A Theory Of Normal Accidents

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1. Normal Accidents A. The concept of Normal Accidents is as simple and as complex as the systems it describes. Bell relates to his readers a theory first presented by the sociologist Charles Perrow. The theory of Normal Accidents propose that today’s technologies have become both too complex and too intertwined for accidents to be avoided. As Bell points out, some systems, such as a nuclear power plant, are more complex than others, like a university. The complexity of the system depends upon how “coupled” each individual part is to one another, or in other words, how dependent or independent a component of a system is. Normal accidents are very closely linked to risk society. As our culture takes on new, more advanced technologies and…show more content…
One person’s failing grade is very unlikely to cause another student to also fail. While this may be a strange example of a place for a normal accidents to occur, it helps me to understand the risks better because everyone relates to having a group member that wasn’t easy to trust to pull his/her own weight. The question becomes, does the rest of the group leave it up to chance or create a solution to the possible problem. In the same way people do not always trust every group member, people cannot trust technology, or the people that work with it, to never fail. Accidents have always happened and will continue to happen because it is simply impossible to think of every possible error that could occur. The dilemma society is faced with is how to decrease the magnitude of the outcome when errors do occur. 2. The Tragedy of the Commons A. In a world the values “keeping up with the Jones”, it is understandable why a theory such as the Tragedy of the Commons would be introduced. Bell uses Garrett Hardin’s ideas to paint a picture when the Tragedy of the Commons occurs. When a common area for group of people is in use, it is likely to exploited because of the selfish mindset of “What can I get out of this?” rather than “What can we get out of this?” This causes the common place, be it a pasture, road, air, or ocean to become unusable as a result of being overused by the very people it was meant to serve. It turns common places into a
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