consultants are sandburs

Saturday, January 28, 2017

To bury TPP not to praise it.

No Marc Antony slight of hand here, the post's headline rules.

A friend emailed an ourfuture.org link with good "trade policy" analysis at an introductory level, but insightful; this excerpting:

TPP was another “trade” deal written in secret using a process dominated by corporate interests. As David Dayen, writing in The Nation Tuesday, put it,

The public recognized that free-trade deals aren’t about free trade anymore—tariffs are currently so low it would be hard to get them meaningfully lower—but about guaranteeing corporate profits through eliminating regulations and enforcing patents. Another deal written in secret, with lobbyists whispering in negotiators’ ears, gave nobody confidence that this would change. Secret enforcement tribunals were a prime target for criticism, because they protect corporate and investor profits and enable financial speculation. No such platform exists for workers if their rights are violated.

This rigged trade process and its results brought us Trump, and here we are.

So now that that’s over, how should our country trade with the world?

[...] It is a common misconception that we need to have a trade deal with a country before American companies can export to that country. This is partly due to misleading arguments used to sell corporate-favoring trade agreements, like saying, “Ninety-five percent of America’s potential customers live overseas, so closing ourselves off to trade is not a solution.”

Not having a trade agreement doesn’t “close ourselves off to trade.” American businesses trade with the rest of the world and the rest of the world trades with us regardless of trade deals. But without trade deals countries can set tariffs and barriers according to their own country’s needs and goals.

In places where people have a say, people say they want good wages and environmental protections (and public education and health care and infrastructure and parks and science and other things people vote for in democracies). These protections mean that working people and the environment receive a larger share of the economic pie. The economic pie is also larger as a result of that investment in public education and infrastructure and the rest, so the “investor” class does better, too. To pay for these investment those who do better are taxed more.

In non-democracies and other places where people don’t have a say people aren’t paid well, the environment is not protected and a few people at the top end up with a larger share of the smaller economic pie.

[...] Business and “investor” interests want to pay lower wages and environmental protection costs, so they encourage countries to pass “free trade” deals that prevent governments from imposing tariffs and barriers in the future. They call the idea of democracy taxes and other decision-making by governments to protect national interests “protectionism.”

“Free trade” deals set aside each country’s political decision-making in favor of “more trade” — thereby placing business interests above national sovereignty. Governments are prevented from acting to “protect” a country’s interests and businesses are free to seek the lowest costs, regardless of what happens to countries and the people in them and the environment.

[...] The AFL-CIO recently posted, 6 Ways We Could Improve NAFTA for Working People, which can be applied more generally to new trade negotiations, [...]

[[...] The Sierra Club has issued a discussion paper, A New Climate-Friendly Approach To Trade, [...]

[...] The Coalition for a Prosperous America offers 13 21st Century Trade Agreement Principles. Among these: Balanced Trade, reciprocity, stop currency manipulation, allow “Buy America” procurement, enforceable provisions, and more.

[links in original, italic emphasis added] In passing, re the interesting terminology "... other places where people don’t have a say people aren’t paid well, ... and a few people at the top end up with a larger share of the smaller economic pie."

Can you say Hardees?

Moving on, technology relates in ways to "competitive advantage" see, e.g., here and here, and other detail from this websearch. The future of jobs, workers and robots in balance, offers threats and promises, depending on how rapacious corporate profit-seekers are allowed to be, as well as on other secondary factors.

_____________UPDATE___________
OurFuture.org has an interesting homepage reading selection.

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