By Jason Puskar
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Extra info for Accident Society: Fiction, Collectivity, and the Production of Chance
This tendency is self-reinforcing. Once the efficient and reliable methods of Introduction insurance compensation are in place, everyone has less incentive to find fault by seeking redress through the courts, so injuries can remain unexplained, morally and even rationally, without serious financial loss to anyone. 49 However, in addressing insurance in several of the chapters that follow, I do not focus on its mathematical, statistical, and probabilistic methods for predicting future rates of loss nor on the insurance industry’s strictly disciplinary functions.
Journals such as the Western Underwriter and the Insurance Monitor combined the dry work of trade magazines—reporting on market conditions and pending legislation—with greater literary ambition, and often they were run by men with no small amount of education and artistic ambition. Banking and other financial services had no comparable publishing empire, nor did they house writers and artists of comparable skill. The poet The Insurance of the Real Wallace Stevens, the linguist Benjamin Whorf, and the composer Charles Ives were all insurance men, and all of them published on topics beyond insurance in insurance industry magazines.
But on the other hand, if we underread the accident, accepting claims for chance too readily or naively, we risk becoming blind to complex causes that might yet be understood. Criminals are excused this way, as are social, economic, and cultural conditions that otherwise might be seen as causal. The broader point is that Hazard provokes this level of interpretive complexity by admitting the possibility of chance and its attendant irregularity and irrationality to the ethical questions of modern life.
Accident Society: Fiction, Collectivity, and the Production of Chance by Jason Puskar