Risk and distributive justice: the case of regulating new technologies

Sci Eng Ethics. 2010 Sep;16(3):501-15. doi: 10.1007/s11948-009-9172-z.


There are certain kinds of risk for which governments, rather than individual actors, are increasingly held responsible. This article discusses how regulatory institutions can ensure an equitable distribution of risk between various groups such as rich and poor, and present and future generations. It focuses on cases of risk associated with technological and biotechnological innovation. After discussing various possibilities and difficulties of distribution, this article proposes a non-welfarist understanding of risk as a burden of cooperation.

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Risk*
  • Social Justice*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Technology / legislation & jurisprudence*