The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: What it is and why we should be worried
Interesting report on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership from UCU (University and College Union) and its potential for unregulated damage to the public good, such as education and health. They suggest it authorises legal suits should we (governments) attempt to regulate down the line once we work out what is going on with the wonder of experience. Is this really an impending death knell for democracy?
Of course we want to trade with the each other across the EU and with the US, as well as the rest of the world. While in an ideal world welcoming the removal of corrupt barriers to free trade so we can all get on and earn a rewarding living before enjoying our homes, families and other interests, unregulated activity without democratic oversight on such important areas of our lives is a little scary; and the idea we could be heavily financially penalised for waking up to implications and complexities and attempting to regulate down the line scarier still. Who will be held accountable? Politicians that draw on the expertise around them to the best of their ability and are on the receiving end of public pressure; or small cliques of hidden professionals? We pay the bills regardless.
I haven’t read the proposed agreements and probably wouldn’t understand them or their implications if I did. UCU draws on international studies and reports on other free trade agreements, and a study by LSE (the London School of Economics) for BIS (the UK government department for Business, Innovation and Skills). Could the agreement be hashed out to better acknowledge the right to regulate in the public good? Probably.
On that note, UCU has organised a free Defend Public Education: from cradle to grave conference on Saturday 1 February 2014 at the Ambassadors Hotel, Upper Woburn Place, London, WC1H OHX from 10:00 – 16:00 if anyone is interested in going.