Daniel Henniger has a terrific column in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal titled “Capitalism Saved the Miners: The profit = innovation dynamic was everywhere at the mine rescue site.”
It’s well worth reading the whole thing, and sharing with friend. Here are the first few paragraphs, which make arguments The Heartland Institute and its free-market allies have been advancing for decades:
It needs to be said. The rescue of the Chilean miners is a smashing victory for free-market capitalism.Amid the boundless human joy of the miners’ liberation, it may seem churlish to make such a claim. It is churlish. These are churlish times, and the stakes are high.In the United States, with 9.6% unemployment, a notably angry electorate will go to the polls shortly and dump one political party in favor of the other, on which no love is lost. 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.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.
I don’t want to spoil the whole thing, so click here to read one of America’s best columnists stick up for the role of free-market capitalism in one of the most inspiring stories of the year.