Some consider the term “think tank” was first applied to RAND. Avoiding technology development, RAND’s many research units work on 1,000 different topics each year for government agencies, foundations, and private-sector firms since 1946. RAND is “an independent, nonprofit research institution committed to exploring the most complex and consequential problems facing our society.” They started as a research project for the United States Army Air Forces, but developed into a think tank conducting research in health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, the environment, social policy, economic policy, and philanthropic assistance. RAND is nonpartisan whose core values are “quality and objectivity” and focus is on “facts and evidence.” Being funded mainly through the federal government, RAND no longer considers themselves a “think tank” because it gives the perception that they have certain political or ideological agendas that might influence their research. In addition, Rand also intentionally has their headquarters outside the Washington D.C. belt to avoid any political influence to their research that would make their work biased. They also accept contributions for their work. Ninety-five percent of their work is publicly available, keeping their secret Department of Defense work for the government only.
If I were to work for a think tank, I think I would choose a nonprofit global institution like RAND. I would be annoyed with struggling for funding from grants and foundations. Money would come in variations, being too unstable to ignore. Constant attention to cash flow would be needed, creating other work for employees that could be spent more usefully. University/research funded think tanks would also be distracting because money would be more of an obstacle, and biases could influence the work because of where the money is coming from. Federal/International Government work seems to be the easiest and least biased think tank there is, which is much more appealing to me.
If I could create my own think tank, I would focus on current economic problems. All the research done would concentrate on the urgent problems of the United States’ economy and how to fix them. Every country’s power and quality of life is correlated to their economy’s status. It is crucial for a country to keep it thriving, as evident of our current economic situation, and my think tank would solely operate to support that. Any topics within this goal would be investigated, such as the influence of public policy on the economy to how the unnecessary federal spending affects our economy. This think tank would support the White House to assist those in office with minimal business experience who do not understand the effects their decisions have on the economy.