Welcome to the Globalisation Institute

The Globalisation Institute is a think tank founded in 2005 with the aim of examining how globalization can be harnessed to work for the world’s poorest.

We are philosophically ‘liberal’, regarding the Manchester School anti-Corn Law campaigners like Richard Cobden and John Bright as our key intellectual influences. We were officially launched at a reception at Soho House in June 2005 with speeches by Bill Emmott, Editor of the Economist, and Alan Beattie, World Trade Editor of the Financial Times.

We believe that globalization is a force for good. Only by integrating the poorest into the world economy can we put an end to the poverty that still blights much of world today.

The Institute is politically-independent, working with policy-makers regardless of party. It works through research and events, helping to mold the public debate among opinion formers and the media.

A force for good

We believe that globalisation is a force for good. Only by integrating the poorest into the world economy can we put an end to the poverty that still blights much of world today. Globalisation has enabled China to lift 160m people out of poverty, and millions have been lifted out of poverty in India, too.

Yet in many poor countries, there are important problems that need to be addressed. Civil wars, poor governance, economic exclusion through informal property rights, and too little investment all hinder prosperity. These problems need constructive solutions, and ones that progress beyond simple slogans and gesturing.

Globalisation is also a major contributor to economic growth in rich countries. Removing barriers to trade enable businesses and consumers to take advantage of lower costs. Tariffs and quotas do not just hinder developing country exporters, but also the economies of rich countries.

But globalization has serious opposition. As Mike Eskew, the CEO of UPS, recently said: “Everyone who believes in free and fair trade is at risk of losing a significant battle. There is a small but vocal anti-globalization movement that has pushed its message forward with great force and tenacity.” Because globalization is often demonized, its benefits are often not understood.

Moreover, the losers from globalization tend to be in specific industries that are vocal. The 2001 introduction of steel tariffs in the US had the clear benefit of helping the steel industry. But being allowed to buy the cheapest steel is good for the US economy as a whole, even though the benefits are spread wider, both geographically throughout the US and among a wider range of companies. Similarly, European farmers have a strong voice, while the benefits of ending the Common Agricultural Policy, while larger, are spread across Europe more thinly.

An enterprise-based approach

Our role involves educating opinion formers, policymakers and the general public about globalization. Institute personnel are regularly on TV and radio and speak at public events, at schools, and at universities. But our role goes further and includes ‘policy engineering’ – devising policy options that work around the political pressures and make globalization work for the world’s poorest.

We work towards practical, enterprise-based policies that governments and international institutions can adopt in order that every country can take advantage of the benefits of globalization.

We recognize that business and NGOs have often been suspicious of each other, but we believe that welcoming business is essential to fighting poverty. If we want to be effective in defeating poverty we need to engage – not dismiss – the champions of growth.