The article explains that the role of consultancies in policy-making is much larger than one (I) would expect, that this can create conflicts of interest and lead to bad results, and, crucially, that this degrades the ability of governments (civil servants) to face problems.
It is something I have never read or even think about and I found it relevant for EAs and EA as a movement.
I think it can be productive here to taboo the word “capitalism” and to just think about trade-offs between incentive alignment and skill.
A lot of regulations prevent governments from hiring in an efficient manner, and this results in a comparative lack of talent in many areas that consultancies excel… or seem to excel (e.g. short-term metric hacking). Many of these regulations make sense from the standpoint of reducing conflicts of interest *within* the government, however these conflicts of interest and vulnerabilities are sometimes immediately recreated when outsourcing. If the regulations posed less burden to efficient hiring and work within government, it would be easier to internally develop aligned talent. Regardless of if advice comes from inside or outside of government, you want there to be competitive pressure for the advice to be good (one of the reasons gov outsources) and long-term incentive alignment on good outcomes.
One should be concerned with extractive models generally, not just in the context of capitalism. People can form extractive coalitions in business and they can do the same within government agencies as well. Policies that require more transparency from consulting firms when it is critical to avoid conflict of interest may be helpful, but there really needs to be lower cost ways to enact and enforce such regulations to prevent more morally dubious workarounds.