Tag Archives | neoliberalism

The Trans-­Pacific Partnership: A Neoliberal Escalation

Jared Moore flushes the truth out of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), generally dubbed a “trade” agreement but in truth, oh so much more. Via bilaterals.org:

In 1994 it was NAFTA. Today it’s the TPP.

TPP Leesburg Rally

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the current project aimed at forwarding the political objectives of neoliberalism. And it’s a serious one, much larger than NAFTA and with a more ambitious scope. What started out as a relatively small partnership between three countries now includes twelve, spearheaded by the United States and together comprising forty percent of the world economy. Mexico joined the group in 2012.

Despite the enormous potential impact of the TPP, it’s likely you haven’t heard much detail about the deal’s contents. After campaigning as a champion of transparency, Barack Obama has ensured that the TPP be kept hidden from the public. This is a decision without precedent, leaving some to conclude: “Now that many people have caught on to the fact that free trade agreements have negative consequences, transparency has ended.” All of the countries involved, including Mexico, have reportedly agreed not to reveal its contents to the public until “four years from entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement enters into force, four years from the close of the negotiations.”

What we do know about the deal, we know from individuals who have taken great risks by illegally leaking portions through the webpage WikiLeaks.

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TPPA – the End of Democratic Sovereignty in New Zealand

TPP image via Office of the United States Trade Representative.

TPP image via Office of the United States Trade Representative.

After much speculation and insubstantial promises, we now find ourselves inching closer to the final stages of the TPP agreement. The empty rhetoric and political bombast is coming fast and thick, with some key show-downs taking place amidst a general feeling that we’re quickly running out of time to force a withdraw. While there are further protests scheduled and some time left, unless there is mass large-scale revolt, it is hard to feel in any way optimistic that this deal won’t go ahead.

The wild claims of the National government regarding the apparently substantial positive effects that this trade agreement will have, have been made to look suitably flimsy and dishonest by reports that show the damning and definitive evidence to the contrary; when all the facts are assessed, the data points to the true overarching problem – that we are on the verge of a global neoliberal confidence scam that effectively undermines our democratic sovereignty.… Read the rest

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Anti-austerity: Violent Protest and the Rolling Thunder

With anti-austerity protests breaking out in Greece, and her government in the midst of aggressive reshuffling, we are reminded of how necessary revolutionary violence is to pure ground-swell democracy. It is the political over-pour of mass frustration, the inevitable pressure release-valve of the underclass and economically damaged. While it can’t easily be characterised by such terms as good or justified, it is at least understandable in its appearance at such times – as the only available reaction the powerless have left to use once democracy has failed them. Fear the desperate animal so cornered.

It is possible to see, through the eyes of Greece’s vulnerable and downtrodden, that economic scarcity and austerity are the natural enemies of social justice, and that extreme neoliberal ideology exists in direct conflict with the collective spirit, with the actionable soul of democracy and her common-good offspring.… Read the rest

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The Eurozone Crisis: Neoliberal Economic Terrorism

"Alexis Tsipras on Subversive Festival" by Robert Crc - Subversive festival media. Licensed under FAL via Wikimedia Commons.

Alexis Tsipras on Subversive Festival” by Robert Crc – Subversive festival media. Licensed under FAL via Wikimedia Commons.

During the ongoing negotiations and humiliations of the Eurozone crisis, it has been surreal to hear repeated concerns by the EU about Greece’s apparent untrustworthiness. When the word manipulation is used in this context, by diplomats and global creditors, it loses all power of meaning. The pot calling the kettle black. One EU diplomat suggested frustration and fatigue, stating they were the victims of “five months of manipulation” at the hands of Greece. Perhaps they would prefer to live through five years of crippling austerity measures.

It is hard to take such concerns seriously, especially in the face of the cruelty and maneuvering by the Troika et al. Before they talk so freely of manipulation and wrongdoings, they would do well to consider the reality of life among austerity, unemployment and poverty.… Read the rest

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Further Notes From Greece: Compromise and Capitulation

With the deadline fast approaching for an embattled and financially desperate Greece, Alexis Tsipras and his left-right coalition rallied and tabled a bail-out and reform proposal to the European creditors Thursday evening. Saturday morning saw the government of Greece, by a large majority, accept and back the proposal for negotiations in the coming days. In comes the desperate proposal, in come the compromises and capitulations.

Photo: Philly boy92 (CC)

Photo: Philly boy92 (CC)

Five months of stalemate and bluff have led to this weekend and, after everything that’s happened, it’s not surprising that Tsipras has finally been beaten into submission, made malleable enough to seek the reinstatement of austerity to his damaged and struggling country in the hope of debt restructuring and further bailout. It’s not surprising, but it is disappointing. Politics is the grinding wheel of disappointment.

Even when one is the wielder of great power and influence, political negotiation can be difficult and laced with traps, but when vulnerable, in a position of weakness and without any recognisable leverage, it becomes virtually impossible without compromising your position or appealing to humanitarian compassion.… Read the rest

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Privitising social services: NZ’s looming neoliberal confidence scam

rosaluxemburg (CC BY-ND 2.0)

rosaluxemburg (CC BY-ND 2.0)

In the US, the hyenas of the right-wing are currently fighting for room around the carcass of neoliberal-capitalism, hoping to strip the last stringy-pieces of meat from the now decaying form. In a true old-fashioned gag, there are more GOP candidates for the presidency in 2016 than any other time previously.

Viewing this comedy from the distant comfort of New Zealand is strangely enjoyable and similar to the sick-making thrill of watching Fox news and its brand of explosive bigotry and conservatism. Both are like American candy – sickly-sweet and instantly regrettable, though very difficult to put down once started.

While it may be somewhat refreshing to stand back and admire the depths of ridiculousness prevalent in US politics, the joke ceases to be as funny when global levels of toxicity are factored in – the influence and saturation of US corporatocracy is now keenly and widely felt on a global scale and often awful in effect.… Read the rest

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Notes from the Greek Crisis: the collective spirit

Screen shot 2015-07-09 at 1.36.33 PM

It is hard sometimes in this modern age, to wake up and continue living without the weight of accumulated worry seeming too heavy to carry. Another day full of dread – complete with the cranial pressures of global news. Another day full of sorrow – worn thin by the liquid demands of human existence.

The world woke up this morning – Monday morning here in the Southern hemisphere – to face the reality of Greece’s resounding referendum. It took a while to sink in – ‘No’ to more austerity measures, ‘No’ to more troika bully tactics. And while we know it’s not that simple – as nothing gets wrapped up so easily without more trouble to follow – it still counts as a piece of old-fashioned magic, something not seen for so long we’ve forgotten what to call it. Sometimes a gift comes wrapped in a problem.

There is so much to say about the state of our global realities that it often pours out in streams, uncontrollable and chaotic, and without any clear signifying thread.… Read the rest

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Take it and Like it: Corporate America and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:

The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.

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Sick of this market-driven world? You should be

Taken by Shmuel Spiegelman using a Canon 10D. Via Wikimedia Commons

Taken by Shmuel Spiegelman using a Canon 10D. Via Wikimedia Commons

An interesting read from The Guardian about neoliberalism and its erosion of human values within the market.

via The Guardian:

The self-serving con of neoliberalism is that it has eroded the human values the market was supposed to emancipate

To be at peace with a troubled world: this is not a reasonable aim. It can be achieved only through a disavowal of what surrounds you. To be at peace with yourself within a troubled world: that, by contrast, is an honourable aspiration. This column is for those who feel at odds with life. It calls on you not to be ashamed.

I was prompted to write it by a remarkable book, just published in English, by a Belgian professor of psychoanalysis, Paul Verhaeghe. What About Me? The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society is one of those books that, by making connections between apparently distinct phenomena, permits sudden new insights into what is happening to us and why.

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Government Shutdown Doesn’t Slow Negotiations On The Trans-Pacific Partnership

tpp

Democracy Now! reports the latest on the previously discussed sinister and corporate power-grab:

As the federal government shutdown continues, Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Asia for secret talks on a sweeping new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The TPP is often referred to by critics as “NAFTA on steroids,” and would establish a free trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompassing 800 million people and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto.

“This is not mainly about trade,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade.

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