Sometimes a Visual Aid Helps

The world stood at rapt attention and millions of people rejoiced for the rescue of 33 miners who’d been trapped more than 2000 feet below the Chilean desert and returned alive to the surface on Wednesday. Of course, I thought it was just a super feel good story, all and all. ¬†Happy endings are the greatest!

I found it curious that the company for which the miners worked spent not a penny on their rescue. The whole operation was pulled off under the direction — and commitment — of the Chilean government, with assistance from several outside sources, including a Korean telecommunications company, German fiber-optic manufacturers and a private mining company with Japanese and British investors who paid for the US-manufactured drilling rig and drill bits that managed to save the day.

All the so-called “free market” champions in the US, who can’t stand the idea that even a pragmatic government could possibly be effective, would do well to take note of just how this incredible success story came about.

I also found it edifying to come across this helpful graphic that attempts to show on our computer screens the scale of just how deep in the earth those men were trapped. It raises all kinds of questions about the risks and rewards of mining operations worldwide, though I’m afraid we’ll have to leave pondering them in detail for another day. All I can say is miners don’t get paid enough and mining companies — in the US at any rate — are not held responsible enough for the health and safety of the brave men and women who make their profits possible.