In the wake of the disaster in the gulf American citizens have a plethora of questions. Why would BP engage in risky practices that could endanger the area where the company makes its profit? Who is responsible for ensuring that the citizens of the Gulf Coast region are protected when companies like BP place profit above people? As this drama plays out on American television screens one must realize that the only check to the power of private companies is the American government which is charged with the protection of its citizens.
In the current political environment this is an unpopular idea. Die-hard capitalists would rather that companies be allowed to maximize profits no matter what effects on their fellow citizens or the environment that they live in. BP wrote safety documents that ensured government officials that they had the technology in place should a mechanical failure occur in American waters.
The loss of 11 workers and the destruction of an ecosystem has forced the government and the American public to realize that BP and other companies have no qualms about ensuring that no regulation will stand in the way of their profit margins. In response to this fact, the government has tried to ensure the welfare of Gulf citizens by compelling BP to create a twenty-billion fund to help citizens affected by the spill ensure that they can survive while BP attempts to clean up this mess.
Notice that BP did not offer to create this fund until approached by the President of the United States. This is because companies realize that it is not cost-effective to ensure that their practices do not harm those not involved with the company. This disaster has shown that government regulation and oversight are the only ways to ensure that businesses do not place American citizens and the environment at risk.