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Minding the Machines: Preventing Technological Disasters by Mark Manion, William M. Evan

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Chapter 14. Technology Decisions and the Democratic Process

 

“I know of no safe depositor of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it away from them, but to inform their discretion.”

 
 --Thomas Jefferson

We now turn to the question of how technological decisions in a democracy are made and how they might be made, especially when there is a discrepancy between the experts’ judgment of risk, policy-makers’ judgments, and the public’s perception of risk. The separation into “expert” and “lay” judgments has polarized society’s understanding of risk and has created two schools of thought, which Fiorino and others ...

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