It’s pronounced “Schlumbergzhay.”
If you’ve ever lived in Houston, you know the company. It’s a French oil services firm with a massive Houston operation. The company has been in my lexicon since childhood; I had friends whose parents worked there. It was only later that I had reason to begin to study the company, and what I found reminded me of how incestuous industries can be. It’s actually a comforting thing.
Schlumberger is even bigger than Halliburton but seems to have escaped the mass-market hatred that makes up the anti-capitalist bloc of the Left; perhaps it has a better marketing team. In any case, it’s huge and wealthy.
Another institution that defines Houston is The Menil Collection, a beautiful museum with a world-class collection of Surrealists, Modernists and African art. It was launched John de Ménil and Dominique de Ménil, heiress to the vast Schlumberger collection.
Dominique and John began collecting art in the 1940s. When they moved to Houston, she instantly became the art and cultural doyenne of record. She was frustrated by the lack of arts in Houston, and began promoting art at the Contemporary Arts Museum. Their legacy lives on in the beautiful museum they built to house their collection, and their thumbprints are all over the city.
Without Schlumberger’s money, the citizenry wouldn’t have this extraordinary (and free) museum to enjoy.
I like to think that those people who hate oil and oil companies probably don’t know that the free access to truly world-class art was made possible by the oil companies. The cause and effect of money remains a mystery to them.
Progressives need the people they hate. But capitalists, and people who embrace technology (ie, oil drilling equipment), don’t need the people they hate. They’re content to be left alone to do what they want to do.