Wrong Boom

August 22, 1993

The original proponents of the enterprise zone idea for the United States were inspired by the East Asian economic miracle -- development absolutely unfettered by any regulation or tax. Fortunately, the idea was never accepted in undiluted form here. Thailand is the latest Asian country to be in full-fledged miraculous development, and the Royal Plaza Hotel collapse in a provincial town, with confirmed deaths at more than 100 and growing, is the kind of risk taken.

This two-story hotel had four stories added and a seventh under construction when the structure gave way. A reasonable building code and reasonable enforcement would have saved those lives and not impeded real development. Third World boom countries, conspicuously including China, had better take this kind of regulation seriously if they want to keep the boom going.

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