Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's Not About Jobs: The Real Danger of TPP is Global Corporatocracy

One of the biggest concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements are the Investor State Dispute Settlement courts that have no accountability to anyone, can overturn national laws that improve labor and environmental conditions, and are utterly opaque. Here is a very useful run-down of the ISDS and the TPP:
In short, ISDS gives corporations the power to sue national governments for lost future profits related to public interest legislation, most commonly focused on the protection of the environment.
Since we still don’t have the final text, we don’t know, but while there do seem to be some cosmetic changes that maybe could change these courts a bit to fight against dubious corporate suits, the reality is that these trade courts still give unaccountable judges authority to reject a nation’s climate change legislation if it hurts an energy company’s profit or repeal a minimum wage law if a corporation disagrees. Certainly creating courts that citizens have no ability to access is tremendously undemocratic and is a major problem with the modern trade framework. If these courts gave workers the ability to sue corporations or nations that undermined their rights or if citizens could seek redress for pollution and disease they experienced because some company parked a factory in their backyard, that might be a different story. But as constituted, the ISDS courts a prime reason to fight against trade deals like the TPP.
But environmental legislation is just the tip of the iceberg.  TPP would let corporations force countries to abandon any and all regulations, including those protecting clean air, clean water, safe food and everything else that defines civilization. 

Jim Hightower has been yelling about this for years.

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