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Intellectuals, Public Opinion, and Economic Development*

  • Edward Shils (a1)

Economic development in the West proceeded, until the latter part of the nineteenth century, without the aid of the intellectuals. Neither the innovators in technology nor the enterprisers and managers of industrial firms were highly educated, nor did they interest themselves in intellectual matters. The world of finance contained a few exceptions to this proposition, such as David Ricardo, Samuel Rogers, and George Grote, but it, too, moved without the aid of economists or other professional or avocational intellectuals. The graduates of universities stood aloof from the practical work of commerce and industry in their countries; they went into scholarship, into theology and the church, into administration (first in Germany and then gradually in the rest of the countries of Europe), into medicine and the law, but they did not enter into the central stream of the economic life of their countries.

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* Acknowledgment is due to the Congress for Cultural Freedom, Paris, under whose auspices this paper was prepared.

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World Politics
  • ISSN: 0043-8871
  • EISSN: 1086-3338
  • URL: /core/journals/world-politics
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