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Think tank

A think tank is a group of individuals in military laboratories, corporations, or other institutions[?] dedicated to high-level synergistic research on a variety of subjects. Area 51, the Human Genome Project, and RAND exemplify think tanks. Discoveries and activities which resulted from think tanks include:

In the United States of America think tanks generally receive funding from private donors, and make up an important part of forming both foreign and domestic policy[?]. Because some think tanks are private organizations, the members of such think tanks have more freedom to propose and debate ideas than people within government. Typically, an issue such as national missile defense will be debated within and among think tanks and the result of these debates will influence government policy[?] makers. Some are clearly aligned with a pro-market approach to the economy whilst others, especially those with an emphasis on social welfare, social equity or environmental outcomes, are viewed as left-of-centre.

Critics such as Ralph Nader have pointed out that the private nature of the funding of such think tanks may bias the resulting findings. Some argue that the members will be inclined to promote or publish only those results which will ensure the continued flow of funds from the private donors. This risk of distortion also threatens the reputation and integrity of organisations such as universities, once considered to stand wholly within the public sector[?]. Some supposed think tanks may be more accurately understood as a front for a marketing or public relations organisation.

In the case of the People's Republic of China, there are a number of think tank organizations, sponsored by governmental agencies, but which often retain enough non-official status to be able to propose and debate ideas more freely. Indeed, most of the actual diplomacy between China and the United States takes the form of academic exchanges between members of think tank groups.

Well-Known Think Tanks

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