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The Transnational Institute (TNI)

The Transnational Institute (TNI) is one of the world’s only think tanks dedicated to providing critical analysis for social movements struggling for a more democratic, equitable and environmentally sustainable world.
Founded in 1974 as the international programme of the Washington DC-based Institute for Policy Studies, TNI is an international research and advocacy network coordinated from Amsterdam in The Netherlands. It seeks to expose the forces and institutions that cause poverty, environmental degradation and conflict; propose alternatives that are both just and pragmatic; and share good practice from movements and institutions that are involved in building a better world.

The Institute is uniquely placed at the international nexus between engaged scholars, social movements, and policy makers and its history has been entwined with that of global social movements. In its first decades, TNI worked closely with democratic movements challenging dictatorship, colonialism and Cold War militarism. From the mid-1990s, the focus shifted to social movements concerned with the negative impacts of globalised neo-liberal economic and social policies.

Over almost 40 years, TNI has gained an international reputation for anticipating and producing informed work on key issues long before they become mainstream concerns. It began working on Third World debt in 1982, many years before it became a popular issue. TNI’s work on the privatisation of the commons began in 1992, and gave rise to a new generation of activists concerned with both the environment and the economic policies threatening it.
TNI was among the first to draw attention to the dangers for the developing world of the rules to be negotiated at the World Trade Organisation from 1995 onwards. And from 2003 TNI was perhaps the first organisation to articulate critical arguments against impending emissions trading systems as a false solution for addressing climate change.
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