The Trans-Pacific Partnership
A Global Power Grab By The 1%

Begun under the Bush-Cheney Administration and temporarily placed on hold when Barack Obama took office, The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is now back in the forefront.

It represents a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.

The US-led partnership – which seeks to impose ‘Shock and Awe’ Globalization – aims to abolish the accountability of multinational corporations to the governments of countries with which they trade...

The proposed legislation on Intellectual Property will have enormous ramifications for TPP signatories, including Internet termination for households, businesses, and organizations...

It would rollback regulation of finance capital predators on Wall Street by prohibiting bans on risky financial services and preventing signatory nations from exercising the ability to independently pursue monetary policy and issue capital controls ...

Six hundred US corporate advisors have negotiated and had input into the TPP, and the proposed draft text has not been made available to the public, the press or policymakers.

The level of secrecy surrounding the agreements is unparalleled – paramilitary teams scatter outside the premise of each round of discussions while helicopters loom overhead – media outlets impose a near-total blackout of reportage on the subject and US Senator Ron Wyden, (D-OR) the Chair of the Congressional Committee with jurisdiction over TPP, was denied access to the negotiation texts.

“The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations — like Halliburton, Chevron, PhaRMA, Comcast and the Motion Picture Association of America — are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement,” said Wyden, in a floor statement to Congress.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a product of the theory of neoliberalism (another term for globalization), represents a global power grab of staggering proportions.

Neoliberalism's prerequisites for nations to garner acceptance and receive assistance are a form of international blackmail.

The economic theory known as neoliberalism, promoted by today's Republicans for the sole benefit of the 1%, is a free market economic philosophy that favors the deregulation of markets and industries, the diminution of taxes and tariffs, and the privatization of government functions, passing them over to private business.

The idea being promoted is that:

* Economy is a self-regulating entity that always balances out.

* Government is inefficient and costly.

* Private business is efficient and therefore the best way to solve our problems.

* Wealth trickles down from the wealthiest to the middle class and the poor because businesses create jobs that then puts more money into the economy leading, in turn, to more jobs.

Based on this economic philosophy, we have seen an intense drive to reduce taxes, deregulate markets, and privatize government functions by both political parties.

Examples of privatization can be seen in the case of the military, where increasingly military functions are taken over by private corporations like Halliburton, the prison system where prisons are increasingly run by private companies, and more recently in the push to have private businesses take over education, health care, and social security.

Massive deregulation has, during this time, taken place in the stock market, the banking system, the real estate industry, as well as in a variety of production industries with respect to environmental controls. We have also seen the lowering of taxes among the wealthiest to historic lows.

So what's the problem with neoliberalism? Why should you be concerned about it?

One reason is that the hypothesis of neoliberalism, the idea that increases in wealth for the wealthiest translate to increases in wealth for everyone-- "a rising tide lifts all boats" --has failed miserably.

First, incomes for the working and middle class largely stagnated for the last thirty years. In short, upward mobility has stalled under neoliberal policies. Put differently, wealth is not trickling down. The reason for this is very simple. On the one hand, private businesses have either automated production or outsourced it to other countries where materials and labor are cheaper. This has had the effect of "disciplining labor" (people are willing to take lower paying jobs with fewer benefits out of fear that their job will be outsourced).

Second, private businesses and corporations have increasingly turned to other methods of capital accumulation such as investment in financial capital (where profit is produced through, for example, lending and the interest paid on lending; cf. Enron that was, on paper, an energy company but turned out to be a company largely based on financial capital producing nothing). These techniques of capital accumulation create profit for the businesses but these profits do not trickle down because they do not create jobs.

Because wages have largely stagnated, the working and middle class increasingly come to rely on credit to support themselves and their families. Debt levels are at an all time high for working and middle classes. This renders those of us who belong to the working and middle class particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in the economy and joblessness.

Third, neoliberalism leads to policies of austerity with respect to vital government programs in education, health care, and various other services. Why does this occur? Because taxes have been reduced among the corporations and because wages have stagnated among the working and middle class, governments end up facing revenue problems that force them to cut programs. We are repeatedly told that what is good for big business is good for everyone, but it doesn't work out that way. Because big business turns to financial capital to increase profit, the jobs never materialize. The vast majority end up shouldering their tax cuts in the form of cuts to government programs.

Under neoliberalism we have seen a historic rise in inequality between the wealthiest 1 or 2% and everyone else. Moreover, due to the deregulation that takes place in various industries, markets become ever the more prone to crisis (such as the 2008 economic downturn) leading to more joblessness, disciplining of labor, and the blackmailing of governments where public monies are transferred to corporations and banks to keep them afloat. Finally, through the deregulation of markets and industries, our environmental problems intensify and increase without governmental mechanisms to reverse these processes.

These environmental problems, of course, threaten the very existence of our civilization as we know it.

In addition to these problems, neoliberal economic policies intensify racial inequalities and the formation of religious fundamentalisms.


Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreemen -

Republican Neoliberalism for the benefit of the 1%-

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