Titanic and the Fatal Flaw of Regulation

In the 1958 Titanic film "A Night to Remember," Captain Smith is consulting with the shipbuilder Thomas Andrews. After the two realize that the Titanic will sink and that there are not enough lifeboats for even half those aboard, Smith quietly says "I don't think the Board of Trade regulations visualized this situation, do you?"

In the run-up to the 100th anniversary of this tragedy this weekend, there's been a lot of commentary about who and what were to blame. Left unsaid is that the Titanic's lifeboat capacity is probably the most iconic regulatory failure of the 20th century.

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