Monday, October 18, 2010

On Markets, Globalization and the Chilean Miners

Last week, Mark Perry at Carpe Diem put up this post with a video. The point was that globalization, capitalism (and trade) helped save the Chilean miners. I'm not one to say they were doomed without the forces of economics. But economic forces certainly helped. And it was capitalism in the best way - the way that Adam Smith intended when he wrote both The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

But, it was a profit motive that developed the technology. And it was also the idea that we best serve ourselves by serving others that led many firms in many nations to make the technology available. The idea was brought home, yet again over the weekend when this article appeared in my local newspaper, The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

It's just something to think about and discuss with your students. As always, I welcome your comments.

2 comments:

Bob said...

So ... The profit motive saved the Chilean miners ...

You gotta love the Wall Street Journal's editorial people ...

After viewing the video, my first thought was: Maybe the miners wouldn't have been buried in the first place, if it hadn't been for the unbridled pursuit of profit.

Not so long ago, U.S. mine owners used to think it was cheaper to go out and hire new workers than to operate safely. Government regulations (when enforced) and the risk of liabilty suits ultimately changed the owners' thinking and helped to improve mine safety.

I'm just sayin' ...

Tim Schilling said...

I think the point is that the profit motive led to the development of the technology that helped save them.

But you're welcome to interpret it as you see see fit.

Thanks for the comment.