Bangladesh, Texas, And A Reason For Regulation

230 people died this week when a factory collapsed in Bangladesh.Rewind several months ago, when over 100 people were burned alive in what should be their “Triangle Shirt Factory” incident. If their struggle could emulate the history of early 1900’s America, their revolt would result in change – a moment of revolution. But the working class citizens in Bangladesh do not have the leverage to demand such a change because in doing so, they are fighting against the corporatocracy that is Wal-Mart, Target, and other retailers who depend on dirt-cheap third-world production.

It has been reported by the Chicago Tribune that there was a crack in the foundation of the building that was noticed by inspectors before the collapse, but the owner “sweet-talked” them into turning a blind eye…

And to relate this closer to home – we’re hearing reports develop about the explosion at the fertilizer plant in the libertarian paradise known as Texas. The construct of this utopia allows business/industry to function as it pleases, warding off government regulation and allowing consumers to decide what thrives and what fails.

I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that the 15 people who died from the explosion would have wanted more regulation and less libertarianism. And what’s astonishing is the locals of West, Texas, have an “Oh well, it happens” attitude which was written about in an other article entitled “Anger Absent After Blast” reported in Thursday’s Chicago Tribune. I will not speculate on the reasoning for that cultural attitude, as this posting would run on endlessly.

But here’s the subtitle to that 4/25/13 Chicago Tribune article: “State has history of similar disasters, lack of oversight.” It goes on to list accidents such as the 2005 BP refinery explosion, a 1991 chemical plant accident, and an other fertilizer explosion that happened in 1947 that killed 570 people, calling these “some of the worst industrial accidents in the nation’s history”.

The article continues: “The state has no internal occupational safety program, relying on the federal system for inspections. The occupational fatality rate is higher than the national average, about double the rate in California”.

But lets look at the payoff from that lack of oversight from the perspective of a resident of the fine state of Texas. Yes, lives may be lost via fewer regulations, but at least you don’t have to pay tax dollars for agencies to enforce those regulations!

Someone needs to explain to me the validity of the Libertarian perspective…

Texas governor Rick Perry is actually running radio ads here in Chicago. He’s trying to persuade Chicagoland businesses to relocate down to Texas where the taxation/regulation is low for the sake of your business. We won’t discuss how the federal government provides more funding to the state of Texas, than Texas pays in taxes to the federal government. So us, as federal taxpayers have to make up for the little revenue actually generated by their state tax collections.

One final separate note – this is solid proof that terrestrial radio is a dying species. Illinois radio stations are airing commercials advertising the virtues of moving your business to Texas, with the message that essentially says “all business owners listening to this station, move your company down here to Texas because your business will do better down here than in Illinois”. So, as a Chicago radio station, you’re accepting advertising dollars that are luring away companies who potentially would have advertised with you if they stayed. Some terrestrial radio stations may have stopped thinking about long-term profits….

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