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This book examines society's responses to many kinds of experimentation, focusing on both creation of and assessment of risks. As people seek new ways to make their lives safer and happier, the widespread process of experimentation claims victims. Some of these are people who directly and willingly accept the risks of experiments. By comparison, some are effectively experimental subjects in the hands of others who often may not even think of themselves as experimenting with the lives of consumers. The Experimental Society covers a wide spectrum of products and activities, including those that radiate into the environment like nuclear power, hydrofracking, and asbestos. The book spotlights prescription drugs and substances used in the most ordinary consumer products such as salt, caffeine, and BPA in sippy cups. It also discusses the testing of new ways of thinking, including those related to social organization and processes, and even the law itself. A particular concern is the case in which the subjects of experiments are unaware that the experiments are taking place. This lucidly written volume will be useful to practicing lawyers who specialize in personal injury law, and law professors who teach such subjects as torts and products liability, medicine, and science. Physicians and scientists in various branches of medicine will find it provocative, as will political scientists, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers.
A woman terrified by the threats of a jilted suitor is denied police protection. A workman collapses on the job and the employer is slow to help him. A bully in a bar begins to carry out threats of serious injury to a customer, after the bartender's lackadaisical response. Springing from varied areas of human activity, such cases occupy an important area of the legal battleground called modern tort law. They also provide the basis for a fascinating legal analysis by Marshall S. Shapo. Tort law is an important social mediator of events surrounding personal injuries. It impinges on many other areas of the law-those dealing with crime, constitutional protections against government officials and agencies, and property rights. Since litigated tort cases often involve brutal treatment or accidents inflicting severe physical harm, this area of the law generates much emotion and complex legal doctrine. Shapo cuts through the emotion and the complexity to present a view of these problems that is both legally sound and intuitively appealing. His emphasis is on power relationships between private citizens and other individuals, as well as between private persons and governments and officials. He undertakes to define power in a meaningful way as it relates to many tort issues faced by ordinary citizens, and to make this definition precise by constant reference to concrete cases. His particular focus is on an age-old problem in tort law: the question of when a person has a duty to aid another in peril. In analyzing a large number of cases in this category, Shapo develops an analysis that blends considerations of economic efficiency and humanitarian concern. Recognizing that economic considerations are significant in judicial analysis of these cases, he emphasizes elements that go beyond a simple concern with efficiency, especially the ability of one person to control another's actions or exposure to risk. These considerations of power and corresponding dependence provide the basis for Shapo's study of the duties of both private citizens and governments to prevent injury to others. Calling on a broad range of legal precedents, he also refers to social science research dealing with the behavior of bystanders when fellow citizens are under attack. Beyond his application of a power-based analysis to litigation traditionally based in tort doctrine, Shapo offers some speculative suggestions on the possible applicability of his views to several controversial areas of welfare law: medical care, municipal services, and educational standards. This book was written with a view to readership by interested citizens as well as legal scholars, judges, and practicing attorneys.
Experimenting With The Consumer exposes the hazards of the mass-market experimentation in which every American consumer and worker is unwittingly tapped for product risk data by manufacturers, scientists, and regulators. Vioxx, Heparin, Avandia, Paxil, fen-phen, estrogens, silicone implants, pacemakers, formaldehyde in FEMA trailers, 60 buckyballs in coatings ... the headlines are increasingly filled with hidden risks coming to light in popular products years after federal agencies approve them for the American public. Shapo shows readers how to get past unreasonable trust or fear and make the best risk-management choices for themselves and their families. He walks them through what questions to ask before consenting to be in a clinical trial; how to evaluate the implied bold-print claims against the small-print disclosures in advertisements for medical products; how to uncover product and environmental risks in their homes, workplaces, supermarkets, and neighborhoods; how to assess and control product risk while maximizing consumer choice and benefit; how to pressure government to tighten consumer protection; and how to seek legal redress. Through a diverse selection of dramatic case studies, Shapo lays bare the incentives of companies and entrepreneurial scientists to fake or obscure experimental data before and after government approval; the fights between interested and disinterested scientists over data; the fights between scientists and doctors over patient rights; the campaigns of activists against government agencies to release experimental drugs; the impact of the journalistic and promotional media on public knowledge and perception of product risk; and the marketing tricks that manufacturers use to harness sexual desire to product launches and to shape the prescription choices of physicians.