There are some things we rightly find intolerable, such as the possession of poorly trained, aggressive dogs. There are other things, whose impacts are many thousands of times worse, that we decide just to live with. What makes the difference? Visibility is one reason: a photo of a large dog with bared teeth triggers primal fear. Ubiquity is another: the more widespread the problem, the more we normalise it. Split incentives is another: what if we are simultaneously both perpetrators and victims? But I think the most important factor is lobbying power.
There is no corporate lobby behind the sale, let alone poor training, of American XL bullies. But there are powerful corporate lobbies behind the air pollution devastating many people’s health. Oil corporations don’t want to lose their market. Car firms want to sell existing designs for as long as possible. Even the manufacturers of wood-burning stoves run a small, but surprisingly effective, persuasion operation.
Read more: theguardian.com