My thesis is that had other methods of insulating the steel columns been used (i.e., concrete encased steel columns, or wet asbestos), the buildings would have stayed up longer.
Again with the revisionist history!
Your thesis was this:
WTC collapsed because the towers were built "on the cheap".
This is typical of the liberal/luddite, blame the man, evil corporation thesis that anti-capitalist statists like yourself always wallow in.
The fact of the matter is that maybe the asbestos insulation (which was prohibited by unnecessary, environmentalist-driven law, not economics) would have helped the buildings stand a little longer. Maybe not. Either way, they still would have fallen in roughly the same time frame.
Despite your thesis, the building were not built on the cheap. The just released FEMA report (which is considerably more relevant than a single article in the NYTs from 1970) found no substandard structural problems with the WTC construction, and in many cases the towers surpassed building code requirements.
In 1970 there were essentially two methods of protecting steel beams from a fire; encasing the steel beam in concrete or the newer, more cost-effective method, asbestos.
When asbestos was banned in 1970, and concrete encased steel beams were not an option, as the WTC were at around the 67th floor; "suddenly" a new method to insulate the steel beams was invented.
Yes the WTC most likely would have eventually imploded, but I believe the towers would have stayed up longer had asbestos been used.