Saturday, October 11, 2008

Deregulation sank the Titanic

You know, this really ought to make us think:

J. P. Morgan (the actual man, not the company, or the company too, but owned by the living person, then called the International Mercantile Marine Co., the company, not the... oh nevermind...) bought controlling interest in the British and American shipping companies building the Titanic. The US government further provided him with substantial tax cuts and subsidies. The only private company to resist Morgan’s takeover, Cunard Shipping, was promptly subsidized by the British government. J. P. Morgan was given the financial backing and the freedom to do whatever he wanted, unhindered by any oversight or liability.

Because the shipbuilding industry was un(de)regulated, the shipbuilders were pressured to make changes in the Titanic's construction against the strenuous objections of the design engineers – using plate a quarter of an inch thinner and rivets an eighth thinner in order to shave 2500 tons off her weight, not just to cut costs but so the ship would sail faster than the competition. Two other ships, the Republic and the Florida, collided off Massachusetts while the Titanic was being built, and even though they were damaged far more badly than would be the Titanic, the Florida made it back to New York and the Republic didn't sink for 38 hours, with all 750 passengers saved. The Titanic barely nicked an iceberg, not even with enough force to tear a gash in the hull as was first thought, but just hard enough to pop out the rivets and buckle the steel plate hull, allowing water to flood into five compartments. With a flimsy hull and skimpy rivets, however, the rest of the hull couldn’t endure the strain of the water. She broke up into 3 pieces, (not two as first thought) before she completely sank, and went down faster and at a steeper angle than even Cameron depicted in his movie.

The investigation proved conclusively it was negligence (and greed) on the part of the ship owners unhindered by any industry regulation. But the investigation was quickly buried and never made public, two formal governmental inquiries pinned the official blame on the (conveniently dead) captain of the Titanic, because the lawsuits from so many victims would have bankrupted the ship's owners, including J. P. Morgan.

It's from a posting over on Crooks and Liars that I found right here.

UPDATE: Ha! I just have to share the perfect piece of snark that I found in the comments section to the above:

So deregulation sank the Titanic, eh? Well, I FOR ONE would've preferred to die a cold, miserable free-market death in the icy waters of the Atlantic, than to have arrived safely at my port of call, ushered in by the steady, yet Marxist-tainted, hands of regulation-happy SOCIALISTS.

I'm sure everyone who loves FREEDOM feels the same exact way.

Good day.

That settles it, doesn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment

New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.