Orchestrating Ignorance, Ignoring Consent
This chapter discusses some of the unethical strategies polluters use to mislead citizens about pollution risks. It identifies at least ten special-interest or government behaviors — from advertising and lobbying to white-collar crime and information-suppression — that enable private-interest polluters to subvert the public interest. These strategies allow polluters to “corner the market” in public-health information, fail to disclose risks to citizens, and threaten their health. When relevant risks are not disclosed, citizens are unable to fulfill their rights to know, to give or withhold consent to the risks, and to receive equal protection. To protect their rights, citizens are urged to use the tools of deliberative democracy to educate themselves and others, to help prevent conflicts of interest, and to ensure that government regulators and oversight agencies behave as they should.
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