September 3, 2008
The following letter appeared in today’s Financial Times:
Your editorial “Refuelling UK think-tanks”(30 August)is equally valid at European Union level. The root of the problem is indeed a lack of resources. The contrast with the US is striking.
In addition to the differences in American culture to which you refer, corporate America – unlike corporate Europe – recognises the need for well-funded think-tanks which can afford the time for deep and long-term thinking. Interestingly, these different attitudes are frequently seen within the same companies that operate in both Europe and the US.
Politicians and officials in office do not have time for strategic thinking. In the US, such thinking takes place in think-tanks, for good or for bad, as in the case of neocon think-tanks. There is a noticeable dearth of strategic thinking within the multi-layered EU institutions: only well-funded think-tanks can fill this gap.
Long-term thinking in today’s 24/7 communications world is at a premium. But how do you persuade more corporations to give long-term support to think-tanks, rather than supporting activities that give them short-term exposure or which are of immediate importance to them?
Founding Chairman, European Policy Centre, BrusselsAuthor : Stanley Crossick