Welcome to Your One Corporation Government

American Corporate Flag

Dean Baker brought up an important issue today, New for Washington Post: Politicians Don’t Always Tell the Truth and TPP Is Not a Free-Trade Agreement. Primarily, he’s talking about the likely reason that Obama is pushing the TPP and TTIP, “President Obama is trying to get more business support for the Democratic Party.” But I’m more focused on just how awful these deals are.

As Baker has noted many times in the past, these are not “free trade” agreements. The two agreements involve nations in Asia (TPP) and Europe (TTIP) with which we already have pretty much free trade. What these agreements would do is make it very easy for business to contest local, state, and federal laws in newly created tribunals. Here is the key that ought to cause a shiver down the spine of all sentient beings, “Their rulings could not be over-turned by domestic courts.”

You know all the right-wing loonies who are always worried about the one world government or the imposition of sharia law? Well, that’s all nonsense. But this here is a very real threat. As I discuss a great deal on this blog, what we have to fear is the business community. Conservatives are constantly worried that it is the government that is oppressing them. But that isn’t the case at all. Our biggest threats come from private corporations with the government backing them up.

And that’s what we see with the TPP and TTIP. This is a very clear attack on national sovereignty. And this is why people like Obama want a quick vote on this — fast track authority. Because they know that a careful analysis of it will kill it. This is just another way for the business community to gain more power over us. I can’t say exactly how it would all work. No one can because these treaties have never been made public. But it is quite likely that what they would eventually mean is that local minimum wage laws were illegal. And local environmental laws were illegal. And local zoning laws were illegal.

I’m I going too far? I doubt it. Things that seem beyond the pale in one step are often totally acceptable in two steps — much less a hundred. Let me give you an example. In the 19th century, the idea of drug laws was preposterous and clearly unconstitutional. But by the beginning of the 20th century, the idea of taxing drugs and then using the power to effectively make drugs illegal was acceptable. And before long, the government just made laws that never would have been allowed a century earlier.

So going home to the house located a few meters from a new fracking operation after losing your only shot at justice in the TPP tribunals shouldn’t sound too far fetched. Because if we don’t work against it, it will become reality. This is an area where we really do have allies on the right. Of course, after Fox News starts pushing it, I can’t say. The black helicopter crowd isn’t hard to manipulate. As long as a Democrat is pushing the TPP and the TTIP, they will doubtless be against this move. But once President Cruz is pushing it, all bets are off.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

7 thoughts on “Welcome to Your One Corporation Government

  1. When it comes to political matters, I love to be swift, decisive, incisive and vulpine and have clear and definitive answers. On a question such as this, I am at a loss. Broadly, I believe that our institutions need to be much more democratic. The Federal Reserve, The Federal Government and the State and Local Governments should be much more inclusive and they should be much more responsive to a broad range of voices.

    On the other hand, as you said, our white, American hardhats, salary men and Hausfrauen are pretty gullible. The very Demos that is needed to check the powerful is itself very malleable and is easily co opted by the ruling class. The standard liberal prescriptions such as “more education” and “more direct action” sit around here and there. However, I believe that the average American is actually very welcoming of plutocracy. The typical suburbanite dad would rather be manly and poor rather than prosperous and liberal.

    I fear that my libertarian friends may be right. Oligarchy seems to the natural state of affairs, however bad it may be in terms of policy.

    • It is a puzzle. And I understand the feeling. When I despair, my mind naturally runs toward libertarianism. The problem, as I always quickly remember, is that libertarianism doesn’t lead to chaos; it leads to oligarchy. If libertarianism really did lead in the direction that its proponents claimed, I would be willing to live with the bad things. But it doesn’t. It is just a philosophy designed to help the rich and powerful.

  2. It’s the very first thing Naomi Klein mentions in “This Changes Everything.” Ontario passed a very green bill requiring the province to be carbon-free by such-and-such a date. To win over voters, the bill mandated that the necessary solar panels, etc., be built by Ontario companies. And, of course, this violated existing trade laws (protectionism!) and was shot to hell by the appropriate international courts.

    Actually, Klein’s book, subtitled “Capitalism Versus The Climate,” isn’t as radical as the subtitle suggests. She doesn’t call for worldwide socialism or anarchism. Merely for the end of corporate rule. It’s hard to imagine how any rational person could disagree.

    I don’t see how corporations are useful, now. Once upon a time, maybe, and only just maybe. Certain functions of industrial production require massive amounts of widespread corroboration. You don’t want every state in the Union building railroad tracks with different-gauge spacing between the rails. (Actually, the South had that problem, one of the reasons the North kicked its ass in the war; transporting goods was a lot more efficient in the North, where railroad monopolies ruled.)

    Eric Schlosser had it right in “Fast Food Nation.” The 20th century’s greatest threats were presented by totalitarian governments. Now, the totalitarian threat is corporate. I’ve yet to come across a convincing argument why these entities should exist anymore.

    • Klein is entirely typical of what we “extreme leftists” are: practical. That’s what so frustrating. The right has become more radical than anyone I’ve seen on the left in my lifetime. Yet we have the Villagers claiming that what we really need is some kind of centrist political party as though the two sides were equivalent. We just can’t win.

      People can be against what Klein is calling for because it will be posed as the collective ganging up on poor family farms that are just exercising their rights. That’s how the GMO labeling bill went down here in “liberal” California.

      One thing that really put me on the outside when I was a libertarian was that I believed corporations should be eliminated. What I thought was funny was that all these supposed libertarians were pro-corporate. Corporations are just government entities. Why all the love? Well, I eventually learned the reason: libertarians don’t generally care about freedom; they simply fetishize the rich. This is why most libertarians hate unions. A few years ago, I read an excellent article in Reason — a libertarian argument against “right to work” laws. It seemed obvious to me: such laws limit the rights of employer and employee to make contracts. But the reader comments were apoplectic. I think that shows what libertarianism is all about.

      • Friedman (the First) was against unions, too. Which makes no sense from a “freedom of commerce” standpoint. A union is just, at heart, me talking to Shanelle who talks to Jose who talks to Debbie and we all decide not to got to work tomorrow. How can anyone oppose that, unless they believe in slavery?

        Of course what Friedman was really against (although he probably was for slavery) were laws allowing unions to organize and strike without fear of getting one’s head bashed in by a rifle butt or rifle bullet. Again, no sense, as laws prohibit union members from beating up the CEO.

        You do have to respect the intellectual ingenuity of people who create logical-sounding arguments for why universal standards of freedom only apply to one group. What they come up with is often quite amazingly clever (the best of them, not the dim bulbs like Brooks and Friedman The Lesser.) At their finest, they’re like the Catholic theologians of old.

        • It’s curious. No libertarian ever claims that management shouldn’t be able to work together to maximize their profits and screw the workers. But the other way, they have a major problem. I believe it all comes down to the idea business can never be interfered with. They don’t mind the idea of workers getting together. But them stopping scabs from working is where they have a problem. What they fail to see is the businesses already have the government on their side and so any extra-legal efforts on the part of workers is just a function of an unjust system. In Europe, they’ve fixed this problem to some extent.

          But all of this gives libertarians too much credit. These people have never read Robert Nozick and they wouldn’t find what he wrote very compelling. Libertarianism is the philosophy of those who are rich and those who think they soon will be rich. They like the owners of capital and they don’t like the workers. It is as simple as that.

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