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TPP Is Dead. Time For a Progressive Trade Vision


TPP Is Dead. Time For a Progressive Trade Vision.

Tobita Chow

Trump’s election has killed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Trump made it one of his top campaign promises to end the TPP, and his election win was a signal to supporters of the TPP in both parties to back down. Even Obama has reportedly given up on passing this agreement, which was to have been the capstone of his Presidential legacy.




The "deal" Trump is likely to offer, aside from lowering corporate taxes, will include incentives for corporations to locate in low wage states i.e., depress wages sufficiently in the US, and in combination with low corporate taxes (including such on repatriation of overseas profits) seek to get manufacturers to bring jobs back to a labor force having had their collective head cut off.


Eh. The fact that Democrats are still pushing hard for H. Clinton shows that the TPP is far from dead, and is sure to make come-back in 2017 (maybe re-named, but the same agenda). Clinton, as you know, worked hard in 2015 to sell the TPP to Congress. We weren't surprised, since her husband had signed on to NAFTA. Much of the liberal media then tried to market her as a "bold progressive" during her campaign.

I think many would agree that, at the least, these "free trade" agreements amount to us trading our family supporting jobs to other countries, in exchange for their poverty. As long as Americans ignore the consequences of these "free trade" deals -- our poverty crisis -- the corporate state will "stay the course."


Haven't they had this all along? Since the 1980s alone, several trillion taxpayer dollars were effectively redistributed upward, largely to corporations, always claiming that this would be used to "create a mass of good, family-supporting jobs." US workers have essentially made themselves dispensable. Think about it: The US shut down/shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s. This gave us an abundant surplus of job-ready people (replacement labor) who are absolutely desperate for any job at any wage. After all, there's nothing to fall back on. Quiet progress was made on expanding the share of the population that can be paid less than the minimum wage, and even liberals haven't questioned this.


Why don't you respond to an argument I'm actually making.

Take your rhetorical suggestion that I need convincing of ANY of that information from you and, well, …


Nice little history lesson in corporatocracy. Thanks. They ain't on our side, folks. Corporate patriotism stops way before your eye hits the bottom line. No wonder our military is non-draft and corporations have their own private armies. Our corporate friendly government can no longer inspire enough patriotism for people to enlist. The jigs gonna be up pretty soon and the nondraft military will go completely mercenary. How else will military personnel feed their families and receive adequate medical care? And how else will corporations defend themselves against all the angry Americans who have been subsidizing them with their meager, unjustly taxed salaries for decades? Something's gotta give here pretty soon or the whole damn merry-go-round's gonna fly off this crazy mixed up carousel....and then we had to go and make DJT the circus master.


Exactly - but what you are describing has already been done to some extent.

For example, I'm always confused at this talk about car manufacturing jobs leaving the US for Mexico, because for every big-3 automotive manufacturing job that has left Michigan and Ohio, at least a couple automotive manufacturing job has come to the US via dozens of new assembly plants and and hundreds of supporting parts plants of Japanese and German car manufacturers. The thing is, they are all located in southern Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama - and are all non-union and lower-wage.


One of the many bizarre double standards of the New Left is their relatively "Sudden" switch to being "pro-Globalization". They're doing this because PC allows them no options. Can't discuss overpopulation, can't discuss nightmare of 3rd world's true love for the lowest most pollution centric aspects of imitation 'western culture'...so when the 'developing world' gains 'access to the same consumer goods as the developed world'...well..that is one more way of saying 'game over for Mother Earth!'

You really cannot be for 'Both' globalization AND The Environment. Can't do it. But PC won't allow for this discussion. The last thing we need is 3rd world consumerism of a 'Western' type. If people in Africa maintain their Actual Cultural Heritage they are far less destructive to the Environment..but..nope..can't reconcile the two realities in a PC petri dish. So let's continue by all means with utterly secret trade deals that set about to turn ALL cultures in "Consumer Culture" while using identity politics and PC to make this sound like a Noble Cause. Groovy! Is that what the new left really wants? More people buying More Plastic? Wowzers!


What a bunch of mindless philosophers!

This is a terrible idea for several reasons:

  1. We are in a global Greenhouse Warming crisis, and the atmosphere can't stand raising the fossil fuel footprint of everybody on this planet! When you aspire to reach for global worker parity, and one world governments you are declaring it O.K. for Six more billion people to start driving private autos and eat steak. A carbon footprint that massive will see us all go extinct very quickly.

  2. All TPP so-called "free-trade" scams do is average Oriental slave wages with American Union wages, creating crap wages for everyone.

  3. These "societal Internationale" type groups were tried before in the early 1900's, and massive murders occurred all over the globe as they were hunted down and nuetralized by unknown leftist hunters. I believe this was the beginning of the "Red Scare" if I am not mistaken.

pursuing his Masters of Divinity at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Oh just great. Now CD is publishing religious wackos who don't believe in evolution and the extinction that is foretold by a study of that science.


Let's look at the parameters of such a "progressive trade agreement" before we put any stock in it. We are talking about a creature that has never existed and that may simply be an oxymoron. Moreover, the rulers who brought us NAFTA and who are trying to bring us the TPP present both the agreement and themselves as "progressive" even after they try to hammer out details under a sort of fog of war.

Would a progressive or humanitarian deal even be characterized as a "trade agreement"? Such a document would have to have provisions exactly opposed to the sorts of provisions that trade agreements have had to date. To "bring a job back" may be an unfortunate turn of phrase for the literal-minded, but it is not particularly ulltramundane or metaphysical to create a local industry when a market is allowed to exist for it. Local industries obviously do need favorable conditions to develop rather than unfavorable conditions that destroy them--and if that is to be called "protectionism," well fine: let's protect the local industry and craft more and these globalist thieves less.

Contrary to Chow's apparent sense of this, there really are intrinsic downsides to international speculation and commodity markets and manipulations. Any such interchange uses energy for transport. It passes goods and services through a set of interchanges distorted by various currencies and by all sorts of laws of various places, every single one of which is far more likely designed and implemented and enforced for the good of some large international player rather than for labor or for some modest local. When goods can travel more easily than workers--which is apt to be always--freeing up further travel in goods and commodities allows for more effective manipulation of these. Does anybody really suppose that labor manipulates such things or that capital does not? The support of large global corporations and particularly finance corporations for this "globalism" is predatory, not accidental or arbitrary.

Moreover, it is intrinsically and naturally difficult for a consumer in a global economy to exercise proper and responsible judgment over purchases. We tend to miss this because we have been trained to imagine that a "responsible purchase" is one that one is able to pay for, since one may therefore take care of a contractual responsibility to the seller. But this is no indication that one fulfills any moral obligation that anyone may feel exists to treat others as one would oneself be treated. When we buy a can of beans, we do not and cannot effectively check to see whether toxins were used, whether workers were treated well--or, in the USA, even whether the product may or may not be GMO.

It is really not that US buyers do not care what we do to other people, nor necessarily even that we are willfully ignorant. We may rail at Nike or Apple, but it can feel pretty hopeless to look at a wall of product and try to imagine what happened in the dozen or so usually Asian countries whence the items came. One moves on to "solve" one's "problem of the moment," and whatever abuse may be involved carries right down the line.

No, it makes a lot more sense to stop all of these so-called "trade agreements" right at the beginning until some one can be shown to be both beneficial to people on all sides and enforceable by some system of distributed responsibility rather than the usual den of thieves types at the IMF or World Bank or Washington.

Probably not so incidentally, missing the salient parts of this struggle has been one of the grandest failures of the Democratic Party and particularly so-called "New" Democrats like the Clintons or Obama to come into the 21st century and deal with the problems of contemporary peoples. There is an old-fashioned tendency among many otherwise open-minded and humanistic individuals to ignore the necessity for localism because it can involve some very old-fashioned xenophobia and be wrapped up with such things. That is something that's worthy of critical discussion, surely. But localism is not xenophobia and in fact will have considerable need of solidarity. It is just not stripping protections from local business at the behest of international big-money players either.

There will be agreements wherever people do not agree, so we can expect them around trade, sure enough. But the first thing that ought to be agreed upon is that what can conveniently be done locally ought to be, and these rules and agreements--which are always by nature imposed from without--have to protect the local trade and societies and promote equality within our various cultures. Without that, calling these things "progressive" just gives the word a bad name.


The only way that "trade" agreements make sense is if they would include provisions to equal the playing field for labor and environmental costs between countries. That is, if you pay $5 in labor and environmental costs to make a part in the US and $0.30 to make it in Bangladesh, slap a $4.70 tariff on that sucker.

Without that, you are just pushing the american worker standard of living to the lowest common denominator. Look at what is happening now - factories are leaving China because they can get cheaper labor in southeast asia/africa.

With a level playing field, then you would make things where they made the most sense and it is actually competition between countries' workers. France would still make better wine and south korea still makes great electronics, but we would not be encouraging the use of slave labor abroad while decimating our working population domestically.


The need is to look beyond Trump. We have working already a system that is open and to a large extent free. It is called FOSS (FREE as in Freedom, Open, Source, Software). It is a way that a great deal of software is being done.

Negotiating trade treaties can be done in a similar way. The process is open various parties and persons can contribute to the treaty. The trade treaty is open for anyone to see. Knowledgeable wonks from all sides can comment and discuss publicly bring the public up to speed and enabling the public to participate as well.

FOSS is a model that Trade Agreements should be negotiated on!


Trump will have a tough time...since all Democrats and some GOP. So, do not expect great stuff from him or anyone as Presidents from now on ...enjoy the show...

Perhaps, it is called Death of American Civilization...Time will tell...


Seeing how Paul Ryan continues to be as much of a TPP supporter as Obama, and with Trump not wanting to be bothered with details, expect Ryan and Company to reheat and relabel TPP and a lot of other regulatory capture disguised as "trade deals".


Whatever Trump does, Trump will do for the oligarchs as he will become one on Jan. 20th.

Trump, with his cohorts in the Democratic Party, and Republican Party, will bring historic levels of inequality through pursuit of corporate governance, and will engage in an even more aggressive US foreign policy.

It is pretty damn clear to see this.


I hope not...too bad, no one talked about infrastructure work (except Bernie Sanders, and no one cared for him)....Time will tell...


You mean Trump's fake populist bullshit about creating jobs in infrastructure?

What he has proposed are huge tax breaks to infrastructure related companies with NO directive whatsoever to complete any specific infrastructure project.

It's called smoke and mirrors to guess what? Cut corporate taxes even further.

But this has been known about Trump now for months. That he has proposed the biggest tax cuts ON TOP OF all of the tax cuts already enjoyed by the 1%.

How anyone could have EVER taken serious this billionaire's fake populist message is beyond me.


...again Time will Tell...That is not what he said to some people and hence he will be the next President. But proof is in the pudding...so, let us see what happens...that is all...


You can't see the pudding?