Archive for May, 2016

A journey into useful economics

2016-05-28

Prof John Quiggin progresses along with his ‘Economics in Two Lessons’. The intended text, while much more substantive, is still aimed at the general reader. Its title, as is known, is a take-off on that of ‘Economics in One Lesson’ of Henry Hazlitt, which was rather popular in the US.

Quiggin posts his drafts for comment and critique over at the crooked timber blog, then tidies up his draft as he goes along. His current offering is a timely one, Intellectual property: Extract from Economics in Two Lessons (expanded and amended)

This chapter is quite useful to also better appreciate the arguments against the secretly negotiated, corporate-friendly ‘free trade’ agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), under which the role of the state would be subordinate to that of the multinational/transnational corporations (MNCs/TNCs), especially of the US. (In essence, the corporate control will be reside in the US, with the power of its government and military).

Another element of the proposed ‘free trade’ deals, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism would represent another concession to the MNC, where the MNC can sue the state, but not the other way around, and even for potential loss of earnings. Thanks to citizen activism, continuing leaks and information secured through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in the US have tended to strengthen the arguments against the trade deals.The deterioration in the economic fortunes of the average citizen since the 80s will increase, as those of the MNCs and their sponsors increase.

The draft Intellectual Property (IP) chapter should help shine a brighter light on the reliability, the credibility of media reports and pronouncements of politician advocates for such ‘free trade’ deals.

Water, nature and protective voices

2016-05-01

The loss of ancestral rights, lands and natural resources continues apace in places where the affected communities lack credible and effective representation. In Guatemala, as Honduras and other countries, the indigenous and campesinos refuse to be silenced, often at the cost of their lives. A recent example is the eleven day march of 15,000 to Guatemala City to protest the ruthless onslaught of corporations on their water resources. As TeleSUR reports,  March for Water: Thousands Protest Corporate Greed in Guatemala (more…)