wants the public relations nightmare that would follow. And no company wants to have to face the punitive blow back that the too-numerous-to-list regulating agencies of the federal, state and local governments will bring to bare when industrialism goes horribly wrong. And most importantly, nobody wants to go to work today and be vaporized. At least, I don’t.

If somebody at British Petroleum did play fast and loose with the rules, then identify them and condemn them to a hellhole near you. But please, cool it with the less than ringing indictments of industry, as well as the entire private sector in general.

And remember, if it were not for the private sector, you’d all be living in public housing waiting for your monthly entitlement check. Well, that is, excepting for the talent-deprived folks that would be busily processing and sending you that smallish monthly stipend.


Freaking spare me. I have forgotten more about industrial safety than most of the easily-led people currently circumlocuting about it will ever know.

And being that they pontificate away from a position of inexperience, intellectual weakness, if you will, I would remind them that the blessed Fedrule Govmint of theirs demands that the private sector follow safety guideline after safety regulation after hamstringing safety pre-steps.

Yet, and this is a big yet, that very same savior of theirs, that Fedrule Govmint, will not ensure the sanctity of their borders. That very same Fedrule Govmint, the arbiter of all that is deemed to be clean and safe and wholesome and good, will not even ensure it’s own sovereignty.

How's that for safety? Whatever bedraggled drug runner, determined terrorist or Central American prison escapee can accidentally trip over the fence out back and plop into your back yard. Oh, but, the evil and greedy and cost-cutting private sector is putting our lives at risk?

That's that very same Fedrule Govmint that many of you conspiracy theorists blame for being in on, or willfully allowing the destruction of the World Trade Center.

You tell me, man.



Tom Borthwick said...

Not that I expect you to post a defense of capitalism, but you don't think some of the criticisms of "greed" are warranted?

I mean, people do cut corners to make more money. The argument, I think, is whether or not the potential benefit outweighs the potential harm (or straight up benefit vs. harm).

I'm pretty skeptical of capitalism, and have been before this oil spill. I wish more people had your sense of integrity about your job. I wish your more companies had the integrity of yours, but, as in the case of BP and, for that matter, the collapse of the economy, businesses are often very tempted to do what's best for them, and not everybody else.

Anonymous said...

Well Tom, what is the answer? Communism, Soviet Union collapsed. Socialism, Greece is on the verge of collapse, Cananda may scrap its health care system, much of the European Union is in financial trouble. Dictatorship? Castro nah, Amin nah.
Capitalism may not be a good system, however it is the best.

Tom Borthwick said...

Soviet Communism isn't actual communism, so of course it didn't work. Greece isn't socialist, it's Democratic Socialist and their economic collapse, along with Europe's, was caused by Goldmann Sachs.

Western / northern European socialism is fine with me.

Mark said...

Actually, if companies such as BP are cutting corners in the pursuit of profit, it's typically after they have donated huge sums to politicians--the ultimate enablers.

Companies don't make the laws, nor do they make policy. But they sure can affect the crafting of both by way of huge donations to the people that do.

Oh, but when a disaster comes down, then the politicos turn private industry into the boogey man. They are in bed with each other, and are almost always equally to blame.

In Ba-roke Oblahblah's anti-business vortex, every US corporation is a straw man to be vilified at some point.

The indoctrination continues.

Mark said...

Another thing.

Even though the hard-left NEPA blogging community is sticking with the anti-public sector template by yammering on as if they are all suddenly experts on deep-sea drilling, corporate greed and putting lives at risk for profit, I have yet to meet even 1 local blogger who has any meaningful white collar or executive level management experience in the private sector.

Give me a show of hands...

Who among us has ever had to prepare a yearly budget in excess of a million bucks, hire, fire, train or protect the physical plant?

Who among us has a CDL, and years of over-the-road experience hauling hazardous chemicals?

Who among us is licensed to store, mix, haul and apply dangerous, restricted-use substances?

I keep reading the rants of government employees, and people who have never even made a mention of being employed at all.

Are they employed? Have they ever made what could turn out to be life-and-death decisions? Or are they limited to reading about and criticizing those who do?

Hindsight is 20/20. Foresight is a whole other thing.

Stephen Albert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen Albert said...

I was once licensed to kill gophers by the government of the United Nations...

Sorry, I've been looking for a reason to use a variation on that line (from Caddyshack for the unsophisticated types out there) for a while.