At the opening of the twenty-first century, the United States seems to be leading the world toward embracing risk and rejecting security. Images of risk-taking as the ticket to success saturate contemporary culture, making extreme sports athletes and high-tech entrepreneurs the heroes of the 1990s. Replacing government protections with market challenges has become a central theme in mainstream public policy. The main message of publicpolicy reforms is that market challenges must replace government guarantees such as Social Security. In the current conventional wisdom, we need the pain, anxiety, and thrills of instability to produce a vigorous society.