Market economies are a choice,
not something humanity requires, pic.twitter.com/E9iEzwyjf3
— Kelsey D. Atherton (@AthertonKD) June 16, 2017
Count on Megan McArglebargle to act as point-person for the Worst Glibertarian Hot Take. For those of us who aren’t being paid to prioritize money over humanity, here’s Justin Davidson, in NYMag, “Could the Grenfell Tower Disaster Happen in New York?”
There is no such thing as an accident when a high-rise building fails. If gas leaks, wires spark, or a wall crumbles, those are not acts of fate, but the preventable consequence of people not doing their jobs. Terminology matters; if it turned out that the fire that consumed Grenfell Tower in London, killing at least 30 people (and probably many more), had been set by a radicalized Muslim immigrant or an anti-Muslim white supremacist, those facts would shape the U.K.’s foreign and security policies. If it’s just an instance of faulty construction, politicians can wring their hands on television, appropriate some emergency funds, and then move on.
It’s too soon to be sure exactly what caused the Grenfell Tower to burn. A thick plume of accusations suggests a lot of possible culprits: a faulty refrigerator; the recently installed cladding of cheap aluminum panels with a flammable core; the gap between the wall and the rain screen, which could have created a chimney effect and sped flames and smoke up the building’s exterior; ineffectual fire alarms; a lack of sprinklers; the presence of just a single fire stair. Behind the technical factors is another layer of social issues. Residents have accused building management and authorities of ignoring their chillingly specific complaints, perhaps because of a generalized disinterest in the building’s poor and largely Muslim population, or because of the pressures of gentrification from the neighborhood all around…
New Yorkers might be tempted to react complacently to some items on this list. Aluminum panels are common, but the slightly less expensive version with the flammable polyethylene core is not legal here. All buildings higher than 50 feet must have automatic sprinklers and two fire stairs, not one. And yet to argue those points is to miss the larger awfulness of the situation. Whether the proximate causes turn out to be corruption, venality, racism, or some combination of all three, the underlying sin is contempt for the people who must live in conditions they cannot control…
It’s always easy to malign the architecture of public housing projects as inherently inhumane. Many Americans see public housing as a machine for converting public funds into pathologies. Yet hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers continue to live in these buildings from another era, many more dwell in privately managed squalor, and 60,000 have no home at all. Even thousands of miles away, the Grenfell Tower blaze casts a ghoulish light on the importance of government’s least glamorous task: to fix what is broken for those who need it most. Because neglect is the moral equivalent of murder.
Wow. What kind of person writes this and hits print and has no idea of how appalled others will be? pic.twitter.com/Pioqx5rt8Q
— Susan of Texas (@SusanofTexas) June 16, 2017
I'm into cost-benefit analysis, but I find it hard to imagine "no flammable siding on high-rise towers" fails cost-benefit analysis.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) June 17, 2017
The Times says the "fire resistant" panels cost £24. The flammable £22. Making the building non-flammable would have cost £5K more. Stunned. https://t.co/ijzs7iRISm
— Tom Peck (@tompeck) June 15, 2017
A poor person's life is worth £8.30.
(£5k divided by the 'up to 600 people') https://t.co/jyLW2PDXk4
— Jonathan Hume (@IamMrJ) June 15, 2017
Me: Triangle shirtwaist factory was a horrific tragedy.
You: Yes but no. Preventing it theoretically could increase price of shirtwaists.
— Adam W Gaffney (@awgaffney) June 17, 2017
Speaking of a common thread among conservative ‘thinkers’…
'Don't politicise tragedy' pic.twitter.com/c8U2mBu4Sb
— david h hartery (@daithihartery) June 16, 2017