Capitalism Saves!

We all remember the horrible ordeal of 33 mindrs in Chile who narrowly escaped disaster when their mine collapsed last fall. As we all knew, a movie is in the works. There is a lesson here for the critics of capitalism.

Of course, leftists will argue that there wouldn’t have been any need for mines if we were all communists, since the miners would never have been trapped deep in the earth in the first place. It was greedy capitalists that opened the mine. These anti-capitalists probably sent their anti-capitalist message to their commie comrades on smart phones developed by other capitalist companies that use copper from the Chilean mine.1

The same type of anti-capitalist hypocrisy is found on college and university campuses. Students protest against capitalism and promote socialism and Marxism never thinking that it’s capitalism that makes these institutions of higher learning possible. And when they graduate, they make a bee-line to job fairs to seek employment by the same companies that their anti-capitalist professors railed against, the same professors who are dependent on capitalism for their jobs. Jerry Rubin (1938–1994) was a social activist from the 1960s. His visit to Cuba was said to be “inspirational.” When he was finished corrupting the minds of young people for a decade or more, Rubin became an entrepreneur and businessman. He was an early investor in Apple Computer. Rubin finally figured it out: “wealth creation is the real American revolution—what we need is an infusion of capital into the depressed areas of our country.”

I didn’t see Hugo Chavez involved in the rescue. Fidel wasn’t there, either. The drills and rigging came from the United States. “The drilling rig that blasted through more than 2,000 feet of rock was made by Schramm Inc. of West Chester, Pa., near Philadelphia, and the drilling bits came from Center Rock Inc. of Berlin, Pa., 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.” Fortunately the Chilean mine disaster happened before liberals destroy our economy and there won’t be any need for drilling equipment because we’ll all be forging for our food and building our hopes out of sod and stone.

The rescue was more than drilling a hole in the ground and building a capsule to extract the men safely. The men were still thousands of feet underground encapsulated in a rock hewn opening that in another era would have served as their burial chamber. Consider these capitalistic innovations reported in the Wall Street Journal that went into the rescue:

The lifeline gave rise to a high-technology life underground. The men wore clothing made with a bacteria-killing copper fiber, watched movies on a projector built into a cellphone, and communicated with rescuers over an ultra-flexible fiber-optic cable that maintains transmission capacity while twisting through rocky crags deep below ground.

Chilean officials assigned psychologists and a personal trainer by video conference to tend to the men.

Given the miners’ sensitive condition, nutritionists cooked food at high temperatures to guard against infection by bacteria in the minutes between its packaging and its journey down the tube.

 To bore through the rock to reach the miners, the government created a kind of friendly competition among three different drills, one so massive it had to be hauled by a 40-truck convoy.

Did you notice the last point made?: “the government created a kind of friendly competition among three different drills.” Competition gets stuff made and things done. Competition lowers prices and delivers products to consumers faster. The government estimated that it would take until Christmas before the miners could be rescued. I’m glad the government overestimated the time involved, but competitors in the marketplace of ideas and product development work to beat estimates. That’s the nature of capitalism.

And what is the driving force of capitalism? Profits! If profits are killed, incentives to work hard and create more life-saving and life-enhancing commodities are squelched. So the next time you find yourself reacting negatively about those “greedy capitalists,” keep in mind that some day one of them may save your life or the life of someone you love.

  1. Before you email to tell me that God had a hand in saving the miners, keep in mind that God has a hand in everything. Without God nothing is possible. God makes the world work. “By Him all things were created” (Col. 1:16) and “in Him all things hold together” (Heb. 1:2-3). He is our starting point for all things. []