Ethics of Risk Analysis and Regulatory Review: From Bio- to Nanotechnology
Vol. 2, Num. 2
The authors of this article look at the fields of risk analysis and regulation as they correspond to biotechnology and determine that, far from being the utilitarian pursuit imagined by some, these two are often infected by value choices of actors and stakeholders; attention to principles such as autonomy, justice, and integrity; and power relationships that affect the ways in which laws are written and rules are followed. Were ethics to garner more attention from the beginning of the process, as they seem to have in nanotechnology, it would also likely lead to greater trust and acceptance from the general public. Finally, nanotechnology itself should neither be governed by risk analysis, regulation or respect for non-utilitarian values, by a combination of the three that could take each idea into account and, in so doing, not try to deny what would be there anyway. Upstream public engagement that takes these considerations into account could have great success in allowing nanotechnology to flourish and be embraced by the general public.