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.


Jerry Mander, Paradigm Warrior

One of the great intellectual and strategic leaders of the global economic justice movement, Jerry Mander, died this week. His charge to us: don’t give up because you lost the first round. Educate movements and the public to fight back.

77 Global and National Human Rights and Environmental Groups in Six Countries Expose OceanaGold as an Irresponsible Mining Company and Oppose its Expansion

The groups stand together against the abusive practices of one of the world’s major global mining corporations, OceanaGold, and issue an urgent appeal to the governments of the Philippines, Aotearoa New Zealand, El Salvador, the United States, Canada, and Australia calling for them to halt, shut down, or support or uphold bans impacting OceanaGold mines in their respective countries.

Is Mining Money Behind the Arrest of Salvadoran Water Defenders?

The five detainees include leaders of the campaign that won the world’s first metals mining ban in 2017 — a ban the cash-strapped government may be moving to overturn.

251 Organizations from 29 countries call on Salvadoran government to drop the charges against leading Water Defenders arrested on January 11

Organizaciones internacionales piden al gobierno salvadoreño que retire los cargos contra Defensores del Agua detenidos el 11 de enero [TEXTO EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO]

Institute for Policy Studies calls on Salvadoran government to release from prison leading Water Defenders arrested on January 11

Hundreds of groups around the world worked with the Salvadoran Water Defenders in the successful campaign to save the country’s rivers from toxic gold mining. They join in demanding the release of the five Water Defenders and to allow them to await their trial in their community.     

OceanaGold’s record shows why it shouldn’t be allowed to expand here

Oceanagold is trying to dig deeper into the heart of legally-designated “conservation land” to mine gold.

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.