SAN FRANCISCO – The
Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a California-based
free-market think tank, has challenged the conclusions
reached by a recent report released by the Woodrow
Wilson International Center that claims that U.S.
laws and regulations cannot adequately protect the
public against the risks of nanotechnology. PRI believes
that calls for stricter nanotechnology laws would
be a serious public policy mistake.
“Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the
level of individual atoms and molecules, offers the
greatest benefits for society if left to grow through
modest regulation, civilian research, and an emphasis
on self-regulation and responsible professional culture,” said
Sonia Arrison, director of Technology Studies at
In PRI's study Forward to the Future: Nanotechnology
and Regulatory Policy , one of the first public
policy studies to tackle the issue of nanotechnology,
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, professor of law at the
University of Tennessee and Instapundit blogger,
drew on the experience of other regulated technologies,
ranging from atomic energy to recombinant DNA.
He explained that the dramatic capabilities of
nanotechnology are likely to lead to misguided
calls for regulation or perhaps even prohibition.
"The goal is to avoid the problems faced by genetically-modified
foods -- which suffered politically as the result
of too little early regulatory attention -- while
also avoiding the problems facing the pharmaceutical
industry, which has been regulated nearly to death," said
“Professor Reynold's 2002 study was prescient,” said
Ms. Arrison. “While nanotechnology has advanced since,
the key principles that should guide its development
have not. New regulations would be a disaster at
“Nanotechnology holds much promise for advances
in a number of areas such as material science and
medicine, but the nascent industry faces threats
from those who believe government should solve problems
before they occur,” Ms. Arrison said. “In order to
reap the rewards and protect society from potential
pitfalls, nanotech scientists must be free to develop
their products as well as the rules that govern their
To download a complimentary copy of Forward to
the Future visit http://www.pacificresearch.org/pub/sab/techno/forward_to_nanotech.pdf or
to schedule an interview with the author or editor,
contact Susan Martin at 415-955-6120 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
For 27 years, the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) has championed freedom, opportunity,
and individual responsibility through free-market policy solutions. PRI is
a non-profit, non-partisan organization.