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


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(Article changed on January 25, 2014 at 02:00)

This is the fourth 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?

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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


The first part of this series introduced the Trans Pacific Partnership "trade deal" scam, identified its potential dangers, as well as the dangers of allowing it to be "fast-tracked" through Congress. It also posed the question: why have activists had so much difficulty raising the mass awareness and mass outrage that the TPP threat warrants?


The second part drew on social psychology concepts like ingroup favoritism, cognitive miserliness, the halo effect and cognitive dissonance to explore some potential answers to that question.

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The third part applied cognitive dissonance and other social psychology concepts like conformity and obedience to address the mystery of why "liberal" President Obama is seeking fast-track authority for the TPP. It also made the case that drawing a distinction between "liberal" and "left" (one based in psychological research) can explain Obama's behavior better than collapsing liberal-left vs. conservative-right into one dimension.


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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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