TTIP is robbing the people of democracy in the name of big business.
A trade deal between America and the EU is currently being negotiated behind closed doors. The secretive nature of the agreement is sending the message that big business is more important than the rights of the people. The proposed deal known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP, has been in the works since 2013 but no deal has been reached yet because of a controversial clause that would give corporations the right to sue governments.
Currently, trade between the EU and US is complicated due to tariffs and regulations. Regulations protect people’s health, safety, and financial security as well as the environment, while tariffs protect economies. But the new agreement would help make EU and US regulations more compatible and eliminate tariffs, which would result in boosting economic output.
So why is that a bad thing? Critics of TTIP say the agreement is a wolf in sheep’s clothing because it's designed to help corporations not people. According to this video here:
Hidden in the fine print of the deal are Investor State Dispute Settlement or ISDS clauses. According to public international law, ISDSs grant investors the right to sue foreign governments if their policies result in reduced investor profits. These ISDSs weaken democracy because the threat of being sued for billions of dollars results in policies being made solely for the good of corporations rather than people.
Just look at a lawsuit filed in 2012 by the Swedish energy firm, Vattenfall. Vattenfall is suing Germany for 3.7 billion Euros over Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The energy firm owned several nuclear plants in Germany that were taken offline when the phase-out began. Now, even if clean energy is in the best interest of the people, a government will not pass renewable energy laws if it has been given money by an energy giant like Vattenfall. The fear of losing billions of dollars is enough to prevent progress.
What is even more disturbing is the fact that governments cannot defend themselves. Investor arbitration has its own legal system that allows investors to bypass national courts that might not decide in their favor and bring their cases in front of private arbitration tribunal panels that will. Arbitrators are biased because they have economic incentives to favor claimants. The more claims they get, the better their business.
According to data by the Transatlantic Economy 2014, the USA and EU account for over 50% of world GDP in terms of value and 40% in terms of purchasing power. No to mention, the transatlantic economy is the largest and wealthiest market in the world. If TTIP goes through with clauses for ISDSs, the power of big business will only increase.
What do you guys think about this? Leave a comment below and check out Jesse’s video about how corporate greed and how it leads to mass incarceration in the video below.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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