Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What they didn't tell us about the Bhopal/Union Carbide disaster

The standard account of the Bhopal/Union Carbide disaster goes something like this: "In the name of profit, a large American multinational corporation neglected safety; as a result, many people, especially poor people, were killed and maimed, and the corporate executives involved have never been criminally prosecuted." What they disturbingly omit (StephenHicks via Smalldeadanimals):

the standard accounts also omit to mention that the decision to use the hazardous chemical MIC was the Indian government’s, not Union Carbide’s; that government directives also required the building of larger rather smaller facilities; that the Indian government was also pursuing an affirmative action programme, replacing Union Carbide’s foreign experts in engineering and agricultural chemistry with locals; and, finally, that the decision to situate the chemical plant in the middle of a residential community was the Indian government’s, not Union Carbide’s, exacerbated by a re-zoning policy that included giving thousands of construction loans to encourage Indians to build their homes near the chemical plant…

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