The TPP’s Corporatocracy by BART GRUZALSKI

It’s Friday morning and it seem certain that fast track will pass later today. The hype is that the vote is too close to call but that seems only to be hype. NAFTA was a squeaker. It’s hard to believe that this will be a one-vote squeaker. The Congressional passage of fast track for the TPP will announce to the world that the US is a corporatocracy, although many, like John Perkins, have known this for decades.

Living under a Corporatocracy

What will it be like living in a corporatocracy? Initially not much different except health safeguards, inexpensive medicines, clean water at reasonable prices, GM food, labeling ingredient laws, cigarette labelling warnings, and requirements for less pollution will slowly be overturned. Slowly but surely towns, cities and states will be unable to pay for the lost profits of the corporations violating local restrictions and so, to avoid bankruptcy, will be forced to capitulate.

This will be the new face of big business in our country: a face that many already see but now it will be the de jure law of the land. Whatever a corporation wants—as long as it does not explicitly require the deaths of human beings—the corporations may be able to get. I wonder how specific the exceptions are. Could zoning restrictions be overturned by corporate builders? It’s hard to know since we have not seen anything but a couple of worrisome sections on how conflicts are resolved by corporate lawyers and how medicines will cost us more than they do now.

In general, any limit on corporate profits—a ban on fracking, child labor, ecological zones, LA’s new $15 minimum wage, labor protections, building codes, any restriction on bottling California’s scarce water—will be vulnerable to being overturned. In addition, there will be the additional likelihood of fines against those who insist on defending forests, rivers, and mountaintops with nonviolent action or with lawsuits. The fines will offset the profits not realized because of the restriction or blockade of the corporations in question. Nonviolent blockades of loggers, coal mines and big oil will become extremely expensive, which will cause them to diminish to the imperceptibly rare.

All the environmental protections that currently put the brake on some corporate activities will be slowly eaten away. All laws insisting that workers get a minimum wage may be challenged and overturned. The possibilities are too many to think about, especially without knowing what’s in the huge TPP bill. Politicians that try to defend labor or cut back toxic chemicals will become fewer, a noble species going extinct. Those who profit from corporate activity will profit more easily and with fewer roadblocks.

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