It was the duty of the state to prevent the cruelty of the capitalist
Everyone agrees on one of the reasons behind the disaster in Soma. The same thing is written in pro-government media, as well as in the media that is dubbed “oppositional” just because it is trying to do its work.
Every one blames “wild capitalism” as the guilty one.
In other words, an understanding that focuses solely on profits and gives no value to the human dimension during the production process.
The company, which rented the mine from the state, tended to hire cheap and inexperienced labor to decrease costs.
Production increased to 6 million tons, from a mine whose annual production capacity was said to be around 2 million tons.
During this process, safety measures were neglected. The equipment to measure the levels of carbon monoxide were inadequate. They opted to save money in order to secure production at lower costs.
Life chambers that were proposed inside the mines were not constructed. It appears that they saved $5 million. The mine was to have 20 chambers, which appeared too high a price.
All this seems to show that the real cause of the accident was the lust for profit. It is enough to declare “wild capitalism” as the guilty one and to hold the company accountable. However, the owners of the mines in Germany, Australia or England are also capitalists. They do not send their workers to death with their lust for profit. This is because the workers have the rights earned over the years, as well as trade unions that protect these rights.
If a government turns a blind eye to the owner of the capital’s lust for profit, it will be held accountable. There are strikes; there is the ballot box. Yet even the capitalists over there know that the cost of negligence over safety measures is greater than the cost of taking the necessary measures. They take these safety measures not because they have a warm heart; because they are scared of the laws. They know that while trying to secure tiny savings, they could end up paying millions of dollars in penalties, lose their licenses, and go to jail.
The power to bring them to this point is the government and the laws it enacts. It is the labor minister and the energy minister.
Just like the company, the prime minister, the labor minister and the energy minister are equally responsible. The Labor Ministry was supposed to detect that the equipment was not adequate. It was responsible to follow the safety measures that are taken in the world and bring the law to Parliament, which would implement these measures. The Energy Ministry was responsible for questioning how 6 million tons of coal was produced from a mine with a 2 million ton annual capacity.
The mine became a grave for the workers, because the ministries did not do their jobs properly. No one but the prime minister is responsible for the ministers that he appointed.
Just as the company is responsible for these deaths, so is the prime minister, the labor minister and the energy minister. They are responsible not just for turning a blind eye to capitalism’s “wild” methods, but for not even trying to stop these.
Blaming wild capitalism should not lead us to ignore the obligation of this government to say “no” to this cruelty.