I've a hypothetical to ponder. What if everyone execised care all the time?

We are reminded many times each day to do the safe thing in everything we do.

I’ve a hypothetical to ponder. What would life on earth be like if everybody, everywhere started doing everything humanly possible to avoid putting themselves in “harms way”?

I’ll bite.

We would see an amazing reduction in injuries and property loss. Life would also become a little more dull. (I don’t say “a lot more dull” because a surprisingly small number of people are responsible for the negative results of risk-taking.)

What puzzles me more than your question is, “What if everyone demonstrated more concern and respect for others?”

You mean, what would happen of everyone drove the speed limit?

What would happen if everyone cut their sugar intake by 90%?

What would happen if everyone stopped drinking alcohol? Smoking? Using drugs?

What would happen if everyone was at their target weight?

Would life be worth living?

I thought the OP was going to be about acting so you didn’t injure others. Many people get hurt and killed through no fault of their own.

Imo, we get a vicarious pleasure in putting ourselves in harms way; hence the populariity of horror and suspense.


The most commonly spoken final words by anyone would no longer be, “Here, hold my beer!”

would the economy crash?

That’s an interesting point. If it happened all at once, instantly, of course it would.

But over a longer period of time, this new and different acting group of humanity would presumably still find things to spend all their personal income on. They would just buy things to reduce their personal risk. A chunk of the population of Florida would leave, since it is too close to sea level, and the remainder would all be living in some kind of elevated concrete buildings made like bunkers. When the next hurricane came by, you’d hear the quiet hum of high quality generators starting up automatically as the power fails in areas. There wouldn’t be any panic, and FEMA would be there in a smooth and orderly fashion, as a well funded government agency that regularly rehearses and plans so that they are ready for the next disaster.

“Here, hold my probiotics…”

It would probably be more worth living because you wouldn’t have to deal with jerks cutting you off on your drive to work, drunks peeing on your car while you’re at the office, or the hugely overweight driving up your medical premiums.

In general we’d live longer, happier lives, although deaths from accident or disease would still happen, they would be less common in earlier years. We’d have to spend less of our income on things like insurance or cosmetic repairs, leaving more income to spend on entertainment (or debt reduction, but that’s just a stopping point on the way to having more to spend on entertainment).

Per SamuelA’s point, there’s a lot of industries that would experience extreme shrinkage and joblessness. We’d still need insurance but we’d probably need 1/10 as many agents selling it. We’d probably need fewer cops and EMTs. Industries that produce foods that are bad for us would be gone. Some of that would just transfer to other industries after a short disruption period (i.e. Little Debbie might switch to making salads instead of twinkies, since people will still spend on food), while others would either need to get into newly growing fields (like entertainment or certain startups), or we’d see joblessness rise coinciding with the rise in automation and I imagine this isn’t the thread to deal with that.

Actually, the premise of the OP is logically impossible. Everything has an element of risk, one cannot live without putting oneself in “harm’s way”.
To wit:

  1. to not eat or drink is to put one in harm’s way, because death will follow quickly.
  2. to go out and get food is also putting one in harm’s way. The world is a dangerous place.
  3. no one will bring you food or drink because to do so would put them in harm’s way.

To those who say that driving would be easier I submit that driving would cease to exist, as it cannot be made perfectly safe. We, as humans, can’t even know that we are doing the safest thing, since we cannot know the outcome in advance. What seems safe at the time may prove to be fatal. I mean, who expects to be killed in their own home by a cow falling through the roof?

We would either invent artificial wombs or become extinct in short order, since both sex and pregnancy involve a certain level of inherent risk.

SamuelA’s thoughts reminded me of the Pierson’s Puppeteers from Larry Niven’s stories. IIRC, their main survival trait was cowardice. Any threat, no matter how remote, was not to be ignored. In one of the books the entire Puppeteer population immediately evacuates the galaxy in which they reside because they find out the black hole in its center will explode in several billion years.

This. the OP suggests doing “everything humanly possible to avoid putting themselves in harm’s way.”

No more hiking in Glacier NP, what with all the grizzly bears.

In fact, no camping. I mean shit, you’ve got snakes, tornadoes, falling tree branches, and all that sort of stuff. It’s humanly possible to live without camping.

Guess I better sell my motorcycle. I mean sure, I’ve got a helmet, jacket, boots, and gloves, and my bike has ABS, and I have skills - but right next to it is a late-model car that gives me much better odds of surviving a crash.

You better sell your bicycle, too. Stick with the car, and do everything humanly possible to find a safer way (than bicycling) to get aerobic exercise. And by God, you better get your share of aerobic exercise, since it’s risky not to.

Give up your woodworking hobby; we can’t have amateurs fucking around with dangerous things like table saws, planers and routers. Leave that to the factory-trained professionals, and buy your furniture from the store just like a normal-safe human being.

We can go on and on like this, until human existence is boiled down to a boring and joyless schedule of exercise (via the safest methods humanly possible), labor, and Nutraloaf, all at the correct intervals to minimize risk.

It would suck.

In that particular SF milieu, they were also the premier manipulators of the galaxy. If they could work behind the scenes and steer other races into courses of action that would improve the Puppeteer’s safety or prosperity, AT NO RISK TO THE PUPPETEERS, then it would happen. Backed up with many layers of contingency plans, of course.

So that’s another angle. Individual humans, reduced to a complete state of risk-aversion, begin to start playing stealth games to offload risk onto each other.

Sounds like a particularly craven form of anarchic chaos to me.

I think not much would change.
The definition of “due care” would vary so much from person to person and time to time, that I don’t think there would be any consistent change in behavior.
For instance, driving the speed limit. Even if everyone were to drive the speed limit there is still some danger of accidents on the road. Hence it might be safer on an individual level to drive faster and spend less time on the road.
Cutting sugar by 90%-including natural sugars in fruit?

I just don’t think you could come up with a consistent definition tight enough to end up with any real change in behavior. Sure, you would eliminate the Darwin effect accidents, but they are such a small fraction of total accidents that I don’t think you would see any effect.

When I worked at a nuclear facility we operated under the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Acheivable) rule.

Every risk, every outcome, every possibility was considered before any non-routine work was done. Routine work could be performed only by duely trained personnel, appointed by their immediate supervisor.

All non-routine work required a work permit, with written pre-job brief instructions on all the aforementioned details, and of course still required duely trained staff. Supervisors could be fined and/or jailed for assigning untrained staff to a job.

As you can imagine, all provincial and federal rules regarding safety had to be followed 100%, with zero exceptions.

The biggest issue we had on site was slips, trips and falls, especially in the winter. It was a huge campus with about 3,300 staff and contractors.

Real work injuries were few and far between. Safety was recognized as the number one priority: not time, or cost, or anything else.

It worked really well, but you need to be prepared to pay for it.