DISCUSSION: Grey Rhinos April 5, 2024

There is the “elephant in the room,” a major problem or issue that is obvious, but that people are hesitant to talk about (e.g., both of our presidential candidates are really old).  There is the black swan event, something that is completely unexpected but has a major impact (e.g., COVID).

Now policy analyst Michele Wucker adds to that menagerie with her book The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore.

From the editorial description:  “A ‘gray rhino’ is a highly probable, high impact yet neglected threat. . . .Gray rhinos are not random surprises, but occur after a series of warnings and visible evidence.”  Nevertheless, we ignore those warnings and that evidence (e.g., the national debt, social security running out of money, etc.).  Eventually, though, the gray rhino will lower its horn and charge.

Gray Rhinos, like elephants in the room and black swans, can manifest themselves at many levels:  public policy, economics, institutions, individual lives.

What would be some examples of Gray Rhinos?

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