Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Let Mary Landrieu and Jim Inhofe defend/spin this one. An internal BP memo obtained by the Daily Beast argues against building blast resistant shelters for workers because they’d cost more than the workers are worth. (In another memo BP calculates the value of a worker’s life at $10 million.) BP uses the “Three Little Pigs” metaphor to present a cost benefit analysis and asks, “Which type house should the piggy build?”

The answer is a hand-written “optimal” next to the option that offers solid protection (brick house), but not the “blast resistant” trailer, welded steel structures that cost 10 times as much. BP rated the need for a blast-proof house as small and its cost too high, evidently: “Cost + Expectation Value” at $1,010 (“Expectation value of loss” $10 + “Cost of House” $1,000). The “optimal” profit vs. “loss” (of life) is the brick house: (“Expectation value of loss” $100 + “Cost of House” $100 = “Cost + Expectation Value” $200).

From a profit margin perspective, it was cheaper for BP to build the less safe brick house instead of the most costly blast resistant shelters. So much for valuing the lives of so many “piggy” workers with blast resistant structures.

The only inaccuracy in the memo is who or what constitutes “the big bad wolf” -- BP or TH?

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