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Eton Tragedy: An Act of Self-Destruction

January 28, 2011

A Facebook friend asked my opinion about the tragic Eton incident that killed 10 construction workers in Makati city, the Philippines’

Billionaire Lucio Tan. Don't ever think you can control the market with your money. Political connections mean politicians would be more justified to control and sacrifice you in the name of the greater good......

Billionaire Lucio Tan. Don't ever think you can control the market with your money. Political connections mean politicians would be more justified to control and sacrifice you in the name of the greater good......

business district.

Some reports cited that a violation of the Safety and Health Standards could have caused the accident that killed said construction workers. Another report focused on possible “gross neglect of labor standards and workers’ right” by Eton Residences’ owner, billionaire Lucio Tan.

The following is my humble opinion on this issue:

All I can say is, let the rule of law work against those who put the lives of others at risk. I won’t be surprised if some mindless leftists (“mindless leftists” is actually a redundancy) put the blame on unbriddled capitalism. I expect that many people might also pass some knee-jerk judgment that people at Eton Residences (particularly its owner, billionaire Lucio Tan) were motivated by “greed” or “selfishness”. I say, they’re motivated by nothing but irresponsibility and recklessness. This tragic incident merely shows businessmen’s tendency to self-destruct. Yes, the message of this incident is “SELF-DESTRUCTION”, not greed or selfishness. Any greedy or selfish capitalist would never put the lives of his workers or employees at risk. If you want to earn more, you won’t let your employees work under a potentially fatal condition. If you want to earn more profits, you won’t resort to cheating or put the lives and/or health of your consumers at peril. That would be a bad PR or publicity. Now after this incident, who would want to buy properties from Eton? This is the reason why the only proper role of government is to protect individual rights. Those responsible for any kind or form of irresponsibility and recklessness should face the rule of rule. Objective law is the very foundation of a rational, free society (although we’re actually a semi-free society due to our compromised and compromising 1987 Constitution).

I understand that this incident might also trigger calls on the government to impose more regulations and control on the real estate and construction sector. Observe that media reports put so much focus on the plight construction workers, citing the latter’s poor working conditions, low wages, lack of benefit, “unfair” labor contracting, etc. This is why I say that the irresponsibility and recklessness of people at Eton is nothing but an act of SELF-DESTRUCTION, which might affect not only the construction and real estate sector, but the entire business industry as well.

Let me borrow a popular biblical verse to describe this tragic Eton accident. “What profit is there for a businessman to allegedly monopolize or control the entire industry yet lose or forfeit his economic freedom to produce through a possible government’s passage of regulatory laws like the anti-business antitrust law.”

With this incident, the business world should brace itself for a possible wave of statist reforms and regulations…

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