An important point about the Chilean mine disaster and the remarkable rescue:
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.
In an open economy, you will never know what is out there on the leading developmental edge of this or that industry. But the reality behind the miracles is the same: Someone innovates something useful, makes money from it, and re-innovates, or someone else trumps their innovation. Most of the time, no one notices. All it does is create jobs, wealth and well-being. But without this system running in the background, without the year-over-year progress embedded in these capitalist innovations, those trapped miners would be dead.
Another point: the contrast between a real leader and the sad oaf we have squatting in the Oval Office:
The leadership of Chile President Sebastian Pinera, believing fiercely in globalization and free markets, and not believing in limits, seemed to make a critical difference.
Pinera refused to shut out foreign expertise. As the world focused on Chile’s miners underground, the rescue operation above was characterized by an Apollo 13-like sense of mission. Failure was not an option.
That gave the mission an international flavor a la “Star Trek.” Unlike President Obama, who invoked the Jones Act to spurn foreign offers of help in April’s Gulf oil spill, or Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who said “nyet” to American naval rescue ships after the Kursk nuclear sub sank in Arctic waters in 2000, leaving 29 to die at a depth of 650 feet, Pinera brought in the best brains outside his country to improve the odds of success.
And another important point of comparison:
Sadder still is what happens in China, where miners are routinely left for dead after mines collapse — a big reason more than 2,000 parish in such accidents each year.
“Lucky people who were born in Chile. … If it was us, we would definitely have been buried alive and died,” a Chinese wrote on the Internet, as quoted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Pinera is different. He focused on avoiding conflict and laying blame while the rescue was still on. He took accountability himself by firing incompetent inspectors on his own side, but didn’t condemn business or shut down an entire industry, as Obama did with his Gulf moratorium, only now being lifted.
Pinera worked with local officials instead of bickering with them or throwing up bureaucratic obstacles because they belonged to the wrong party. Sadly, that’s what Obama did with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who had to take matters into his own hands in building berms when Louisiana’s coast was threatened by the April spill.
Chileans, by contrast, said the crisis united them as never before. That takes leadership, and it comes about only because Pinera believes in openness, free markets, transparency and putting himself last.
Well, you’ll certainly never see our God Emperor doing anything remotely like that. But hey, if the Progressivists had their way and we were all starving and freezing to death in Gaia-friendly caves, there’d be no need for nasty things like mining or drilling for oil in the first place. So, see, they really do have the “solution” to all our problems. Well, except for the problem of starving and freezing in caves, the actual solution for which — free market capitalism –they can only freeload off of, while snottily condemning, undermining, and attempting to destroy it.