Monday, April 16, 2012

Exclusive WSJ Report – The Real Reason Why So Many Lives Were Lost on the Titanic!

Unbelievable Report in the Opinion Section (Unbelievable Because No One Will Believe It)

Despite the Neanderthal leanings of its editorial and opinion pages the Wall Street Journal is still regarded as a prominent news journal.  So to be published on its opinion/editorial pages is something that must go only to the very well known and very widely read.  Which made it somewhat of a mystery when Friday’s Journal had an opinion piece from Chris Berg.  Who is Chris Berg?

Mr. Berg is a fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne, Australia.

Okay, we ask the question again, who is Chris Berg? 

Obviously in order for someone as unknown as Mr. Berg to get featured space in the WSJ it must mean that he has something really newsworthy to say.  And he does.  Mr. Berg has come up with the definitive reason as to the large loss of life when the Titanic hit an iceberg some 100 years ago. And yes, you are going to have to read through the entire Post here to find out what really happened.

 To set the scene we need some background on the insufficient number of lifeboats on the Titanic and why that happened.
Look What Government Caused!

The ship had carried 2,224 people on its maiden voyage but could only squeeze 1,178 people into its lifeboats. There were a host of other failures, accidents, and mishaps which led to the enormous loss of life, but this was the most crucial one: From the moment the Titanic scraped the iceberg, the casualties were going to be unprecedented.

And Mr. Berg shoots down the story that this was because the Titanic violated regulations and safety rules.

 the Titanic was fully compliant with all marine laws. The British Board of Trade required all vessels above 10,000 metric tonnes (11,023 U.S. tons) to carry 16 lifeboats. The White Star Line ensured that the Titanic exceeded the requirements by four boats.  . .

And the problem was not the extra cost or the ‘aesthetics’ of having more lifeboats.

This claim—that the White Star Line chose aesthetics over lives—hinges on a crucial conversation between Alexander Carlisle, the managing director of the shipyard where Titanic was built, and his customer Bruce Ismay, head of White Star Line, in 1910.

Carlisle proposed that White Star equip its ships with 48 lifeboats—in retrospect, more than enough to save all passengers and crew. Yet after a few minutes discussion, Ismay and other senior managers rejected the proposal. The Titanic historian Daniel Allen Butler (author of "Unsinkable") says Carlisle's idea was rejected "on the grounds of expense."

But that's not true. In the Board of Trade's post-accident inquiry, Carlisle was very clear as to why White Star declined to install extra lifeboats: The firm wanted to see whether regulators required it. As Carlisle told the inquiry, "I was authorized then to go ahead and get out full plans and designs, so that if the Board of Trade did call upon us to fit anything more we would have no extra trouble or extra expense."

No the problem was not that the ship builder didn't want to put in the extra life boats, the problem was government, specifically government regulation.  Here is Mr. Berg’s conclusion, the sentences that got his ideological laden rant published in the Wall Street Journal.

At the accident's core is this reality: British regulators assumed responsibility for lifeboat numbers and then botched that responsibility. With a close reading of the evidence, it is hard not to see the Titanic disaster as a tragic example of government failure.

YES!  The loss of life on the Titanic was the fault of government!  What a great lesson for us all, if government would just not meddle in the affairs of business all of the passengers on the Titanic would have been saved.

Oh wait, the point that Mr. Berg is making is not that there was too much regulation, but that there was too little.  In his view the loss of life can be attributed to a lack of sufficient, updated reasonable regulation by government. 

Does anyone else see the irony here of publishing this screed in the Wall Street Journal?  Really, anyone? 

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