Think Tank transnationalisation and non-profit analysis, advice and advocacy

Think Tank transnationalisation and non-profit analysis, advice and advocacy

Reacting to global demand and supply: transnationalisation and its effect on think tanks?

This paper addresses the transnationalisation of think tank activity and the manner in which these organisations respond to emerging sources of demand in global and regional arenas.

The article makes two main observations:

  • Think tank transnationalisation is illustrative of the evolution, diversification and consolidation of civil society organisations generally in global and regional fora. However, the massively increasing numbers of NGOs and other non-state actors, their networks and dense patterns of exchange along with their advocacy and policy demands are creating congestion, the so-called 'paradox of plenty'
  • In these unfolding conditions of 'plenty' and 'grid-lock', think tanks are carving out a role, on the one hand, as editors and interpreters and on the other, as expert sources of knowledge.

The study highlights the different capacities and resources of think tanks. Unequal outcomes are inevitable not only between think tanks but also between think tanks and other civil society organisations. Think tank dominance as 'interpreters' in seeking preferential relationships with governments and international organisations runs the risk -- from a civil society perspective - of becoming divorced, distant or detached from other groups that are less well resourced, less well connected, and less politically competent and entrepreneurial. As such, think tanks represent a vehicle from which to observe the competition, emerging hierarchies and tensions in global society as a whole

Global governance and policy making at global and regional levels are crucial to this discussion. In the absence of a sovereign authority -- a world government -- opportunities are provided to non-state actors. They can acquire agenda-setting powers, input to decision-making and informal authority through transnational policy communities. In other words, the policy process at global and regional levels may well be more porous to non-state actors such as think tanks [author]

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