Business Pioneers that Had Quite the Disturbing Background
Business Pioneers that Had Quite the Disturbing Background

Business Pioneers that Had Quite the Disturbing Background

Khalid Elhassan - December 8, 2021

Business Pioneers that Had Quite the Disturbing Background
Victims of the Bhopal Disaster and their relatives in 2006, demand the extradition of Warren Anderson, Union Carbide’s CEO back in 1984. Wikimedia

1. A Business Decision to Skimp on Safety to Cut Costs Exposed 600,000 People to Poison Gas

The predictable catastrophe at Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant began at around 11 PM on December 2nd, 1984. Employees noticed that pressure inside one of the MIC tanks had increased from the normal 2 psi to 10 psi. Half an hour later, the effects of gas leakage were detected. At 11:45, a leaking pipe was spotted. In the meantime, the pressure in the MIC tank continued to rise. By 12:40 AM, it had reached 55 psi and began to vent toxic gas into the atmosphere. Within two hours, over 40 tons of MIC had been released and were blown into Bhopal.

The methyl isocyanate stayed low to the ground, burned the eyes of victims, made them nauseous, and killed many. Corporate callousness and the business decision to skimp on safety resulted in about 600,000 people harmed by MIC. 8000 perished within two weeks, and another 8000 died later. About 40,000 suffered serious injuries, and 4000 were permanently disabled. In 1989, Union Carbide paid the equivalent of U$ 875 million in 2021 dollars to settle litigation. It was less than U$ 1500 per victim, or less than $15,000 for each of those seriously injured, permanently disabled, or killed.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Airships Net – DELAG: The World’s First Airline

Atlantic, The, December 2nd, 2014 – Bhopal: the World’s Worst Industrial Disaster, 30 Years Later

Beatles Bible – The Beatles Audition for Decca Records

Burr, Chandler – The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession (2004)

Business Insider Australia, December 13th, 2013 – This is the Safe That Killed Whiskey Distiller Jack Daniel

Cheat Sheet – Jimi Hendrix Got Turned Down by the Same Decca Producer Who Turned Down the Beatles

Cracked – 4 Business Pioneers Who Changed the World for the Worse

Encyclopedia Britannica – The Coca-Cola Company

Guardian, The, August 28th, 2001 – Jane Greer

Hanes, William Travis, and Sanello, Frank – Opium Wars: The Addiction of One Empire and the Corruption of Another (2004)

History Collection – 11 Company Towns Founded by Corporations

Independent, The, February 12th, 2012 – The Man Who Rejected The Beatles

Los Angeles Times, August 28th, 2001 – Jane Greer, Star of Film Noir ‘Out of the Past’

Mazzeo, Tilar J. – The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World’s Most Famous Perfume (2010)

McDermott, John – Hendrix: Setting the Record Straight (1992)

Motley Fool – How Coke Helped Create Pepsi, and Other Historic Market Moments

New York Post, March 7th, 2016 – BMW Admits ‘Regret’ Over Using Nazi Slave Labor During WWII

New York Times, December 11th, 1984 – Indian Journalist Offered Warning

Platt, Stephen R. – Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age (2018)

Star Ledger, May 6th, 2012 – The Hindenburg 75 Years Later: Memories Time Cannot Erase

Vaughan, Hal – Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War (2012)

Wikipedia – Bhopal Disaster