Risk Dilemmas: Forced Choices and Survival by Jablonowski Mark

By Jablonowski Mark

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We gain what is arguably a better life by doing so. To the extent any of these introduces the possibility of catastrophic risk, however, it is not worth it. It may seem like we have simply redefined risk and the cost to avoid it, suggesting that only the risks we don't like have a legitimate cost of avoidance, which in turn leads to precautionary dilemmas. First of all, the risks we accept, and conversely those we avoid, have their roots in the concept of a natural background level of risk. How exactly we define such level is a matter for the wider community of humans to decide, the process of which we describe in a later chapter.

Expressing our "uncertainty about uncertainty," they enter when multiple sources of uncertainty exist. We may simply not know enough about how these sources of uncertainty interact to be able to specify their combination in terms of a simple fuzzy membership function. The ultra-fuzzy approach assures that we properly capture the high degree of uncertainty that occurs when assessing high-stakes risk potentials. This enhanced uncertainty has significant implications for the way we deal with catastrophic risks on an individual, organizational, and societal level.

The idea of cost only makes sense when we are acquiring something ancillary to our basic needs. In turn, the concept of opportunity Finding Alternatives to Risk 27 cost only makes sense when we are giving up something valuable. A natural life presents us with a balance of existence with catastrophic risks. Fatalism, doing nothing, means doing nothing that will disrupt the natural flow of life. Now, if we can reduce the natural risks of life, by finding shelter, producing food, or curing disease, we should do it.

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