Recent events in the Gulf of Mexico have revealed that major oil companies were not prepared for what happened. Their preparations suggest a ''do first, worry about it afterwards'' attitude. Schemas are cognitive structures which have strong, often unconscious, effects on thought, behaviour and group functioning. The writings of John Stuart Mill are taken as a significant source for our cultural tradition of liberalism and the model is considered in the light of knowledge about schemas. It is suggested the limited causal schema implied in Mill's writings informs a model of individual freedom that no longer works for a large scale interconnected society and that for the sake of those who may be harmed by the actions of others we must begin to articulate a new one
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