risky business

"the concept of risk is a modern concept. it requires decisions and attempts to render the unpredictable consequences of civil decisions predictable and controllable…the novelty of the world risk society lies in the fact that we, with our civilizing decisions, cause global consequences that trigger problems and dangers that radically contradict the institutionalized language and promises of the authorities in catastrophic cases highlighted worldwide…the political explosiveness of the world risk society lies precisely in this fact. its heart rests in the mass media, politics, and bureaucracy—not necessarily at the site of its happening…political explosiveness does not allow itself to be described or measured in the language of risk, number of victims dead and wounded, nor in scientific formulas. this causes it to “explode”—if the metaphor is permitted—with responsibility, demands of rationality, legitimizations through reality checks; for the other side of the present danger is the failure of institutions that derive their legitimacy through a declared mastery of danger."

ulrich beck

*alex ross on the cover of the village voice

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