Societal Risk Assessment Essay

3279 words - 13 pages

The food we eat, the water we drink, the atmosphere in which we breathe, our practice and lifestyles, and, not least, the many technologies that we are becoming more and more reliant upon are all more or less imbued with uncertainty as to what their effects might be. Whereas a number of sound effects are taken for contracted as desired benefits, others lurk as possible injurious outcomes. At the same time, citizens in modern nation states intuitively think that they have a moral right not to be put at risk unless there are good reasons for this to happen (Hansson & Peterson 2001,157). Governments and industry are also widely understood to have a moral obligation not to impose risks on the innocent unsuspecting public. Many institutional on texts are crucial for how risks are framed and communicated. Science and technology map causes and effects in various real systems (in terms of mechanics, energy, chemistry, or psychology). The broadcast media disseminate information that often emphasizes that the world is a dangerous place to inhabit. Since interests invariably diverge - among individuals and more importantly among social groups, corporations, and organizations - issues of risk and safety are increasingly political and controversial (Boholm & Löfstedt 1999).The identification, definition and management of risk become area under discussion matter to the enclosed or unwrap strategies of political performer trying to accomplish their desires, to win confidence, support and voters. The South African government's policy which is towards aids, the British government's handling of BSE, the colza oil scandal in Spain, or the environmental scandal of the Hallandsås train tunnel in Sweden (Löfstedt & Boholm 1999,41) illustrate how concerns about risks to human health and the environment can turn into intensely contested political affairs. In such events, the allocation of benefits and negative effects of modern technology and lifestyles, the legitimacy and trustworthiness of the state and government policy are spotlighted. In the future, questions on the management and distribution of risks can be expected to become even more intensely debated topics on the political arena. (Ferreira, Boholm & Löfstedt 2001)DiscussionRisk is usually defined in mathematical terms as the statistical probability of an conclusion in combination with severity of the effect construed as a 'cost' that could be anticipated in terms of money, deaths or cases of ill health. To cite one example, an article from a Swedish newspaper with the headline 'Polluted air makes many people sick ' presented a medical study of 380,000 individuals living in Göteborg. The scientists found a statistical correlation between instances of death or lung or tranchea illness and polluted air. Their conclusion was as follows: 'the risk of dying of lung or trachea diseases increases with the concentration of ulphate. Every increase of 1 microgram per cubic meter...

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