The more information that emerges about this mine accident, the more one is compelled to reflect on what plausibility could be the reason for the accident. An inquiry will make the final decision after hearing submissions, however after reading the latest news from the NZ Herald, I am going to raise several points:
1. The current CEO was appealing because he had a relationship with miners in the area. He was therefore appealing as a CEO candidate because he had the capacity to keep wages low. It is a small town, so a 'liked CEO' has the capacity to stop 'wage extortion' during a coal mining boom. This is a small town, so you want to appeal to 'old town' values right? Did this result in safety mistakes? Did he have underground mine experience in Qld?
2. The latest news suggests that the operations manager at the mine was "a former Deputy Chief Inspector of Coal Mines with the Department of Mines in Queensland" (source). This is a concern to me because you have a bureaucrat running a mining operation. A certificated mine worker has since convinced me that this manager was experience in underground coal mining and that he was very safety conscious. He has worked with him, and argued that I should not attribute blame to him. I have attempted not to do that because (like most), I am on the outside...merely highlighting plausible causes for the disaster. Gas and coal dust explosions are preventable. Its possible this could have been anticipated, but it must be acknowledged that even the best supervisors cannot completely avert poor practice because they must delegate responsibility, human error, someone has a bad night, etc. Taking work in NZ could ultimately be considered a step back in one's career, or maybe it was a retirement decision. The inquiry will make the decision...this commentary is only intended to assist any family ensure all bases have been covered.
So you might ask...how is the government to blame for this? Well, its a long straw, but aside from the points I have made elsewhere, the problem arises because of government for several reasons:
1. Government regulation makes decision-making arbitrary and overly centralised, resulting in bottlenecks in supply and demand. Govt makes markets less efficient.
2. Chinese huge energy demand which sees corporate entities making 'life-threatening' decisions for the sake of large profits, or distorting markets so others are marginal, can tend to result in 'short cuts'. The Chinese demand was because of political oppression by the Chinese 'government', and now suddenly they release the oppression, you get an economic and investment boom stimulated by cheap wages. The same thing happened in the Industrial Revolution. The distortions created slum conditions, which we see today in Chinese cities. Its not news so much in the West because there is no modern-day Karl Marx going to China and reporting on it. It will probably happy. Probably some rich liberal too; but that won't stop the 'maligned working class' from blaming all rich people and capitalism.
They will be too uneducated and unthinking to make any reasonable analysis; but it won't stop them from duly disparaging capitalism and capitalists with smear as to its impracticality, when it was always socialism and the socialistic distortion of capitalism. You will hear only smear about 'greedy capitalists'. You will not hear how this Pike River CEO was under tremendous pressure, knew the workers personally, regarded them as friends; nor the fact that he cried over their losses. Cynicism will rein and they will disparage people on dubious ideological grounds. That does not mean we should repudiate ideas. You don't throw the baby out with the bath water....as moral sceptics are prone to do...you remain a critical and engaged thinker.
It was just released that their has been a 2nd mine explosion at the Pike River operation on the West Coast of NZ. The Police Operations Commander has come out to defend his decisions. He argues that a 'team of experts' has made this 'logical' decision. One might wonder whether it was a 'majority' vote, and whether there were any objectors or critics of the strategy from within the team. Governments, in fact many decision-makers, are reluctant to convey that it was a difficult decision. It would therefore be good to know - who objected to the strategy and why? Have those objectors been vindicated? We might never know if their were any objections. Hopefully the media will ask the question, and if the media will have access to them. I suggest there may have been a poor decision-making process in place. i.e. A democratic one as opposed to an objective one. There is a belief that if you take a democratic vote among experts you will get the best decision. You don't! You get the smarter people stifled by political agendas and committee-talk. There needs to be a process of reconciling conflicting ideas in order to develop the best strategy. The process by which decisions were reached was not developed.