Weighing The Costs And Benefits Of Security

from the more-than-one-side dept

We’ve talked before about how many business decision makers seem to constantly focus on one side of the cost-benefit equation. When times are good, they only focus on benefits of the decisions they make, without paying attention to the true costs. When times are bad they are only looking to cut costs, without realizing how much that may harm other aspects of their business. It seems like a fairly simple concept to weigh both sides – but in practice, it happens so rarely. It’s not just in business, either. Bruce Schneier is complaining that when it comes to national security, no one appears to be doing the same sort of cost-benefit analysis. Many of our national security proposals have tradeoffs. Many of those tradeoffs may be worth it, but it doesn’t appear that anyone is actually weighing the two sides. Instead, they’re saying “this will benefit us, let’s do it.” No one bothers to look at the costs in terms of monetary costs, inconvenience costs or even impact on society. Much of this is a result of the sound-bite culture we live in, where you only have enough time to explain one side of the issue, and you might as well focus on the benefits. No one wants to hear about costs.

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