Saturday, October 10, 2015

TPP and Hillary

Wikileaks has released the final draft of the "Intellectual Property" section of the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnetship Treaty. Open Media reports that it confirms what's been feared about the draconian TPP ttreaty's assault on internet freedom and about various other issues.

Now Hillary Clinton, who has repeatedly praised the TPP and under whose supervision as secretary of state negotiations were conducted for years, has come out against the treaty, one of several bold gestures to her party's natural liberal base she's made in an attempt to halt the erosion of her support to Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden and interrupt the relentless flow of negative news headlines stemming from her use of a private email account as secretary of state. Clinton has also been hinting that she'll drop her opposition to big bank regulation, wants to end private prisons, etc. George Zornich writing in The Nation explains how Clinton's reversal on the TPP makes it much harder to pass the treaty, as it now becomes a problem for Democrats running for federal and state offices and ammunition for their prospective primary opponents.

The TPP was negotiated in secret between 605 corporate lobbyists and 12 Pacific rim countries (U.S., Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei). As part of a strategy to prevent opposition to the treaty from coalescing, all details of what's in it have been kept secret from the public and from congress and the Obama Administration has constantly repeated a focus group tested storyline that the treaty will  boost the economy and create jobs.

The treaty has two primary functions. First is to expand Neoliberal Reaganomics Capitalism in the Pacific rim. Related is to further the aims of the US ruling elite's geopolitical "pivot to asia" strategy by which the US has been moving to stem the rise of China by encircling it militarily.

All the TPP signatory countries now do large amounts of trade with China, but with the TPP the US ruling elite hopes to isolate China economically by tying the signatories economies more closely to the US economy. Many inducements have been put forth to that end, such as allowing signatories to maintain tariffs that restrict US products, but the biggest is that the TPP furthers the Neoliberal "national competitiveness" doctrine which means lowering the wages and living standards of workers in advanced industrial nations and transferring industrial jobs to poorer countries.

One often hears talk about "national competitiveness" and "competitiveness" -- when the intent is to refer to the lowering of wages -- couched as talk of "productivity" growth. Many people confuse economic growth and productivity growth. Productivity simply means how much profit you're making on your investment, and that can be increased in several ways -- new technology, automation, or paying lower wages. Reaganomics, or Neoliberalism, which Democrats and Republicans have both adopted, is about lowering wages.

Note how this representative of the World Economic Forum talks to a clueless CNBC reporter who keeps using "growth" and "productivity growth" interchangeably.

The World Economic Forum is a huge NGO that facilitates the coordinating of economic policies of governments and corporations. It hold a big annual economic forum in Davos, Switzerland attended by all the heads of state and CEOs, and issues a much-watched annual productivity scorecard that rates nations' business friendliness, which is the subject of this interview.

"Increasing competitiveness is what's going to drive growth growing forward," the WEF rep says. In other words, profits won't come from more production and more sales but by paying workers less.

That's what the TPP is designed to do.

For more on the TPP see my previous post.

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