Risk Information

Risk concerns the expected value of one or more results of one or more future events. Technically, the value of those results may be positive or negative. However, general usage tends focus only on potential harm that may arise from a future event, which may accrue either from incurring a cost or by failing to attain some benefit .

The term risk may be traced back to classical Greek rizikon , meaning root, later used in Latin for "cliff". The term is used in Homer's Rhapsody M of Odyssey "Sirens, Scylla, Charybdee and the bulls of Helios " Odysseus tried to save himself from Charybdee at the cliffs of Scylla, where his ship was destroyed by heavy seas generated by Zeus as a punishment for his crew killing before the bulls of Helios , by grapping the roots of a wild fig tree.

For the sociologist Niklas Luhmann the term 'risk' is a neologism which appeared with the transition from traditional to modern society."In the Middle Ages the term risicum was used in highly specific contexts, above all sea trade and its ensuing legal problems of loss and damage." In the vernacular languages of the 16th century the words rischio and riezgo were used, both terms derived from the Arabic word "رزق", "rizk", meaning 'to seek prosperity'. This was introduced to continental Europe, through interaction with Middle Eastern and North African Arab traders. In the English language the term risk appeared only in the 17th century, and "seems to be imported from continental Europe." When the terminology of risk took ground, it replaced the older notion that thought "in terms of good and bad fortune." Niklas Luhmann seeks to explain this transition: "Perhaps, this was simply a loss of plausibility of the old rhetorics of Fortuna as an allegorical figure of religious content and of prudentia as a virtue in the emerging commercial society."

Wikipedia, Risk, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk (as of Apr 11, 2010)

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