Another fun item from Chandler Howell’s blog about how people manage the risk. People try to get what they percieve to be the right amount of risk into their lives, but they do this on really really lousy data. So there are all kinds of breakdowns.
For example you get unfortunate scenarios where actors suit up in safety equipment, this makes them feel safer so they take more risks and after all is said and done the accident rates go up. Bummer!
I’ve written about how Jane Jacobs offers a model for why Toronto overtook Montreal as the largest city in Canada. After the second world war Toronto was young and niave with a large appetite for risk; while Montreal was more mature and wise. To Toronto’s benefit and Montreal’s distress the decades after the second world war were a particularly good time to take risks and a bad time to be risk adverse.
I’ve also written about how limited liablity is a delightful scheme to shape the risk so that corporations will take more of it. All based on a social/political calculation that risk taking is a public good that we ought to encourage.
What I hadn’t apprecated previously is how this kind of thinking is entriely scale free. Consider the fetish for testing in many of the fads about software development. The tests are like safety equipment, they encourage greater risk taking. Who knows if the total result is a safer development process?