Just three months after the California earthquake of 1989 killed 63 people, injured 3,500 and damaged 100,000 buildings, local students took part in surveys that showed they were highly optimistic about their vulnerability to natural disasters.
I take your main point in the piece: yup, we are over-optimistic….a trait without which there would be no entrepreneurs for example.
However, that specific example isn\’t one of over-optimism. That\’s one of being entirely rational.
The Loma Preita earthquake was 7.1 on the Richter scale. And as you say, 63 killed.
The Haiti earthquake was 7.0 (it\’s a logarithmic scale, so ten times less ene3rgy than the California one) and 230,000 killed.
That\’s pretty good evidence as to why, in California, what with the building codes and all, you might quite rationally be pretty optimistic about your vulnerability to natural disasters.