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

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(Article changed on January 25, 2014 at 01:53)

This is the first part of a five-part series: Sleeping Through the TPP Coup: Why a Trans-National Corporate Power Grab That Hurts Almost Everyone Is Arousing So Little Outcry

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

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

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

Part 4: Pitting Fear of Our Complicity Against the Fear to Resist the TPP

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Part 5: Battling the TPP with Enlightenment, Love and a Thirst For Meaning in the Face of Death

If you are like most people you probably have not heard of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a secrecy-shrouded disaster deceptively marketed as a "trade agreement." Corporations are hoping to " fast track " this generally unknown but massively significant piece of legislation through Congress, and the bill to do this was introduced on January 9. Fast-tracking a piece of legislation means that Congress is obliged to vote yea or nay on that legislation without amendment or debate within 90 days of its introduction. Due to the secrecy around the TPP and the practical constraints on digesting such a massive bill within 90 days or less, most Congressional representatives might find themselves forced to vote on the TPP largely without knowing what's really in it. To ease their discomfort with this arrangement there will probably be a lot of earmarked pork for the districts and states of wavering representatives. That was the case with NAFTA--another so-called "trade agreement"--twenty years ago.



Occupy image of TPP by Occupy.com

So what is in the TPP and why should you care? The first question has to be answered a little speculatively because the contents of emerging TPP proposals and negotiations have been classified as a state secret. That secrecy has been punctured only by some negotiation documents leaked to TPP-watching groups (including two main chapters of the draft text released by Wikileaks). The secrecy even affects members of Congress. Were it not for the insistence of some brave representatives, Congress would be kept entirely in the dark until the behemoth of a bill is officially introduced. Even now, Congressional access to draft texts is highly limited, though about 600 multi-national corporations have free access to these texts.

What the rest of us can do is cobble together a list of plausible suspicions based on portions of the negotiations that have been leaked and on the records of similar trade-deals-that-aren't-really-about-trade (NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, etc). Based on these sources of information, the TPP is likely to present a grave threat to the following human needs, in no particular order:

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-- access to medicine for the poor

-- internet freedom

-- the climate balance

-- the environment generally

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.

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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