Malcolm touches upon one of my favourite subjects, the nanny state, its attempts to de-risk society, and the totally inane consequences of such actions.
He makes a key point: when risks go down (say as a result of structural change), the mechanisms we use to measure risk often stay in place, despite the total pool of risk shrinking. We start getting disproportionate views of any incremental risk as a result.
Maybe there’s a link to the root causes of Michael Power’s Risk Management of Everything. When people run out of first-order risks, they start focusing on second-order risks, and soon we land up in that awful place where risk management is a zero-unemployment industry.
Risk management, like flood inspection, works best when there is a risk to manage.