Think Tanks and Civil Society

Think Tanks and Civil Society

Think tanks play a vital role in civil society. Independent of vested interests and funded by a wide range of sources with no one industry sector or individual dominating they are free to tilt at windmills and slay sacred cows. The secret of retailing is location, location, location and the secret of a good golf course is drainage, drainage, drainage so the secret of the think tank business is independence, independence, independence.

Think tanks raise issues nobody else dare touch. In other words they think the unthinkable. They target society’s intellectual leaders with reasoned argument and this in the long run changes the climate of opinion. And it can take a long time as in the case of the IEA in London whose first pamphlet called for the abolition of exchange controls. It was published in 1955 and the controls went in 1979 some 24 years later.

Through lectures and conferences and publications think tanks allow issues to be properly aired and real alternatives put on the table and discussed.

Good luck to you in Finland.

John Blundell

Director General (1993 – 2009)
IEA