A few pseudo-liberals tried to blame capitalism for the Chile mine cave-in, which trapped 33 men for two months before they were rescued. But if by “capitalism” the critics meant a free market with the reasonable regulations of a democracy, they were dead wrong.
The worst mine disasters have been in command-economy dictatorships, China being the most obvious example. (And by the way, if by “capitalism” you mean industrial monopolies without serious safety regulations, you are talking about China, Cuba and the other Communist-brand economies.)
On Saturday, Oct. 16, three days after the 33 Chileans were brought back safe and sound, a Chinese coal mine explosion killed 37 miners. Two years earlier, 23 Chinese were killed in the same mine. This is normal in China, where the coal mine fatality rate, per 1 million tons mined, is 37 times the U.S. miner death rate.
Protective freedom. As the Chinese dictatorship has loosened Communist control over the economy over the last two decades, mine safety has improved. And when China is free politically, safety is likely to improve a whole lot more. Never underestimate the protective, creative and healing power of liberty.