(Update 18/12/17: Due to a legal technicality, the Institute for Free Trade cannot use the word ‘Institute.’ It is now called the Initiative for Free Trade.)
“IFT makes the intellectual and moral case for free trade, and sees Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as a unique opportunity to revitalise the world trading system.”
The IFT is part of the marketing department for extreme exploitative international capitalism. It focuses on promoting capitalist free trade as an alternative to “protectionist” capitalism.
In Why free trade? the IFT pretends to present an argument for unrestricted cross-border trade and pretends to address concerns about such trade. In an ideal (utopian) world there would be no arbitrary restrictions on movement of trade but the IFT are not positioning their arguments in the context of a world free from the necessity of capitalism to exhaustively exploit the majority. The arguments that the IFT use to support free trade over restricted trade have been removed from a general context and placed in the world that the IFT wants, where full exploitative capitalism rules unfettered. In the specific political world that the IFT prefers all the claimed advantages of “free trade” over “protectionism” are advantages for only the elite few; that is, the few who “own” the means of production.
Associated with wholly unrestricted international free trade is wholly unrestricted freedom of movement of people, surely. That is entirely logical. However, the IFT’s president is Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, who most observers assume is in UKIP given his vehement and offensive anti-immigration rhetoric, and former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott is on the IFT board; as prime minister Abbott was happy to use navy vessels to physically and recklessly prevent immigrants from reaching Australia and he greatly expanded the illegal practices of detention of immigrants in offshore prisons such as on Manus Island. There is no doubt that these two despicable characters remain completely opposed to free movement of people.
As noted above, the key point about the IFT’s stance is that it has taken abstract analyses, of “free trade” versus “protectionism,” and happily stuck these analyses onto its own preferred world of full-on exploitative capitalism. That is a clear attempt to con. It is verbal and written sleight of hand. The clarity of this con trick exposes the dimness of the participants and their disdain for those to whom they are speaking. The absurdity and contradictions of the stick-on analyses is quickly highlighted by the political history of the main protagonists at the IFL, a history that includes support for trade sanctions against non-capitalist states, support for off-the-grid tax havens for the wealthy and opposition to free movement of people across borders.
The IFT’s real objective is not “free trade.” Its objective is to make it easer for international capitalists to exploit more widely. The IFT yearns for the days of imperialist colonialist empires.
Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks
- Centre for Policy Studies
- Human Security Centre
- Countryside Alliance
- Policy Network
- Tax-Payers’ Alliance
- Progress Online
- Freedom Association
- Policy Exchange
- Migration Watch
- Henry Jackson Society
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Centre for Social Justice
- Adam Smith Institute
- Bow Group
- Legatum Institute