Consequences of “What Can It Hurt” and “Not My Responsibility” Philosophy – Train Wreck in China

“Who Me? I didn’t do anything.”

You expect to hear that from children, but not from adults.

This train wreck is heart-breaking. More heart-breaking are the Chinese government’s apparent attempts to cover up the causes and resistance to give answers about why safety procedures were not followed.

In a country where it seems as though the “life expectancy” of buildings built in the last 20 years is roughly, oh, about 20 years, people living in the hastily developed areas have good cause to be worried.  Even the newest buildings cannot always be relied upon. (Check out this story.)

I think the general operating philosophy in China is, “What could it hurt?”  “What could it hurt if I lie, steal, cheat, take a bribe, put ‘extenders’ in the cement mix or baby formula, or only make friends who are ‘useful’ to me?” Indeed. Look at what it hurts. Then ask yourself, what’s the price for your soul? Integrity counts. Even in the “little” things.

“What can it hurt?” has a correlary set of actions called “It’s not my responsibility.” It’s not my responsibility to worry about whether the paperwork is correct/true; it’s not my responsibility to clean the bathroom properly; it’s not my responsibility to report illegal dumping into the river; it’s not my responsibility to stop a man beating up his girlfriend; it’s not my responsibility to throw my trash in the waste bin; it’s not my responsibility to make sure my kid doesn’t cheat in school’…. Right. If not you, then who?

The train collision was one of several high-profile public transportation accidents in China recently. Early Friday morning, 41 people were killed when an overloaded bus caught fire in central Henan Province. Earlier this month, an escalator at a new subway station in Beijing collapsed, killing one person and injuring 28. Last week alone, four bridges collapsed in various Chinese cities.

via Train Wreck in China Heightens Unease on Safety Standards – NYTimes.com.

Do we want this to be us, America? What are you doing to stop it?

winner-winner, chicken dinner 🙂

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