Salute to Capitalism — And the Miners’ Rescue

“Capitalism saved the miners” is the provocative title of Daniel Henninger’s article in today’s Wall Street Journal. And he makes his case quite clearly.  Henninger takes issue with the current attacks on capitalism, most notably President Obama’s sneers at greedy, selfish profit-making businesses.

Henninger points to what saved the miners:

If those miners had been trapped a half-mile down like this 25 years ago anywhere on earth, they would be dead. What happened over the past 25 years that meant the difference between life and death for those men?

Short answer: the Center Rock drill bit.

This is the miracle bit that drilled down to the trapped miners. Center Rock Inc. is a private company in Berlin, Pa. It has 74 employees. The drill’s rig came from Schramm Inc. in West Chester, Pa. Seeing the disaster, Center Rock’s president, Brandon Fisher, called the Chileans to offer his drill. Chile accepted. The miners are alive.

He notes that making profits was the motivating factor for Center Rock, and the ability to profit in a capitalistic system leads to innovation — the creation of products and services we didn’t know existed:

In an open economy, you will never know what is out there on the leading developmental edge of this or that industry. But the reality behind the miracles is the same: Someone innovates something useful, makes money from it, and re-innovates, or someone else trumps their innovation. Most of the time, no one notices. All it does is create jobs, wealth and well-being. But without this system running in the background, without the year-over-year progress embedded in these capitalist innovations, those trapped miners would be dead.

An excellent salute to capitalism.