The aim of this paper is to assess why it is argued that we live in a 'risk society' as well as a 'regulatory state'. By the end of this paper it should be clear that we do indeed live in a 'risk society' and a 'regulatory state' despite what others like Margaret Thatcher might argue. There should also be a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between the 'risk society' and the 'regulatory state'. Before engaging in any meaningful discussion it is essential that the key concepts surrounding the discourse be clarified.
The 'risk society is not intended to imply an increase of risk in society as implied in some of the literatures, but rather it is a society organized in response to risks. "It is a society increasingly preoccupied with the future (and also with safety), which generates the notion of risk" and subsequently 'the regulatory state'. Ulrich Beck defines 'risk' as a systematic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities induced by modernization itself (1992:21).
[...] The earth is under severe ecological stress caused by exponential growths in population, overexploitation of its resources, widespread pollution, defilement, contagion or impurity which all inflicts some harmful interference of natural processes, causing governments to reorient their approaches to public policy so as to incorporate mitigation measures to guard against an impending catastrophe as a result. Even more alarming is the fact that all these hazards are intricately intertwined thereby producing greater exposure to other risks, as demonstrated by the ensuing global warming brought on by unsustainable environmental practices and ozone depletion. [...]
[...] We live in a risk society because risks transcends national borders and efforts to deal with them requires international cooperation which has led to the creation environmental and other risk management institutions as well as early warning system likely to reduce the probable impacts of a hazard. The perceptive notion of a risk society is what has led to the development of insurance companies that allows for the citizens, businesses, and government to insure selves and properties against future indemnities. [...]
[...] Conclusion In conclusion I reaffirm the view that we do exist in a ‘risk society' as well as a ‘regulatory state', not so much for the number of risks with which we must deal with but largely as a result of how this exposure has come to define how we perceive and prepare for risk. The two notions ‘risk society' and ‘regulatory state' are mutually reinforcing given that risk and safety are the primary propellers for the regulatory state. It is as a result of the acceptability of a risk society that has given rise to a regulatory state aimed at creating risk management systems for dealing with and preventing that which can be prevented. [...]
[...] The major proponent of risk society' is Ulrich Beck, who argues that risk society' is indeed a world risk society where people and their governments are caused to prepare for and deal with innumerable risks of many different kinds, in many different forms. He argues that risk society is a catastrophic society [where] the exceptional conditions threaten to become the norm” (1992:24). According to Beck risks are no longer to be seen only as the dark side of opportunities, they are also market opportunities, resulting in profit for some and affliction for others. [...]
[...] (1992) Risk Society. London: Sage (1999) World Risk Society. Malden: Polity Press Douglas, Mary. (1985) Risk Acceptability According to Social Sciences. London: Routledge and Wildavsky A.(1982) Risk and Culture. London: University of California Press Majone, Giandomenico. (1997) “From the Positive to the Regulatory State” in Journal of Public Policy. Vol.17, No 139-167 Hood, Christopher. et al. (2001). The Government of Risk. Oxford: Oxford University Press “Where Risk Society Meets the Regulatory State” in Risk Management: An [...]
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