Jul 222010

Instead, the Massey Energy CEO, widely considered to be the most arrogant and dangerous man in a dangerous and dying industry, lectured the assembled throng about global poverty, preventable disease, the national debt, highway deaths, physics, the relationship between facts and happiness — and oh, yes, the need for the federal government to get off his back.

Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post

Pennsylvania - Scranton: Lackawanna Coal Mine
Image by wallyg via Flickr

What strikes me about this article isn’t how self-centered Mr. Blankenship is, but how we as a country have allowed men like him to rise to the top. Is he really any worse than the CEOs of many large corporations?

Blankenship’s selfish arrogance isn’t unique — it’s becoming the standard for the rich and affluent in America. Where it was once unfashionable to be solely focused on profits, it’s now a badge of success. The more a corporation can squeeze profit from its operations, the higher the rewards to the CEO. Never mind that they have to ignore safety, or even cause the death of employees, that’s how the game is played.

Wealth is the ultimate goal; scoring is done through profits; the playbook requires exploitation of people and planet, and the only rules are whatever they can get away with. This is how success is achieved in 21st Century America.

Corners were cut at Upper Big Branch and 29 people died. The same business practices took the lives of 11 people on the Deepwater Horizon and caused indeterminable loss to the ecosystems of the Gulf. The profiteers on Wall Street economically raped the American middle class, destroying the economy and putting 8 million people out of work. In each case the exploitation was rewarded.

This will remain the American way until we finally come together and adopt a system that recognizes the value of a person by what’s in their heart — not what’s in their bank account.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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