Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This Little Piggy Went To Market

Free Trade

What Do Corporations Want?: For corporations, the economy is going great, and with trade deals like this, it will be better. Corporations like to get what they want, no matter the social or political cost, and they prefer if deals are done behind closed doors, in secret, away from the eyes of the public, who might reject such backroom machinations.  David Dayen of The New Republic writes: “Unsurprisingly, this has raised far more concern globally than in the United States. But a completed TiSA would go through the same fast-track process as TPP, getting a guaranteed up-or-down vote in Congress without the possibility of amendment. Fast-track lasts six years, and negotiators for the next president may be even more willing to make the world safe for corporate hegemony. ‘This is as big a blow to our rights and freedom as the Trans-Pacific Partnership,’ said Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America in a statement, “and in both cases our government’s secrecy is the key enabler.’ ”
Photo Credit & Source: Pinterest

David Dayen writes in The New Republic about another trade deal that involves 51 nations, including my own, Canada; it has the benign–sounding title of “ Trade in Services Agreement”, or TiSA. But benign it’s not.

Dayen writes in "The Scariest Trade Deal Nobody's Talking About Just Suffered a Big Leak":
The Obama administration’s desire for “fast track” trade authority is not limited to passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In fact, that may be the least important of three deals currently under negotiation by the U.S. Trade Representative. The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would bind the two biggest economies in the world, the United States and the European Union. And the largest agreement is also the least heralded: the 51-nation Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).
On Wednesday, WikiLeaks brought this agreement into the spotlight by releasing 17 key TiSA-related documents, including 11 full chapters under negotiation. Though the outline for this agreement has been in place for nearly a year, these documents were supposed to remain classified for five years after being signed, an example of the secrecy surrounding the agreement, which outstrips even the TPP.
TiSA has been negotiated since 2013, between the United States, the European Union, and 22 other nations, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and others scattered across South America and Asia. Overall, 12 of the G20 nations are represented, and negotiations have carefully incorporated practically every advanced economy except for the “BRICS” coalition of emerging markets (which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
The deal would liberalize global trade of services, an expansive definition that encompasses air and maritime transport, package delivery, e-commerce, telecommunications, accountancy, engineering, consulting, health care, private education, financial services and more, covering close to 80 percent of the U.S. economy. Though member parties insist that the agreement would simply stop discrimination against foreign service providers, the text shows that TiSA would restrict how governments can manage their public laws through an effective regulatory cap. It could also dismantle and privatize state-owned enterprises, and turn those services over to the private sector. You begin to sound like the guy hanging out in front of the local food co-op passing around leaflets about One World Government when you talk about TiSA, but it really would clear the way for further corporate domination over sovereign countries and their citizens.
This proposed agreement is good for large multi-national and transnational corporations, but not so good for national sovereignty, for consumer choice and for workers. (Nota bene: This is not a partisan issue in the United States; both major political parties in the U.S. endorse such trade deals, and have done so in the past with a willing eagerness.) To be sure, this is a step in the wrong direction; mostly everyone will lose under such a trade agreement, and most of all consumers, who will be at the mercy of large corporations deciding alone, without any government intervention or legislation, on how and to whom they will deliver services.

There are too many unanswered questions. Does it make sense for governments to relinquish their sovereign power to super-large corporations? Do not governments have a responsibility first to their own citizens? How does such a trade deal benefit the average citizen? Why the secrecy? The answers, if they can be found and disseminated widely, would not be met with approval by the general public. It is precisely for these reasons that the deal- and policy-makers want to keep the details secret, and not open to public scrutiny.

Yet, it will likely pass, unless there is a huge public outcry that forces politicians & policy-makers to vote their conscience; but given the resourcefulness and deep pockets of these corporations, if this trade bill fails (an unlikely event), they will put forth another trade deal in the future, with similar aims.

I don’t doubt their intentions and their voracious appetite for profits. And some say corporations are misunderstood; this is hardly the case. They are well understood, and no amount of PR spin is going to alter public opinion. When reading such stories of corporate interests, I am reminded, once again, of the nursery rhyme that begins "This little piggy went to market…

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For more, go to [NewRepub]. 

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