John Cavanagh was Director of the Institute for Policy Studies from 1999-2021, and is now a Senior Advisor at IPS. He directed IPS’ Global Economy Program from 1983-1997. Cavanagh is the co-author of 12 books and numerous articles on a wide range of social and economic issues. His newest book (with Robin Broad) is The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed. He co-authored (with Richard J. Barnet) Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order, which sold over 60,000 copies with Simon & Schuster. Cavanagh co-led a 24-person team to create the International Forum on Globalization book Alternatives to Economic Globalization, which sold over 20,000 copies and was translated into 12 languages.

Cavanagh sits on the boards of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center, the International Forum on Globalization, the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice, the National Guestworkers Alliance, and is board chair of the Fund for Constitutional Government. He is a senior advisor of the Poor People’s Campaign.

Cavanagh worked as an economist for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (1978-1981) and the World Health Organization (1981-1982). He served on the Civil Society Advisory Committee of the UN Development Program (2000-2012). He received a Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, and a Masters from Princeton University.


Remembering Barbara Ehrenreich

The acclaimed author and activist had a 40-year history with the Institute for Policy Studies, first as a staff member and later as a project leader and board member.

Global Allies Stand With Walden Bello as Social Justice Champion Posts Bail

As a new generation of Phillippines leadership tries to target Walden Bello and accuse him of libel, John Cavanagh explained to Common Dreams why “they picked the wrong person to go after.”

9/11 and After: The Need Is Still for Justice, Not Vengeance

The U.S. has spent over $21 trillion on wars, the military, and the national security state since 9/11. That money should have been used for health care, climate, jobs, and education.

Big news at IPS: Meet our next director, Tope Folarin

Starting May 24, our new executive director will be Tope Folarin. I couldn’t be happier about where we’re going. 

The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed

In a battle to protect their rivers and waterways, the people of El Salvador came together to ban mineral mining.

Progressives Urge Biden to Go Bigger, Bolder, Faster in Spending and Tax Plans

Leading research and movement organizations and progressive Democrats call for rapid passage of legislation to transform the economy.

BOOK: The Water Defenders

How ordinary people saved a country from corporate greed.

Water Defenders Versus Big Gold

Water defenders in El Salvador are offering hopeful development priorities, policies, and trajectories for the future. They aren’t alone.

Water Is Life. Can We Protect It?

Americans will have to fight hard to protect their water from corporate greed. They can learn a lot from El Salvador.

Remembering IPS Associate Fellow Steve Cobble

One of the country’s leading progressive political strategists and visionaries, Cobble never stopped believing that ‘a better world is possible.’

Trump Trade Wars Have Led to Lost US Jobs and Factories. We Need a Worker-Centered Recovery.

Trump is making false claims about his record in struggling states like Ohio and Michigan. The jobs haven’t come back. They’ve been offshored to China.

How U.S. Trade Policy Failed Workers — And How to Fix It

Now more than ever, we need a new trade policy to support an economic recovery from the pandemic and to start building an economy that works for everyone.

A message from IPS’s Executive Director, John Cavanagh

In these uncertain times it’s hard to know what to do. At IPS, we’re doing everything we can to help those in need.

Trump Isn’t the First to Threaten WHO, but His Threat Is the Most Dangerous

Donald Trump isn’t the first president to threaten to cut funding from the World Health Organization (WHO), but he’s the first to actually do it.

A Thank You to Martin Khor, Champion of Global Equity

Malaysian economist Martin Khor was one of the world’s leading advocates of policies to reduce economic disparities within and between nations.

Progressive Leaders Unite to Denounce Trump’s Attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar

We—the undersigned—stand in solidarity with Representative Ilhan Omar and firmly against the rise of Islamophobic attacks and attempts to divide us as a people.

We Welcome Asylum Seekers and Defend Their Rights

An open letter from over one hundred artists, activists, scholars, and writers

Time For Duterte to Shut Down This Mining Company

OceanaGold has not adhered to its commitments under its mining permit and various Philippine laws and regulations.

Report: OceanaGold in the Philippines

Ten Violations that Should Prompt Its Removal

Duterte’s New Warning to Mining Companies

OceanaGold’s mining agreement in the Philippines expires in 2019. Now’s a great time to act on the company’s reforestation scam.