SHORTIES: Safety first — for whom?

In 1994, the American scholar Charles Perrow wrote an article named “Accidents in High-Risk Systems”, in which he reviews his theory of “normal accidents”.

On pages 14 and 15, he writes:

“Another interesting systemic factor that influences the number of accidents and their prevention is the matter of close proximity of elites to operating systems. (…) Thus, the nature of the victims im contact with the system should have some effect upon the safety of that system.”

This can be useful to understand why airplane hijackings are usually treated so differently from ship hijackings and why the aerospace industry is error-avoiding, while the maritime industry is error-prone, for example. The elite may be involved with shipping, but is committed to flying.

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