Just when you thought you were beginning to get a handle on TTIP, TPP, CETA and other ‘free’ trade agreements coming our way, the newest and perhaps most secretive of the bunch is raising its ugly head. ‘The agreement covers about 70% of the global services economy. Some claim that the aim of TISA [Trade in Service Agreement] is the privatization of worldwide trade in services in areas such as banking, healthcare and transport. Services comprise 75% of American economic output; in EU states, almost 75% of its employment and gross domestic product.
‘For commitments on what the European Commission calls “‘national treatment’ (i.e. on equal treatment for foreign and local suppliers)”, excluding commitments on market access, the following applies: Once a particular trade barrier has unilaterally been removed in an area where the country has made a commitment, it cannot be reintroduced. This proposal is known as the ‘ratchet clause’. Wikipedia.
‘On June 3, 2015, WikiLeaks released 17 key documents related to TiSA, which is considered perhaps the most important of the three deals being negotiated for “fast track” trade authority. The documents were supposed to remain classified for five years after being signed, displaying a level of secrecy that outstrips even the TPP’s four-year classification.
‘TiSA involves 51 countries, including every advanced economy except the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). The deal would liberalize global trade in services covering close to 80% of the US economy, including financial services, healthcare, education, engineering, telecommunications, and many more. It would restrict how governments can manage their public laws, and it could dismantle and privatize state-owned enterprises, turning those services over to the private sector. ‘Recall the secret plan devised by Wall Street and U.S. Treasury officials in the 1990s to open banking to the lucrative derivatives business. To pull this off required the relaxation of banking regulations not just in the US but globally, so that money would not flee to nations with safer banking laws. The vehicle used was the Financial Services Agreement concluded under the auspices of the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The plan worked, and most countries were roped into this “liberalization” of their banking rules. The upshot was that the 2008 credit crisis took down not just the US economy but economies globally.
‘TiSA picks up where the Financial Services Agreement left off, opening yet more doors for private banks and other commercial service industries, and slamming doors on governments that might consider opening their private banking sectors to public ownership.’ Read the full and very informative article by Ellen Brown at the Market Oracle.
Economic Violence also kills
The Banks got their bail outs via the ‘too big to fail’ biggest exercise in extortion seen in history at the time of the Banks-induced financial collapse. The new strategy (TiSA, etc) could be seen as ‘too complex to fight against’ approach, with its multi-layered system of trade agreements, seeking to lock in about 2/3 of the planet into Corporate and Banking dominance.
We should be grateful to people like Yanis Veroufakis and DiEM25 seeking to create transparency in these highly secret negotiations between the EU and the US, Julian Assange whose Wikileaks website continues to provide vital information, Leader of the UK Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn bringing recognised experts like Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Piketty to the development of policy, and so many others fighting an asymmetrical battle for the future of the global economy.
We don’t hear enough about them because, with some notable exceptions, the corporate media is of course funded by the financial giants.
It is not coincidence that in the UK health and education are under attack. ‘Bad news’ about the NHS, (which even under the most dire circumstances continues to provide an excellent health service), provoking junior doctors to take industrial action against the imposition of a rigid and dangerous contract, coupled with the announcement that all schools are to become academies, that is, provoking the teachers too, are all part of the well known strategy to force the deterioration of public services to justify privatisation.
It is no coincidence that the progressive project of Latin American countries has met with the most draconian campaign of ‘coup’ by media (probably acknowledging that the military staging those coups in the past were terrible administrators and not good for corporate business and returns).
So, what can ordinary people do in the face of so much power? The tools of the methodology of Active Nonviolence are the most appropriate to move against this seemingly unstoppable tide, because they are about creating a different culture, organising the social fabric in solidarity and providing internal reference rather than staying open to manipulation. Joining in networks of information and action, promoting the alternatives, making them known bypassing the censorship of corporate media like millions of people already engaging in this way and those joining in as we speak can open the future towards humanised trade relations based on equal rights and equal opportunities for all.