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Falling out

Intellectuals have previously led Labour's reform of Britain, but New Labour uses academics only on policy detail. In return, those intellectuals scorn the Blair project

By John Lloyd   October 1999

Fifty years ago Friedrich Hayek published an essay called The Intellectuals and Socialism. It reads curiously today, because it is so despairing about the future of liberal capitalism. Hayek thought that modern society had produced too many intellectual generalists (academics in the humanities, journalists, teachers, publicists)-people who “purveyed second- hand ideas… but are usually amateurs so far as the substance of what they convey is concerned.”

The great Austrian-born economist had a mordant view of these people: “It is the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs and the consequent absence of first-hand knowledge of them which distinguishes the typical…

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