Thursday, February 04, 2016

The TPP - a casino where the house always wins

The best part of International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland signing the U.S. corporate rights agreement TPP - the Trans-Pacific Partnership - in Aukland NZ yesterday was that it was done here in this gambling casino, and a casino is where the house always wins.

In her 2012 book, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, Freeland explains :
"Trying to slant the rules of the game in your favour isn't an aberration, it is what all businesses seek to do. The difference isn't between having virtuous and villainous business people, it is about whether your society has the right rules and policing able to enforce them."
Of course this 'enforcement' would first entail our government not ditching those 'right rules' or 'policing' just because transnational corporations and their revolving-door crony capitalists within government find them inconvenient.

Justin Trudeau on the campaign trail, October 5 2015 :
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership stands to remove trade barriers, widely expand free trade for Canada, and increase opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it.... The government has an obligation to be open and honest about the negotiation process ..."
Then in mid-January Freeland told us :
“The negotiations are finished and for Canadians it’s important to understand that it’s a decision of yes or no..." 
All countries have two years to ratify it, but the treaty comes into force if the United States, Japan and four other countries give their approval.  
“It’s important for us to understand that we don’t have a veto.”
Yesterday she said : "There is a big difference between signing and ratifying", promising negotiations and parliamentary committees and round tables etc, all of which are very nice but none of which are legally binding on the Liberal caucus
Now that we've signed off on it however, we are all supposed to pin our hopes on those.

Flashback to the Liberal Convention of 2014 two years ago... 
Guest speaker and TPP advocate, former US Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers is interviewed on stage by Freeland, who introduces him as "a dear friend, teacher, and probably the smartest person I know". Summers, she explains, is there to give the Libs "some great ideas about how to transform Canada and in so doing transform the world." 

Now most of us probably remember Larry Summers as the US bank deregulator - a prominent architect alongside Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin in reversing the 1933 US Glass-Steagall Act, that Depression-era legislation which prevented US banks from turning into the high-risk hedge-fund casinos making wild bets against their own depositors' money they became in the late 2000's. Or we remember him as the $5M hedge fund advisor who made millions in speaking fees from the hedge funds he later helped regulate while advocating tax cuts and no ceiling on CEO pay for stimulus recipients. Or as a Bilderberg Group Steering Committee member.


What I wish is that rather than continue to parrot all that "all middle-class liberals together" shmooze that Summers was selling the Libs two years ago, including airily blowing off the casino bank crisis he helped precipitate, better the Liberals should instead try out what Summers, still a strident TPP advocate, is saying now : 

"First, the era of agreements that achieve freer trade in the classic sense is essentially over. The world’s remaining tariff and quota barriers are small and, where present, less reflections of the triumph of protectionist interests and more a result of deep cultural values. 
What we call trade agreements are in fact agreements on the protection of investments and the achievement of regulatory harmonization...
Concerns that trade agreements may be a means to circumvent traditional procedures for taking up issues ranging from immigration to financial regulation must be taken seriously.
Being pressed down everywhere are middle classes who lack the wherewithal to take advantage of new global markets and do not want to compete with low-cost foreign labor. Our challenge now is less to increase globalization than to make the globalization we have work for our citizens."

Try to keep up with your own hero's rhetoric here, Libs. 

Economix Comix : The TransPacific Partnership and "Free Trade"

Robert Reich takes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2 minutes 26 seconds

Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz heaps scorn on TPP and TTIP


West End Bob said...

Thanx for this one, M'Lady - Excellent work!

Nice of you to let the Libs know there are some of us who do pay attention to the rhetoric.

The cons don't have a monopoly on deceiving the public . . . .

Danneau said...

Again, it seems that the alternance of Lib and Con is not generally a difference of substance and that vigilance is a constant watchword, that Canadians (and citizens of everywhere) need to stay engaged all the time to ensure that elections actually mean something. The rhetoric of sunny ways is much akin to the hope and change that was supposed to signal an end to the years of Bush predations, but the sidelining of Harper seems to open up more questions than it answers, and few seem aware that all the feel goodness of the Paris climate accord is more hot air if the TPP is ratified.

West End Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
West End Bob said...

As far as the corporate-ass-kissing TPP goes, I'm with Josie Butler of New Zealand:

Flying pink dildos all 'round, please ! ! ! !

Hugh said...

"Everyone else is jumping off the TPP cliff. I don't want to be left out."

Kev said...

Th3e evidence was there that during the election the Liberals were being dishonest in their pronouncements on the TPP and in fact always favoured ratification. Sadly many stuck their fingers in their ears and chanted Anyone but Harper Anyone but Harper

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