Risky Business - The management of Risk and Uncertainty
- By: Séamus Phillips
Statistically, it is common knowledge that flying is less dangerous than driving a car. But have you ever thought why people behave as if the opposite is true? Why is it safer on the roads now than when cars were first invented? And why did the government feel that killing so many cattle in the wake of the crisis surrounding bovine spongiform encephalopathy was justified?
Risk is something that plays a part in everyone's life. Calculations about risk are part of everything, from deciding to cross a road to deciding to have medical treatment. It is, to a certain extent, the job of government to manage public risk. Professor John Adams sets out to prove that this is easier said than done. Apparently, we tend to assume that most risks can be set out in the form of numbers. Indeed, this is what the Chief Medical Officer thought in 1995,