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and present attempts at establishing such methods examine the prospects for devising a credible and appropriate methodological framework appropriate to U.S. policy making for evaluating these comparative social costs of energy systems. OTA would then examine how this framework might be applied to selected cases in the United States to establish some baseline estimates of these social costs.
ENERGY AND URBAN DESIGN
This study would evaluate how energy use, environmental impacts, and related systemwide capital investment and operating costs are influenced by urban design and how urban design is influenced by Federal, State, and Local government policy. Zoning, real estate laws, and other factors may strongly influence a city to develop with a high rise urban core of office buildings surrounded by far flung suburbs. The private-vehicle based urban design that results by default from these processes has high capital costs and energy use. For example, per capita fuel use for transport is four times greater for U.S. cities than for European cities, while at the same time, many believe that European cities are more livable. The U.S. urban form also largely excludes such options as mass transit, district heating and cooling, and others.
NATURAL GAS: U.S. SUPPLY AVAILABILITY
Recent changes in the market and regulations governing natural gas will have an uncertain impact on the costs and availability of this resource, which currently supplies about 25 percent of US primary energy needs. Recent changes such as the continued deregulation of natural gas prices, disputes over long-term supply contracts, the development of a natural gas futures market, and FERC Order 636 circumstances have changed considerably in recent years. In this study, OTA would review the current and projected conditions of natural gas uses and markets in the United States, giving special attention to the impacts that recent changes will have on the major market participants (driller, pipeline operator, utility, and consumer). The study would analyze technologies and technical issues that could have an impact on these major parties. The study would help distinguish both obstacles and opportunities to improve the technical and economic prospects of this major domestic energy
MATERIALS USE AND THE U.S. ECONOMY
The consumption of materials has historically been one of the principal determinants in effecting economic growth. For most of this century, materials requirements have closely correlated with increases in industrial production. However, the use of materials like steel, aluminum, cement, and lumber per unit of GNP ("materials intensity") has leveled off or declined in recent decades. This "dematerialization" has been attributed to a variety of causes: saturation of traditional consumer markets compared with markets for knowledge-intensive products and services; increasing use of more efficient, light weight materials such as highstrength alloys and plastics; and structural changes in the economy from heavy manufacturing to services. SUSTAINABLE STEWARDSHIP: TECHNOLOGY AND MULTIPLE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT OF FEDERAL LANDS AND RESOURCES
Over one third of the Nation's land and even more of its mineral wealth are publicly owned. Under Federal land management laws, many federal lands are to be administered under principles of multiple use -- balancing resource development with recreation, protection of wildlife and habitat, and watershed preservation, as examples. This study would look at the adequacy and effectiveness of natural resource land management and planning requirements and how they are implemented by federal land managers. How well do land managers do in collecting and analyzing data on mineral resources on lands they control. To what extent are environmental protection and multiple use considerations integrated into land managers decisionmaking about both short-term and long-term resource development. Are there more efficient and cost effective technologies and methods that land managers can use in developing resource management plans and priorities. How well do existing approaches balance the multile uses of public lands and resources, while protecting environmental and other values for which these lands are held?
Industry, Technology and Employment
WORKING AND LEARNING: NEW STRATEGIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Young people going to work face poor economic prospects: an average unemployment rate 3 times greater than that for adults over age 25, and declining real earnings. A growing proportion of families headed by youth have incomes below the poverty level. The low quality of training provided to many young people, and the generally poor jobs open to many of them, contribute to declining U.S. competitiveness. Our major international competitors in both Europe and Asia have well-developed systems for employing and training young people. This study would include: assessment of experiments in work experience for high school students; examination of jobs currently available to young people lacking a college diploma and the career prospects offered by these jobs; analysis of the training employers provide to workers under the age of 21; assessment of the potential of instructional technology, and policy options for the Federal government and other interested parties (e.g., the States, community colleges, employers, unions). The assessment would examine training as a vehicle for job restructuring, higher productivity, and enhanced international competitiveness.
TECHNOLOGY, PRODUCTIVITY, AND EMPLOYMENT IN THE SERVICE SECTOR
Technology has the potential to generate substantial improvements in productivity, service quality and adaptability in the service sector. But this potential is so far apparently largely unrealized, at least by conventional measures of productivity. Since the service sector now employs about 70 percent of U.S. workers, many of them in low wage, dead end jobs, its apparent low productivity could be acting as a drag on overall U.S. productivity and standard of living. As the service sector's share of employment rises, transforming dead end jobs into higher paying ones with opportunities for career advancement is increasingly important to U.S. workers. This assessment would examine current and alternative ways of organizing the service sector and their implications for the creation of large numbers of good jobs. It would consider how policy might influence corporate business strategies so that new technology and workers' skills complement each other. The study would build on the preliminary work on jobs in the service sector in U.S.-Mexico Trade: Pulling Together or Pulling Apart? and in International Competition in Services. This assessment would go beyond both by making much more concrete high and low productivity/high and low skill ways of organizing work and labor markets in a number of service sectors. This assessment would help fill a gap in policy development that stems from the past and current emphasis on manufacturing and manufacturing jobs.
TECHNOLOGY AND TRADE WITH DEVELOPING ECONOMIES
Because of the decline of many traditional forms of development assistance, and because the end of the Cold War has reduced the motivation for aid, a growing number of Third World countries may find themselves falling further behind the developed economies. Furthermore, flexible automation, which reduces the direct labor content in manufactured goods, could either help or hinder the development prospects of Third World countries. As government-to-government aid declines in relative importance, MNCs may emerge as the primary agents of development, with consequences to the developing countries and to the U.S. that are as yet poorly understood. And because development requires exporting, the U.S. market will continue to be a target for goods from developing countries. As the NAFTA debate illustrates, the consequences include continuing protectionist pressures, even though Third World development also means new markets for U.S.goods and services. Policies to be explored in this assessment might include re-evaluation of U.S. foreign assistance policies, ways to encourage productive investment by MNCs and by local sources, human capital formation, institutional capabilities for technology development, and how to deliver turnkey packages of affordable education, transportation, health and environmental protection amenities.
The recent OTA report Competing Economies: America, Europe and the Pacific Rim documented the economic evidence that the U.S. is falling behind its international competition. But there are criteria of success and welfare other than economic measures such as export share, average incomes and rate of growth of GNP. In those too, the U.S. has cause for concern. Streets are unsafe, dirty, and pockmarked with potholes, libraries
close, schools decay, businesses curtail or eliminate health care plans, and environmental concerns persist. In particular, U.S. firms worry about how seemingly out of control costs of health care affect their international competitiveness, while a substantial segment of the U.S. population has no health insurance. This assessment would attempt to quantify the extent to which firms and governmental bodies in the U.S. are dismantling amenities in an effort to meet global competition and to match expenditures to tax revenues. The assessment would explore less expensive alternatives to providing traditional amenities, and would investigate the feasibility of setting up a set of non-economic indicators that might help to more accurately describe the well-being of the Nation than economic indicators alone are capable of doing.
CLEANER MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES AND U.S. MANUFACTURING COMPETITIVENESS The demands of meeting environmental regulations in the U.S. can adversely affect U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, particularly if firms invest heavily in end of pipe treatment, rather than changing to cleaner manufacturing processes. This assessment will analyze the potential effects of cleaner and more energy efficient technologies on U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. The assessment will examine the extent to which new, cleaner process technologies such as powder coating paints, direct steel making, no-clean soldering, and dry process vacuum coatings can lower manufacturing costs, or improve product quality, or both. In addition, it will examine how practices accompanying cleaner technology (e.g., workforce participation and training, focus on reduced defects and better maintenance, and continuous improvement of the production process) affect firm competitiveness. The assessment will analyze the degree to which U.S. firms have adopted leading edge cleaner technologies, particularly as they compare to U.S. industry leaders and to foreign firms. The assessment will identify barriers to faster adoption, and will examine the effectiveness of U.S. and foreign government policies to develop and diffuse clean and energy efficient manufacturing process technologies.
EMPLOYMENT IMPLICATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION
This assessment would seek to improve our understanding of the environment-jobs interaction, and would examine both jobs subject to international competition and those relatively shielded from such competition. The assessment would develop options aimed at ameliorating job loss in industries that might be adversely affected by environmental regulations, and options to support increased quantity and quality of employment in cleaner industrial production. Technology and R&D policies, environmental regulatory approaches, worker training and adjustment policies, regional economic development policies, taxation, and land use regulation might all significantly influence job-environment interactions and thus assist in making the twin goals of economic and environmental improvement complementary rather than adversarial.
International Security and Commerce
MULTINATIONAL MONITORING AND VERIFICATION IN THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Future arms control agreements are likely to be multilateral, necessitating verification procedures that are open and multinational. This study would assess benefits and costs to the United States--political, military, and economic--of various forms of multilateral verification of arms control agreements; assess implications for international cooperative security arrangements.
Examine alternatives for responding to natural and manmade disasters in the United States and abroad, such as strategic stockpiling, enhanced international organizations, new technological developments, new roles for military forces. Discuss implications for international relations of a major role for the U.S. military in international disaster relief efforts.
TECHNOLOGY TRENDS AND MILITARY MISSIONS
Assess how technology has developed (and is developing) to perform various broad defense functions (e.g., sea control and denial, air control, ground attack and occupation), providing a basis for Congress to re-examine the allocation of roles and missions among the branches of the Armed Services.
NEW PRIORITIES IN U.S. SPACE PROGRAMS
Focusing on the growing internationalization of space efforts, the end of the east-west cold war competition, and important trade/industry issues, this study will examine the implications of competition and cooperation for foreign relations, industrial relations, technology development, and solving environmental problems.
THEATER MISSILE DEFENSE
In view of the potential proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction, assess the potential for effective defenses against short- to intermediate-range missiles of adversaries possessing various levels of technological sophistication; assess the utility of such defenses.
LONG-TERM MILITARY TECHNOLOGIES
Identify opportunities to invest in development of high-payoff (but high-risk) technologies that could provide significant new military capabilities or much reduce costs of existing capabilities; identify potential threats from new discoveries, novel applications, or military exploitation of civil sector technology.
IMPLEMENTING THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION
For the newly-signed CWC, analyze implementation requirements with respect to such issues as verification instruments and procedures, protection of confidential information at inspected sites, implications for export control regulations, assistance to countries threatened by chemical attack, destruction of U.S. chemical arsenal, and role of U.S. chemical defense program.