I stumbled across an online book by Richard D. North title “Risk: The human adventure” published by the European Science and Environment Foundation in 2001 To read the book you can click hereThis book is a forceful reminder that humanity in the past embraced risk in its actions and yet we are now abandoning this approach which has been successful in the past.

It argues that, as members of society, we benefit hugely from much risk-taking and should try to accept the consequences of risk when they are bad as well as when they are good. It argues (Chapter Seven) that the management of risk by the government cannot be as precautionary as many fashionable voices demand, and yet could be far more intelligible and intelligent than it now is. These are issues not so much of risk, as of trust.

All these issues would be of interest at any time. They are of special poignancy now because, as we discuss in Chapter Two, there is a modern industry, comprised of media, law and campaigning NGOs – and their adjuncts in academia – which is using risk as a handle to claim attention and income. They wouldn’t put it that way, of course. They claim noisily that they are pursuing the citizen’s rights against overweening vested interests in industry and against the indifference of the regulatory authorities. But when they create unnecessary anxiety, rather than assuage it – they are up to no good, and it is worth pointing out the damage they are doing. They are one of the larger risks we face.

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