Witches, Floods, and Wonder Drugs: Historical Perspectives on Risk Management

Clark WC (1980). Witches, Floods, and Wonder Drugs: Historical Perspectives on Risk Management. IIASA Research Report (Reprint). IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: RR-81-003. Reprinted from Societal Risk Assessment: How Safe is Safe Enough?, Richard C. Schwing and Walter A. Albers, Jr (eds), Plenum Press, New York, NY, USA, pp. 311-313 [1980].

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Abstract

This paper reports an investigation that was undertaken to give a philosophical and historical perspective to IIASA's work on decision making in the face of uncertainty in such areas as energy, agriculture, health care, and water resources, and in particular, problems of risk management. While current risk-management methods usually apply advanced concepts of system modeling and statistical inference to societal decision making under uncertainty, it has generally been the case, as this paper points out, that risk-management problems have not revolved around obtaining the correct probabilities. Rather, the problems have important political and procedural elements, and involve how a society collects and employs imperfect and incomplete information. Clark's central point is that the answers to today's societal risk-management problems do not depend solely on the usual techniques of risk assessment; rather, they lie in developing imaginative approaches to risk management that incorporate the social decision processes that must be involved. IIASA's research amply corroborates this point.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Research Report (Reprint))
Research Programs: Management and Technology Area (MMT)
System and Decision Sciences - Core (SDS)
Bibliographic Reference: Reprinted from Societal Risk Assessment: How Safe is Safe Enough?; Richard C. Schwing and Walter A. Albers, Jr (eds), Plenum Press, New York, NY, USA, pp. 311-313 [1980]
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:47
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2016 07:20
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/1268

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