Why Risk-Research is More Prominent in English Speaking Countries in the Digital Society

Why Risk-Research is More Prominent in English Speaking Countries in the Digital Society

Maximiliano E. Korstanje (National University of Quilmes, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/ijcwt.2014010102


This review is inspired by the dichotomy the authors observe in the ways Anglo and Mediterranean countries developed to control the risk. While countries as US, Germany and Holland are on the top of the risk-mitigation policies and bio-technology, others such as Spain, Italy and Argentina have left behind in the race. In this discussion the authors complement the contribution of Max Weber arguing that the sense of predestination, which was enrooted in Ancient Norse Mythology, was a criterion enough to develop the capitalism. However, this does not correspond with “the Reform”, but on the way ancient Germans celebrated the war. Unlike Greeks, Germans developed a sense of predestination to understand the future. At some extent, they were responsible for initiating the process of secularization, but once done, they appealed to technology for two peruses. On one hand, technology alluded to a control of the closed-future, but at the same time it allowed the implementation of steps to expand the life. On this context, terrorism (as a risk) is important for American society because it gives further value to capitalist mind, the control of future.
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At a first glance, ITC and technology are useful to show social trends. By using Google, for this occasion, we may realize the word disaster found 151.000.000 records (entries). Rather, these numbers fall when we employ the word “desastre” in Spanish. Table 1 explains the differences in the entries at time of keying the same word in Spanish or English.

Table 1.
Entries on Google

Furthermore, in the English speaking countries, we encounter a vast offer in graduate, postgraduate even doctorate degree related to disaster-studies. Universities as Delaware, St Andrews focus on the study of risk and terrorism. Undoubtedly, this suggests that originally English speaking countries are prone to experience disaster rather than other countries, this not only is false, but a folly idea. Many non-Anglo countries like Haiti or Chile were whipped by disastrous earthquakes. As the previous argument given, the following paper explores the connection of Anglo-culture with risk, its concerns respecting to the foreclosed future that leads to develop instrument of fore-casting as never before. Both, Mediterranean and Anglo-cultures have developed diverse archetypes. The former signaled to the piety and sacrifice while the latter one focused on predestination and future. What is important to discuss in this conceptual essay-review, is why some countries are risk-oriented, while others are not?. Secondly, what is the role played by technology in both cosmologies?

In doing so, we explore not only the legacy of Max Weber and protestant temperament but also the contributions of two Seniors philosophers, Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard. The view of both thinkers differs substantially although the general thesis is the same. While Baudrillard emphasizes on the sense of reversibility, Virilio plunges into the apocalypses of globalization. Based on French philosophy, anyway, they agree that the modernity has shifted forever the old paradigm of Enlightenment. This seminal change is blurring the boundaries between past, present and future. The question is to know why?

A simple answer acknowledges that while catholic accept the life as given, Anglo-Saxon nations experience serious problems to live in a secularized world (death of God). The unabated development of technology not only alludes to much broader efforts to control the future, but a way of extending life. To carry this theme to extreme, we can say modernity has installed the fear of death so that the environment can be controlled. Although this process today involved worldwide, its roots stem from Anglo-world.

Conceptual Discussion

Max Weber, a brilliant pioneer in these types of matters, envisaged the connection of religion and labor. He acknowledged that protestant and catholic’s cosmologies developed a differentiated model of the world and labor. While the former were moved by the determination of a closed future, the latter accepted the salvation as a prerequisite of the present acts. For protestant temperaments, the salvation of lay-persons was previously determined by the Life-book in Heaven. Unlike Protestants, Catholicism interpreted the salvation as a consequence of acts in the earth (Weber, 1964; 1995; 1958). Weber, undoubtedly, unearthed a clear connection between the concepts of salvation, as it has been coined by religion, and economy. The organization of labor as well as the process of territorialization follows cultural archetypes that not only limit the authority but also the derived surplus. The political structure is depending on how this surplus is monopolized.

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