An article on Think Tanks from The Guardian: Brains for hire: the thinktank
Britain’s thinktank industry is the envy of the world. The US has institutions so large that they are like universities without students, but they have none of our flexibility and fast reactions. In western Europe, there are huge research agencies funded by public money, but again they are monolithic and don’t innovate. We have political entrepreneurship. We have tanks of people, all thinking; they need no mandate. They just think. And then their thoughts become public policy.
An interesting article by Zoe Williams in the Guardian yesterday. A good illustration of the vast differences between them; of what is wrong and right; and (check out the comment) the reactions think tanks (the idea of think tanks, in fact) produce in the general public.
I would argue that this type of analysis -even when light- is useful for any political system that aims to be more learned.