Cory Leonard

Drezner Explores the Power of Public Intellectuals

In media on August 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

A full treatment of the wiles and woes of Fareed Zakaria and Niall Ferguson, including the dynamics of academic credentialing, speaking fees, envy, and power.  Re-quoting himself he shows what has changed, and why names like these two wield so much outsized influence:

The most useful function of bloggers is when they engage in the quality control of other public intellectuals. [Richard] Posner believed public intellectuals were in decline because there was no market discipline for poor quality. Even if public intellectuals royally screw up, he argued, the mass public is sufficiently disinterested and disengaged for it not to matter. Bloggers are changing this dynamic, however. If Michael Ignatieff, Paul Krugman or William Kristol pen substandard essays, blogs have and will provide a wide spectrum of critical feedback.

via Intellectual power and responsibility in an age of superstars | Daniel W. Drezner.



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