- Date published:
9:07 pm, November 8th, 2017 - 99 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, copyright, debt / deficit, democracy under attack, Economy, economy, employment, Environment, exports, Financial markets, Free Trade, Globalisation, overseas investment, Privatisation, Propaganda, public services, uncategorized, water - Tags:
“Free trade” or Corporate Magna Charta.
The overall benefits of “Free Trade agreements” to participants, especially smaller economies with less economic power, are often dubious, and frequently just a matter of how you rig the accounting. Leaving out externalities, like the increase in numbers on the dole, is common when counting “benefits”. As the “parties of business” forget a ledger has two sides.
In fact no country has ever succeeded on exports alone, without a healthy internal economy. Export Share of GDP.
And no country has ever succeeded in benefiting from an export economy, without initial State support of the export sector. New Zealand’s successful Dairy industry being a prime example of continued State support. Banned for future industries, if we sign the TPP.
“all major developed countries used interventionist economic policies in order to get rich and then tried to forbid other countries from doing similarly”.
Kicking away the ladder. Ha-Joon Chang.
“Freer trade always results in benefits for both countries”. Well no.
Even Ricardo never suggested that Britain give up making wine altogether, or Portugal textiles. As usual, simplistic slogans/magical thinking, seem to sway shallow intellects.
There are examples of “Free Trade” agreements, such as CER, which have been of net benefit to both countries. Notably where labour laws, the rule of law and democracy, and standards of living, are already, somewhat congruent. (Though it should be noted the Australian banks take more profit out of New Zealand, than the dairy sector earns).
The EU, has worked, as economic stimulus for Germany. It is debatable how well it has worked for Southern European countries. Clever of the Germans to get them to take on debt, from German banks, to pay for German economic stimulus, though.
Then, there was our abandonment of our own businesses and workers, in the 80’s and 90’s, in pursuit of an ideological dream thinking that other countries would be mad enough to follow suit. Leaving us nothing to bargain with in future agreements. Only their purpose is mad.
That some have worked, is not, evidence that all such agreements will work. Or that adding services, law making and finance, is a good idea.
However. TPP ( The trans Pacific partnership) is NOT a “Free trade” agreement. It is an attempt to cement in corporate power, to override inconvenient local Democracy, and collect rents from local communities in perpetuity.
Since when was giving large companies extra rights in law, and rights to extract even more economic rents, “Free trade”?
TPP gives corporations rights to overrule Democratic Governments.
The proponents of TPP claim that New Zealand has never been subject to an ISDS case. Of course not.
Our Governments in recent years, have been ideologically opposed to legislating against corporations for the common good. They are not bothered about giving foreign corporations rights above individuals and local business. Because they don’t want to “interfere” with the “free market”, and I suspect, with their own wealth..
We may want our future Governments, however, to legislate for the rights and welfare of New Zealanders and our environment. Not for Nestle’, BP, Apple, Orivida, Amazon and Exxon.
The future under TPP.
We can see the effect of TPP and ISDS in current “Free trade” agreements.
Local and State Governments looking at legislation in terms of “will we get sued” under “Free trade” or ISDS agreements.
Australia being sued by a tobacco company is just one example.
The EU has enough trouble trying to ban bee killing insect sprays in their own courts. Imagine if they had to answer also to “independent” ISDS tribunals.
Under NAFTA’s ISDS provisions Canada is One of the most sued countries in the world.
The rest of the world is catching up to Canada. ISDS cases.
Corporate legal rights are already having a detrimental effect on progressive legislation worldwide. Corporations do not need more rights that locals and individuals do not have.
For example. If Whangarei decides to take dog control, from the foreign corporation that currently has the contract. Having to pay for an ISDS case will give the council pause. A local firm does not have that recourse. An overseas shipping company pays extra, to get priority over other companies at NZ ports. A future Government may want to prevent such uncompetitive behavior, because it is disadvantaging coastal shipping. We decide we want to re Nationalise banking. Because the country cannot afford to bleed so much money to the finance sector. Or close private prisons. Or restrict water extraction. Or cut CO2 emissions.
We don’t really know what we may need to do in future to protect ourselves, local business and our environment, from corporations, who have been shown to have no other interests, apart from extracting as much money from local communities as they can.
The most optimistic benefit analysis is less, than the costs of ISDS and extra drug and copyright expense, we will have to pay overseas firms. Not to mention local job losses and even more offshoring of profits.
And giving drug companies, copyright holders and proprietors, rights way in excess of their original contribution.
Of course, our pursuit of pure “free trade” has worked so well? How much has our number of people in poverty increased by, again?