In This Review

The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats Are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas
The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats Are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas
By Daniel W. Drezner
Oxford University Press, 2017, 360 pp

In this iconoclastic look at “the ideas industry” formed by universities, nonprofit think tanks, for-profit consultancies, newspapers, magazines, and online sources of news and analysis, Drezner offers an engaging perspective on the state of the U.S. foreign policy world. He also makes a spirited, if not totally convincing, defense of his own discipline of political science and takes some well-aimed swipes at the pretensions of economists. Few in the United States are better placed to describe this world: Drezner is a tenured professor at a major university (Tufts), a widely admired columnist for The Washington Post, and a former think tanker. Drezner believes that despite its problems, the world of American intellectual debate is in reasonably good shape. Vigorous competition among intellectuals for attention and influence, Drezner argues, ensures that new ideas get a hearing and that well-established ones can be toppled. Although every component of the marketplace of ideas faces both financial and intellectual challenges, it continues to grow, and both elite and popular audiences continue to engage in the argument over the United States’ place in the world.