Citizen Action Monitor

Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership incompatible with democracy? My letter to Trade Minister Freeland

This is my fourth letter to the Minister’s office. So far auto-responses but no answers to any of the issues I’ve raised.

No 1565 Posted by fw, January 13, 2016

With thanks and due credit to Noam Chomsky and Robert McChesney whose contributions are featured in my recent posts. (See sources at the end of this post).

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To: TPP-PTP.consultations@international.gc.ca;

CC: Chrystia Freeland Chrystia.Freeland@parl.gc.ca

Date: January 13, 2016

Subject: Is the TPP incompatible with democracy?

I find it unremarkable that so far there is no evidence that the PM and his Minister of International Trade have mentioned capitalism in their TPP-related comments and discussions. They appear to take capitalism as a given.

My purpose here today is to try to interject the subject of capitalism into the discussion.

My Thesis –

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a creation of a raging, stagnating, global, capitalist economic system, characterized by an inherent monopolist drive, resulting in huge income and wealth inequalities.

Outline of my argument

Generally, capitalism is just taken as a given. It’s just there. Ordinary citizens have the illusion that they have some measure of influence over public policy decisions. They don’t.

Recent extensive empirical research by Marty Gilens and Ben Page published in their book, Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America, found that very wealthy individuals and associations connected with businesses had superpower to influence public policy decisions; that, in fact, all U.S. government decisions over a 20 year period (1981-2002) could be attributed to those small sectors; and that the voting population, the people of the country, had zero influence on any of them. In short, the U.S. government is a plutocracy.

That’s the U.S. But is there any evidence to disprove that the Harper government was also oligarchic? Or David Cameron’s conservatives? And is the Trudeau government not showing early signs of oligarch tendencies?

The global political economy — in highly integrated, developed western countries — as it turns out, is extraordinarily corrupt, extraordinarily undemocratic, and pointed in a direction that doesn’t give us much of a future. That’s capitalism.

Consequently, does anyone really believe that the TPP will remain untainted in this inherently corrupt capitalist system? Does anyone really believe that this trade deal will not further undermine our already weakened democracies, while concurrently strengthen the plutocracies of the rich and powerful? Does anyone really doubt that the TPP will significantly increase the gap between the superrich and superpoor?

I challenge Minister Freeland to prove me wrong.

Sources:

You can not have a capitalist democracy, they are radically incompatible, says Noam Chomsky posted on my blog on January 12, 2016

How capitalism creates an extraordinarily corrupt and extraordinarily undemocratic political economy : We have raging stagnation, monopoly, inequality – That’s real world capitalism, a complete full frontal assault on democracy. By professor Robert McChesney, posted January 11, 2016

Neoliberal capitalism, its crisis, and what comes next by Professor David M. Kotz, Triple Crisis, January 2016

TPP free trade deal is really a stealth neoliberal assault on low-earners designed to protect investor rights : So says Noam Chomsky in a video-recorded interview – Posted on my blog, October 1, 2015.

The Return of the Gilded Age: Consequences, Causes and Solutions by Andrew Jackson, Broadbent Institute, April 8, 2015.

Canada’s transformation under neoliberalism by Jim Stanford, Canadian Dimension, March 29, 2014

Harper sees role as protector of the rich and powerful by Michael Harris, iPolitics, April 20, 2014

As always, I welcome your response to my letter.

Respectfully,

Signed, etc…

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