Friday 31 March 2006

Security: What do these things have in common?

  • Iraq

  • Google

  • French Students

  • The company I work for

  • The Private Finance Initiative

  • It's all about security in one form or another. Life is a constant balance between taking risks and looking for assurance. Different people look for a different balance. At the scale of individuals this is part of what makes life interesting, and also what makes life possible. Much though I'd like to think that humans could all live together in harmony sharing equally the fruits of the labour, with each contributing according to his means, a contented society would largely stagnate. Progress requires risk.
    But why do people take risks? Some people seem to take risks purely for the hell of it. Think about bungee jumping or even skiing. Some people take a more calculated approach to risk. But whichever way you look at it, risk-takers are always looking for some kind of benefit to accrue from their risky behaviour. So if society needs risk to progress there must also be some kind of reward for those who take those risks.
    Reward is needed to encourage risk-taking, but what of the other side of the equation. One thing that tends to get overlooked is that risk, by definition, implies some kind of detriment or discomfort in the event of failure. It's all well and good reaping the rewards, but what if the flip side of the equation doesn't really balance?

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