So why did so many die in Bam?
Answer: mainly because Iran is governed by an incompetent theocracy. Scarifying column by David Aaronovitch.
More: Many thanks to AA for this illuminating comment: “[Aaronovitch] doesn’t realise that one of the driving forces behind some of the building regs that keep California above ground is the active plaintiffs bar. There is a strong belief that the US tort law, despite some obvious problems with juries and punitive damages, creates a legion of “private attorney generals”. The attractions of 30% fees on success (and class actions) is that it forces companies to look at the cost-benefit analysis of projects in a way that works better than having a legion of planners taking full responsibility for matters (in a simplistic world). one of the biggest supporters of Ralph Nader’s “Common Cause” is the National Trial Attorneys’ Association. I always think the legal process in the US is another example of US Exceptionalism.”