London School of Economics

“Our object is to make this institution a place to raise and train the bureaucracy of the future Socialist State.” Lord Haldane (Lord Chancellor)

One of the primary institutions that received patronage from some of the largest financial interests was – and is – the London School of Economics (LSE). It should be recalled that the LSE was founded by Fabian Socialists, with Sidney Webb playing a particularly significant role. Among the original patrons of the LSE was Sir Ernest Cassel, a partner in Kuhn, Loeb and Co., and in the armaments firm of Basil Zaharof, Vickers. Cassel, whose humanitarianism might be open to suspicion, nonetheless backed the LSE as a means of training a “socialist bureaucracy.” Prof. J H Morgan K.C., wrote of Cassel’s support for the LSE:

When I once asked Lord Haldane why he persuaded his friend, Sir Ernest Cassel, to settle by his will large sums on … the London School of Economics, he replied, “Our object is to make this institution a place to raise and train the bureaucracy of the future Socialist State.”

Other funding came from the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds, the quintessential international capitalists. The relationship can be readily determined by Sir Ernest Cassel’s having established the chair of “economic geography”; and of Sir Evelyn Robert de Rothschild having been a Governor of the LSE.

In 1923 the first contribution from the Rockefeller Foundation (via the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Fund) of $1,000,000 was made to the LSE. From 1929-1952 the Rockefeller Foundation donated $4,105,592 to the LSE.

The archival history of the London School of Economics and Political Science is instructive in respect of the political motivation and funding of the LSE. A synopsis of the Archives held by the British Library of Political and Economic Science, a department of the LSE, states:

The London School of Economics and Political Science was officially opened in the autumn of 1895. It owed its existence to the will of Henry Hunt Hutchinson, a provincial member of the Fabian Society, who had left a significant sum of money in trust for “propaganda and other purposes of the said [Fabian] Society and its Socialism and towards advancing its objects in any way they [the trustees] deem advisable.”

The Archives confirm that largesse came from Rockefeller and Cassel funds:

The appointment of Sir William Beveridge in 1919 marked a period of rapid expansion in all areas of the School’s activity. The Commerce Degree (BCom) was instituted, attracting both applicants and finance. The School was able to expand the Clare Market site into Houghton Street, building the “Old Building” (1920) and the Cobden Library Wing, and expanding the Passmore Edwards Building to incorporate the Founder’s Room. Beveridge also used new funding from the Cassel Fund and the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund to make numerous academic staff full-time and permanent, and create chairs in subjects including Political Economy, Social Anthropology and Statistics. New departments were created, notably International Studies, and emphasis placed on social science research.

It might be asked what individuals regarded as epitomizing the free market, and the institutions connected with them, were doing subsidizing overtly socialistic causes? Dialectics seems to answer the paradox, and H. G. Wells’ comment on the convergence of capitalism and communism as forms of collectivism seems to offer an explanation. The alternative would presumably be that these capitalists are too stupid to understand what they are doing; that they are self-destructive, which would seem to be unlikely, given that it is they who are triumphing while Lenin’s ideal lays in ruins and is being superseded by what appears to be another phase in the capitalist dialectic.

It is the same dialectical process that has seen the luminaries of capitalism and their Foundations patronize sundry socialistic institutions other than the LSE, including the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, and the New School for Social Research.

Excerpt from Socialism, Revolution and Capitalist Dialectics
by Dr. K R Bolton
May 04, 2010


LSE continues to have a major impact upon British society, especially with its close relationships and influence in politics, business and law. The Guardian describes such influence when it stated:

Once again the political clout of the school, which seems to be closely wired into parliament, Whitehall and the Bank of England, is being felt by ministers… The strength of the LSE is that it is close to the political process: Mervyn King, was a former LSE professor. The chairman of the House of  Commons education committee, Barry Sheerman, sits on its board of governors, along with Labour peer Lord (Frank) Judd. Also on the board are Tory MPs Virginia Bottomley and Richard Shepherd, as well as Lord Saatchi and Lady Howe‘.”[27]

Recently, the School has been active in British government proposals to introduce compulsory ID cards,[28][29] researching into the associated costs of the scheme, and shifting public and government opinion on the issue.[30] The institution is also popular with politicians and MPs to launch new policy, legislation and manifesto pledges, prominently with the launch of the Liberal Democrats Manifesto Conference under Nick Clegg on 12 January 2008.[31][32]The Sunday Times recent profile of LSE for the 2008 Sunday Times University Guide, commented:

There are many who have achieved in the world of politics, business or academia who can trace their success to the years they spent at the LSE. Inspired by tuition from academics who are often familiar faces, if not household names, LSE students take their first steps to greatness in the debating chambers, cafes, bars – and even occasionally in their seminar groups – during three or four years of studying’.”[33]

Additionally, the top 10 employers of LSE graduates are principally accounting, investment banking, consultancy and law firms.[34] Indeed, LSE is often known as the ‘investment bank nursery’ due to around 30% of graduates going into “banking, financial services and accountancy”, according to LSE Careers Service official figures. LSE is often the most preferred university for employers in the private sector, financial services abroad and the City of London. Further, LSE graduates command the highest salaries of UK graduates at £29,253 – ahead of Imperial, UCL, Oxford, King’s and Cambridge.
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UPDATE March 04, 2011

LSE director Sir Howard Davies resigns over Libya links

The director of the London School of Economics has resigned over its links to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.

He said the decision to accept £300,000 for research from a foundation run by Col Gaddafi’s son, Saif, “backfired”.


UPDATE November 01, 2011

Another British academic with close links to Muammar Gaddafi‘s son Saif al-Islam has left the London School of Economics before a report on the university’s relationship with Libya is published.

David Held was an academic adviser to the toppled dictator’s son when he studied at the LSE and was director of the research programme funded by his charity. Read more >


UPDATE December 01, 2011

LSE criticised for links with Gaddafi regime in Libya


UPDATE February 08, 2020

Understanding the Fabian Window