Monday 24th of June 2024

Beyond The "Halliburton SurvivaBall"


So. First of all, let's define our words: what do we mean when we say "safety"? Well, for us in the corporate world, the most essential form of safety is simply the safety to achieve what we need, as we need it, and how we need it.

Whether I'm in reconstruction, energy, manufacturing, or insurance, if I'm taking a risk, I want the government's hand to be pulling me safely over the obstacles, not laying obstacles in my way. I want to be safe
to minimize the risk to my investments as I see fit, without being told
what's right and what's wrong.

Insurance firms are also concerned with safety, another form of it, a special-case definition: the safety of people. Because their own safety depends so much on that special form of safety, insurance has become quite worried about some grave new dangers to people that we're seeing in the world around us. I'm talking about climate change and the "natural" disasters it brings.

Indeed, the numbers could look frightening. In the 1950s insurance had to pay 4 billion dollars per year for disasters. Now it pays about 40 times that, or $150 billion each year. [*]
And it's getting worse; Munich Reinsurance has written that "climatic change will lead to natural catastrophes of hitherto unknown force and frequency" triggering losses of "many hundreds of billions of dollars per year."

To make things worse, there are some who believe that this is only the start. In nature, things often change very suddenly, and scientists feel that the things we've seen so far may be minor compared to what could happen.

For example, Arctic melt has slowed the Gulf Stream by 30% in just the last decade; if the Gulf Stream stops, Europe will become just as cold as Alaska.

Or it could go the other way - methane released from melting permafrost could cause a heating cycle making human life unliveable outside air-conditioned hotels like this one.

Or, as
the oceans heat up and expand, ice sheets could slip off Antarctica - meaning most of the earth's major cities will flood!

Even if none of this happens, some scientists tell us the changes we're likely to see could greatly increase disease and migration, and could exacerbate growing tensions within our societies possibly to the point of civic unrest or even war.

This sort of thinking has even influenced some insurers. Lloyd's of London has stated that climate change could easily bankrupt the entire insurance industry, and Munich Re suggests it could topple global capital markets as a consequence. [*]

Given the science, these worries cannot be called unreasonable. But panicking isn't the answer.

If we panic and try to stop climate change, 70% of carbon emissions will have to stop. That'll be a huge blow to our way of doing business: government intervention will become the rule, and we'll have thrown out the baby with the bathwater.

To remain profitable in a macroscopic loss situation, we must integrate disaster into our global business vision, and not allow immediate dangers to interfere with our general, longer-term concept of safety.

We at Halliburton, for example, assure our safety not despite, but via the
ambient danger - in reconstruction, relocation of refugees, peacekeeping. These arenas are synergistic: where there's conflict, there's reconstruction; where there are refugees, there's conflict;
where there's conflict or reconstruction, there are bound to be
refugees.

Sometimes danger presents broad new opportunities. In New Orleans, for example, Katrina pruned the city, removing people from economic black holes and allowing a redevelopment process that's gratifying for all of us.
Although real estate values plummeted immediately following the disaster, much commercial real estate is already over its pre-storm values.

While we don't suggest that everyone make climate change the core of their business plan, I can personally guarantee you that level heads will always be able to turn lemons into lemonade.

Consider the Black Plague, an unspeakably rotten event in which one third of
Europe's population died in great agony. No one would wish such a thing on any civilization. Yet without the Black Plague, the
old business models of medieval Europe would never have been overturned by the entrepreneurs of the Renaissance. What would the world be without the Mona Lisa?

Or closer to home, how about the Great Deluge? This world-ending disaster was surely seen as a terrible catastrophe by Noah's contemporaries, and even by Noah
himself. Yet Noah was ready to seize the day, and at the end of that day, not only was there a whole new world, but Noah found himself with a monopoly of the animals. Not a bad deal!

Unfortunately, things aren't as simple for us as they were for Noah. God isn't telling us what kind of an ark we should build, nor how to deploy it - but  uckily Science can fill in the blanks, and Science tells us that what we're doing in the world today will lead to much more flooding,
drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, or even worse, with consequences including epidemics, human migration, civic unrest and even war.

But as Warren Buffet, the oracle of Omaha, so astutely said: you must follow “the Noah rule: predicting rain doesn't count, building arks does.

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The above words are from an otherwise fairly accurat copy of Halliburton's website.   The presentation speech was given as the introduction of a new concept in corporate survival, the "Halliburton SurvivaBall"........


"The SurvivaBall is designed to protect the corporate manager nomatter what Mother Nature throws his or her way," said Fred Wolf, a Halliburton representative who spoke today at the Catastrophic Loss conference held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Amelia Island, Florida.
"This technology is the only rational response to abrupt climate
change," he said to an attentive and appreciative audience.

Most scientists believe global warming is certain to cause an
accelerating onslaught of hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornadoes,
etc. and that a world-destroying disaster is increasingly possible.
For example, Arctic melt has slowed the Gulf Stream by 30% in just the last decade; if the Gulf Stream stops, Europe will suddenly
become just as cold as Alaska. Global heat and flooding events are also increasingly possible.

In order to head off such catastrophic scenarios, scientists agree we must reduce our carbon emissions by 70% within the next few years.  Doing that would seriously undermine corporate profits, however, and so a more forward-thinking solution is needed.

At today's conference, Wolf and a colleague demonstrated three
SurvivaBall mockups, and described how the units will sustainably protect managers from natural or cultural disturbances of any
intensity or duration. The devices - looking like huge inflatable
orbs - will include sophisticated communications systems, nutrient gathering capacities, onboard medical facilities, and a daunting
defense infrastructure to ensure that the corporate mission will not go unfulfilled even when most human life is rendered impossible by catastrophes or the consequent epidemics and armed conflicts.




"It's essentially a gated community for one," said Wolf.

Dr. Northrop Goody, the head of Halliburton's Emergency Products Development Unit, showed diagrams and videos describing the
SurvivaBall's many features. "Much as amoebas link up into slime molds when threatened, SurvivaBalls also fulfill a community
function. After all, people need people," noted Goody as he showed an artist's rendition of numerous SurvivaBalls linking up to form a
managerial aggregate with functional differentiation, metaphorically dancing through the streets of Houston, Texas.

The conference attendees peppered the duo with questions. One asked how the device would fare against terrorism, another whether the
array of embedded technologies might make the unit too cumbersome; a third brought up the issue of the unit's cost feasibility. Wolf and
Goody assured the audience that these problems and others were being addressed.

"The SurvivaBall builds on Halliburton's reputation as a disaster and conflict industry innovator," said Wolf. "Just as the Black Plague  ed to the Renaissance and the Great Deluge gave Noah a monopoly of the animals, so tomorrow's catastrophes could well lead to good - and industry must be ready to seize that good."

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The site and the presentation were concocted by notorious"identity correctors" and  media activists The Yes Men