Does the IEA lobby for corporate interests?


The IEA has often criticised corporatism and crony capitalism where big business has worked against free markets. There is a huge difference between being pro-market and being pro-corporate, let alone promoting the interests of any business group. The IEA typically recommends policies that put consumers first, liberalise markets, and encourage more competition, rather than protecting existing firms through more regulations or subsidies.

This has sometimes put us at odds with individual corporate donors. But it is important. A central critique of capitalism is that it tends to corporatism through an overly cosy relationship between government and the most powerful vested interests. In the long run this serves the interests of neither consumers, the corporations themselves, nor of good government. Short-term rent-seeking through lobbying creates inefficiencies and market distortions that undermine competitiveness. When aggregated across an economy it can lead to lower growth, increased debt, lower trust in institutions, stagnation, and decline.

In 2018, in response to false allegations by Greenpeace Unearthed of unlawful lobbying (commercial lobbyists must register, the IEA is not a commercial lobbying organisation) the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (ORCL) investigated the claims. They found no merit to them and nor did the Charity Commission who regulate issues pertaining to the reputation of charities.

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