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Le Monde Diplomatique: “The corporation invasion” December 21, 2013

Posted by Tomboktu in Capitalism, Economy, Environment, Inequality, International Finance, The Far Right.

Readers might be interested in this article in Le Monde Diplomatique

Imagine what would happen if foreign companies could sue governments directly for cash compensation over earnings lost because of strict labour or environmental legislation. This may sound far-fetched, but it was a provision of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), a projected treaty negotiated in secret between 1995 and 1997 by the then 29 member states of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) (1). News about it got out just in time, causing an unprecedented wave of protests and derailing negotiations.

Now the agenda is back. Since July the European Union and the United States have been negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), a modified version of the MAI under which existing legislation on both sides of the Atlantic will have to conform to the free trade norms established by and for large US and EU corporations, with failure to do so punishable by trade sanctions or the payment of millions of dollars in compensation to corporations.

(1) See Lori M Wallach, “A dangerous new manifesto for global capitalism”, Le Monde diplomatique, English edition, February 1998.

And why haven’t you heard of it?

The TTIP/TAFTA negotiations are taking place behind closed doors. The US delegations have more than 600 corporate trade advisers, who have unlimited access to the preparatory documents and to representatives of the US administration. Draft texts will not be released, and instructions have been given to keep the public and press in the dark until a final deal is signed. By then, it will be too late to change.

The full article is available here: http://mondediplo.com/2013/12/02tafta


1. 6to5against - December 21, 2013
2. CMK - December 22, 2013

Very insular of you, Tomboktu, raising this kind of trivial stuff. You should be focusing on the really important stuff like, ya know, the internal structures of the SP, not this kind of side issue which has next to no bearing on peoples’ lives!

Seriously, I remember when the MAI was a big issue around 1997-8 when it was eventually shelved because of the pressure brought to bear. I think the WTO ‘Battle in Seattle’ killed it off. What this shows is that the capitalist class never loses sight of its objectives and never compromises unnecessarily. They beat a tactical retreat, got to work behind the scenes, went about their business with a consistent, dogged, unobtrusiveness and are close to getting their reward with zero blowback. People are warn down with austerity or the threat of it, to focus on seemingly arcane issues like the implications of this trade deal. When we see local authorities being forced to privatise everything in 10-15 years we’ll find out just what this deal means.

Paul Murphy (boo, hiss) did try to highlight this, as I think, in fairness, Nessa Childers did, too.

We’ve had a very recent taste of where this will lead with the recent court judgement forcing local authorities (Fingal and Louth County Councils) to pay over significant sums to toll road operators who were hit for rates above what they, the toll road operators, believed was ‘fair’. So, in austerity Ireland local authorities are cutting services AND paying out millions to capitalists as ‘compensation’. This deal will see that sort of outcome increase exponentially.


Enya Rand - December 23, 2013

This is private-public ‘partnership’ without even having to get some sucker to sign a contract.

A practically infinite guarantee that the local / national state will step in to compensate private investment losses – or what they declare as a ‘loss’. Now, why does that sound familiar?

You couldn’t make it up – but they have made it up and they are lobbying it into a secret law.


3. CL - December 22, 2013

“a privatised justice system for global corporations”.
Puts that B.S. about ‘restoring sovereignty’ in perspective. Capital has triumphed and the neoliberal dystopia is being implemented without any real opposition, while certain commentators, such as Dan O’Brien, insist that neoliberalism doesn’t exist.


Sam - December 26, 2013

Capital trimpumphing but each day it can be read that the left is the side which wants all borders open. It can be this is single way in which left has had a victory over right?


4. steve white - December 22, 2013

and person bringing this up in the dial for all hissins is mick wallace http://www.kildarestreet.com/search/?s=ttip and dessie ellis in relation to US being able to see out hand when Enda off playing poker http://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2013-10-23a.236&s=ttip#g245

this needs to become a europe wide election issue,, but maybe most people will vote for who they always do and the meps will vote the way they are told


5. Enya Rand - December 23, 2013

I’d second CMK and thank Tombuktu for bringing this up.

These kind of international agreements are what will restructure peoples lives (for the worst for at least 90% of us in Europe, naturally – this is parasitical capitalism and the rule of the financial bankruptocracy after all).

The infighting of the left is irrelevant to these creatures – what they worry about is the politicisation of the increasingly excluded young and those forced into debt-slavery and precarious semi-employment.

It’s getting out of the leftist ghettos and helping these people to create a programme for an post-capitalist future they can believe in that matters.


6. Sam - December 26, 2013

The question is why you use far right in the label.

The corporates have for already many years had a world in Europe where every time they cannot find a worker here who will work in a low wage industry with little benefits and fearing improving the conditions the corporates have only to shout out lack of labor in order to access workers from all over the world.

Think about the situation where a company B decides it can do work but the unfair rules which makes it law to pay some benefits to workers prevents company B from making the lowest price it can. It decides to challenge country and it wins and uses cheap labor working for Chinase wages.

MAI will be use lower wages, lower rights and when no man woman or dog will work for such then companys will get cheap labor and it will be far right complaining and not left. Left will say hurrah for cheap workers and boo corporates control of society. Seeing different sides of one coin and saying yes to the heads side and no to the tails side.


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