The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the latest and perhaps most egregious extension of the corporatization of the US economic, legal, and political system. With political power increasingly modeled on the market-based economy, national governments are selling out the universal representation of the people they serve for the benefit of corporate interests. It is the general public that is left to suffer from such trade and investment agreements, particularly the most marginalized populations. As such, countless communities within the US are mobilizing against the approval of the TPP by Congress, with similar movement across other TPP member countries. Despite it being cloaked in secrecy for over seven years, advocates, scholars, journalists and the public have already begun to clearly see it for what it is—an agreement that puts the interests of corporations before the interests of people.
Our report outlined three major principles that the TPP violates: democratic participation, transparency, and public accountability.
- PART I addressed how democratic participation and transparency have been compromised by both corporate power and US foreign policy during the formation and negotiation of the agreement. Specifically, over the last 40 years, what little democratic participation and transparency there was in trade agreements have all but disappeared, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership is no exception. That the US controlled much of the negotiation process also speaks to how, even among the participating countries, the formation of the agreement was non-democratic.
- PART II addressed some of the major implications of the TPP. It accounted for the TPP’s role as part and parcel of the corporatization of US foreign policy, such as the United States’ concerted “Pivot to Asia.” It also accounted for the TPP’s role in the continued erosion of public protections and policies within the United States and other TPP member countries, including those tied to labor and employment, health and medicine, and the environment. Together, these characteristics of the TPP highlight how public accountability is virtually non-existent within the agreement—in other words, how the United States’ allegiance to multinational corporations trumps any such investment in the wellbeing of its own population or the wellbeing of the populations of the other TPP member countries.