Legatum Institute

(Website: Legatum Institute)

We are an international think tank and educational charity which seeks to provide evidence-based solutions for those who would see free, just and flourishing societies.”

The Legatum Institute devises and promotes methods of conning the public to make them believe that extreme exploitative “free market” capitalism can help everyone rather than just helping a tiny elite of financial gangsters.  

This objective is displayed brazenly throughout Legatum’s literature, speeches and interviews.  For example, as a response to a data-driven report Public Opinion Post-Brexit that showed that there is majority public support in Britain for state control of capitalist mayhem, the author, Matthew Elliot, ended the report by stating

Now, the political class will need to turn its attention to economic attitudes, or face the risk of the ground shifting beneath its feet.  And for those who believe that competition, entrepreneurship and free trade are key drivers to make societies more prosperous, it’s time for us to up our game.

That is a plea for the capitalist elite to fight back against the intelligence and knowledge of the public; by “our game” Elliot meant the game of PR, confidence trickery and fraud.  In his comment on the report Elliot displayed utter contempt for the public’s decisions:

It [the report] suggests that economic attitudes in the country are further to the left than is widely appreciated, posing a challenge for those who have seen at first hand the power of competition, entrepreneurship and free trade to drive prosperity.”  
“The findings of our polling are concerning for anyone committed to the principles of free enterprise. Competition entrepreneurship and free trade are all essential to achieving prosperity, not to simply generate profit for businesses, but to extend opportunity to all.” 

On the same comment page Elliot tried to denigrate left-of-centre politics by equally applying the pejorative term “populist” to the extreme right and to any political stance to the left of Legatum’s.  This tactic of misrepresentation was a clumsy attempt to position mainstream left-of-centre politics as an outlier and to position right-wing unrestricted “free-market” exploitation as the norm and as the centre of the Overton window.  It also normalised the far right: Elliot discussed right-wing populists such as Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen and the Alternative für Deutschland” but his “populists” Wilders, Le Pen and Weidel are racist extremists.  His downplaying of their extremism was deliberate.

Disaster Capitalism
In Open Democracy on Legatum Peter Geoghegan explained the history of Legatum Institute and its international umbrella group Legatum Foundation, and he discussed the influence it has on the Tory government.  He described the founders of Legatum Foundation as

disaster capitalists. They created a hedge fund in the 1980s after selling the family department store in Hamilton, New Zealand. They piled into Russia in the ‘shock therapy’ years when the Soviet Union’s state-run businesses were rapidly privatised.  Sovereign Global, the brothers’ fund, was by their reckoning the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia by 1994. By 2002 the pair were the fourth largest investor in Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled gas company.”

In other words, organised crime on a grand multi-billion rouble scale.  Former public-owned services were stolen from the Russian people and continue to be a revenue stream of unearned income for the so-called ‘oligarchs’ and their overseas partners in crime.  

In a different article, Legatum Connections, Peter Geoghegan revealed that Legatum Institute’s income has increased hugely in the last five years with most of that income from Legtaum Foundation.

The foundation is registered in Bermuda and controlled by a company in the Cayman Islands. The Legatum Institute’s income has grown significantly in recent years, from £35,000 in 2012, to more than £4m in 2016, with around 90% coming from the Legatum Foundation.”

It is no surprise that two notorious locations for mass tax-dodging house the Legatum Foundation.

Post-Brexit Britain
The new target for the Legatum disaster capitalists is post-Brexit Britain.  As part of the process of departure from the EU the Tory government intends to remove all restrictions on exploitation including workers’ rights, tenants’ rights, access to justice and free speech as well as removing dampeners on financial recklessness and on tax avoidance.  The Tories intend to rapidly privatise police, fire and health services.  All such changes provide opportunities for the most disreputable and immoral wealth terrorists, and the Legatum Foundation and its associates are salivating in expectation.

Legatum Institute’s Brexit Inflection Point report press release stated

Historically, the British system of free trade made Britain, Europe and the world richer. The EU system that has replaced it—of protectionism and harmonised regulation—has constrained economic growth for Britain and the world. There is now a brief opportunity for Britain to restore her freedom to trade, liberalising the global trading system itself.”

Legatum’s support for “free trade” for Britain, free from the EU’s “protectionism,” is the same con as that perpetrated by the Institute for Free Trade: “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” is a summary from Institute For Free Trade and it apples equally to Legatum.

Historically, the British system of free trade made Britain, Europe and the world richer” is a grotesque misrepresentation of Britain’s vicious colonialism and spotlights Legatum’s intent clearly.

Legatum Institute people
The report author mentioned above, Matthew Elliot, was the director of Vote Leave, the main lobby group for exiting the EU during the EU referendum campaign.  Vote Leave is being investigated by the Electoral Commission for alleged overspending during that campaign: Electoral Commission investigation.

Danny Kruger is a former chief speechwriter for David Cameron, the chief leader writer at The Daily Telegraph and the director of research at the Centre for Policy Studies, a curriculum vitae that displays proudly both his commitment to feeding the elite wealth terrorists and to presenting his arguments dishonestly.  As Legatum Social Policy explains, Kruger’s role will be to create false excuses for savage cuts to public services:

If we are to reform our own economy and public services and negotiate with the EU and with other nations, we need a vision of who we are as a country and a clear-eyed assessment of how far we live up to that vision currently. This requires a brutal analysis of our strengths and weaknesses, and a plan for making the vision a reality.”

Reform,” when used by extreme free-marketeers, always means cuts for those who can least afford it.  The “brutality” will be felt by the same people.

Christine Odone is another former Centre for Policy Studies “research fellow.”  Her role at Legatum is to devise new methods of confidence trickery to assist “great institutions – including business, media and politics,” to reverse their respective negative (but accurate) public images, explained in Cultural Transformation:

In recent years, a number of these institutions have suffered a loss of public confidence, as many have questioned the ethics that govern them.”
We aim to support leaders in their field to strengthen and reform current practice by promoting a greater sense of good citizenship and civic responsibility.”

Businesses like G4S, media like Murdoch’s empire and politicians like the Tories have never had, and will never have, any interest in “good citizenship and civic responsibility.”

Philippa Stroud, Legatum’s CEO, founded the Centre for Social Justice alongside Iain Duncan-Smith, to whom she was a special adviser for the entirety of the 2010-2015 Tory/Lib Dem government; in that role she was one of the architects of Universal Credit and of other devastating cuts to welfare provision.  Thus, the thousands of deaths caused by the Tories’ continuous assaults on the lives of the poorest people, particularly people with disabilities, are the responsibility of Stroud.  She is as culpable a mass murderer as Duncan-Smith is.

Shanker Singham‘s interesting history of political and business connections was discussed by Peter Geoghegan in his Open Democracy article mentioned (and linked to) above.

Among Legatum’s fellows is think-tank hopper Tim Montgomorie.  As a co-founder of both the ConservativeHome website and Centre for Social Justice, Montgomorie’s experience as a charlatan is plentiful.  

Another fellow is James Mumford whose speciality is to write a long-winded article that contorts itself as it tries to absolve devastating Tory cuts for the effects they cause.  For example, in Mumford on elderly care he is aghast that anyone should blame a lack of state funding for poor care for the elderly and then he pretends to propose a solution to poor care that is more costly; his mode of argument is one reason why Tories have considered dementia tax and stealing people’s homes as means of funding elderly care.

GeorgeColeStTrinians
Legatum has close links with the Tory government

Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks

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Legatum Institute

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