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>People do the calculus to decide if risk is greater than reward all the time.

Technically you're right but what you seem to be missing is that people (in general) suck at risk assessment. Although they are doing "the calculus", most of their calculations are based on heuristics that just don't reflect a rational analysis.

That is why so many people fear plane travel more than car travel, immigrants more than cigarettes, and pharmaceuticals more than "raw water".

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