Wednesday, June 23, 2010

can someone "Nudge" Dr. Sunstein to speak on the oil spill?

Another example of science being trumped by ideology in the Obama administration-- and a pointed and amusing observation from the editorialists of the WSJ...

The Gulf oil spill is having all sorts of nasty consequences well beyond damage to the regional environment and economy. Not least, the resulting political panic seems to be rehabilitating the thoroughly discredited theory of regulation known as the precautionary principle.

This principle holds that government should attempt to prevent any risk—regardless of the costs involved, however minor the benefits and even without understanding what those risks really are. Developed in the late 1960s, this theory served as the intellectual architecture for the Environmental Protection Agency, which is still required to eliminate certain environmental risks no matter how expensive or pointless the effort is.

This same mentality is now prompting not merely tighter safety standards, but President Obama's moratorium on all new deep water drilling, shutting down dozens of Gulf and Alaskan projects, maybe permanently....

The irony is that the figure most responsible for dismantling its premises, Cass Sunstein, is now a member of the Obama Administration...calls the precautionary principle "incoherent" and "paralyzing," as he put it in an essay in the journal Daedalus two years ago.

"Precautions cannot be taken against all risks," Mr. Sunstein elaborated in his 2005 monograph "Laws of Fear," "not for the important but less interesting reason that resources are limited, but simply because efforts to redress any set of risks might produce risks of their own."

Mr. Sunstein's insight is that there are risks on all sides of a question—doing nothing can be dangerous, but acting might be more dangerous—so the only rational way to judge regulation is to quantify the costs and benefits....

Mr. Sunstein has rarely been heard in public since he joined the Administration, and his "nudge" philosophy to encourage better choices in no way influenced the health-care bill. Perhaps he'd care to speak up now? With the reinvigoration of the precautionary principle, the country could use a little empiricism.


At June 24, 2010 at 9:43 AM , Blogger 林利 said...

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At June 24, 2010 at 9:43 AM , Blogger 江婷 said...

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At June 28, 2010 at 12:26 AM , Blogger 王婷珊 said...

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