Inter-Governmental Organization "IGO"

Council on Alternative Policy Studies

 

IVU THINK TANK (500) WebThe Council on Alternative Policy Studies (CAPS) is a “Think Tank”, established as a non-profit institution of Ignita Veritas University, and an autonomous official agency of the Inter-Governmental Organization (IGO) Ignita Veritas United (IVU), which serves as the host institution providing supporting infrastructure.

 

The Council (CAPS) serves as an alternative non-political and non-aligned research and development center, upholding the principle of intellectual independence, as an institution of strict academic scholarship providing innovative solutions for effective and beneficial public policy in both foreign affairs and domestic affairs.

 

It provides expert consulting and research support to assist nation states and governmental institutions, developing innovative strategies, framework policies, and model laws or treaties, supporting peace, geopolitical security, national sovereignty, social and economic prosperity, and human rights under international law.

 

The Council (CAPS) is primarily operated by Professors of the diverse faculties of Ignita Veritas University (IV University), supported by Barristers from the University Law Center insofar as public policy involves or implicates legal rights, and assisted by the Member Institutions accredited to Special Consultancy status with the IGO Ignita Veritas United (IVU).

 

As a non-profit institution, the Council (CAPS) uses all net proceeds from Think Tank services to support the humanitarian operations of the host IGO Ignita Veritas United (IVU), especially including its Human Rights Court of the independent Judiciary, through the Public Access to Justice Endowment (PAJE) Fund.

 

Public Role and Responsibility of Think Tanks

 

A “Think Tank” is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary of 1910 as:  “A research institute that is staffed with experts that are engaged for discussing policy issues of government and business.” [1]

 

The essential function of a Think Tank is to conduct authoritative research, and provide effective and balanced solutions to problems, in matters of public policy.  The ultimate embodiment of that core function is the traditional practice of publishing government reports, often called “white papers”, for distribution to the national administrations, parliaments and governmental agencies of countries.  The primary purpose of such reports is for presenting a scholarly treatment of verified facts, strategic analysis, practical recommendations, innovative solutions, and framework policies.

 

Since the end of the Cold War ca. 1991, most Think Tanks have increasingly focused on international affairs and foreign policy, addressing domestic policy only indirectly in connection with promoting globalization.  However, the development of public policy initiatives affects all areas of human living and quality of life, including social welfare, family integrity, cultural heritage, safety and security, economic standing, access to resources, and general prosperity.

 

As public policy unavoidably affects domestic life, it necessarily directly affects the respect (or disregard) for human rights:  Bad public policy which undermines humanitarian values inevitably promotes and even causes violations of human rights; Good public policy which fully considers and upholds human rights thereby advances the peace and prosperity of human civilization.  Therefore, Think Tanks have a profound responsibility, and must be held to the highest standard of factual truth and ethics for the benefit of humanity.

 

History and Authentic Purpose of Think Tanks

 

University historians have documented the origin of traditional Think Tanks, which is most revealing of their true and best purpose, and is best explained by Professor Jacob Soll:

 

The first Think Tanks originated in Europe in the 9th century, as a solution arising from the “long tradition of ecclesiastical and feudal legal wrangling”, for which “emperors and kings began… hiring teams of independent lawyers to advise monarchs… often independent nobles… who gave advice while retaining a certain amount of intellectual independence.”  Throughout the 16th to 18th centuries, “teams of ecclesiastical and legal historians worked in groups to scour archives and libraries to write” research works for guiding public policies.  “These independently formed teams of scholars could rightly claim to be direct ancestors of today’s think tanks.”

 

“In France… which was famous for its academies and libraries, the crown often called on groups of scholars from the… international network of scholars and experts who corresponded, shared information, and ran archives, libraries and publication projects.  When in need of an expert, kings such as Louis XIII would call on [such] figures… and sent them as experts and representatives to diplomatic meetings.”

 

Historically, “states often depended on independent scholars and their expertise”.  Accordingly, modern Think Tanks are traditionally “founded with the idea that serious and focused research groups could solve the world’s wicked problems.” [2]

 

The modern type of Think Tank was first established in 1916 in Washington, DC, in the form of “a research center modeled on academic institutions and focused on addressing the questions of the federal government”, as a “bipartisan institution” not aligned with any political party.  “Other early think tanks followed a similar bipartisan model”, independent from party politics, by focusing on “knowledgeable specialists of differing ideological inclinations”. [3]

 

The modern phrase “Think Tank” was popularized in 1946, as American military slang describing the fortified or high-security rooms where analysts and strategists discussed operations planning.

 

Less than 16% of all modern Think Tanks arose out of the first half of the Cold War (ca. 1953-1970), and an estimated 66% were established after 1970, but more than 50% were created since 1980 for advancing “globalist” agendas of the “globalization” movement [4].  “The boom was driven and defined by globalization… Now, think tanks face extinction unless they learn to innovate and adapt” to the growing populist influence of an informed and aware public in the information age, with “competition from advocacy organizations” demanding the restoration of human rights [5].

 

Upholding the Integrity of Beneficial Think Tanks

 

An experienced presidential policy advisor, Dr. Tevi Troy, best explained the value of the authentic role of Think Tanks, in contrast with how they have become abused and thus devalued in modern times:

 

“The classic definition of think tanks [is] as ‘universities without students’…  From their beginnings… think tanks tended to be research centers modeled on academic institutions and devoted to addressing technical questions relevant to government policy. …

 

Because think-tanks are understood to offer important support to the process of making good public policy, they have been included among the charitable and other public-service [i.e. non-profit] institutions exempted from the income tax since its creation…  But this tax-exempt status results in some important limits on what think tanks may do in the political arena.”

 

“Today, while most think tanks continue to serve as homes for some academic-style scholarship regarding public policy, many have also come to play more active (if informal) roles in politics” by engaging in “political combat”.  “As they become more political, however, think tanks… risk becoming… less valuable.  At a moment when we have too much noise in politics and too few constructive ideas, these institutions may simply become part of the intellectual echo chamber of our politics, rather than providing alternative sources of policy analysis and intellectual innovation.” [6]

 

University scholars describe the degeneration of Think Tanks in modern times:

 

“Experts solemnly line up, often to defend a specific political or economic cause… in line with the ideological leanings of the institution.”  Many independent journalists have exposed “direct think-tank involvement in twisting data, as well as the use of think-tank experts to attack scientific findings and whistleblowers or to retail government echo-chamber propaganda.”  Such abuses are generally driven by private or political special “interests guiding think-tank findings” by essentially “paying for propaganda”.  This has caused the general public and qualified scholars to become “highly suspicious of these so-called experts, whose once-prestigious institutions have become synonymous with partisan warfare and servile analysis-for-hire.” [7]

 

The presidential advisor Dr. Tevi Troy further explains the resulting decline, and highlights the importance of restoring the integrity of Think Tanks through the historical tradition of the classical model, to restore their intended benefits to society:

 

“These new institutions bear far less resemblance to universities than did the traditional think tanks, and have even drifted from the model of the more advocacy-oriented think tanks”.  The general trend of degradation of authenticity and integrity of Think Tanks is reflected in the proportion of their scholars holding post-graduate Ph.D. degrees:  Among the few remaining classical Think Tanks, 53% of their scholars hold a Ph.D., while “among those founded after 1980, only 13% of scholars are as highly educated.”

 

Such “devaluation” of Think Tanks “poses a serious problem”.  The solution is to recognize “a real need for original thinking that can break the mold of some familiar debates and propose plausible solutions to the enormous policy problems that now confront us.  In other words… there is also plenty of need for the old kind” of classical Think Tank.  “The value of that original model… came from its ability to bring serious, original, expert research to the task of analyzing policy problems and proposing solutions.  It sought to expand the range of options under debate and to ground that debate in hard facts and figures.” [8]

 

A Classical Independent University Think Tank

 

The Council on Alternative Policy Studies (CAPS) is truly a return to the classical model of a world-class Think Tank, in the tradition of those which guided civilization out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance:

 

The Council (CAPS) is a dedicated department of a University educational institution, providing genuine informational research, through the strict scholarly discipline of establishing verifiable academic facts from objective and reliable sources, combining archival historical knowledge with cutting-edge advancements, and applying rigorously logical analysis.

 

This time-tested approach empowers the institution to develop practical recommendations for innovative solutions and effective public policies, which are strategically designed to produce inherently beneficial results for humanity.

 

Scholars of the Council (CAPS) are carefully selected for intellectual independence of non-political and non-aligned original thinking, and about 80% of its researchers and report writers hold Doctorate or Post-Doctorate degrees, while the other 20% are required to hold Master’s degrees while pursuing doctoral studies.

 

To ensure the intellectual independence of the Council (CAPS), remaining free from influence by any particular government or political party, all project-specific research work is isolated and removed from the separate sphere of funding by the IGO Charter, as follows:

 

The Think Tank cannot be hired directly, but only indirectly by sponsoring its host University as a Patron.  All grants and donations by Patrons can only be given to the University, only for general operations and independent research in the public interest, without any direct hiring on any project, such that the University is the only source of funding known to the Council.

 

Patrons of the University can separately request research, which the Council will give priority over its pro bono projects supporting non-patrons.  Research is thus reliably provided, but never directly hired, such that a requesting Patron cannot require any specific results or conclusions of research.  This gives the added benefit of assurance that no other sponsoring organization can influence nor interfere with that research advancing the positive goals of the requesting Patron.

 

Legal Mandates for Inter-governmental Think Tank

 

The Council on Alternative Policy Studies (CAPS) has a special mandate as an IGO to serve as a Think Tank for governments, under the 1998 Declaration on the Right to Protect Human Rights, for governmental institutions “to communicate with inter-governmental organizations” for “promoting and protecting human rights” (Article 5).

 

It has further mandate for assisting governments, under the 1996 Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, by the obligation of all States to promote human rights and prosperity “through international assistance and cooperation… by all appropriate means” (Article 2), including through “international cooperation in the scientific and cultural fields” (Article 15.4), where such “international action” specifically includes “technical assistance” by “consultation and study organized in conjunction with the governments concerned” (Article 23).

 

The Council (CAPS) has a legal mandate to develop public policy, under the 1998 Declaration on the Right to Protect Human Rights, as the protected right “to publish… or disseminate… information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms”, and “to study… [and] draw public attention to those matters” (Article 6), and a mandate for “participation… in the conduct of public affairs” including “to submit to governmental bodies… concerned with public affairs criticism and proposals for improving their functioning” (Article 8).

 

 


 

[1] Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary (1891), 2nd Edition, West Publishing, St. Paul, Minnesota (1910), “Think Tank”.

[2] Prof. Jacob Soll, How Think Tanks Became Engines of Royal Propaganda, Tablet Magazine, Nextbook, New York (31 January 2017); Jacob Soll is a Professor of History at University of Southern California.

[3] Dr. Tevi Troy, No More Thinking with Think Tanks, “Utne Reader”, Ogden Publications, Topeka Kansas, (“May/June” Issue, 2012); Dr. Tevi Troy is former White House Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and former Domestic Policy Director for the congressional House Policy Committee.

[4] James G. McGann, Think Tanks and the Transnationalization of Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia (2013); James McGann, Ph.D. in International Studies, is a Senior Fellow of the Fels Institute of Government at University of Pennsylvania.

[5] James G. McGann, For Think Tanks, It’s Either Innovate or Die, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia; The Washington Post (06 October 2015).

[6] Dr. Tevi Troy, Devaluing the Think Tank, Journal “National Affairs”, Washington, DC, Issue No.10 (“Winter” 2012).

[7] Prof. Jacob Soll, How Think Tanks Became Engines of Royal Propaganda, Tablet Magazine, Nextbook, New York (31 January 2017).

[8] Dr. Tevi Troy, Devaluing the Think Tank, Journal “National Affairs”, Washington, DC, Issue No.10 (“Winter” 2012).

 

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