“Since it was created in 1995, the WTO
has ruled that every environmental, health, or safety policy it has
reviewed is an illegal trade barrier.” -- Public Citizen report, titled
'Whose Trade Organization? Corporate Globalization and the Erosion of
Democracy.” (from The
Progressive magazine, January 2000, p 8)
"...let me cut to the chase: a global coup d’état has taken
place such that governments no longer govern the world, or even their
little bits of it. The nation state—yes, even America and China—has
been usurped as the pre-eminent unit of power. Save for extreme
outliers like North Korea, all governments now share power in a shaky
but so far relatively steady balance with the largest of the
multinational corporations. No one has asked us, the public, whether we
approve of this new arrangement; it happened while we were busy
"... the huge trade agreements now being negotiated,
and Trans-Atlantic pacts. These are being negotiated in secret -- but
not completely in secret. They are not secret from the hundreds of
corporate lawyers who are drawing up the detailed provisions. It is not
hard to guess what the results will be, and the few leaks about them
suggest that the expectations are accurate. Like NAFTA and other such
pacts, these are not free trade agreements. In fact, they are not even
trade agreements, but primarily investor rights agreements. Again,
secrecy is critically important to protect the primary domestic
constituency of the governments involved, the corporate sector." Noam
Globalization had succeeded in unifying people from around
world — against globalization. Factory workers in the United
States saw their jobs being threatened by competition from China.
Farmers in developing countries saw their jobs being threatened by
the highly subsidized corn and other crops from the United States.
Workers in Europe saw hard-fought-for job protections being
assailed in the name of globalization. AIDS activists saw a new
trade agreement raising the prices of drugs to levels that were
unaffordable in much of the world. Environmentalists felt that
globalization undermined their decade long struggle to establish
regulations to preserve our natural heritage. Those who wanted to
protect and develop their own cultural heritage saw too the
intrusions of globalization. — Making
Globalization Work: Stiglitz, 2006, p. 7
"Trade ministers tend to negotiate in secret. Trade
are long and complex, and lobbyists work hard to bury in them
self-serving provisions that they hope will escape attention. But
the basic issues... such as the trade-off between drug company
profits and the right to life - are ones that are easy to
understand. If the issue of access to AIDS drugs were put to a
vote, in either developed or developing countries, the overwhelming
majority would never support the position of the pharmaceutical
companies or of the Bush administration.
Conflicts over fundamental values are at the center of
democratic debate. Critics of globalization charge that
globalization has been managed in such a way as to take some of the
most important issues out of the realm of public discourse within
individual countries and into closed international forums, which
are far from democratic in the usual sense of that term. With the
voices of corporate interest heard so clearly and strongly, and
without the checks and balances of democratic processes, it's not
surprising that the outcomes seem so objectionable, so distant from
what would have emerged had there been a more democratic process.
The most daunting challenge in reforming globalization is to make
it more democratic; a test of success will be in how well it
succeeds in ensuring that these broader values triumph more often
over simple corporate interests."
We want to believe that our own economic success is within
control, but in a global economy, it isn't." Tom Allen Dangerous
It is, to say the least, unusual for Republicans
to back Obama, but they did for the TPP.
The TPP was drafted in secret by
mostly corporate representatives bound
by non-disclosure agreements.It has been reported as completed, but the
countries involved still need to ratify the treaty for it to apply to
that country. There is still time to resist the negative impact on the
Public Domain, within each country. The near-final text, with analysis, is
available at [WikiLeaks].
Proceeds from prior trade agreements have mostly gone to the
very top, while wages have stagnated, so it is not surprising that Wall
wants it while Labor and NGO's do not. Investor rights are protected at
the expense of health, safety, environment regulations. In Mexico, a
company wanted to put a toxic waste dump in the middle of town, voters
didn't allow it, so the company must be compensated for lost profit.
Opposition to the TPP is very broad and includes Nobel Prize
winning economists Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman as well as a long list
and public interest groups. (See signatures to this
Stiglitz points out that trade agreements do not bring
prosperity if we are not investing in education, infrastructure, or
research. See the Stiglitz
talk on youtube.
It puts corporate interests ahead
of the public interest.
That's why Republicans favor it.
Globalization has obvious, serious problems for practically
The TPP gives corporations
supremacy over governments, including our own. It undermines what is
left of democracy.
It has been extremely regressive. Virtually the only
winners have been multinational corporations, the losers are the
vast majority. Stiglitz
suggestions in "Making
should be acted on immediately.
George is a political economist and author of more than a dozen
produced a documentary called Speaking Freely: (Vol 2) of her that
explains in a way that the nightly news will not.
March 15, 2012
In the Clutches of the Casino Creditors
The Parasites of Big Finance
by RALPH NADER
Morning after morning, New York City based casino capitalists trade
with Greece and the latest rumors from Western Europe on their
What will affluent Germany do to bail out the collapsing,
debt-ridden country of Greece? Will France go along with those
plans? Will the massive injection of liquidity by the European
Central Bank help the banks to behave in ways that help Greece,
among other countries? Day after trading day, the U.S.
Why? Greece is a country of just over ten million people with a GDP
smaller than that of New Jersey. But because it is closest to the
fiscal cliff, financial observers fear a domino effect. If Greece
defaults badly, it could pull Portugal, Spain, Ireland and then
possibly Italy closer to financial disaster.
And what is the chain that binds Greece to these nations and then
to larger countries in the EU and across the Atlantic to the U.S.?
It is the deep, interdependency brought about by corporate
globalization and its massive financial speculators, piling
derivatives such as credit default swaps and other intricate
pyramids of bets, on additional bets. These are the banks, hedge
funds and other financial entities that pool other peoples’
money into ever-more abstract and complex betting or gambling
instruments of parasitic, big finance.
Not that much has changed since the Wall Street collapse of 2008
other than the renewed “Wall Street” belief that you,
the taxpayers, will be forced once again by your government to bail
out even larger financial giants who are so interlocked as to be
“too big to fail.”
Traders making speculative money from speculative money, traded in
trillions of dollars, now hold hostage the real economy wherein
people make money from providing needed or wanted goods and
services. The fate of American workers, their pensions and the real
businesses that employ them, rests on the globalized dominoes that
a teetering Greece could set in motion. This is the craven logic of
a global casino economy, driven by split-second computerized
algorithms and camouflaged by the phony theory of “free
trade” which is really corporate-managed trade.
The U.S. does not need to be shackled by the global corporatists to
what may happen in Greece or Spain or Portugal. We should be less
dependent on financial economies abroad and more self-reliant and
independent of the global economy’s dangerously contagious
That is why the more community-based economic activity there is in
our country – credit unions; renewable, efficient energy;
community health clinics; community food markets, etc. – the
more insulated we will be from global seismic ravages. Those same
community economies would have helped shield the Greek people from
the wily clutches of Goldman Sachs and other aggressive casino
Unfortunately, the intellectually impoverished presidential and
Congressional campaigns never propose ways to extricate our country
from the octuple straitjackets of global speculators. The two-party
political tyranny – Republican and Democratic – is too
busy kneeling before the check-writers of imperious corporatists to
stand up for the people whose votes they strive to secure.
As U.S. citizens struggle, Wall Street and Washington worry about
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the
Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack
Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK