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The Risk Institute

On the basis of a voluntary network, partly supported by The Geneva Association, The Risk Institute was established in order to extend the studies on the issues of risk, vulnerability and uncertainties to the broader cultural, economic, social and political levels of modern society.

The strarting point defining the programme of action was an informal meeting held in Paris in 1986. Among the participants were Raymond Barre, Fabio Padoa, Richard Piani, Edward Ploman, Alvin and Heidi Toffler and Orio Giarini.

A first report, by Orio Giarini and Walter Stahel, was published in 1989, reprinted in 1991 and revised in 1993, with the title The Limits to Certainty — Managing Risks in the Modern Service Economy (Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands), with an introduction by Nobel Laureate Ilya Prigogine. It was also published in French, Italian, Romanian and Japanese. A fully new German version was published in 2000 with the title Die Performance Gesellschaft (Metropolis-Verlag, Marburg).

The book stresses the point that uncertainty is not just simply the result of inadequate or insufficient information. Every action extending into the future is by definition uncertain to various degrees. Every ‘perfect system’(or ideology) is a utopia, often a dangerous one: the total elimination of uncertainty in human societies implies the elimination of freedom. Learning and life are about the ability and capacity to cope, manage, face, contain and take advantage of risk and uncertainty.

In 2002, The Risk Institute published with Economica (Paris) the book Itinéraire vers la retraite à 80 ans. Ever since then The Risk Institute has been mainly concerned with a research programme on social and economic issues deriving from extending human life expectancy (usually and wrongly defined as the ‘ageing’ society), which is considered the most relevant social phenomenon of our times. This is particularly relevant in the context of the new service economy. The Risk Institute has contributed to the organisation of the conference on “Health, Ageing and Work” held in Trieste and Duino on 21-23 October 2004.

Since 2005, The Risk Institute publishes The European Papers on the New Welfare - The Counter Ageing Society.

Followed by a second conference on similar issues, in Turin, October 2007. On this basis, it has taken the initiative to publish from 2005 the EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE THE NEW WELFARE — The Counter-Ageing Society, in two versions (one in English and one in Italian), both freely available on
In 2010 the Institute published in Italian “Itinerario senza frontiere: dal Texas allaterza età”. Furthermore it is now editing the CADMUS Papers, journal of the World Academy and Science – WAAS (


Director Orio Giarini
via della Torretta 10
34123 Trieste - IT

Rue Le Corbusier 12
1208 Geneva - CH