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Mountaineering is a dangerous activity. For many mountaineers, part of its very attraction is the risk, the thrill of danger. Yet mountaineers are often regarded as reckless or even irresponsible for risking their lives. In this paper, we offer a defence of risk-taking in mountaineering. Our discussion is organised around the fact that mountaineers and non-mountaineers often disagree about how risky mountaineering really is. We hope to cast some light on the nature of this disagreement – and to argue that mountaineering may actually be worthwhile because of the risks it involves. Section 1 introduces the disagreement and, in doing so, separates out several different notions of risk. Sections 2–4 then consider some explanations of the disagreement, showing how a variety of phenomena can skew people's risk judgements. Section 5 then surveys some recent statistics, to see whether these illuminate how risky mountaineering is. In light of these considerations, however, we suggest that the disagreement is best framed not simply in terms of how risky mountaineering is but whether the risks it does involve are justified. The remainder of the paper, sections 6–9, argues that risk-taking in mountaineering often is justified – and, moreover, that mountaineering can itself be justified (in part) by and because of the risks it involves.
This article provides a partial test of the rational-technical model and of the patronage model of political mobility in the Soviet Communist Party. Two major hypotheses are examined: 1) the greater the number of patron client ties acquired by regional Party secretaries, the greater the probability of their upward mobility, and 2) the better the economic performance of the regions for which secretaries are responsible, the greater the probability of their upward mobility. Multiple regression analysis indicates only very weak support for these hypotheses for the 1955–1968 period in the RSFSR. Considerably greater support for the hypotheses is found when the following variables are controlled: level of economic development, political regime, and Party cohort. Changes in the level of policy conflict within the central elite are found to account for much of the variation over time in the explanatory power of the two models.
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