Foreign News: Habit's Hazards

Into a branch of the Tekoku Bank, Japan's largest, last week walked a middle-aged man of distinction wearing the arm band of a Tokyo municipal official. He said he was a city health inspector. Would the manager please summon all his employees for a dose of special anti-dysentery medicine?

The manager, a man with the habit of obedience to authority, lined up his underlings. The man with the arm band produced a bottle of colorless liquid and barked: "Drink this before locking the vaults." No one thought to ask why an anti-dysentery potion is not just as effective when a bank's vaults...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!