I selected the International Policy Network as my think tank to explore further.  This think tank would be classified in the private category as it is completely funded by private donation from individuals, foundations or businesses.  They state on their website that they “receive no money from any government or political parties and do not do contract work.” IPN’s vision is to “bring down barriers to enterprise and trade.”  They hope to achieve their mission by educating “opinion formers” about solutions to public policy problems.  The public policy issues they focus on varies but are based on issues related to development, the environment, health, trade and accountability.

I searched Wikipedia to get more background information on IPN and this comment was made about them: “It defines itself as a non-partisan, non-profit organization, but has also been described as a corporate-funded campaigning group.”  Although we all know that you have to take everything you read on Wikipedia with a grain of salt I still find it very interesting that on IPN’s website they so adamantly deny contract work, but Wikipedia seems to be implying that they pretty much work for companies and campaign for their views.

Looking through the IPN website they seem to have 7 main programs and policy projects.  These programs and policy projects include a project on accountability (analyzing the relationship between governments, intergovernmental bodies and NGOs), The Bastiat Prize for Journalism (recognizing writers whose work clearly explains the institutions of the free society), a health program (discussing the role of market institutions in improving human health), an environmental program (looking at global topics of agriculture, water and climate change) and lastly a project related to trade (which emphasizes the benefits of freedom of trade for all people and open investment).

If I were to select a category of think tanks I would want to work for I would select an international think tank such as a UN think tank.  I think this category of think tanks would be very interesting to work for because you would be comparing policies and initiatives of different countries.  By analyzing what different countries are doing in certain policy areas you could hopefully determine the most effective way to deal with a certain problem.  Then because the UN is an international organization, you could make recommendations for all the countries to follow.

If I could create a think tank to explore any issue I think I would focus on time travel.  This in part goes off of my post from last week about wanting to see every country in the world.  I think it would be so cool if one day time travel was actually possible.  So if an entire think tank was devoted to researching time travel maybe one day it would be possible.  In terms of falling into a category I would say that my think tank would have to be privately funded by individuals, organizations and businesses that would like to see time travel as a possibility in the future.

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2 responses »

  1. Jordi says:

    For what it is worth, the language of “free society” and of “free trade” is usually more closely aligned with a global perspective that privileges private companies over other concerns. Some might call it “neo-liberal” economics or also the “Washington consensus.”

    They say they do not do contract work, but do they list funders? Where did you find this one? Why were you interested in it?

    • Sarah says:

      I tried to look into who was funding IPN but could not really find much information. I did however find an article about them on sourcewatch.org at this url (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=International_Policy_Network#Funding). It shows that ExxonMobil seems to have been funding them at least between 2003 to 2006 as part of their corporate giving. It was also interesting to read this comment “IPN gets almost no positive press coverage, most politicians have never heard of it, and no one takes it seriously. The only coverage it gets attacks it for being unethical. Journalists see through its “research”, dropping IPN’s press releases in the wastebasket for recycling because they are so transparently corporate propaganda.” When you had assigned the task for finding a think tank I used the Harvard Directory. I was looking for an international think tank and am currently taking a class on public policy so IPN seemed like a good fit. Now having learned more about them it seems that most people classify them more as a lobby group or corporate funded campaigning group than an actual think tank..

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