Wednesday, August 05, 2015
There is a truism in organizational behavior. Government tolerates situations that it won't stand for in corporations. Consider this case. Government did not cause the initial pollution in the lake, but once it nationalized the petroleum companies, it didn't begin to clean the water. Today, it appears to be tolerating the mess as long as it can continue to extract oil. Citizens have learned to live with it, but the drifting oil slicks and bubbling gas are not healthful to them or their environment. Long ago as a journalist reporting on environmental issues it quickly became clear that the federal government was attacking corporate polluters before it brought municipalities and counties to heel, even when local towns were dumping sewage into the river. Since then, government has forced cities, counties and states to clean up, but corporations faced the sting first. PR practitioners gain nothing by pointing out government hypocrisy because bureaucrats believe they are on the side of the angels. Rather, it is best to adapt quickly and go along with the regulators.