Things are not like before, says one, when thinking about the art of governing and the exercise of politics. With a good vanguard in the party and a good cabinet in the exercise of government, it would seem to be enough to successfully overcome the difficulties that arise along the way. In the business world, it was enough to have a good product and a good team of marketing professionals to conquer markets and guarantee growth and maximize profitability. The work of intellectuals was believed to be limited to specific moments and spaces. The economy and politics were conceived as two totally separate fields.
If prioritizing the action and how it is coming we are seeing are the maxims, like trial and error, polling, the opinions sometimes of a panel of experts, among others, are enough for more. In such a situation it is common to underestimate the work of intellectuals, they are complex, slow, abstract, difficult to understand, most of the time they are not efficient or effective when making decisions.
The advances of science and technology, the levels of interaction that globalization imposed and imposes in its modernity stage, later intensified in the neoliberal stage, show the importance of intellectual work to reach positions and stay in them, as well as to develop armored economies in this complex context that constantly goes in and out of chaos and order. Someone said over there: tomorrow's battles will be fought in the mind.
War and politics are confused, wherever we see conflicts of interest, conflicting positions, depending on the tone, polarization and moment, they are approached with strategies and tactics very similar to those used in war, what changes are the ways, weapons and ammunition, sometimes they are words, speeches, declarations, complaints, recommendations, agendas, plans and programs, and other times they are sanctions, unilateral coercive measures, confiscations, blockades, kidnappings, etc. Gradual and proportional measures of force said euphemistically.
We are constantly surrounded and bombarded by content, created by people with interests, ideologies, emotions, biases, feelings, prejudices, etc. All this shapes us as a social being, consciously and unconsciously, conditions us despite our will, character, temperament and personality.
This subtle and permanent conditioning can be put in favor of or against particular interests, politically, socially, economically, commercially. It is there where the think tanks or “Think Thanks”, among other organizations, enter the scene.
The theme of this reflection is: "Tank sounds like war, even if it is thought", in the same way that social communication media were considered as the artillery of thought, in war strategies in the XNUMXth century. The connotation of weapons of war does not leave room for doubt as to referring to their purposes, the for what. These are means to obtain “power over”.
A few questions, as usual
Are your decisions, behaviors, desires, way of perceiving independent and free? Nothing and no one conditions, coerces or suggests you?
A president of a country, an executive of a transnational corporation, a líder When you deliver a speech, when you draw up and execute a plan, program or policy, when you decide, do you do so only using your intellectual capacities, trusting your intuition, cunning and your "higher staff" or do you complement yourself with the recommendations of advisers and consultants, internal and external experts and specialists in specific topics? Do you know what lobbying or lobbyism, What role do they play in the public powers, in particular, the executive and the legislature, but also in the economy and in the formation of public opinion?
If in neoliberalism the Nation States were minimized to the maximum, who or who meet the needs of government action (governance)? When did civil society emerge as a political organization and what role did it play in that context?
Data, facts and opinions
A source has been consulted to extract from it the data to be presented: "The Go Think Tank Index 2021 report", from the Thought Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP), created in 1989, from Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania.
.-11.175 thought tanks have been cataloged in the world. Of every 100 tanks, 26 are in Europe, 21 in North America (Mexico, USA, Canada), 30 in Asia, 10 in Central and South America, 6 in Sub-Saharan Africa and 6 in North Africa and the Middle East. . With the particularity that many of these tanks may be subsidiary, that is, they depend on a headquarters in another country. Likewise, they may be associated by alliances or conditioned by financing. That is, they can play against the interests of the nation.
.-The 10 countries in the Latin American and Caribbean (LA&C) region with the highest number of Think Tanks are: Argentina with 262, Brazil with 190, Mexico with 109 and Colombia with 90, Bolivia with 82, Chile with 80, Peru with 55, Costa Rica with 45, Paraguay with 40, Guatemala with 34. In these 10 countries 77 out of every 100 tanks in the region are concentrated.
.-The Global Go To Thinnk Tank Index (GGTTI), with which the ranking of countries is prepared to facilitate international comparison, is calculated based on four sets of indicators: Resource Indicators, Use Indicators, Results Indicators , Impact Indicators.
.-In the list of the ranking of the World Think Tanks, in the top of the 10 first 5 are from the United States, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace stands out, position 1, and the Rand Corporation, position 7. If the list at 20 of the top, resonate the Heritage Foudation of the USA, in position 13, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), position 15, of Germany.
.-In the top ranking of the Think Tanks of the United States, they resonate for their notoriety, either by publications in the press or by the publication of their studies and analyses: Heritage Foundation, #6, Atlantic Council, #7 , Rand Corporation, #9, Cato Institute, #13, Freedom House, #20, Human Rights Watch, #21, McKinsey Global Institute, #24, Pew Research Center, #41.
.-In 7 of the 14 policy areas addressed in ranking lists, a think tank from the United States leads. These 7 areas are: National Security and Defense, National or Domestic Economic Policy, Foreign Policy and International Relations, National Health Policy, World Health Policy, Social Policy and Transparency and Good Governance.
.- From the figuration in the LA&C region in these 14 lists it can be inferred: due to the low figuration, little interest in Energy Policy and Resources (1), World Health Policy (2), National Health Policy (3) and Security of the National and Defense (4); due to high figuration, much interest in Social Policy (17), National Economic Policy (16), International Development (14). The question is whose interest, national governments, civil society organizations, or whose?
.-There is a ranking of the most profitable think tanks, which includes the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) (USA), in place #1, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) (USA), in the 3rd place. For three years, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) (USA) ranked first in this ranking, 2016-2019.
Without knowing much about the subject, it is understood that tanks and artillery are weapons used by soldiers in war for defense and offense, in principle they allow them to advance and conquer positions in the territory, both weapons have firepower, the differences are that the tank has mobility and armored protection. First, the ground is softened with this weaponry, and then, with soldiers with light weapons, they consolidate positions.
Will the think tanks and the artillery of thought be part of the means that make politics the continuation of war, as Foucault posed at the end of the XNUMXth century?
We come up with a slogan for a hypothetical campaign: Let us think for you!
More analysis can be done with an approach like this one, it allows us to know what is not said but is evidenced by data and facts about the importance and role played by think tanks in politics and the economy that is usually underestimated. .
What to do?
Without disqualifying these forms of doing politics a priori, it is suggested not only to study and analyze them critically, but also to create those corresponding to the new world order and the role within it played by the desired region of LA&C.
Understand and value the role of knowledge in geopolitics and geoeconomics, in this interdependent and complex world.
Open the debate on the topic.