OpEdNews Op Eds

Part 1: What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, And Why Don't I Care?

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 4 of 4 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Supported 4   Valuable 4   Must Read 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 1/20/14

- Advertisement -

In fact, the anemic resistance to the TPP by the most otherwise activism-ready individuals suggests the following disturbing rule: the more people, movements and categories of rights and freedoms that are likely to be curtailed by a piece of legislation, the less resistance that legislation is likely to elicit in the general population. That's perhaps the opposite of what one would expect from a rational species (and it's just a hypothesis, so it might be falsified by more systematically-gathered evidence). But human beings are only piecemeal rational, and there are a lot of cracks in human rationality that are easily exploited.

Consider these facts. SOPA elicited enough outrage among net heads to kill that terrible bill (which would have substantially curtailed internet freedom under the pretense of protecting intellectual property online). The Keystone XL pipeline elicited enough steady public outrage to delay the construction of that fossil-fuel monstrosity--steady activism has kept it at bay for more than five years now. And the vileness of fracking has elicited enough outrage to make certain politicians impose temporary moratoriums and even bans on that climate-warming, chemical-spewing, flammable faucet-making practice.

One might expect, then, that a bill like the TPP--which, among many other things, re-introduces some of the worst features of SOPA (and adds some more ) AND makes it easier for frackers to sue governments for passing anti-fracking legislation--would elicit at least twice as much outrage as either one of those evils elicited on its own. If anything, though, the opposite now appears to be the case.

Social psychology to the rescue?

A puzzle like this is one that the field of social psychology is supposed to be uniquely poised to solve, and since I'm a social psychologist, I'll take a stab at it in the subsequent articles in this series.

Go to Part 2:  Obstacles to Anti-TPP Coordination: A Social Psychological Account.

- Advertisement -

1 A brief review of the linked evidence above will demonstrate, I think, that I am being only slightly hyperbolic in my estimate of the TPP's likely carnage. Forbes, as might be expected, seems to be mindful only of its readers' stock options and not of general human welfare. As for Paul Krugman's article, it reads like a willful refusal to acknowledge that post-NAFTA "trade deals" aren't really about lowering tariffs and import quotas--they're about empowering large corporations to sue governments when governments don't obey their commands. Krugman, in response to reader push back, has taken this criticism under consideration and is pondering the issue further. Yet he still seems mysteriously undisturbed by the secrecy of the negotiations and by the attempt to fast-track the finished product through Congress--contrast Nobel-Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz , who pretty much gets it.

- Advertisement -

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4


Ian Hansen is a social psychology professor specializing in cultural and political psychology and a part time activist on behalf of the good things in life.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Part 1: What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, And Why Don't I Care?

To Error and Back Again, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Christopher Hitchens, Part 3

To Error and Back Again, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Christopher Hitchens, Part 1

Sam Harris and Bill Maher are not racists!

Part 3: The Puzzle of "Liberal" Obama's Support for the TPP

To Error and Back Again, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Christopher Hitchens, Part 2


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
7 people are discussing this page, with 13 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Please call your Congressional representative to e... by Ian Hansen on Monday, Jan 20, 2014 at 9:26:32 AM
Don't forget the Transatlantic Trade and Investmen... by sliphoch on Monday, Jan 20, 2014 at 5:33:02 PM
Yes, that's definitely something to keep an eye on... by Ian Hansen on Monday, Jan 20, 2014 at 8:59:35 PM
A follow up article on the  Transatlant... by paulvcassidy on Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 at 7:18:50 AM
My rep has signed the agreement to not support the... by intotheabyss on Monday, Jan 20, 2014 at 3:32:26 PM
I'm glad your rep is standing firm.  I'm hol... by Ian Hansen on Monday, Jan 20, 2014 at 9:01:52 PM
Thank you Ian Hansen for your exceptional article... by Elizabeth Hanson on Monday, Jan 20, 2014 at 5:08:48 PM
Thanks Elizabeth.  I think you're doing more... by Ian Hansen on Monday, Jan 20, 2014 at 9:11:41 PM
Here's a great article that caught a lot of the a... by Ian Hansen on Tuesday, Jan 21, 2014 at 3:46:55 PM
The preamble to the fast track bill to promote th... by Scott Baker on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 3:08:47 AM
That would be great if SCOTUS shot it down, but I'... by Ian Hansen on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 7:47:31 PM
You could call the article TPP 101. Thanks for the... by Daniel Vasey on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 4:47:05 PM
You're very welcome. ... by Ian Hansen on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 7:48:02 PM