A Scientific Approach to Policy

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Science  05 Dec 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5907, pp. 1435
DOI: 10.1126/science.1168790

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The financial meltdown that began in the United States has now spread around the world, providing a rare opportunity for a rethinking of priorities everywhere. We now know that a major portion of the global financial system was built on a myth--that housing prices would rise forever. This false assumption allowed a complex loan-leveraging process to create immense wealth as if by magic. The sudden collapse of this bubble is causing great hardship worldwide. Nevertheless, the new sense of reality could be beneficial, by stimulating much broader recognition of the centrality of science and engineering for successful modern societies.