Thursday, October 14, 2010

Drill Bit

Daniel Henninger on the role of capitalism in the rescue of the Chilean miners:

If those miners had been trapped a half-mile down like this 25 years ago anywhere on earth, they would be dead. What happened over the past 25 years that meant the difference between life and death for those men?

Short answer: the Center Rock drill bit.

1 comment:

John said...

For a thoughtful response see

I'm sure the miners are thankful for the heroic drill bit, but their opinion of the role of capitalism in their debacle might be less breathless than Henninger's. Indeed, most of the miners have weighed in on the central capitalist actor in the story: At least 29 of the 33 miners' families have filed lawsuits against San Esteban.

Also inconvenient for Henninger's argument: The rescue was run by the Chilean government and its relevant ministries, not by the capitalist company. Oh, and the U.S. government's space agency, NASA, also played a crucial role, designing the rescue capsule and consulting on safety issues.

Moreover, it's worth noting that, while Chile's larger, government-owned mines have relatively good safety records, the same cannot be said for its smaller, capitalist-run mines, such as San Esteban's.

No one argues that capitalism does not produce new innovations (while sometimes stifling innovations too), but in Henninger's capitalist Wonder Land, the bad actions of capitalists, as well as the the good and vital acts of governments, are banished to the real world.