The Public Interest

How to regulate science

Francis Fukuyama

Winter 2002

SOME new technologies are frightening from the start, and the need to establish political controls over their development and use is obvious to all.  When the first atomic bomb was detonated at Alamogordo, New Mexico, in the summer of 1945, not one of the witnesses to this event failed to understand that a terrible new potential for destruction had been created. Nuclear weapons were thus from the very beginning ringed with political controls: Individuals could not freely develop nuclear technology on their own or traffic in the parts necessary to create atomic bombs, and in time, nations that became signatories to the 1968 nonproliferation treaty agreed to control international trade in nuclear technology.

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