The concept is an old one. The amount of human blood spilled over control of fossil energy deposits and associated transfer routes, in the 20th Century alone, probably rivals the amount of oil BP's Macondo well has unleashed in the Gulf of Mexico so far. But in the 21st Century the concept has gained a popular name, and really hit its stride--all the way to perhaps relegating the entire life-support system of Earth as an energy sacrifice zone.
It appears that much of the Internet is being scrubbed of this detail. Most relevant sites agree that 40% of the shares of BP are held in the United Kingdom, 39% of the shares are held in the United States, while the remaining 21% are held throughout Europe and the rest of the world. The largest single holder of shares is getting harder to track down. Generally an Internet search will lead to the other 9 leaders, roughly 23%:
BlackRock (New York) 5.9%
Legal & General (United Kingdom) 4%
Barclays Global Investor (owned by BlackRock) 3.8%
Norges Bank Investment Management (Norway) 1.8%
Kuwait Investment Authority (manages funds for the Kuwaiti Government) 1.75%
M & G Investment Management (UK asset owned by the Prudential) 1.67%
Standard Life (Scottish insurance company) 1.5%
Capital Research & Management Company (Los Angeles) 1.3%
China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange 1.1%
Nalco is the company that manufactures Corexit dispersant which, despite being banned in the UK because of its toxicity, has been used by the millions of gallons in the Gulf. Corexit has been approved by our EPA--but only for surface use. Well, the EPA illegally issued a permit for BP to inject Corexit at the gushing well head. BP even admitted they used Corexit illegally. They made an enormous catastrophe even much worse by polluting the Gulf with Corexit. Injecting Corexit right at the well head, they created massive plumes of dispersed oil that float around below the surface, killing life in the Gulf for...long enough. That's what energy sacrifice zones are for; BP greatly reduced its liability by killing the Gulf. Our government tried to convince us that "most" of the oil is miraculously gone--that only 24% remains! Who would have imagined that our own CorpoMedia would be the one to nix that fairy tale, actually telling the truth that 80% of the oil is still in the Gulf, floating around in those dispersed, biocidal plumes? When CorpoMedia controverts CorpoGov, it's obvious that something extraordinary is up. It's called goodbye to life in the Gulf of Mexico. There's a lot of oil and gas down there, and all the Gulf's biology is in the way.
What "Size of People" Are You?
Preliminary work involved in transforming the Gulf of Mexico into an energy sacrifice zone has given BP executives ample opportunity to prove that their mouths are big enough to hold both feet. They have not disappointed. Who can forget CEO Tony Hayward in that sleazy infomercial about how much BP cared--that BP would "...make things right"? It was like Corexit spraying from every TV in America. And of course there was his whining about wanting his life back as he dallied off to a yacht race in UK waters. But perhaps the most telling gaffe came from the Swedish mouth of BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, right after his meeting with Obama. Svanberg used the term "small people" to refer to those damaged by BP's catastrophe-magnified-with-Corexit. Once wasn't enough, he used it 3 times; the first time saying that President Obama was "...frustrated, because he cares about the small people", then he noted that "We at BP care about the small people", concluding with how much BP "...cares about the small people". Of course he abjectly apologized later for speaking "clumsily", but, hey, Carl-Henric, it's the thought that counts.
So, yes, unfettered capitalism has replaced the sanctity of human life with different "sizes" depending on the amount of moneypower one commands. The vast and rapidly growing majority of us are "small people". From there upward, transparency falls off precipitously, so it's progressively more difficult identifying larger sizes--but there's no stopping conjecture. Perhaps the mediums include our political class, those doing to the smalls what they are told to do. Most millionaires probably belong in this group, maybe even Carl-Henric Svanberg himself. In the large size are the billionaires, as well as many of those behind blacked-out windows being chauffeured to annual Bilderberg meetings. Beyond the large, secrecy becomes so profound it's like lying on the bottom of a stream and trying to spot airplanes cruising by at 40,000 feet. In the X-large and XX-large sizes are surely those who make the final decisions about wars, depressions, and the major energy sacrifice zones. Top multi-national corporations are up in this zone. And it's a safe bet that anyone or anything this high probably ascended on the power of fossil fuels. In 2010, 3 of the 5 largest corporations in the world are: #2, Royal Dutch Shell; #3, Exxon Mobil; #4, BP.
The Actual Costs of Fossil Energy
This is another realm where transparency gets muddied by secrecy, indirection and lies. But when you start factoring in oil wars, and wars over transfer routes (both currently disguised as wars on terror), you quickly transcend the cost of all the "economically unfeasible" clean and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, ocean wave, biomass.... Then when you consider things such as pollution, including anthropocentric loading of the atmosphere with heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, fossil energy becomes--perhaps with climate change--terminally expensive. And then there's the social damage of extreme wealth concentration, and attendant commodification and stratification of human life (the different sizes, just like shirts), along with the rapidly growing assembly of energy sacrifice zones--pushed by climate change into possibly including the magnificently-complex life support system of our one and only little blue world...could any energy be more expensive? It seems the answer is no.
Yet we drill and fracture and bulldoze maniacally in our quest to wring out remaining oil, natural gas, and coal that has possibly already killed everything. The answer to the question WHY? would be just another cost of fossil fuel.
The medium, large, X-large and XX-large have proven they will do anything to perpetuate the system that has given them their size. Meanwhile, it appears the only salvation for the vast bulk of humanity, along with most of Earth's species, is in the hands of the small people. We vastly outnumber all other sizes put together, and that leads to one of the scariest questions of all: Just how small are we?