Number 2: The Equivalency Trap

December 31, 2010

“Well, we already have Bad Thing X out there, and Y isn’t any worse…”

A year later, when the time comes to fix Bad Thing X:

“We already accept Bad Thing Y, and X isn’t any worse…”

Danger is cumulative.  Accepting risk should never imply that all risk of equal or lesser value is accepted.  Two risks of equal impact means there’s two ways the bad result can happen. Once you start down this road, inertia keeps all of it from getting fixed.

Alone in your office, it is safe to compare risk.  Out in public, comparison invites people to come out of the woodwork and claim they have that “risk of equal or lesser value” coupon.  You don’t stop wearing your seatbelt because you smoke three packs a day, and you don’t refuse to quit smoking because you’re an awful driver.

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