Let’s dig into an example. In 2011, Australia passed the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011,designed “to discourage the use of tobacco products” by, among other things, requiring cigarette packages to have larger warnings, ugly colors, and no logos or advertisements. This act is clearly a “predatory intervention” against tobacco companies, designed explicitly to reduce their business in Australia by lowering smoking rates. As a result, Philip Morris Asia, a part of the American company Philip Morris International, is using an investor-state dispute settlement to stop enforcement and demand compensation, claiming this is a discriminatory “expropriation.” Instead of just the bureaucrats at the Australian government creating and administering rules for the selling of cigarettes, there’s an additional layer of international bureaucrats—positions created by trade agreements—who can overrule them.There are more examples. It ends with:
The goal for believers in democracy is to ground the bureaucracies governing international trade in democratic principles and accountability as much as possible. The secret, privatized bureaucracies hidden within free trade agreements like the TPP deploy the power of the state in corporate, rather than public, interests. They do not facilitate the distribution of goods, but the abrogation of democracy in choosing what is good for all.This is the first place I've seen any reasonable discussion with examples of why TPP is not such a good idea. Dean Baker provides a lot of politics, but not as clear an explanation of the basic facts as Konczal.
OTOH, as I've tweeted, no one is saying why this is a good idea except a few air-head editorials in the WSJ.
C'mon, Obama - Show us something!
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