Friday, May 30, 2008

When buildings fall on people.

When two people die from a crane disaster in New York it has a greater impact upon us than when 127,000 people die from a cyclone in Myanmar or scores of thousands die from an earthquake and its aftershocks in China. But that's not what this post is about.

This post is about buildings that fall on people, mine disasters that kill, toxic waste pumped into ground water, defense contractors who steal billions. Politicians can breath through their mouths and make their speeches and gain their photo ops. But these things will continue to occur because the potential penalties are out of whack with the profits these companies can earn. In other words, the risk of being caught is far outweighed by the potential rewards.

If the penalty for murder were a $5,000 fine and 40-hours of community service, the homicide rate would likely increase. If the fine for shoddy work in constructing a luxury high-rise where units start at $1.7 million is $250,000, where's the incentive or the imprecation to abide by the law?

Another example of e-coli conservatism at its pernicious worst.


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