Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chilean Miners and Capitalism

With the Chilean miners' rescue dominating all media, I thought it appropriate to point out a column from Daniel Henninger that points out that Capitalism Saved the Miners.

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.

Longer answer: The Center Rock drill, heretofore not featured on websites like Engadget or Gizmodo, is in fact a piece of tough technology developed by a small company in it for the money, for profit. That's why they innovated down-the-hole hammer drilling. If they make money, they can do more innovation.

Henninger points to other capitalist innovations that were very important to the miners' survival; socks with copper to prevent foot disease and cell phones with projectors, to name two more. Ultimately, the solution to problems created by technology continues to be better technology. Electing a President and Congress ultimately hostile to business and wealth dooms us to being trapped with all our current problems, because we will not get the innovation needed to solve them.

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