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Research to Protect, Restore, and Manage the Environment
business does work that it is suited to carry out–protecting proprietary information in the course of learning how to reduce or eliminate pollution in production processes–so government should pursue its comparative advantage, for example, through studies aimed at lowering the burdens of regulatory compliance while continuing present levels of regulatory protection. As government assembles environmental data in forms usable by citizen groups, so environmental organizations should experiment with ways to improve citizens' understanding of the complexities of risk analysis and enrich concerned citizens' grasp of the varied contexts in which risks can be presented.
Environmental research will contribute to economic prosperity in four ways. First, in accounting terms, technological advances in pollution control, environmental management, and spinoffs from environmental research will increase business opportunities for American industry in domestic and international markets. Second, in qualitative terms, improved policies, management methods, and voluntary changes in behavior will drive down the cost of environmentally sound outcomes and raise the quality of the environment for a given level of expenditure. Third, long-term changes in cultural values, informed and stimulated by environmental research, could shift the definition of prosperity away from material consumption and toward other forms of human fulfillment that might be more sustainable. Fourth, environmental research will save the raw materials and ecosystem services on which humankind depends.