Wealth can save lives

bq. Within a week of each other, two earthquakes struck on opposite sides of the world — an earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale in California and a 6.6 earthquake in Iran. But, however similar the earthquakes, the human costs were enormously different.
bq. The deaths in Iran have been counted in the tens of thousands. In California, the deaths did not reach double digits. Why the difference? In one word, wealth.
bq. Wealth enables homes, buildings and other structures to be built to withstand greater stresses. Wealth permits the creation of modern transportation that can quickly carry people to medical facilities. It enables those facilities to be equipped with more advanced medical apparatus and supplies, and amply staffed with highly trained doctors and support staff.
bq. Those who disdain wealth as crass materialism need to understand that wealth is one of the biggest life-saving factors in the world. As an economist in India has pointed out, “95 percent of deaths from natural hazards occur in poor countries.”
From an article by “Thomas Sowell”:http://www.townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/ts20031230.shtml, via “AnarCapLib”:http://www.yazadjal.com/mt/archives/000199.html

2 thoughts on “Wealth can save lives

  1. I would also like to add that good governance was critical why casualties were so low in Japan and California, and so high in Iran.
    Building codes were enforced in Japan and California, but not in Iran, where the government is corrupt, and contractors often use cheap, shoddy materials to build ill-designed houses.

  2. Niraj,
    A good legal system that punishes negligence might be a better bet. This piece, written shortly after the Gujarat earthquake of 2001, explains why:
    Quake lesson: Building bye-laws or strict liability

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