Life in the last quarter of the twentieth century presents a baffling array of complex issues. The benefits of technology are arrayed against the risks and hazards of those same technological marvels (frequently, though not always, arising as side effects or by-products). This confrontation poses very difficult choices for individuals as well as for those charged with making public policy. Some of the most challenging of these issues result because of the ability of technological innovation and deployment to outpace the capacity of institutions to assess and evaluate implications. In many areas, the rate of technological advance has now far outstripped the capabilities of institutional monitoring and control. While there are many instances in which technological advance occurs without adverse consequences (and in fact, yields tremendous benefits), frequently the advent of a major innovation brings a wide array of unforeseen and (to some) undesirable effects. This problem is exacerbated as the interval between the initial development of a technology and its deployment is shortened, since the opportunity for cautious appraisal is decreased.
The Social Genesis of Risks and Hazards.- I Risk, Science and Public Policy.- 1 Risk Analysis: A Tool for Policy Decisions.- 2 Scientists and Agenda Setting: Advocacy and Global Warming.- 3 Risk Assessment and the Communication of Risk in a State Health Agency.- II Allocating Scarce Medical Resources.- 4 Modern Medicine as a Risk to Society.- 5 Hazards of the American Health Care System: No Treatment, Under-Treatment, and Over-Treatment.- 6 When Enough is Enough - How to Say No to Technology.- III Nuclear Power and Nuclear Waste Disposal.- 7 The Future of the Nuclear Power Industry in the United States.- 8 On the Public Perception of Nuclear Risk.- 9 Nuclear Power: Is it Worth the Risk?.- IV Setting Standards For Air Quality.- 10 Ozone Pollution: The Hard Choices.- 11 Health and Community Issues Involved in Setting Standards.- 12 The Abuses of Risk Assessment.
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