Picture the scene:
Engineer: CEO-san we need to move those back-up generators to higher ground in case big tsunami hits us.
CEO: how high of a tsunami are we talking about?
Engineer: pretty high
CEO: what is the chance that such tsunami comes our way
Engineer : about once every 500 years
CEO: and how much this relocation will cost?
Engineer: it will eat 2% of the profit for a year
CEO: are you nuts? You think I will go in front of the shareholders and tell them they'd get 2% less this year because of something that might happen ONCE in 500 fucking years?! I am here for another 10 years and I retire after that. I'll take the risk that this will not happen on MY watch. And here is a wakizashi, go and commit harakiri right now you insolent brat!
Engineer: yes CEO-san
Only....the next CEO will say the same; the next one too...and over time the chances that the big tsunami will come approaches....1, while every CEO sees it as "no chance it will happen on my watch; I am only here for X number of years where X is way smaller than 500".
Disclaimer: I realize that no power plant will operate for 500 years but I also realize that once in 500 years can also mean tomorrow.
Conclusion: never run critical infrastructure, health care, education, military, police and transport on profit motive only. The real profit of those things running smoothly and efficiently regardless of "cost" is way higher than the profit a company will make running it, but this huge profit will be distributed over the whole of the economy rather than a much smaller profit in the pockets of a corporation, while the LOSSES incurred by them running the business badly is soaked by all of us.
Example: for every Nederlander on /. - anything to say about the NS [trains] and the health care system of the Netherlands once they were privatized and began to run ONLY on profit motive? The NS is lying like nobody's business about the delays [you know they consider cancelled trains as not delayed -those do not go into any statistics about the quality of service; those trains do not exists!WTF?!?] and spread the losses by not delivering millions of people to work on time. I won't be surprise if for every million they make they incur losses to all businesses that is 10 times higher. As for the health care system....well enough said [otherwise I'd have to write a novel]....