Tuesday, May 27, 2008

O'Brien on Risk Assessment

"First, the process was inherently a fiction. Second, it was asking the wrong question. it was asking how much damage was safe, rather than how little damage was possible. Third, it was promoted most adamantly by those who stood to gain the most from it--i.e., those who were proposing to undertake activities that would be toxic or have other ill effects on the environment. finally, risk-assessment, cost-benefit, and risk-benefit processes almost never acknowledged or seriously.y considered the numerous less-hazardous alternatives... (Preface)"

Risk assessment of narrow options is a classic example of using certain bits of information in such a way as to exclude feeling and to artificially sever connections of parts to the whole. Risk assessment rips you (and others ) out of connection to the rest of the world and reduces you to a member. You are then consigned to damage or death or "risk," depending on how your number is shuffled around in models, assumptions, and formulas and during "risk management (introduction)".

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