The Great Plague of London and root causes of risk

One of the hardest parts in documenting your risks is figuring out the root cause of the risk being analyzed. If this is done poorly, we will spend time and money treating the wrong root causes and the risk may only get worse.

Take the Great Plague of 1665 that killed 1/6 of London’s population. It was believed that dogs and cats harboured the plague so the Mayor had hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats exterminated. As it turned out, rats and mice carried the fleas that carried the disease (that bit the humans). With their natural predators extinct, the rats and mice population grew and the disease multiplied exponentially. Huh.

So think about those root causes.

5 comments for “The Great Plague of London and root causes of risk

  1. March 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Okay noted, but what would be the solution? David Apgar in his book Risk Intelligence proposes some useful thoughts.

  2. March 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Okay noted, but what would be the solution? David Apgar in his book Risk Intelligence proposes some useful thoughts.

  3. May 6, 2012 at 3:45 am

    This is true from what I have read on the great plague of London. A quantitative test for root cause would have been very useful in the instance of the great plague. This is history of course but the big question is have learned anything from this event?

    From what I am seeing with regulating the banks to fighting terrorism on airplanes, we still fail to treat the root cause today. We haven’t learned much from the message of the great plague.

    • riskczar
      May 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      many people can’t think outside the box or find that outside the box is too icky.

  4. riskczar
    May 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    many people can’t think outside the box or find that outside the box is too icky.

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