Like many Australians, I did a fair bit of travelling around the country over Christmas and New Year, which involved driving thousands of kilometres across NSW, Queensland and Tasmania. The drives offered breath-taking views, but also several hair-raising instances of other drivers speeding well beyond the limit.

From a risk and return perspective, the “returns” of speeding are clear: people can get to where they want to get to faster. But the risks are also clear, and these include getting caught by a speed camera, getting caught by the police or worse, getting into an accident.

The real issue with speeding, however, occurs every time drivers get away with the risks and “earn” the returns. And the more this happens, the more speeding becomes seen as acceptable. Furthermore, given a natural human tendency to follow the herd, other drivers start having the same view on speeding and continue to put themselves and everyone else in danger.

Although there may be other factors at play, it is probably little wonder why the rate of crashes in Australia is high despite the many road rules that are in place.

My experience got me thinking about what the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry uncovered during 2018.

From a risk-and-return perspective, the returns and risks of engaging in misconduct are fairly clear. Like speeding, the real problem with misconduct occurs every time individuals get away with the risks and earn the returns. And the more this happens, and the more it is rewarded, the more misconduct becomes seen as not only acceptable but also as the better way to do things.