Palaces For The People
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Part of the Network

The "Network"[1], supported by the International Policy Network (IPN), claims to be all about "helping to create free societies around the world"[2]. It is no surprise, therefore, to discover that it's actually constituted by an often unsavoury collection of rightwing libertarian "think tanks" and industry front organisations keen to support every ugly corporate excess.[3] One of the IPN's prime movers is Julian Morris of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) which has advocated, amongst other interesting ideas, that African countries should be sold off to multinational corporations in the interests of "good government"[4]. Another Network member, India's Liberty Institute has opposed restrictions on the tobacco industry, which it promotes as a driver for economic growth.

Big Tobacco's popularity amongst the Network is hardly surprising given its financial input into some of the groups. Australia's Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has actually had Philip Morris on its board, while another organisation in which Julian Morris has had a hand, the European Science and Environment Foundation, has claimed to be "a non-aligned group of scientists" which does "not accept outside funding", despite well-documented evidence that it was set up primarily with Big Tobacco money as a front organisation to help the likes of Philip Morris undermine industry critical research, and attack restrictions on smoking, biotechnology etc.[5]

One of the founding members of "International Consumers for Civil Society"[9] is Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute (sponsors include Novartis, Cargill, DuPont, and Monsanto). Via such bogus claims as increased E-coli food poisoning risks, Avery has done more than anyone to smear organic agriculture[10] which, in its most developed form, is seen by many as an environmentally sustainable alternative to the use of GMOs. Prakash has been more than happy to circulate and repeat Avery's smears[11] despite a total lack of credible scientific evidence to support them.

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