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‘Selfish’ Capitalists Saved Chile’s Miners

From Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal:

One of the 33 miners, who are trapped deep underground inside a copper and gold mine from an accident last month near Copiapo, points to a drill bit of a T 130 drilling machine that is digging an escape hole in this September 23, 2010 picture.

Capitalism Saved the Miners

The profit = innovation dynamic was everywhere at the mine rescue site.

OCTOBER 14, 2010

It needs to be said. The rescue of the Chilean miners is a smashing victory for free-market capitalism…

The president of the U.S. is campaigning across the country making this statement at nearly every stop:

"The basic idea is that if we put our blind faith in the market and we let corporations do whatever they want and we leave everybody else to fend for themselves, then America somehow automatically is going to grow and prosper."

Uh, yeah. That’s a caricature of the basic idea, but basically that’s right. Ask the 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.

This is the miracle bit that drilled down to the trapped miners. Center Rock Inc. is a private company in Berlin, Pa. It has 74 employees. The drill’s rig came from Schramm Inc. in West Chester, Pa. Seeing the disaster, Center Rock’s president, Brandon Fisher, called the Chileans to offer his drill. Chile accepted. The miners are alive

This profit = innovation dynamic was everywhere at that Chilean mine. The high-strength cable winding around the big wheel atop that simple rig is from Germany. Japan supplied the super-flexible, fiber-optic communications cable that linked the miners to the world above…

Samsung of South Korea supplied a cellphone that has its own projector. Jeffrey Gabbay, the founder of Cupron Inc. in Richmond, Va., supplied socks made with copper fiber that consumed foot bacteria, and minimized odor and infection.

Chile’s health minister, Jaime Manalich, said, "I never realized that kind of thing actually existed."

That’s right. In an open economy, you will never know what is out there on the leading developmental edge of this or that industry. But the reality behind the miracles is the same: Someone innovates something useful, makes money from it, and re-innovates, or someone else trumps their innovation. Most of the time, no one notices. All it does is create jobs, wealth and well-being. But without this system running in the background, without the year-over-year progress embedded in these capitalist innovations, those trapped miners would be dead

The miners’ rescue is a thrilling moment for Chile, an imprimatur on its rising status. But I’m thinking of that 74-person outfit in Berlin, Pa., whose high-tech drill bit opened the earth to free them. You know there are tens of thousands of stories like this in the U.S., as big as Google and small as Center Rock. I’m glad one of them helped save the Chileans. What’s needed now is a new American economic model that lets our innovators rescue the rest of us.

Take that, Chris Matthews.

Alas, there is probably no technology on earth that can pull Mr. Matthews out of his intellectual hole.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, October 15th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “‘Selfish’ Capitalists Saved Chile’s Miners”

  1. Mithrandir says:

    Did Chris Matthews run out of Vagisil again, or is he pissed his New Black Panther membership card hasn’t come in the mail yet?

    I am sure at their monthly meetings, Matthews and King Samir Shabazz will get sore necks from constantly bobbing in agreement.

    The best racist caricature I have ever seen of Chris Matthews, is when he plays HIMSELF on Hardball every night.

    The ‘media’ has really just turning into a bunch of jabbering nonsense hasn’t it? What year did the illness start causing serious symptoms in the American patient do you suppose?

  2. proreason says:

    This article should be the poster child of capitalism and the clanging bell for why big government is such a menace on this planet.

    Postulate the most evil business enterprise of all time. Polulate it with the greediest, must cunning businessmen who ever lived. That business couldn’t do enough damage in a thousand years to begin to compare to what slobbering Barney Frank, and sandwich Chris Dobb did to the world economy in a couple of hours a year. And the drooler and sandwich maker probably meant well, in their own perverted ways.

    Nothing is more dangerous than politicians. Charles Manson is a boy scout compared to Barney Frank.

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