Directions of Policy Research

Archive Report

Significance of Policy Research

In the 1950s and 1960s, growth was the American religion, and its gospel was R&D. Research and development seemed to open up limitless possibilities for American industry, and it fueled the American imagination as well. The belief was that any problem could be overcome, any goal achieved, if enough brains and money were focused on it. This was an attitude that guided American private enterprise, private life, and public policy.

Americans have learned some painful lessons since then. Most of all, they have learned about the finite. Resources are not limitless; U.S. power to remake the world—at home and abroad—is not absolute. Growth is no longer seen as inherently good, either in business or government. Conservation—of energy, of the environment, of privacy—is ...

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