ROHNERT PARK, California- Jobs! The economy! Free trade! Capitalism and GDP growth! All keywords that are used in the media jargon to refer the reader towards the paradigm of scarcity, and the need for global economic development and growth.
The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is the latest multi-national deal being put together, by the United States Government and its pacific rim partners. On the surface under this strategy, one might say surface, because the coverage of such a vast and all encompassing piece of legislation has been surprisingly, not to some, minimal to be polite.
It also goes hand in had with the Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) being worked on between the U.S. and its European Union partners.
Very little is actually known about the details of this new Multi-National trade agreement. The few headlines that have appeared in large media outlets, have referred to the ideals of free trade economics and more jobs. Encouraging its speedy approval, as very little public oversight has taken place.
Free Market economics
There is no legitimate economic argument against expanding trade, and increasing peoples access to technology and education in every country across the globe. Which is why these agreements are titled as such.
Proponents of both deals, the TPPA and the TAFTA, use arguments of economic success in past similar treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement. They also enjoy pointing to the increasingly publicized topic of the income and wealth gap in the U.S. as a problem that would be alleviated by such treaties.
Under the surface
When one decides to learn more about this deal, they will discover it can have drastic impacts on every citizen that resides in a given country. They will also see virulent and passionate opposition to the actual working and seeming effects of the policy, beyond just what the title of the treaty would imply.
As alluded to earlier, coverage and therefore understanding of what the deal will actually accomplish has been limited, seemingly largely due to the secrecy and expedited process in which it has been developed.
Opponents are vehement about the misleading titles and argue that the actual purpose of both these deals is to impose international legislation which supersedes the state governments laws. This court would be in essence a private court that would provide rulings on international trade, and corporate penalties or compensation for international trade disputes.
Noam Chomsky recently gave an interview on The Huffington Post about this international agreement. He can be quoted as saying its “a joke…It’s called free trade, but that’s just a joke,” He went on to say “These are extreme, highly protectionist measures designed to undermine freedom of trade. In fact, much of what’s leaked about the TPP indicates that it’s not about trade at all, it’s about investor rights.”
A crucial aspect of this quote aside from the damming review of its purpose is the reference to leaked documents. These documents are the only pieces of evidence that most media are basing there findings from, since there has been hardly any official revealing or transparency on the topic.
Both the lack of mainstream media coverage and the secrecy in which this deal is being put together raises some now familiar questions to Americans about who is really running this country.
What should not and cannot be ignored is the impact this deal will have if it is passed unchecked and veiled in secrecy. It cannot be argued that the overall trend of legislation passed in this country over the last 15 years has taken power away from the people and shifted it towards corporations. One needs to look no further than the supreme court decision on Citizens United, though there are many more.
In an era where whistle blowers, and leaked documents seem to be the only fountain of truth, about the grand schemes in our government. It is the moral obligation of every citizen to not ignore this subject, and to do their best to understand it true purposes. Then correct action, and powerful grassroots democracy can take place.
– Tyler Shafsky
Sources: The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Salon
Photo: Emerging Media 360