We already have risk management – do we really need the precautionary principle?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The precautionary principle (PP) is fundamentally a claim that acting to avoid and/or mitigate threats of serious harm should be accorded high priority in public policy. Over the last three decades, governments and international bodies have endorsed it in principle, and some of them have incorporated it into some areas of policy practice. Yet, PP is controversial in policy circles, public discussion and scholarly discourse. Here the PP literature is reviewed from the perspective of economics, where the tendency is to see theory and methods for rational decision-making under risk and uncertainty as well-established and risk management tools as well developed, and to view the PP with some circumspection. Following a brief introduction to PP concepts, history, applications, and controversies, I review and critique the standard economic approach to decision-making and risk management (here labeled ordinary risk management, ORM), identifying areas of incompleteness especially in the treatment of disproportionate and asymmetric threats. After reviewing some of the more prominent PP controversies in the scholarly literature, I suggest a conceptual framework for a PP that may withstand the major criticisms levied against the PP and make a unique and valid contribution to a decision and risk management arsenal that includes ORM. The framework relates the nature of the threat, the evidence, and the remedy indicated; and each of these elements is discussed in some detail. The scope of this PP is identified in general terms and distinguished from the quantity restrictions and regulatory safety margins that often serve as practical heuristics when ORM-based policies are implemented. Because the PP is clearly identified as a principle, I discuss the role of principles in policy design and implementation, and conclude with some suggestions as to how this PP could guide policy and management.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Anne Ingeborg Myhr (2010). A Precautionary Approach to Genetically Modified Organisms: Challenges and Implications for Policy and Science. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (6):501-525.
Christopher J. Cowton (2002). On Two-by-Two Grids: Or, the Arkeology of Management Thought. Philosophy of Management 2 (1):47-51.
Joan Duckenfield (2013). Antibiotic Resistance Due to Modern Agricultural Practices: An Ethical Perspective. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (2):333-350.
Anne Ingeborg Myhr & Terje Traavik (2002). The Precautionary Principle: Scientific Uncertainty and Omitted Research in the Context of GMO Use and Release. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 15 (1):73-86.
Frank C. Krysiak (2009). Risk Management as a Tool for Sustainability. Journal of Business Ethics 85 (3):483 - 492.
Barbara Osimani (2010). Pharmaceutical Risk Communication: Sources of Uncertainty and Legal Tools of Uncertainty Management. Health Risk and Society 12 (5):453-69.
E. Marchant Gary, J. Sylvester Douglas & W. Abbott Kenneth (2008). Risk Management Principles for Nanotechnology. NanoEthics 2 (1).
Added to index2009-02-23
Total downloads23 ( #171,932 of 1,911,676 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?