Monkt on December 13, 2008, 10:26:06 pm
Right.  In socialist-land: doing hazardous work with a low regard for safety is respectable if it's for duty (to the state).  When it's done for money, it's greed and not good.  I don't know that NASA has more or less respect for the lives of their people than the soviets, but they've been much more transparent about it.
  Frank:  I call to your attention incidences that would have happened less than 20 years or so before the early days of manned spaceflight namely "The Great Patriotic War"  when the USSR was more than willing to throw poorly or even nonexistantly trained soviet troops with little more than a handful of ammo and an ancient (and lousy in my opinion) Mosin-Nagant M91 bolt action rifle against nazi troops armed with MP-40 and first generation assault rifles.   If you were a soviet conscript that saw how bad it was and tried to run back to the rear you would face an NKVD officer who would put a bullet in the back of your head from a nearly as old Nagant revolver.  It wasn't until practically the end of the war when they finally came up with a semi-auto rifle that was halfway decent namely the SKS.
If I remember correctly the SKS didn't see much front line use in WWII, they did have the SVT-40 for most of the war however.

Frank B. on December 14, 2008, 01:10:39 am
  Frank:  I call to your attention incidences that would have happened less than 20 years or so before the early days of manned spaceflight namely "The Great Patriotic War"  when the USSR was more than willing to throw poorly or even nonexistantly trained soviet troops with little more than a handful of ammo and an ancient (and lousy in my opinion) Mosin-Nagant M91 bolt action rifle against nazi troops armed with MP-40 and first generation assault rifles. 

I was really trying to compare space program safety records.  The US govt has had the advantage of leaching off a much more vibrant economy than the soviets had to work with for its 70 years of existence, and that accounts for a lot in terms of how our govt run programs perform compared to soviet equivalents.

Leviathan on December 14, 2008, 01:29:06 am
US mining and other mineral explorations are NOT free market.  They're just slightly less state-owned.  As such, there's no real competition.  But if it gets bad enough, people are at least allowed to turn to safer employment.  Like organic grenade damper  ;D

Corydon on December 14, 2008, 01:00:31 pm
US mining and other mineral explorations are NOT free market.  They're just slightly less state-owned.  As such, there's no real competition. 

Okay, let's accept that as true.  There's no significant difference in ownership between US and Chinese mining industries, just slight variations on socialism.  That makes it easy to compare the two!  If it's the case that the economic system determines the level of safety, then US and Chinese mines should have comparable safety records.

But as I understand it, US mines are significantly safer than Chinese mines.  That indicates that the ownership of a mine is less important than other factors when it comes to safety.

Leviathan on December 14, 2008, 06:12:23 pm
The competition is largely not between mining companies, but between mining and other professions.  In China, changing jobs pretty much requires government sanction.  Thus you pretty well cannot quit being a miner unless some politician gives you an upcheck.  Thus those running the mines have no reason whatsoever to maintain a safe workplace.  You're expendable and replaceable and your choice is mining or starving.  The US at least has the ability to go "you know what?  This is way too dangerous.  I'm going to do something else."  Choice, first and foremost, helps safety.  Imposing safety measures is often arbitrary, and doesn't pay attention to risk/rewards or whether a measure will actually make people less safe in the long run.  People in a choice system make a decision which is better and worse.  They'll abandon measures which are ineffective or detrimental, adopt ones that are beneficial. 

The point of my statement is even this seemingly minor choice, love it or leave it, makes companies adjust to some extent.  But!  With actual free choice of companies involved, things could be even better.  Companies would have to compete even in the same area with each other over how good their working conditions are, rather than just playing the high salary versus risk game with other industries available to the same workers.  The Belters in EfT are already transiting to the different stakes.  If a subset of workers are dissatisfied with any given company, there's plenty other rocks.  And plenty of capital to go around apparently for establishing new companies.  I wouldn't be surprised if the larger rocks had multiple grubstakes on'em. 

If the belt were run like mining interests in the US, some government would take a look at the chaotic maze of different rock stakes, take all the mineral rights and assign them "efficiently", zone the rocks with residences, and people would be owing their lives to the company store quite often.  The choice would be between a few companies, nobody would really be able to start them up, and productivity would actually be *down* because the company wouldn't mine more than it individually can handle the logistics for.  They'd have less incentive to work on safety because they won't lose their force-driven stakes on the belt.  To some extent they would still have to, because some might prefer to provide a service industry in the residential areas.  Or move back out of the belts to terra or mars, since medical technology seems to prevent the deterioration of physiology that seems quite real in microgravity in EfT.

Compare to Chinese state-owned, and the gov would just lay claim to the entire belt, order mining with timetables utterly unrelated to any value for safety, and have no fear because you have to have permission to exit the dangerous mines.  They may actually be penal punishments.  Why would you care about the safety of said workers?  Even should you be some sort of a weird, kind overlord, you would have to vary your measures arbitrarily, try to gauge slowly what statistically alters the injury and fatality rates.  Innovation would be slow.  Painful.  And since they can't really leave, you may end up preferring to spend human lives to enrich your own pocketbooks.  Or gain status in the government heirarchy.  And ironically it's the least efficient of the three methods, since gov is the decider of what is and isn't viable for mining.  And what should and shouldn't be mined first.  And coordinating the supply chains.  One organization, with all the limits on coordination of such a large operation.

SandySandfort on December 14, 2008, 06:22:03 pm
I wouldn't be surprised if the larger rocks had multiple grubstakes on'em. 
Yup, you are correct. This will come up in a future story arc. The backstory is that nearly all Belters abide by an ISO mining claim protocol. It just makes life easier for everyone to accept some common standards.

Rocketman on December 14, 2008, 11:21:51 pm
US mining and other mineral explorations are NOT free market.  They're just slightly less state-owned.  As such, there's no real competition.  But if it gets bad enough, people are at least allowed to turn to safer employment.  Like organic grenade damper  ;D
Going to have to disagree with you on that one Leviathan.  It's true that there are significant regulations from the EPA and BLM among others on large mining operations but if we're talking about small claims where on a couple of people like a husband and wife work a claim, it's actually fairly reasonable. 

Leviathan on December 15, 2008, 01:39:11 pm
Rocketman:
Mining towns were originally block grants to mining companies, on the same pittance platform that gave the rail towns their reputations.  Many states at the least, the state long ago seized the entire set of mineral rights.  Texas is a notable participant in this program with that seeming inconsistency with Texan philosophy, since I saw some of the discussions concerning "Paulville" in Texas.  Also, a number of "scams" came out awhile back, where somewhat unscrupulous land sellers neglected to inform the buyers of certain addendums, like the fact that mineral rights claims were about to be or were currently being utilized on the land they "bought".  The history isn't nearly as rosy, in other words.  A lot of the places that still have mom'n'pop ability have just held the tradition from the days when they were unincorporated territories without that Federal oversight.  The EPA and BLM type of regulatory process is definitely a process of denial-of-resource, making it difficult to compete as a small company, however.

Sandy:
Yeah, people assume that some standards won't arise spontaneously without a state.  And be adapted or abandoned as conditions change.  Or largely ignored if unreasonable, as IPv6 has largely been because of its total lack of concern for seamless transition.

SandySandfort on December 15, 2008, 07:54:53 pm
Sandy:
Yeah, people assume that some standards won't arise spontaneously without a state.  And be adapted or abandoned as conditions change.  Or largely ignored if unreasonable, as IPv6 has largely been because of its total lack of concern for seamless transition.
Which of course, is exactly the same way it works with a state...

Leviathan on December 15, 2008, 10:08:01 pm
Yeah, but, but, without a state there nobody would want to work together!  They'll all be busy raping and pillaging and re-enacting scenes from the three mad max movies!  And arguing since government isn't there to set standards!  And who would build the roads?  ::)

Oh, and is Guy just, uhh, a little slow?  Or in denial?  *Reading* that sound sends chills up and down my spine.

 

anything