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cake with WTF written on itBritish Petroleum's PR spammers on blogs and newspaper websites have been trying to exploit retirees who depend on that corporation's stock in order to protect the most reprehensible corporation in world history. Of course, if British Petroleum's assets were seized, some of them could go to compensate retirees.

This tactic by a corporation's desperate propagandists brings up a big picture issue. Why did anyone speculate in British Petroleum in the first place? I can understand how individual investors could have been fooled by corporate fraud, but fund managers? That's a real scandal.

British Petroleum's execrable safety record was on the public record. The average person like you or I doesn't have the time to research every area of risk by every corporation. But, it is the job of fund managers to be aware of the risks of all the equities they put money into.

And, the risk from the specific corporation's lack of concern for safety is added onto the general risk involved in any corporation that is involved in the negligent and highly irresponsible practice of offshore drilling. The stock of any corporation that has a major involvement in it carries as much risk as junk bonds. While it certainly is true that there are traders who make money speculating in junk bonds, such speculation by pension fund managers is grossly irresponsible and negligent. Speculation in Big Oil corporations that drill offshore is equally irresponsible and negligent.

When you add the total risk of speculating in British Petroleum, it isn't difficult to see that no responsible retirement fund manager would do it. The ticking time bomb has gone off and retirement funds have taken losses from equity positions that couldn't be rationally justified in the first place. Those fund managers should be fired ASAP.

And, please don't parrot the Big Oil propaganda that no one saw this coming. Environmentalists were warning about this kind of thing for years.

Photo: SanFranAnnie

 

4 comments

  1. Rita Says:
  2. It's a very good question.
    Never having been one of the rich & powerful, my uneducated guess would be that the allure of money & power clouds peoples judgment, what we consider normal ethical behavior seems less & less important the higher one climbs the ladder of success.

    I imagine those on the top of the corporate ladder have some way of justifying their bad behavior.

     
  3. TomCat Says:
  4. Perhaps they believed BP's lying BS. Even though I keep myself more informed than the average bear, and have opposed offshore drilling for years, I never dreamed that we would see a disaster of such magnitude. Against that, BP has been a highly profitable company, offering excellent returns on investment, until now.

     
  5. Lew Scannon Says:
  6. I'd have to side with Rita. Getting rich quick, with a minimal amount of effort has become the new American Dream, where one can spend money frivolously and live like a celebrity.

     
  7. Because BP made them tons of money and they assumed that whatever happened, BP would be ok. See Exxon-Mobil post Valdez. Or Wall Street at any time. From their perspective, investing in BP makes sense.

     

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