Yes, my Classically trained friends, "Praise be to Adam Smith!" It is my position that maybe, just maybe, the media market in fact reflects demand: that it supplies exactly what is demanded, and what is demanded is a little bit of everything…
In this market, think tanks supply questions and answers, "constructing mental widgets as fast as the public mind can deconstruct and absorb them."
Most think tanks don’t supply very many answers – or rather – they supply the same answers to every question. Is unemployment a problem? Deregulating the labor market will create new jobs. Are wild animals threatened with extinction? Private ownership will save them. For ‘classical liberal’ think tanks like Australia’s Centre for Independent Studies, the free market is the answer to almost every problem. And surprisingly often, government interference turns out to be the problem.
So if the public sphere really is a marketplace, why are think tanks so keen to give their ‘mental widgets’ away for free? And why are their donors so interested in helping them to do it?