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

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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

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-- the environment generally

-- labor rights

-- buy local incentives (including "Buy American")

-- economy-stabalizing financial regulation

-- public health care systems in countries that have them

-- public services generally

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-- the rights of indigenous people

-- national sovereignty

-- government transparency

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Ian Hansen is an Associate Professor of psychology and the 2017 president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility.

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