Rules in the Shadow of the Future: Prudential Rule Making Under Ambiguity in the Aviation Industry
International Relations, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 343-349, 2006
Posted: 12 Jun 2011
Date Written: 2006
Rules often develop in response to past catastrophes and in order to prevent those catastrophes from occurring in the future. In complex economic, technological and political systems rule-making without solid historical foundations must contend with intrinsically ambiguous relationships between present conditions and future predictions. This rule making in situations of ambiguity is explored through a study of rules governing the use of personal electronic devices in the aviation industry. It points to how the rules that currently govern the use of such devices result from prudential concerns about hypothetical futures rather than any statistical or technological certainty about the future. This point applies to business but also to political rule-making.
Keywords: airline safety, electromagnetic interference, prudential rules
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