Crunch Time for the Global Corporatocracy

By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

As Sir Winston Churchill is alleged to have said, democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried. However, in this age of increasingly globalized governance the future of democracy is very much in question.

Already many key economic decisions affecting our lives are being taken and implemented in complete secrecy behind hermetically closed doors. In the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement between 12 nations including the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand, an army of over 600 corporate advisers have been allowed access to the accompanying text while the public and even members of Congress have largely been kept in the dark.

Indeed, the only way for the uninitiated to learn about some – but far from all – of the potential repercussions of today’s trade agreements is through leaked documents. The current negotiations for a US-EU trade deal (TTIP) are so clandestine that the few Members of the European Parliament that are granted access can only view the plans in their original documentation, in a secure location, with the threat of espionage charges hanging over them if they are caught making copies or sharing the details with the public.

The Treaty That Must Not Be Named

If you think that’s bad, the hyper-secret Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which seeks to bind together the U.S., the EU and 22 other Western-aligned nations under a new system of laws and regulations covering telecoms, water, gas, electricity, transport, financial and legal services, software design, electronic data, tourism, healthcare and a whole lot more, is infinitely worse. The treaty’s text is designed to be almost impossible to repeal, and is to be “considered confidential” for at least five years after being signed.

Much of the political pressure behind TISA has come as a result of widespread frustration among the globalist elite with the snail-like pace of trade liberalization in the WTO’s Doha Round, notes Glen Newey in a rare article on the trade agreement in the London Review of Books.

As Roberto Bendini of the EU’s Directorate-General put it in an extraordinary gaff-blowing statement last year, the WTO talks stalled because some countries remain “uncommitted and unbound in their schedules of services liberalization. In general, trade in services has not been liberalized to the same extent as trade in goods, for both political and technical reasons.”

In other words, because some sovereign states opposed getting locked into liberalization at the WTO, the EU and others decided to start a new game under different rules. At TISA, the EU negotiates for its 28 members under Lisbon Treaty powers; even the EU Parliament’s Rapporteur, Viviane Reding MEP, remarked recently that TISA began with no integration of the Parliament and ‘no transparency at all’. [To read more about TiSA and the leaked document, click here]

In the U.S. the level of secrecy over the government’s trade agenda has been even more pronounced. According to Media Matters for America, the TPP hasn’t been mentioned at all by ABC, CBS, and NBC during the 17-month period from August 2013 to February 2015. During that same period, Fox News and CNN each mentioned the TPP trade deal just once.

As reports, the mainstream media’s complete and utter silence on one of the biggest stories of the year, maybe even the decade, is shocking but not all that surprising. After all, they and their corporate advertisers and backers want the TPP to be ratified.

Resistance Rising

As Congress prepares to vote on a so-called “Fast Track” bill aimed at bulldozing the corporate-friendly TPP into law before most members of the public even become aware of its existence, not to mention granting almost sole authority for crafting future trade agreements (such as TiSA) to the executive branch for the next four years, resistance is finally beginning to mount.

Earlier this week Senator Elizabeth Warren penned an op-ed for Washington Post that was sharply critical of the trade agreement, in particular the innocuous-sounding Investor-State Dispute Settlement (on which you can read more here). Warren even went so far as to use the dirty “S” word (the new eleven-letter one, not the traditional four-letter one):

One strong hint [of who TPP will ultimately benefit] is buried in the fine print of the closely guarded draft. The provision, an increasingly common feature of trade agreements, is called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” or ISDS. The name may sound mild, but don’t be fooled. Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty.

Warren was not alone in condemning the fast-track bill. Senator Sharrod Brown of Ohio accused the administration of abandoning American workers in its mad rush to approve “free” trade agreements with “little oversight and minimal debate.” On Thursday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) introduced a new tool for Twitter users to ask three key congressional leaders – Sen. Ron Wyden, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and Rep. Steny Hoyer – to come out against fast track.

Whether this last-minute rally in public opposition will be enough to derail the fast-track bill, time will soon tell. The fact that President Obama felt compelled to dedicate a few words to the issue in his weekly televised address suggests that nerves may be fraying. With popular resistance to TTIP even stronger and more widespread in Europe, it seems that the messy forces of national democracy could once again scupper the elite’s lofty dreams of creating a global corporatocracy run by, of and for the world’s largest multinationals.

Salon contributor Matt Stoller has used the Congressional Record to prove that the underlying goal of so-called “free trade” pacts has always been to weaken nation-states and promote rule by multinationals.

Liberal internationalists, including people like Chase CEO David Rockefeller and former Undersecretary of State and an architect of 1960s American trade policies George Ball, began pressing for reductions in non-tariff barriers, which they perceived as the next set of trade impediments to pull down…

… [In a 1967 hearing] before a legion of impressive senators and congressmen Ball attacks the very notion of sovereignty. He goes after the idea that “business decisions” could be “frustrated by a multiplicity of different restrictions by relatively small nation states that are based on parochial considerations,” and lauds the multinational corporation as the most perfect structure devised for the benefit of mankind. He also foreshadows our modern world by suggesting that commercial, monetary, and antitrust policies should just be and will inevitably be handled by supranational organizations.

The fact that we now live in a world dominated by highly undemocratic and unaccountable supranational organizations (the IMF, World Bank, WTO, EU…) is no mere accident. Now, all that remains for the Global Corporatocracy endearingly envisaged by the likes of Rockerfeller and Balls to become reality is for our elected governments to sign along a few dotted lines. Whether that comes to pass depends on the willingness of the governed to stop them from doing it. After all, in a democracy, we get the government we deserve. Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.

It was just a matter of time before the defendants hit back – and hard! Read…  Making Me Pay For My Crimes Would Send “Message of Uncertainty to the Markets”: Bank President to Spanish Judge

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  15 comments for “Crunch Time for the Global Corporatocracy

  1. Ray says:

    People only have themselves to blame. Once people bought into the idea that you can vote another man’s rights away, they set the stage for this to happen. As the phrase goes: “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind”.

    • Dan Romig says:

      That’s quite the blanket statement. The two party stranglehold has swallowed up our political system, and yes, many voters do buy into the idea that their party is better, or at least the lesser of two evils. But, how did, “… people bought into the idea that you can vote another man’s rights away, … ?”

  2. Jeb says:

    I’ve always been troubled by the way we promote democracy in our Western Nations.

    The USA, for example, was NOT designed to be a democracy and in fact, the founding fathers mentioned democracy absolutely nowhere in their creating a Republic. They obviously knew what a democracy was, so it was not that they simply didn’t know better. The reality is, democracy is virtual herd-living (aka communism) and brings us down to our lowest of human tendencies. They set up a republic specifically to refute the nonsense that is democracy… and today, this same Republic which they created that did not dare give universal suffrage to its citizens is bombing the crap out of the entire world in order to “make it safe for democracy.” (Karl Marx says democracy is the road to socialism, and I think he was right).

    And it’s not just in the USA that this is so. Countries that were/are a monarchy are also not intended to be democracies, but rather Constitutional Monarchies – which has many of the same features as the USA’s Republic – they both arrive at the same place, though through different means. (Both wind up at the Rule of Law).

    So… in the west, we have no clear indication of being an intended democracy, and in fact, all of the evidence over history does indeed indicate that the founding fathers of the vast majority of the nations of the world did not believe democracy to be a valid form of government – otherwise they would have simply made them so. In fact, the very existence of a Constitution is an indication of disbelief in the democratic system.

    And yet, we all talk about democracy as if it is Mom’s apple pie.

    Quite frankly, I don’t really need a vote. What I NEED is for the Constitution to be backed up. I NEED my rights protected by the rule of law, not the whim of democracy.

    Today, giving your vote means you ascent to the governing political body… after all you voted. The way that things were supposed to be set up was that no matter if you could vote or not, your rights were still guaranteed. In other words, there was very little need to even have a vote. Back when government was small a century or so ago, having a vote really only meant you had minimal input on wars & foreign affairs, and some input on the price of a stamp at the post-office, because that is about all the government did for you. The rest of your rights (and I don’t mean the right to healthcare, a job or an education) was protected by the Constitution, or the law of the land.

    • Jerry Bear says:

      Sheesh! I think I hear the rattle of chains and manacles in your comments and see the glint of barbed wire. If the people don’t rule then who does? I think we need more democracy not less. Every adult should be involved to some degree in the government, it shouldnt be just left up to the politicians. one of the Greek Philosophers said that the punishment suffered by good men who refuse to take part in public life is to be governed by bad men. That is the core of the problem we face today.

      When people accuse me of being paranoid, I tell them, “It is not a question of ‘am I being paranoid?’ but rather ‘Am I being paranoid ENOUGH!” This is the 21st Century. Only the paranoid survive.

      • Ray says:

        “I think we need more democracy not less.” Guess you’ve got a lot more thinking to do!

        • Jerry Bear says:

          Why don’t you give a real reply that shows you actually have done some thinking instead of mundlessly repeating ultra-right wing propaganda?

        • Ray says:

          … as opposed to the mindless repetition of ultra left wing propaganda?

  3. Julian the Apostate says:

    The statists have been dismantling the Republic since the Presidency of Andrew Jackson, the Trail of Tears, Manifest Destiny, the Mexican War, the Transcontinental railroad,(and canal building before that) the 14th amendment, Free Silver, the Income tax, changing the vice-presidency to the party of POTUS instead of the 2nd highest vote getter in the Electoral College, the change in the election of Senators from the State legislatures to a popular vote, a chicken in every pot, the New Deal, backing unions with government force, the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, all the alphabet soup bureaucracies, nationalizing the public schools, to nationalizing car companies. Those are the ones off the top of my head. All that precident cannot be turned or stopped on a dime, or what passes for a dime. There is no party in the system that stands for Original Intent. The latest attacks on the 2nd amendment, the internet and the money you hold in your bank are just a continuation of a death by a thousand cuts. NUFF said.

  4. NOTaREALmerican says:

    I would like to point out that this story is completely WRONG! The peasants should be more worried about (choose one or more) [ “those people” | the Koch Brothers | economy inequality | fornicating-harlots | proper usage of the male pecker | global warming | the turbine a-wearin’ trrssss sneak-a-crosser borders | (did I mention) “THOSE PEOPLE” and global warming!!! ]

    As always, the main-stream members of the Red and Blue Teams have the best interests of Merica in mind, just as they have for the last 50+ years. Elizabeth is just a child who doesn’t understand the complexities of the world.

  5. Petunia says:

    These bankers they want to entrust the world economy to are the same bunch that destroyed the economy in the first place. They just arrested an economist that works for the PM of the UK for being a crackhead. I’m not surprised.

  6. OffGrid says:

    ‘….. is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried.’

    Of the people, by the people, for the people. Has never ever been genuinely tried.

    • Ray says:

      It’s because no such thing is possible. Taking from some to give to others necessarily requires a pliable definition of who “the people” are.

      • Jerr says:

        “the people” are the 99%, the ones who actually do the productive work of this nation. The leaders of the 1% are the malignant parasites who wish to destroy the United States of America, put and end to “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”, i. e, democracy, and possess all the wealth of America and all power while reducing the American people to destitution, slavery and starvation. They are traitors to everything America has ever stood for and enemies of Humanity. As far as I am concerned, they are human cancer cells just as dedicated to the eventual destruction of this nation as any malignant tumor cells are dedicated to the destruction of the human body they inhabit. They are the unspeakable evil threatening our future, the future of the american nation and american people.

        That said, most of their supporters are dupes and not evil, but they help bring about the same malign goals however unwittingly.

      • Jerry Bear says:

        Ray, money is like blood. An economy runs like a living organism. Blood has to circulate around or that organism dies. Likewise, money has to circulate in an economy or that economy dies. This is simple common sense. People have to invest, develop resources, buy and sell, earn and spend, keep the flow of money going around and around. This is where the economic life of a nation comes from. But the ultra-rich have set up a one-way flow of money that has resulted in a enormas and unearned transfer of wealth from the great majority to the very few at the top. This is an ultimately deadly condition. It is like an economic cancer. Politicians are clamoring to give huge tax concessions to big businness when big business has trillions of excess dollars they dont know what to do with but refuse to invest in productive activities that would increase employment, preferring instead parasitic speculative activities. In the past, the government confiscated excess non-productive cash holdings and redistributed them, getting the money into circulation again. The government financed massive and essential infrastructure projects getting people working again. Redistribution is not some evil, it is a vital necessity for economic life. When WWII began, big business and the wealthy agreed to pay high taxes without trying to argue about it. They understand perfectly well that the survival of the nation depended on it. Now, conservative leaders claim that a war is a good time to cut taxes. This is madness! This is evil! This is treason!

        Historically, the last straw before ruin comes crashing down on a sick society is when the ultra rich manage to absolve themselves from all taxes, all responsibilities. When this happens, the middle classes become destitute, the poor are reduced to starvation and the most essential expenditures of government stop, including maintaining the military. The result can only lead to the destruction of the nation or all out revolution.
        If the ultra rich finally exempt themselves from all taxes in this country and ignite a revolition, where will you stand I wonder?

  7. LG says:

    The most divided nation with the most divided government.

    Nothing new.

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