From the Introduction: "The goals of the national earthquake program are to reduce the hazards to life and property, to mitigate human suffering and economic losses, and to minimize disruptions of business, government, and private activities from future earthquakes. The hazards, however, can never be reduced to zero, and analyses of vulnerability or risk must be prepared to assist the public in developing a rational approach and reasonable attitude toward the risk. A major goal is to achieve an optimum balance between safety and economic cost […]. As an indication of cost, approximately $100 billion were spent on construction in 1973. If only 1 percent additional cost were imposed in the interest of earthquake safety, more than $1 billion annually would be the price. Thus inappropriate or inadequate mitigation methods could be extremely wasteful, but to sacrifice tens of thousands of lives needlessly would be gross negligence. Only through the development of sound scientific and engineering principles and practices can the system be adjusted for optimum benefit."
Geological Survey Circular 701
United States Geological Survey: https://pubs.usgs.gov/