Today the Japan News reported in an article that negotiations for the infamous Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be accelerated at Japan’s request because of impending 2014 elections. Of course, this may be true, however, we feel that somebody is being less than honest. The US (just like any other country) never does anything that isn’t in its own best interest.
So, we have to ask ourselves, what reason could US possibly have to accelerate the signature of the TPP? Would it be the growing opposition to the treaty? Would it be it’s now famous secrecy? Would it be its winner-takes-all approach that TPP involved industries are taking? What do you think? We think we smell a rat!
Let’s take a quick look at the TPP (or at least at the leaks that are in the public domain now) from an Absolute Austro-Libertarian point of view.
We initiate our complaint pointing out that all involved countries declare that they want “free trade” and then immediately set to create a set of rules that will manage such trade! What an ridiculous concept! A managed free trade! It is absolutely clear that all these negotiations are not about free trade but about getting the best market advantage a managed trade allows.
The TPP is being negotiated in highly secret meetings. Why? Strangely enough we don’t have an answer. The truth is that if a free-market would be the real goal, there would be no need for secrecy! What could possibly trigger the necessity of secrecy if for a free market to occur, all that is required is for the respective countries to open their borders to each other! What a joke!
The TPP allows companies to bypass local judicial processes and get their differences arbitrated by “Tribunals” (whatever that may mean) from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes or United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. Organizations, which, of course, conveniently have no jurisdiction within countries. To be clear, the Absolute Austro-Libertarian way depends of arbitrators or mediators. So, this request would seem to be aligned with the Absolute Austro-Libertarian way of thinking. Alas, it is not. It is simply a way to obtain dispute resolution through people who have no stake in the decision and are not responsible for it. In economic terms, these “Tribunals” are simply externalities that enable companies not to pay true costs. In an Absolute Austro-Libertarian world, as everything belongs to somebody, externalities are simply impossible and mediators are fully financially responsible for their decisions according to their contracts. So this “Tribunal” concept is simply a bad joke.
The TPP enforces “non discriminatory” treatment of participating companies. In practice this means that if company headquartered in county A makes an investment in country B then country A's laws and regulations must apply within country B. The general idea is that companies would headquarter in countries with low standards and apply those very same low standards in countries with higher ones, hence pocketing the difference in costs and gaining unfair advantages. This non-discrimination is to be applied to the environment, human rights and public welfare. Again, this is good news for company A, but what about the citizens of country B that have to suffer the consequences? Bad luck! Of course this is pure nonsense; un-attenuated greed made only possible by, you guessed it, governments! In an Absolute Austro-Libertarian world, since everything belongs to somebody and there are no externalities, a polluting company that pollutes somebody’s property is automatically liable for it! In an Absolute Austro-Libertarian world, companies are responsible for any damage to their employees which is not allowed in their contracts… however… when employees can simply pack and go to any other company in the world (remember? an Absolute Austro-Libertarian world has no borders) how long can a company survive in business without employees or sub-standard ones? Not long!
An Absolute Austro-Libertarian world is a finely balanced world where there is no free lunch but where there is a true free market. Anything else, is just a joke!
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.