Now the toxic TPP trade deal is out in the open we can see why it has been kept so secret for so long. Many news reports carried the same headline theme – and I paraphrase – “Worse than anticipated”.
Whilst most attention has previously concentrated upon the dilution of democracy, by allowing corporations to sue governments if legislation they introduce in anyway threatens future profits, it is the insidious fine print that now shows us just how aggressive and dangerous these new trade agreements actually are.
All we need to look at are two areas of the deal to see that not only is it threatening to our health, it could also create life threatening situations across wide ranges of global Society. The two areas I am looking at are food standards and the rules concerning the blocking of generic medicines, at affordable prices, from entering the marketplace.
In the first place, it is taken for granted that the job of governments is to look after their citizens by protecting them. At its most basic laws are implemented to stop us from murdering each other and thereafter rules to ensure we have a safe environment in which to interact both commercially and socially.
Food standards are a critical aspect of our rule making, so we do not poison each other for the sake of profit. In some countries hygiene standards are so low that more advanced societies need to implement aggressive legislation and scrutiny procedures that carefully monitor these food imports.
To ram the point home, in Vietnam farmed shrimp is nurtured in pools fertilized by human excrement and then plenty of antibiotics are added, before the shrimp are harvested, to deal with the possible effects of the human waste. Obviously food inspection from here needs to be more thorough than from other countries. Under TPP however, this can be challenged because you are discriminating against one country and challenging competition.
I have selected one extreme example to make the point but this odious agreement undoes many safeguards that have been built up over the centuries of experience that has been gained in international trade. Indeed the recent frightening revelations about VW and exhaust emissions demonstrate our need for continued vigilance.
Time and time again corporations show us they simply cannot be trusted, making government oversight and regulation essential for our own wellbeing and safety.
But let’s get back to food poisoning. It’s bad enough that scrutiny of food quality and production would be thrown out of the window, causing a dramatic increase in health problems but this whole scenario is further threatened because we could be limited in our ability to cure illnesses caused by shoddy food!
The pharmaceutical industry is being spoilt rotten by this trade deal. For decades it has ranted about the poor conditions that hold it back from properly protecting its patents and exclusivity of product range. With this new agreement Big Pharma will be able to extend its monopoly protection, which will have the direct effect of keeping prices high by stopping generic products from entering the marketplace.
The present 20 year period will be extended, potentially indefinitely. Only small modifications to current medicines, such as changing dosage or minor changes to formulation, which make little or no improvement to the drug, enable patents to be renewed. This protects company’s high prices, thus keeping the drugs out of the hands of the poor and stopping cheaper generic drugs coming to their assistance.
It doesn’t take rocket science to work out from all of this that one part of the bill is a licence to seriously infect mankind with dubious food products, whilst hamstringing the healing profession from coming to our aid!
We have ample evidence that corporations are raping this beautiful Planet of all it provides and now powerful agreements are being enacted to turbo boost this destruction by placing us in life threatening situations.
What I can’t get my head around is that in producing shoddy food we will quickly refrain from buying it. (I am particularly sensitive when it comes to buying seafood and will only purchase from respected and trusted suppliers.) Why are they pushing away the very people who make their profits? Evidence is already emerging that world trade is falling dramatically so how will this agreement help matters? DUH!!!!
It seems as though, like politicians and EU bureaucrats, there is only corporate contempt for the population at large. Not only are they reducing employment with increasing technology but those with a job suffer lowering wages. All of which will make it increasingly impossible for them to afford the necessary medicines for the treatment of the unregulated food (with reduced labelling!) that will start entering our shops.
This whole trade agreement has focussed solely upon corporate power and profits, with scant regard for the knock on effect to Society. A Society that has built up standards from experience gleaned over centuries of interaction and mistake. What we have is far from perfect but this abomination is taking us back to feudal times.
Crunch time is approaching, because there is no way we can be taken back to the dark ages with autocratic trade agreements such as TPP. Evolution has brought us to where we now stand and it is not capable of backward movement. The current breed of politician have demonstrated their total inability to lead and rule in a responsible fashion and it is here that the day of reckoning will birth itself.
Corporations are for (democratically regulated) trade . . . not the management of Society.
Until the next time
Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes