The paper 'The Precautionary Principle as a Basis for Decision Making' is a great example of a Macro and Microeconomics Assignment. Sunstein notes that the precautionary principle is becoming more and more popular. For this reason, he asserts that the precautionary principle is expected to considerably impinge on policies all over the world in the coming times. He simply understands the precautionary principle as “ it is better to be safe than sorry. ” He states that the principle comes in a lot of varied forms, ranging from weak to strong.
Sunstein singles out the European Union as a key supporter of the precautionary principle as a basis for making decisions. He states that although the EU does not spell out any version of the principle to be used, it evidently supports general regulation even when harm is not well known, in fact even when harm is very much speculative. Sunstein states that the application of the precautionary principle, in any of its forms, possibly will lead to spectacular changes in decision making. Given that it will be applied in sensitive areas in environmental and health matters, its strengths and weakness should be well-thought-out ahead of using it to help make knotty decisions.
Sunstein questions the precautionary principle seeing as it is not clear regarding what safety entails, including the costs of providing safety. He also points out that regulatory precautions are conceptually tricky since risks are sometimes unforeseen; they can arise from action as well as from inaction. Also, Sunstein states that strong versions of the precautionary principle are rationally conflicting. Drawing from examples such as genetically modified foods, nuclear power, and terrorism, among others, Sunstein concludes that at times regulation negates the principle as it gives rise to other risks, in form of hazards that happen, or are boosted.
In light of this, Sunstein advocates for the consideration of all relevant risks, not only those ‘ lessened by regulation. ’ Moreover, it is true that regulations and policy interventions make use of limited resources. Therefore, there has to be a trade-off between wealth and health. So in situations where regulation entails huge costs, the precautionary principle will be hard to apply. As a consequence, doubt arises as regards various costly regulations.
In the midst of this, ‘ the precautionary principle impedes regulation and non-regulation, and indeed everything involved. ’
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