The time has come. The United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam have come to an agreement ostensibly with the goal of establishing free trade and common standards between countries. These countries make up roughly “40 percent of the global economy”.
This is one of the largest trade agreements in United States history, and it all sounds quite fine and dandy. The question is, who is truly benefiting from this agreement? Remember, reader, that this agreement has been under negotiation for over eight years, with many negotiations being done in secret. It’s not known exactly what the agreement will cover, other than what has been leaked and what the representatives of the countries have told the public.
There is cause for concern. In my opinion, international corporations are no doubt pulling the strings. Of course, this agreement will provide services and have many positive outcomes. But let’s not forget perhaps what is being taken away with this agreement. According to WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange:
“The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies.” (Assange)
Basically corporations now have the power to sue nation states who interfere, or for over-regulating. This is potentially dangerous. Corporations have already become giants: funding political campaigns in America, basically buying candidates for favorable policy, etc. (It’s not all that much different in the rest of the world.) This agreement discusses trade between countries, but what it doesn’t say a word about is how much power and reach corporations will be given.
This runs into an even deeper problem. In America alone, the corporations that (or, who?) will benefit will also be in support of upper class growth. There is currently a disgusting wealth and income gap between the upper and lower class. Will this agreement alleviate this? Or, will this agreement simply result in a common trend since the 90s: the rich get richer and the middle class thins out so much so that it basically disappears. A thinning out and disappearance of the middle class is the future I see.
However, the whole of the major details of the TPP have not been made public, and it is indeed possible that equal prosperity may arise from this agreement. This would make me happy. But, as it stands now, I fear for that this agreement will affect the presently imbalanced socioeconomic structure of the United States negatively. I fear that large and greedy corporations may take advantage of this agreement and become more powerful. I shudder to think of how much more power corporations may then be able to wield over not just United States politics, but world politics. The conclusion on whether this would be beneficial for the world or not is up for debate, however I am of the opinion that such a theoretical situation would be disastrous.
The information that has been released thus far regarding the TPP seems to be a playground for corporations, and a cause for further disappearance of the middle class.