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By Gerald J S Wilde. (Pp 234.) Toronto: PDE Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-9699-12404.
In Target Risk, Professor Gerald Wilde of Queen's University in Ontario, Canada assembles an impressive body of theory and evidence to support a provocative conclusion: the only effective strategy for achieving substantial and durable reductions in the rate of injury in a population is to increase people's desire to be safe and healthy. Traditional measures of injury prevention—engineering, education, and enforcement—are doomed to failure because they do not alter the “target levels of risk” that govern risk taking behaviors. The process of “risk homeostasis” will ultimately undermine all non-motivational countermeasures, since people will alter behaviors to achieve an equilibrium between the overall amount of risk they perceive and their overall desired level of risk. The key to success, Wilde argues, is “expectationism”: promoting people's interest in their future wellbeing in order …