Before the Zombie Apocalypse — These 4 Trade Deals Were Ravaging the World!
Before the Zombie Apocalypse — These 4 Trade Deals Were Ravaging the World!
By James Trimarco and Marc J. Palm / yesmagazine.org
Apr 29, 2015

Zombies can always be relied on to offer easy thrills, but what really keeps us up at night are the international trade agreements constantly being negotiated by the United States and its partners—each one more terrifying than the last.

How can something as pleasant-sounding as “free trade” be more threatening than a zombie apocalypse? The devil’s in the details, and the fine print on some of these agreements is enough to curdle a bucket of blood.

Whether it’s blocking a ban on chocolate-flavored cigarettes marketed to kids, or rolling back post-2008 regulations on Wall Street, these deals have a way of favoring corporations over people. They’re not popular, as you might imagine, and in some cases people’s movements have been able to stop them in their tracks. In response, proponents of the deals have attempted to slip under the radar by conducting negotiations in secret.

Here are four of the scariest deals—and why they're so abominable.

WTO-The-mother-of-all-trade.jpg


The World Trade Organization, created in 1995 as a re-imagining of an earlier group called the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, is the mother of all trade bodies and sets the rules for the flow of goods and services between countries. The WTO claims its goal is to “improve the welfare of the peoples of the member countries.” But critics say what it really does is force poor nations to open their markets to wealthier ones, who themselves often bend the WTO’s rules.

The WTO also gives companies a place to complain about regulations enacted by democratically elected governments. It has found fault with laws protecting public health, the environment, workers' rights, and other things that would affect industries’ bottom line. Recent rulings have objected to producers labeling certain kinds of tuna as “dolphin safe;” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ban on sweet-flavored cigarettes that entice kids; and labels that inform consumers what country meat products originated in. The WTO says such labels violate the rights of Mexican and Canadian farmers to a level playing field. The United States sometimes refuses to comply—but risks trade sanctions when it does so.

Perhaps most frightening of all, the WTO (along with NAFTA) has spawned a whole new brood of bilateral and regional deals that take the same approach to trade and development.

TTIP-The-Warlock-that-would.jpg


The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, if approved, would promote trade between the United States and the European Union.

The deal has some bright spots—for example, it would universalize the plugs for electric cars. But American negotiators are also pushing hard to overturn Europe’s ban on imports of U.S.-grown genetically modified crops. Meanwhile, European negotiators and bankers are trying to set Wall Street free from regulations passed after the financial crisis of 2008. According to the nonprofit research group Public Citizen, they want to roll back the Volcker Rule, which restricts U.S. banks from the riskiest investments, and to block efforts to limit the size of banks.

 

NAFTA-corportate-werewolf.jpg


When President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada in 1993, he sold it to the people of the United States as a job creator. “NAFTA means jobs,” he said. “American jobs, and good-paying American jobs.”

More than 20 years later, the agreement’s dark side is showing. The U.S. government’s own Trade Adjustment Assistance program acknowledges that nearly 900,000 workers in the United States have officially lost their jobs due to the relocation of businesses to Canada or Mexico under NAFTA. Meanwhile, exports of cheap U.S. corn have damaged the livelihoods of Mexican farmers and driven huge waves of migration. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of Mexican-born people living in the United States more than doubled from 4.5 million to 9.8 million.

 


The Trans Pacific Partnership, if approved, would unite 12 Pacific Rim countries into the world’s largest free trade area, comprising 40 percent of the global economy. When he spoke about the TPP in 2011, President Barack Obama, who has made the deal's passage a major objective of his administration, sounded a lot like Clinton in 1993. Obama said the deal “will boost our economies, lowering barriers to trade and investment, increasing exports, and creating more jobs for our people.”

But leaked sections of the agreement’s secret text show the TPP taking more controversial stances—and it has its tentacles on a breathtaking variety of issues. On health care, U.S. negotiators seem to be working at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry, trying to extend the rights of patent-holders to charge more money for medicines. On labor, the TPP makes it easier for companies to move manufacturing to low-wage Vietnam, but offers no enforceable provisions to prevent abuse. On the environment, it preserves the status quo, doing little to prevent the illegal logging and overfishing that are taxing the forests and oceans of the region.

Last but not least, advocates of a free Internet are up in arms over sections in the TPP’s intellectual property chapter they say would significantly diminish the free speech rights of web users.

4.3 ·
2
Trending Today
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 24,366 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 15,839 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 11,571 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 9,087 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 6,392 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
Voices of Standing Rock
49 min · 3,874 views today · Short stories told by water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Part 1 - Introduction: Since mid-August 2016, thousands have set up camp near the Standing Rock Sioux...
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 3,475 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong
6 min · 3,223 views today · What causes addiction? Easy, right? Drugs cause addiction. But maybe it is not that simple. This video is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing...
Charles Eisenstein: The Two Great Stories That Give Meaning to Our Lives
6 min · 2,841 views today · What matters in life? Who are we? Every culture has answers to these questions. And the way we answer them has profound effects on the health of people and planet. This is a...
Redneck Revolt Presents: A Message to the Patriot Movement
6 min · 2,786 views today · Over the past few weeks, Redneck Revolt has been communicating with a former member of a III% Patriot Militia based out of Ohio. Peter made contact with our organization after...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 2,626 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Films for Action's Public Film Screening Guide
Tim Hjersted and Matt Toplikar · 1,801 views today · This guide will give you step by step instructions on how to host Films For Action sponsored film screening events in your city. It is intended primarily for people who have...
Artificial Ethics and the Search for Intelligence
5 min · 1,644 views today · How to stop a robot turning evil.  It's 2027 and Mental Endeavours Ltd has a problem with their flagship robot Günther. How do you program an intelligent machine not to...
Philippine Vigils Against Vigilantes - The Reign of Terror in the President's War on Drugs
7 min · 1,366 views today · The war on drugs waged by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken more than 7,000 lives since its inception. It took the killing of a South Korean businessman by police...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 873 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 855 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 841 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
The Lessons of Standing Rock
Michael Emero · 797 views today · In mid-November of 2016, I was a Water Protector at Standing Rock. At first my goal was to play investigative journalist; documenting then writing about every detail for my...
Two Ways to Build Global Community
Dan Hind · 752 views today · A platform co-operative approach to information, rather than the models of Facebook and legacy media, provide reason for optimism, writes Dan Hind.
System Change Will Not Be Negotiated
Nnimmo Bassey · 698 views today · We frequently hear calls for system change, at public mobilisations, in conference halls and even in negotiation halls. The calls come as slogans, they come in anger and they...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Before the Zombie Apocalypse — These 4 Trade Deals Were Ravaging the World!