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Sunday, July 31, 2005 

On the real nature of modern 'think tanks'

From TomPaine.com:

"In his book, The Paradox of American Democracy, John Judis recounts numerous anecdotes about several of Washington's most prominent think tanks. He asserts that the convergence of think tanks, corporate dollars, rich individuals, and foundations has birthed a new breed of influence peddlers.

This breed is being rapidly cloned and it's adding a toxic element to important national policy debates. It's also changing the fundamental nature of the way think tanks operate.

It used to be that think tanks were funded to do independent basic research that upheld the organizations' missions but wasn't targeted at creating a specific effect. Increasingly, though, think tanks are being funded to do applied research aimed at created what's called an "advocacy impact," seducing legislators and administration officials to adopt their policy proposals or to heed their counsel on important policy questions.

If that sounds like lobbying to you, you should know that it does to a lot of people who are a part of the think tank world and are concerned about these changes. "

(See the rest of this important read here)

This is something that I've blogged about before. The viral nature of these so-called 'think-tanks' shouldn't be underestimated, nor the degree to which they can take in the media and the general public, having perfected their act even down to the creation of faux-academic credibility.

Unfortunately, there is as yet no comprehensive resource for keeping track of these astro-turf operations here in Ireland (and in the inevitable UK offshoots). Perhaps a chance for Indymedia Ireland to make themselves useful...?

"Libel"-Richard Waghorne
"Attack blog"-Damien Mulley

About me

  • An early-thirties male Irish technologist living and working in Dublin, I'm a former (recovering) member of both Fianna Fáil and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'm not a member of any political party these days, but my opinions can be broadly categorised as 'lefty' and republican. I am also a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

    Please feel free to check out the FI Fie Foe Fum group blog, where I was once a regular contributor, and the Cedar Lounge Revolution, where I can usually be found in the comments.

    (This blog and its contents reflect only my own personal opinions as a private citizen, and not those of any other person or organisation.)



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