For far too long in this nation's history, coal operators have recklessly endangered their workers' lives, with thousands of workers dying in accidents and many hundreds of thousands more dying and suffering from black lung and associated diseases.
Our understanding of human nature, the laws of economics, the history of mankind, and a quick glance in the mirror tell us everything we need to know. In short, that so-called "self-policing" doctrine promoted by free market zealots is a howling fraud.
The Boston Marathon bombings killed three and injured more than 180. The West, Texas industrial explosion killed at least 14 and injured more than 180. Guess which one drew the greater media and law enforcement response?
When a corporation falls short of regulatory standards it does not do so accidentally. Rather, it is a calculated choice based on risible enforcement efforts and piddling penalties passed by legislators on the take.
International corporations have no loyalty whatsoever to our country or its welfare. They are huge, free-floating international organizations dedicated to only one goal: making as much money as possible for themselves.
There are no provisions to hold accountable those people who are responsible for mining safety policies and procedures, or the corporate executives who insisted it was more important to "run coal" than to build ventilation.
For decades we have engaged in a type of capitalism that is simply unsustainable, an approach to industry that is not only bad in some ethical sense, but also fundamentally impractical in a business sense.