Project Report:
Conference Series on Environmental Economics for Federal Judges, State Supreme Court Justices, and Law Professors.
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


In 2009 FREE offered two conferences in our series for federal judges, state supreme-court justices, and law professors. The first was, “Science, Health, Nanotechnology” & the Law and the second is “Terrorism, Civil Liberty, & National Security.”


Nanotechnology controls the structure of matter at the scale of small numbers of atoms. Nanotechnology has the potential to reshape technology with important applications in energy, the environment, medicine, and manufacturing. Like most technological revolutions, this one will have some downsides. This conference explored the economic implications of proposed regulatory and intellectual property rights regimes. Speakers included:

Ray Gesteland, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics, University of Utah.

George Gray, Ph.D., former Assistant Administrator, EPA’s Office of Research and Development and former Executive Director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.

Todd Kuiken, Ph.D., Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, Woodrow Wilson Int’l Center for Scholars.

Marc Porter, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, University of Utah, and

Steve Strauss, Ph.D. Professor of forest biotechnology, Oregon State University.

Calls for increased national security continue to threaten our civil liberties, and debate over this encroachment persists. How can we best address calls for increased national security? What are the tradeoffs we face?

The global market for oil is like one big pool, where oil from each nation is mixed before consumers buy it. We can’t selectively reduce demand from any one source. Even if we successfully reduced demand by, say 10 percent, the effect on the number of barrels of Mid-East oil consumed would likely be minimal. Why? Again, because this region holds the world’s cheapest oil. If we are going to reduce demand, it has to be for oil in general. This requires higher, not lower, prices.

Speakers included:

Jack Goldsmith, Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law, Harvard Law School.

Russell Howard. Brigadier General USA, (Ret.) Founding Director, Jebsen Center for Counter Terrorism Studies, the Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Paul Rosenzweig, former Assistant Secretary for the Policy Directorate, Department of Homeland Security.

The Honorable Richard Stearns, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts


The fundamental objective of FREE’s work is to reach important decision makers and opinion leaders with a strong, responsible, positive message. Using basic concepts from the fields of economics (micro and public choice theory), science, and risk analysis, we explore the potential for market-based solutions to address social problems. Creating institutions (i.e., the “rules of the game”) are essential to crafting a least cost, equitable outcome.


Nanomaterials are already used in a range of products —from computer chips to sunscreen. By 2014, a projected $2.6 trillion in global manufactured goods, about 15 percent of total output, will incorporate nanotechnology. Nanotechnology has the potential to reshape technology with important applications in energy, the environment, medicine, and manufacturing.

National security and U.S. energy consumption are issues of national economic significance and may pose a threat to the integrity of the global free-market system. For example, the world’s entire economic and social infrastructure is geared to run on fossil fuel.

Information Dissemination

Project directors John Baden and Pete Geddes both write regular opinion editorials for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Their writings have also appeared in the Journal of Forestry, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the Wall Street Journal, the Seattle Times, and on the internet at the National Center for Policy Analysis’s Policy Digest.

Project Link

Amount Approved
$30,000.00 on 6/24/2009 (Check sent: 7/24/2009)

  Related Organizations
Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE)  

August conference

Steve Strauss
Steve Strauss of Oregon State University explores the links betweem GMOs and nanotech.

Paul Rosenzeig
Paul speaks on the DHS' efforts at risk assessment.

August conference
Steve Strauss
Paul Rosenzeig
Nanotech program agenda (PDF)
National Security agenda (PDF)

662 Ferguson Rd
Bozeman, MT 59718

(406) 585-1776
(406) 585-3000 (fax)


Mr. Pete Geddes
Chairman, FREE

Posted 3/11/2009 12:25 PM
Updated   10/19/2009 1:08 PM

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