A few days ago, Tom Craver suggested that even if CRN couldn't promote good policy for the anticipated manufacturing breakthrough, we might be able to anticipate bad laws.
The idea was that if we knew what bad laws might get passed, "maybe you can convince those who will develop the nanofactories to take approaches that avoid triggering the worst traps until it's too late to mess MNT up too badly."
One approach, of course, might be to deny that molecular manufacturing is possible; not work on it openly; not develop any intermediate technologies; then, when it gets easy enough, suddenly produce a nanofactory in some out-of-the-way lab. By the time any laws got written, nanofactories might have proliferated too widely for laws to catch up.
Funny, but that seems to be what's happening today.
But there are at least two problems with this approach. First, the developers would have to give away the technology - quickly and widely - or risk it being quietly but firmly suppressed. It would be difficult to go from below-the-radar to desktop giveaway nanofactory before someone spilled the beans and brought in the feds.
Second, a free-for-all approach might not be the wisest...