'It's the Politics, Stupid,' Or is Reality More Complex?
European Journal of Risk Regulation, Issue 2/2013: pp. 297-306
Posted: 18 Dec 2012 Last revised: 26 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2012
Reality is complex, and often does not lend itself to generalization or simplifying explanations. Yet at the same time, explaining reality often requires the shaping of notions and concepts of it through generalization and the reduction of complexity. This tension between complexity and particularity on the one hand and generalization and the search for abstracting explanatory patterns on the other is beautifully illustrated by two recently released publications on precaution and risk regulation in the United States and Europe, namely “The Politics of Precaution” by David Vogel and “The Reality of Precaution” edited by Jonathan Wiener, Michael Rogers, James Hammitt, and Peter Sand. This essay first reviews both books in isolation, and then juxtaposes them, while discussing their relation, relative merits and achievements.
Keywords: precautionary principle, transatlantic relations, risk regulation
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K20, K23, K29, K19, K33, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation