Suitably anonymous @_BossGoose opines on Twitter re my previous posting on causation, responsibility and the Grenfell Towers catastrophe:

Boss Goose

Is your suggested course of action basically “some of us will live through (nearly) any disaster, so, fuck it, let the market decide”?

S/he goes further:

Boss Goose

This may be of interest to you as a counter-point [linking to a short flimsy Al Jazeera video that seeks to deflect the horrors of Venezuela away from #socialism].


We know how some things work in the Newtonian part of our reality. There are certain Facts that we now take for granted.

For example, if you build a very tall tower with no deep structural foundations, it is very likely to fall over and at a certain height is susceptible to tiny tremors and topples. See that with Lego bricks.

Here’s some easy analysis of the science of buildings. See also the amazing ‘damper’ balls inside the world’s tallest towers:

Gensler, the architects of the Shanghai Tower, created the eddy-current damper, a masterpiece of simplicity. It consists of a 1,076-square-foot copper plate covered with 125 powerful magnets, mounted beneath the suspended mass damper.

When the building sways, the 1,000-ton iron weight (360 tons heavier than in the previous largest damper) swings over the magnets, inducing an electrical current in the plate that, in turn, creates an opposing magnetic field, automatically counteracting the weight’s motion and further amplifying its damping effect. No active control or outside power source is necessary. The magnetic flip occurs because of a version of Newton’s third law called Lenz’s law.

The result is not just elegant engineering but measurable benefit … most people will never feel the building sway, not even in summer, when the typhoons roar in.


It would be absurd to build a building that high without this technology. It just wouldn’t work.

Note that this does NOT mean that such buildings will NEVER fall down in freakishly heavy weather conditions. It’s just that at this state of human knowledge we’ve given these improbable structures our best chance of staying up.

In other words, it’s safe to say that if we built a very tall tower without a damper-ball system in it, the absence of that ball would ‘cause‘ it to fall down sooner than it otherwise might do.

So to Venezuela. We now know how to run reasonably successful national economies over many decades. There are things you do, and things you avoid.

This is why Cuba is very poor and Singapore (previously poorer than Cuba) is now very rich. The Cuban communists did stupid things and WENT ON DOING THEM FOR DECADES. The Singaporeans identified a far smarter formula then stuck to that. Had the Cuban communists stepped aside in (say) 1980 and brought in Singaporeans to help them run a successful economy, Cuba and Cubans would be far better off now.

The Chavez tendency in Venezuela has done a long list of obviously stupid things motivated by naive primitive ignorant socialist ideas. This sustained socialist bungling and the political machinations required to keep the current useless ruling elite staggering on has ’caused’ Venezuela’s ruination now unfolding according to any sane meaning of causation. ‘But for’ this socialism Venezuela would not be in the mess it is in now.

This is NOT to say that what was there before Chavez was wonderful. SOME ‘socialist’ policy adjustments to help poorer Venezuelans coupled to other smart policies might have been a long-term success.

But has socialism as typically defined as extended state controls for ‘social’ ends been a key cause of disaster for Venezuela? Yes. On almost any count you choose.

So back to BossGoose.

My earlier Grenfell Towers did not make any case at all for simply ‘letting the market decide’ safety in tower-blocks or anything else.

What it DID point out is that state regulation effected in the name of ‘safety’ is itself all about (often arbitrary) risk displacement (even though it is never presented that way). More money on safer cladding means less money on safer lifts, or less money on safer fire-doors, or less money on repairing car-park potholes.

I had a top-floor London council tower-block flat for a while. We residents all muttered against the high cost of installing fire-doors in each flat. We all wanted more ‘safety’ – as long as someone else paid for it.

My earlier piece also explained that how we spend money on ‘safety’ as per state regulations might be said to come down to political fashion:

The whole point of such standards is to impose a certain risk-management calculus on all of us. So it’s intended/ inevitable and maybe even reasonable that we stop thinking as much as we did previously about managing risks. No management company can second-guess the science that goes into any given form of building cladding. And (perhaps) extra cladding in any case has been imposed by the state to conserve heat and so reduce energy use.

Why? Because CLIMATE CHANGE KILLS! The state took on the risk of imposing extra local fire-risks in the short-term as part of a longer-term policy goal.

In everything we do we must draw a line on analysing and weighing options, and decide to ‘hope for the best’. Whatever we decide, accidents sooner or later may happen, some with especially ghastly big consequences.

There is literally no way to choose ‘objectively’ between trying to avoid a short-term, plausible event with (we think) containable consequences and a longer-term, rather less plausible event with (perhaps) far more widespread consequences. We nonetheless propose to spend gazillions to try to stop ‘climate change’ whose damage is on any calculation far less than the generalised wipeout caused by a major asteroid strike on Earth. Money spent on preventing the latter? Basically zero.

Without the cladding on this building brought in to meet EU etc ‘climate change’ targets by reducing energy use, the disaster we have seen might well not have happened. So did progressive climate zealots CAUSE this disaster through their feverish lobbying? Sure looks like it.

Someone has to pay. Why not them?