An investigation should help explain why a 13-storey block of flats being built in Shanghai collapsed on Saturday, killing a decorator. Authorities have promised that every effort will be made to prevent a repeat. Action will be taken against those determined to be responsible. For all the enforcement, justice and compensation that have been promised, though, we know that another such tragedy will happen somewhere on the mainland sooner rather than later. It is easy to make such predictions. The mainland's headlong rush to develop meshes poorly with the foremost national ills: corruption and lax enforcement of rules and regulations. Low construction and inspection standards are the result. There is ample evidence of this in the long list of disasters that have coincided with the economic boom. Lessons have been taught over and over. A tragedy hits or experts issue a report warning of impending calamity. Authorities take note and the rules are toughened but inadequately enforced. Disaster strikes again, and so the cycle continues. Stricter building codes were introduced in earthquake-prone areas after 240,000 people died in the 1976 Tangshan quake. Despite this, collapsing buildings claimed the majority of the lives lost in the Sichuan quake in May last year. Because of public anger over the large number of children killed, the National People's Congress last month passed an amendment to disaster laws requiring tougher building-safety standards for schools. We will not know how effective this has been until the next quake. At the heart of many accidents are corrupt officials and companies. Too often a blind eye is turned to the enforcement of laws. Poor construction methods and low-quality materials are used in the interest of making profits and saving costs. Lives are inevitably lost in the tragedies that result. Why the block of flats in Shanghai's Minxing district tilted and collapsed on Saturday morning will be a matter for speculation until the inquiry is carried out. The buckling of a flood wall on the nearby Dianpu River could be related. There were certainly design faults and construction flaws. The sub-contracting system, which makes maintaining quality control at every level of the building process difficult to ensure, could have contributed. Whatever the reason, mainland China's image has again suffered. Preventative laws are in place and are, in most cases, sound. Tackling corruption is a long-term issue, making greater enforcement a gradual process, even with top-level commitment. Lives will continue to be lost as long as greed continues to flourish.