Uncommon Sense

August 7, 2016

Fighting Against the Obvious

It was recently pointed out that a noted economist (Dani Rodrik) has often argued that “markets and states are complements, not substitutes.” Well, duh. It is clear, at least to sociologists if not economists, that without governments there isn’t enough trust in societies to engage in any sort of extensive commerce. Before government control of markets (modern markets, not medieval fairs) most market transactions were more akin to how major drug deals are portrayed in the movies … <cue the edgy music track>: two men with briefcases approach one another, one stuffed with cash, one with drugs. They inspect both to make sure that it was what was agreed upon and not adulterated (e.g. counterfeit currency, counterfeit or diluted drugs). All the while each has guards in place in case anyone wants to pull a heist. Most transactions, even for bunches of carrots were like this: face-to-face with items of equal value being exchanged.

“An obvious conclusion is that for there to be globalization, an expansion of
economic markets to include ever larger groups of countries, you need
more government, not less.”

Even with governmental controls, most transactions had some of this flavor. As late as U.S. Revolutionary times, England had laws requiring some of the commodity being bought being necessarily transferred when the contract was signed (a sheep, a sheaf of wheat, whatever was being bought). This made international commerce somewhat restricted.

Only with governmental security of the contracts, with the force only a government could supply, could make modern markets work at all.

An obvious conclusion is that for there to be globalization, an expansion of economic markets to include ever larger groups of countries, you need more government, not less.

The Republicans and Corporate Democrats (Is there much left of those two parties when you pull out those groups?) are all backers of “globalization” because their paymasters are. (It has been claimed that if the plutocrats didn’t want globalization, the term wouldn’t even exist.) The latest effort to instill more globalization is the TPP or Trans-Pacific Partnership which is a pact often compared to NAFTA, the North America Free Trade Act. The TPP which will be rammed home shortly on a tidal wave of corporate money actually says very little about trade but, of course, it is still is referred to as a “free trade treaty” between the Pacific rim countries that are involved. So, if it isn’t about “free trade” what is it about? It largely is a corporate rights document, empowering corporations and disempowering governments. (It was written by the corporations themselves, with no help whatsoever from the uncooperative “public.”)

So, what the corporate backers of the TPP, and their lackeys in the GOP and Democratic Party, are trying to establish is the equivalent to “more globalization with less government.”

As has been shown by economists, not overtly because they, too, receive their funding from the plutocrats, these “treaties” are “good” for the economies of the countries involved. What they don’t bother to point out is who specifically is the reaper of those benefits of the benefits of such deals that accrue. It turns out that these treaties are hugely beneficial to corporations and rich people and hugely harmful for the poor and middle classes.

We often hear about the millions of jobs that have been lost to Mexico because of NAFTA. What we don’t hear about are the millions of jobs Mexico has lost to us. Our cheaper agricultural goods have wiped out many Mexican farmers who have then tried to get across the border to find work in the U.S., thus straining our immigration systems. The jobs move quickly from place to place, but we don’t have the same mobility. If your job moves to Viet Nam, will you follow it?

The TPP is of the same ilk. The rich will get much richer, after all they are few. And the poor and the middle class will become even poorer. But that is their lot in life, no?

This is a form of redistribution of wealth of which conservatives approve. This is why they are willing to ignore the obvious (more globalization requires more government, not less). It is all about the money and really nothing else and the rich, they just don’t have enough of it.

In all such cases in which a tiny majority runs roughshod over a much larger majority, it ends poorly, often with the tiny majority trampled by the many. Can this turn out any other way? When will we begin? (Personally I would like to spare them. They have proven, though, that they cannot be trusted with so much wealth. If we want to save them, we need to tax them back to civility.)


  1. I did some light reading on TPP the other day (Wiki) trying to figure out what all the fuss is about. I didn’t see much there to get too excited over. The one thing I took away from it is it would only be a small drop in the bucket, that is helping the U.S. monetarily. It also allows for trading partners to sue over breach of trade agreements. Which I though odd, but then saw that this has become a common practice in trade agreements.

    So granted I didn’t learn much. And I’m no economist, so if there is a point at all to my comment it is probably this: I still don’t understand the TPP enough to be concerned with it.

    I did look up NAFTA as well when tRump berated Bill C for signing it. Turns out it was the brain child of George W. So tRump was bitching about NAFTA which Bill C (D) signed, but George W (R) drew up. Funny how those R’s that harp on NAFTA never bring that little point up.


    Comment by shelldigger — August 8, 2016 @ 6:15 am | Reply

    • It contains much that is odious. Corporations can sue governments over changes in regulations that might hurt future earnings and sue over what they would “lose” under those new regulations. And not sue in court. A tribunal of arbitrators, selected by the corps in the most part will decide and there is no appeal.

      There are major extensions in copyright protections (Disney and their ilk demanded that) and many other objectionable parts. Burying, of course, in mundane things already covered under other treaties.

      Basically the corporations don’t care whether the “people” understand and accept this “treaty” only that their paid lackeys get it passed. If they did, would not the text be published. would they not be explaining section by section why this is “good.” It would be good, very good for corporations but it would make exporting jobs easier, etc. that make it bad for ordianry folks.

      On Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 6:15 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 8, 2016 @ 9:40 am | Reply

      • I didn’t catch any of that. Which is why I suppose the details have been somewhat obscure to this point.If it’s as bad as you mention no wonder they don’t want me to see it.


        Comment by shelldigger — August 8, 2016 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

        • All they have to do is publish it and say “See nothing up our sleeves.” But there are … apparently … quite a few somethings up their sleeve. Since the public doesn’t vote on treaties, just the Senate (and virtually none of them actually read it) there is no reason to keep it secret, except that it would expose the whole scam and raise a firestorm.

          On Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 1:16 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



          Comment by Steve Ruis — August 8, 2016 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

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