Communities of experts can, through strategic action, have a large influence on the actions of powerful institutions.
Alfred Adler’s The emergence of cooperation: national epistemic communities and the international evolution of the idea of arms control talks about how a community of scientists and strategists (in many ways similar to the EA community) played a key role in creating the ideas that led to nuclear arms control agreements. The article is a bit long; I’d recommend reading the first couple of paragraphs, then skipping to the section “Intellectual innovation” (page 111).
Other relevant writing on epistemic communities
- Robinson on the CERN community and cooperation between countries.
- Kerry Vaughan’s post on how, through the strategic actions of an intellectual community, neoliberalism went from a marginalized movement to the dominant influence in economics.
- Scott Alexanders’ review of Edward Pease’s The History Of The Fabian Society.