Why BP Isn’t a Criminal
robertreich.org — Justice Department just entered into the largest criminal settlement in U.S. history with the giant oil company BP. BP plead guilty to 14 criminal counts, including manslaughter, and agreed to pay $4 billion over the next five years. This is loony. Mind you, I’m appalled by the carelessness and indifference of the BP executives responsible for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that killed eleven people on April 20, 2010, and unleashed the worst oil spill in American history. But it defies logic to make BP itself the criminal. Corporations aren’t people. They can’t know right from wrong. They’re incapable of criminal intent. They have no brains. They’re legal fictions. Can we please get a grip? The only sentient beings in a corporation are the people who run them or work for them. When it comes to criminality, they’re the ones who should be punished.