Noam Chomsky recently told the Huffington Post that the Trans Pacific Partnership (or TPP) is a “neoliberal assault” to further corporate domination. While most of the author/activist’s basic assertions and concerns are correct, his focus on the corporate world is one aspect of this dangerous treaty. It’s not simply corporate power which would increase and become more centralized; it is all power.
It is true that the pact would benefit corporations in certain ways. High-wage American workers and Union members would face more direct competition from low-wage Malaysian, Vietnamese and Mexican workers because the Partnership would create a free trade zone with no tariffs or barriers. Manual labor would be sent abroad even more readily than it currently is.
The TPP would also eliminate American regulations and safeguards in the name of free trade. Environmental, consumer safety and animal welfare regulations are just some of those which would be dismantled to ensure free trade. Even labeling law would no longer be allowed – unless passed by the Partnership as a whole – because labels could sway consumer choices by identifying country of origin, either directly or indirectly.
Chomsky also notes that the treaty would give corporations a direct way to object to and even override individual countries’ democratically passed laws. An international tribunal would have the power to overrule individual nations’ legal standards and impose economic penalties. Corporations would be able to directly address the international tribunal in order to oppose individual countries’ regulations.
It is true that this benefits corporations, and that unregulated corporations with corrupt ties to the government are extremely problematic for any democratic society.
Chomsky’s focus on a single aspect of the problem, however. The fact that an international organization could override American (or Australian, or Canadian, or New Zealander) laws would mean that anyone who wanted to override the democratic process would have a venue to do so.
The ceding of American sovereignty to newly and secretively formed international bodies is an incredibly dangerous concept for many reasons. Noam Chomsky’s criticisms of the TPP are valid, and his concerns are very real. They only cover one aspect of probable corruption and reduction of American freedom, though.
Many progressives and libertarians are both fighting the TPP. They are trying to bring awareness to this dangerous treaty which is one of the most under reported issues in the media today.
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