chapter  2
20 Pages

Risk, Trust and Democratic Theory

Recent practice in managing environmental risks in the US demonstrates how firmly the principles of democratic values and procedures have intruded on the previously sheltered world of scientifically defined risk. Recurrent failures in risk management, it is now widely argued, stem from a failure to recognize the more general requirements of democratic society, and especially the need for social trust. Accordingly, risk-control strategies have gone awry due alterna­ tively to a lack of openness and ‘transparency’, the failure to consult or involve so-called ‘stakeholders’ (usually a poorly defined misnomer), a loss of social trust in managers, inadequacies in due process, a lack of responsiveness to public concerns, or an insensitivity to questions of environmental justice.