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I'd Feel Much Safer If A Government Bureaucrat Was In Charge

Marc Hodak found this gem in a newspaper article about the new Grand Canyon Skywalk:

The Skywalk's builders have said repeatedly that the deck is extremely durable. It's essentially a huge steel horseshoe, capable of withstanding 100 mph (160 kph) winds and holding several hundred 200-pound (90-kilogram) people at a time.

I had no reason to doubt them. But out on the edge, my mind was racing: I tried to remember if any government regulatory agency had checked how well this thing was anchored to the cliff.

Hodak observes:

News writers are notoriously wary of private agents and their self-interests versus "the government," as if its agents were somehow endowed with a greater degree of expertise or caring for their fellow man. They often can't fathom that, even regardless of their economic interests, the owners and operators would be any less concerned about their guests tumbling down the side of the Grand Canyon than some bureaucrat with a tape measure and some forms to fill out. It kind of leaves me breathless.

Maybe they can bring in the government crew that built the Tacoma-Narrows Bridge.

Posted on April 2, 2007 at 10:32 AM | Permalink


The Tocoma Narrows bridge wasn't a failure of the government. It was an engineering failure. (but the guy you quoted is a fool.)

Posted by: Garble | Apr 2, 2007 6:29:57 PM

Garble, who paid for the Tacoma Narrows bridge? IIRC, it was a government project. Who inspected the Tacoma Narrows bridge? IIRC, it was inspected by a government agency and deemed safe.

Yes, there was an engineering failure, but those engineers were government employees. What would make government engineers better at assessing risk than private engineers?

Posted by: Max Lybbert | Apr 3, 2007 8:15:03 AM

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