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Minnesota Bridge Collapse: America Is Falling Apart...Literally
Friday, 03 August 2007 21:03
by Edward Strong

Capitalism & Catastrophic Failure

The collapse of the bridge was not related to terrorism. There was no earthquake or accident that triggered it. This made the disaster more mundane and more insidious. The death and destruction was the result of incompetence and indifference.

Infrastructure Is Allowed to Decay
For decades, social infrastructure in the US has been starved of resources, even as trillions of dollars have been funneled into the pockets of a small layer of the population. Hundreds of billions are spent every year on the US military, but when it comes to the physical infrastructure and basic social services, adequate funds are never available.

In recent years, the remnants of past reform policies have been abandoned in favor of the “free market” and fiscal austerity dogmas that dominate both the Democratic and Republican parties. An integral part of the economic and social policies have effectively redistributed the national wealth from the bottom to the top, vastly enriching the uppermost social layers at the expense of the working class. To the detriment of the material foundations of modern society - roads, bridges, levees, water, electricity - is the removal of virtually all legal restrictions and regulations on the profit-making activities of big business.

This includes the enforcing of basic safety standards and the monitoring of companies that repair bridges. In the United States, there is no “erring on the side of safety.” Infrastructure is allowed to decay until it must be replaced, an accident occurs, or there is some business interest involved. This can lead to tragic results. Just last month an underground steam pipe exploded in midtown Manhattan, killing one person and injuring dozens. In 2003, as a result of an overburdened and under-maintained transmission grid, a major blackout cut off power to large sections of the Midwest and Northeast United States, as well as parts of Canada.

The same tendencies were also present two years ago in the virtual destruction of a major American city, New Orleans, in Hurricane Katrina. For all the official talk about “securing the homeland,” the American people are more threatened by the neglect and incompetence of the government and the subordination of all social questions to the enrichment of a financial oligarchy than they are by terrorism.

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