When I was five I asked mom what dad did and she said, "he decides what parts go onto a new car." I was very proud of this. Many years later I learned he was the guy that made car recall
decisions. This is done by weighing
versus the cost of fixing a potentially fatal problem. He would estimate the costs of any lawsuit
resulting from failing brakes, for example. If the cost of a comprehensive
fix was greater, the company would even keep the information secret
This type of analysis is fairly new in modern society, only used within the last thirty years or so. It's part of a larger field called operations research, which provides an analytical method for making business tradeoffs and valuing uncertainties. Businessmen like my dad who added up risk in this way have been called bean counters.
The main character in the movie Fight Club had this vocation. It drove him psychotic.