Who Failed at BP, and Why?

By Megan McArdle

The accounts from BP on what happened at the well are sounding more and more troubling.  Warning signs were ignored; BP officials refused to listen to a specialist team that had just arrived, even when said team demanded evacuation (and got it, but only from their own company).  The well blew up a flew hours after their helicopter took off.

When events like this happen, we always ask the same question:  how could people be so stupid?  How could they ignore what is now plain to us?  There will be a lot of answers to that question, but I'm willing to bet that a lot of it will end up sounding like "We'd ignored those problems before, and it always turned out all right."

Update:  A reader sends along this Malcolm Gladwell piece from 1996.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/05/who-failed-at-bp-and-why/57280/