TPP Is Not a Free-Trade AgreementDean Baker27 December 2014People in places like rural Kansas and downtown Washington, DC often have a misplaced trust in authority and elected officials. They are inclined to take their comments at face value, not realizing that these people often have ulterior motives.The Washington Post gave us an example of this confusion in a front page article on President Obama's effort to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which it repeatedly refers to as a "free-trade" pact. The piece follows the administration's line in telling readers that:"the president threw his full support behind the pact as part of a broader effort to rebalance U.S. foreign policy to the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region."This assertion makes little sense since the administration is simultaneously pursuing a similar trade pact, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact, with Europe. What both deals have in common is that they are primarily about imposing a business-friendly structure of regulation on both our trading partners and the United States. The more plausible explanation is that President Obama is trying to get more business support for the Democratic Party...
29 December 2014
The Pursuit of Global Corporatism
The need for a third party in the US becomes more compelling every day. Or a bipartisan effort to stem the corrosive, anti-democratic influence of Big Money.
But I do not see the forces for reform cohering yet. The attraction and example of power politics and money is too embedded in the mindsets of those whose thinking flows from the status quo.
Even the reformers can fall quickly into a model of force and compulsion, and heavy handed techniques in pursuing a 'freedom' which they seek to define and control, too often ignoring history and reason.
The sign of this is the attitude that there is an elite who, operating in secret and with autonomy, can best decide the meaning of value, and the course of economic events. It is ironic to see 'reformers' eager to replace one form of oligarchic rule with another that they believe will be more friendly to their own policy decisions, but somehow more benign and resistant to corruption without firm checks and balances on power.
Sustainable good does not flow from more effective rules but from a better choice of and commitment to a priori values. Honesty, openness, toleration, justice and kindness are values. Right over might is an enduring act of balance in human affairs.
Watch what they do, and not what they say. If a 'reform movement' is quick to engage in censorship and deception, intolerance and harshness, creating more and cleverer rules and complex theories to achieve their ends, it is most likely another face of the same underlying problem of injustice, no matter what self-delusions they may choose to promote.
As historian Christopher Dawson noted, 'As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.'
In point of fact, complexity and 'cleverness' are often the very models of a false premise as much as the repetitive simplicity of the Big Lie. What is presented as new and modern is too often the same old thing wrapped differently. The truth is often hidden in between, but actions speak loudly.
It will be interesting to see how this situation develops.