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New Left Review I/203, January-February 1994


Radhika Desai

Second-Hand Dealers in Ideas: Think-Tanks and Thatcherite Hegemony

[T]he ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas. . .sooner or later, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.

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