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Rethinking Risk and the Precautionary Principle

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Rethinking Risk and the Precautionary Principle

Julian Morris

ISBN 0750646837
Pages 294

This book challenges the claim that the precautionary principle is an appropriate guide to public policy decision-making in the face of uncertainty.

The precautionary principle is frequently invoked as a justification for regulating human activities. From bans on the use of growth hormones in cattle to restrictions on children's playground activities, precautionary thinking seems to be taking over our lives. As the contributors to this book show, such an approach is of dubious utility and may even be counterproductive.

This is a timely and important contribution to the debate on how to manage risk in the modern world.

The editor, Julian Morris, is Director of the Environment and Technology Programme at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London. He has written widely on issues relating to environmental protection and technological development.

Contents: 1. Defining the Precautionary Principle, Julian Morris 2. Trial and Error vs Trial Without Error, Aaron Wildavsky 3. The Precautionary Principle and Our Obligations to Future Generations, Wilfred Beckerman 4. Precaution, GM Crops and Farmland Birds, Tony Gilland 5. Genetically Modified Fear and Interntational Regulation of Biotechnology, Henry Miller and Gregory Conko 6. Asteroid Collisions and Precautionary Thinking, Charles Rubin 7. Child Protection and the Precautionary Principle, Helene Guldberg 8. Plastic Panics: European Risk Regulation in the Aftermath of BSE, Bill Durodie 9. The Precautionary Principle as a Force for Global Political Centralization -- a case-study of the Kyoto Protocol, Bruce Yandle 10. Applying the Precautionary Principle in a Broader Context, Indur Goklany 11. A Richter Scale for Risk? John Adams 12. Facts vs Factions - the use and abuse of subjectivity in scientific research, Robert Matthews.