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Safety Paradoxes - revised
Posted by Jeroen on Wednesday, March 03 2004 @ 14:42:32 CET
News and announcements A revised version of Jerry Ravetz paper "Paradoxes and the Future of Safety in the Global Knowledge Economy" is now available. Click here to download it.

Governments face increasingly acute dilemmas in securing the safety of their citizens in the face of controversial technological innovations. This state of crisis results from structural features of the global knowledge economy. Governments are forced into contradictory roles, acting both as promoters of global business enterprise and also as regulators on behalf of a sophisticated and suspicious public. I explain the crisis by substituting ‘safety’ for ‘risk’ as the operative concept, and also using paradox as an explanatory tool. I produce a closed-cycle paradox, analogous to the classic Catch-22, to exhibit the contradictions in the situation. I argue that ‘safety’ is a very useful concept for policy-related science precisely because it exposes those contradictions and others latent in scientific methodology. I discuss ways of resolving these contradictions, which include the recognition of policy-critical ignorance and the adoption of the perspective of post-normal science.


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