During our daily lives, 12 minutes do not seem as if much time has passed, but for the people that were on Flight 610 of Lion Air on October 29, 2018, it was their countdown to death. It repeated with another flight in 2019, but all passengers were killed in just 6 minutes.
Boeing, a major airlines company, is known to be rivals with another airline called Airbus. Since both airlines can lose great amounts of money if the other makes new benefits, they are very likely to feel pressured to upgrade their airplanes in short amounts of time. This was the situation with the Boeing 737 MAX.
When Airbus released a larger, more stronger engine, Boeing seemed compelled to upgrade their own. The major problem was that the Airbus aircraft seemed to have more room under the previous engine available to expand while Boeing did not. Due to the new large engine, the 737 MAX had been tilted upwards with the engine above the wings, but since Boeing was so eager to develop their engine due to the competition, they put an accessory that forced the nose of the plane to jerk down whenever it detected this problem.
This was called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System also known as MCAS. Pilots were not aware of this and only had a minimum of a two-hour iPad course before taking flight. During the flight, when the plane was having struggles reaching altitude, the pilot and co-pilot tried to search in the quick manual and continued to fly the plane. However, it crashed just 12 minutes after taking off.
This is a major issue not just in the airplane industry but in all other industries. Many companies and enterprises have taken corrupt measures for their economic status and become more focused on their own benefits rather than the health and lives of their consumers.
The FDA and tobacco productions are other examples of organizations putting their consumers at great risk since the FDA is allowing drugs and foods that put people in danger out into the market due to the money the large companies are bribing them with.
According to an article written by Donald Light from Harvard University, “the FDA has sped up the review process with the result that drugs approved are significantly more likely to cause serious harm, hospitalizations, and deaths.” Since the Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, this is a major concern since the government is portraying acts of corruption.
Similar to the FDA, tobacco enterprises are also selling products at the risk of lives. Due to the decrease in tobacco sales by the younger generation, companies like JUUL and Suorin are releasing e-cigarettes that are flavored with extracts like bubblegum and peach to give the buyers a false sense of security since the nicotine and other chemicals are seemingly drowned out by the various vibrant flavors.
In the end, we can only ask ourselves whether the competition that drives our economy is put at a higher priority than the safety of the consumers and what can we do to possibly change this?
Esther Jung, Grade 10
Grover Cleveland High School