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What the Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Really About


Robert Reich understands that the Trans-Pacific Partnership really isn’t about trade, which is already very free and open. It’s about corporate control over the world:

Recent trade agreements have been wins for big corporations and Wall Street, along with their executives and major shareholders. They get better access to foreign markets and billions of consumers.

They also get better protection for their intellectual property — patents, trademarks, and copyrights. And for their overseas factories, equipment, and financial assets.

But those deals haven’t been wins for most Americans.

The fact is, trade agreements are no longer really about trade. Worldwide tariffs are already low. Big American corporations no longer make many products in the United States for export abroad.

The biggest things big American corporations sell overseas are ideas, designs, franchises, brands, engineering solutions, instructions, and software.

And thus the TPP really is about intellectual copyright, patents, and trademarks. It’s also about ensuring the global race to the bottom and increasing the profits for the 1 percent at the expense of the rest of world. It’s unfortunate that President Obama actually believes this is a good thing. Hopefully, enough Republicans just don’t want to give Obama any victory at all that this doesn’t pass Congress. Corporations don’t need more power over our lives.

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  • Emma in Sydney

    Meanwhile, Australia’s government is signing us up to this agreement, without revealing what they are agreeing to, even to members of parliament.
    Here’s a Senator and former minister responding to the brief statement that the Senate forced the government to make on the topic. The Opposition’s view is that any trade agreement should meet the following conditions:

    It must not affect our ability to deliver public services.

    It must not undermine labour and environmental standards.

    It must not reduce the capacity of Australians to access affordable medicine through the PBS.

    It should not radically alter the existing legal balance between creators and consumers of intellectual property.

    Our government won’t even make this information public, let alone argue for it.

    • There’s almost nothing public about the TPP at all, which is a huge problem with it. We don’t even know what is being done to us.

  • dp

    This is about the most succinct and pertinent summary of the situation that I’ve seen.

    This, along with not prosecuting criminals amongst the 1%, is the beam in Obama’s eye.

  • Monty

    The Administration calls the Trans Pacific Partnership a key part of its “strategy to make U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region a top priority.”

    Translated: The White House thinks it will help the U.S. contain China’s power and influence.

    That’s Obama’s motivation. Besides, who else is going to protect these fragile global conglomerates and their shareholders from being unable to control every aspect of economic life utter ruin if not the US Gov’t?

    Yves at Naked Capitalism also weighs in with an article discussing the TPP flaws.

  • Amanda Matthews

    ‘It’s unfortunate that President Obama actually believes this is a good thing.’

    What’s REALLY unfortunate is that so many intelligent people seem to believe that he doesn’t.

  • sudsy214

    While criticizing Obama on matters including foreign policy, military strategy, policies related to poverty, and immigration issues, Ryan described how important it was to reach trade agreements with other countries. “I think President Obama is on the right track here,” [Paul] Ryan said.

    That’s about all you need to know about likely Republican opposition.

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