Friday, November 12, 2004

Inter think tank rivalry?

John Blundell, boss of the IEA, responds to a Guardian piece that insinuated, inter alia, that the Adam Smith Institute is less a think tank and more a political lobbyist.

In my opinion, you might compare the IEA to the FEE and less so to Cato, and the ASI to The AEI Brookings Center.

The ASI and IEA both produce publications by experts on topical issues, but the ASI seems to have a more policy orientated output. Nothing wrong with that, and plenty to commend, but receiving government money is dodgy for a free-market think tank. However, if the government is going to enlist the private sector, they might as well get the right people, so why not the ASI. De Soto does good work with governments, and I think the Global Prosperity Initiative at Mercatus has received government money.

Although John Blundell notes the independence of the IEA, not long ago, the Institute (and the CPS) was not such a stranger to power as Margaret Thatcher used to take bags of IEA books home to read at the weekends, and returned with heavily marked copies, and numerous questions.

To roll out a cliche, it is a sign of our times that, judging by his policies, Blair is perhaps more likely than Howard to have read the IEA's publications.


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