China was recently struck by a very devastating earthquake. Nearly everyone knows this. Tens of thousands died. Schools were hit particularly hard. Why schools?
This article discusses that the central economic policies directly lead to poor school construction: compromising materials to get the job done. It’s another question of incentives and responsibility: who is responsible, and what is their incentive for being responsible?
Can the free market provide safe products? Many individuals point to current unsafe products as evidence that the market cannot, and that it consistently fails to do so. But we must ask: who is responsible for safety? Individual consumers? The companies that produce their products? The governments that regulate them? Until we understand who is ultimately responsible, it is difficult to assign blame.
Can the free market provide dangerous products? Sure, but for a very limited time only. Competition immediately shuts them down, unless, of course, the market regulates competition, acting as a barrier to development and growth.
Can the government make dangerous products? Hint:take a look at the “safe” record of NASA spaceflight as evidence of government safety.
It is quite sad to hear millions of Chinese unable to care for themselves, unable to take care of their families, even in an emergency situation. It is sad to see them continually rely on the government for all sorts of aid, from emergency supplies to rescue operations to money to shelter to rebuilding. This is such a contrast to the attitude of self-reliance prophets have continually impressed upon us.
One wonders the level of devastation should the market have been responsible for safety, for school construction, and individuals for emergency preparation, insurance, etc. And this is certainly an admonishment to us to get our houses in order and prepare for what may come.
This indeed was a tragedy. But the scope could have been much lower if freedom and liberty had a larger role.