Cover: The Struggle for Auto Safety, from Harvard University PressCover: The Struggle for Auto Safety in E-DITION

The Struggle for Auto Safety

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Product Details

E-DITION

$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674423473

Publication Date: 09/12/1990

285 pages

World

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Combining superb investigative reporting with incisive analysis, Jerry Mashaw and David Harfst provide a compelling account of the attempt to regulate auto safety in America. Their penetrating look inside the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) spans two decades and reveals the complexities of regulating risk in a free society.

Hoping to stem the tide of rising automobile deaths and injuries, Congress passed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1966. From that point on, automakers would build cars under the watchful eyes of the federal regulators at NHTSA. Curiously, however, the agency abandoned its safety mission of setting, monitoring, and enforcing performance standards in favor of the largely symbolic act of recalling defective autos.

Mashaw and Harfst argue that the regulatory shift from rules to recalls was neither a response to a new vision of the public interest nor a result of pressure by the auto industry or other interest groups. Instead, the culprit was the legal environment surrounding NHTSA and other regulatory agencies such as the EPA, OSHA, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The authors show how NHTSA’s decisions as well as its organization, processes, and personnel were reoriented in order to comply with the demands of a legal culture that proved surprisingly resistant to regulatory pressures.

This broad-gauged view of NHTSA has much to say about political idealism and personal ambition, scientific commitment and professional competition, long-range vision and political opportunism. A fascinating illustration of America’s ambivalence over whether government is a source of—or solution to—social ills, The Struggle for Auto Safety offers important lessons about the design and management of effective health and safety regulatory agencies today.

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Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene