Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Chilean Success Story: A combination of free market capitalism and moxie

This caught my attention:

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.
Daniel Henninger, the author of the WSJ article cited above says that it sounds “churlish” to say that free market capitalism saved the lives of the thirty-two miners trapped in Chile. Not really. But while capitalism certainly went a long way towards saving those miners it would have worthless had the Chilean government not been willing to act.

Shortly before the room started spinning yesterday I heard Gov. Jindal speak about his frustration with our government’s response to the Deep Water Horizon spill. While Gov. Jindal was desperately trying to save his state he was met with one bureaucratic wall after another. Contrary to Chile’s attitude of “let’s get it done”, our government responded with “it hasn’t been ….” Fill in the blank. Suggestions include: “tried”, “tested”, “approved”. While Louisiana and the other Gulf states were coated in oil, our government prepared paperwork.

Once upon a time there was a saying about extraordinary times and extraordinary measures. Thankfully, the saying still applies in Chile.

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