by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page, August 21, 2015
August 23, 2015
Do you have your savings in a mutual fund? Does your pension fund invest in stocks, just as mutual funds do? If so, you may want to know this has been a bad week for U.S. stock markets. The Dow and Nasdaq indices have plummeted big time, but not because of the U.S. economy which is showing signs of revival. It is, as the Wall Street Journal reports, mostly because of the woes in China plus the shakiness of the depressed Greek economy and weaknesses of the economies in other larger emerging nations such as Brazil and Turkey.
Welcome to the world of extreme dependency by the U.S., the world’s biggest economy, on the instabilities of small and large nations overseas. This dependency is exactly what the giant corporations further by pushing globalization, often to misname it “free trade” in order to boost Congressional and White House support for the “global economy”.
Although big business won’t go so far as to advocate U.S. dependence-inducing globalized markets for oil, they are pushing for trade agreements that make the U.S. more dependent even on essentials like food and medicines.
For example, 80 percent of our seafood is now imported, often through dubiously treated fish farms from China. Eighty percent of the ingredients in the medicines you take come from China and India where there are very few inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration, assuming they can gain entry visas.
The 2014 report to Congress from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission describes the recent casualties and looming dangers to the health of the American people from uninspected or counterfeit drugs.
U.S. companies and importers are working hand-in-hand with these exporters to increase their markups and lower costs by displacing U.S. domestic production. Corporations and patriotism are rarely associated.
How often have you been told that trade agreements like NAFTA, GATT and the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are “win-win” deals for all signatory countries? But are you told that the U.S. has been buying more abroad than it is selling abroad, leading to huge trade deficits for more than three decades?
China shipped “nearly four dollars’ worth of goods to the United States for every dollar’s worth of imports it purchased from the United States” (according to the above-noted Report) for a deficit exceeding $300 billion and growing each year.
These regular trade deficits mean we’re exporting millions of jobs. When chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan was asked over fifteen years ago at a Congressional hearing whether he was worried about these annual trade deficits, he replied that he would be concerned only if they continue unabated. Mr. Greenspan has not been heard from since on his projected worries.
Dogmatic free traders don’t recognize any evidence that disproves their “win-win” secular religion. Whole industries are taken from the U.S. and lost to dictatorial countries with poorly paid workers that daily violate human rights. Still, the “free-traders” don’t budge.
Of course the ultimate, latter stage dependency created by corporate globalization is when our own health, safety, labor and legal/democratic standards are pulled down by the combination of fleeing U.S. corporate giants in cahoots with fascist regimes overseas.
To be first or best with labor rights, environmental or safety standards for our people is to be accused of imposing “non-tariff trade barriers” against imports from countries that treat badly their consumers, workers and environment. So, for example, our being first with an auto safety standard, a food labelling requirement or a ban on a toxic chemical here lets exporting countries sue the U.S. in secret tribunals in Geneva, Switzerland whose decisions by corporate lawyers (temporarily sitting as trade judges) are final.
If we disobey these secret rulings, countries that win can collect billions of dollars in fines from you the taxpayers. Did you know that international trade could impose its profiteering zeal on your daily health and safety and get its way, not in our courts, but in kangaroo courts closed to the public?
You’re entitled to ask whether you ever agreed to this corporatism when you voted for your Senators, Representatives and Presidents.
Meanwhile, better take a last look at the country-of-origin label on the meat packages sold in your neighborhood supermarkets. Brazil and Mexico beat the U.S. in a secret tribunal in Geneva and were ready to charge us billions of dollars because of these labels. So, the Congress is rushing to repeal its own country-of-origin labelling law—supported by just about every American—to avoid being fined. Isn’t that crazy?
Isn’t it time for us to bear down on our corporatist politicians and export them out of our legislatures?
For more information to quicken your resolve, see www.citizen.org/trade/.
From the archives:
WikiLeaks: The US Strategy to Create a New Global Legal and Economic System: #TPP, #TTIP, #TISA (John Pilger, Julian Assange)
“King Obama,” his Royal Court, and the #TPP by Ralph Nader + Did Anti-Fast Track Senators Miss an Opportunity to Slow Down TPP?
Fast-tracking TiSA: Stealth Block to Monetary Reform by Ellen Brown + Backlash Against #TPP Grows as Leaked Text Reveals Increased Corporate Control of Public Health
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (#TPP) and the Death of the Republic by Ellen Brown + Obama, Corporate “Free Traitors” and You! by Ralph Nader
Pingback: The Stimulator: The Revenge of the Fallists (#TPP) | Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Chris Hedges and Kevin Zeese: The #TPP: The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History | Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Full Text of #TPP Released to Public… And It’s Horrible by Jon Queally | Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader: History of The Corporate Coup d’etat | Dandelion Salad
Pingback: #TPP Deal Reached: 12 Countries Strike Pacific Rim Trade Accord | Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Julian Assange on The US Empire, Plans on Overthrowing Assad, The WikiLeaks Files | Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Chris Hedges and Leo Panitch: The Genesis of Global Imperialism and Capitalism | Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Labor Day Matters by Ralph Nader | Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Michael Hudson: Corporate Buybacks Behind the Market Crash | Dandelion Salad
This is a timely post. Ralph Nader illustrates the real difference between intelligent, reflective thinking and wishful thinking, or dogmatic belief.
How often do we stop and consider what is actually meant by “the global economy?” Nader writes “How often have you been told …..?” Doesn’t this capture the essence of the thing? We are not even expected to think, just concede to the “inevitable.”
The “global” model these morally decrepit dumb-shit pundits peddle so furiously is one of total evisceration, of plunder and parasitism. The United States is being hollowed out from within whilst still blindly patronised from without through threats of sanctions or violence; but is terminally mutating into a gleaming dead shell writhing with internal corruption.
Of course the wizards of corporate crime strut and display with ostentatious complacency, the illicit proceeds of their incubus congress with “the people,” because they do not care about people. They know their vampirized prey are mesmerised into stupid complicity ~ to be willingly fleeced alive.
The American public are like the hapless victims of the notorious “devil’s breath” the datura powder Colombians use as a tactical zombie weapon, that renders the recipient totally submissive and helplessly obedient for hours at a time; happy to give away their property or play the smuggler’s mule, blissfully unaware of their actions.
Bravo Ralph Nader. You’re a legend in your own time. Only, maybe nobody’s listening ~ or reading your prophetic runes…..yet.
This memorable and indeed, historic text needs to be scrolled continuously in its entirety in the brightest lights still illuminating Times Square ~ unless they are extinguished forever that is……..as might occur if NYC were pressed into compliance with the 1965 Highway Beautification Act unless the city is exempted; since a 2012 federal transportation law designated Times Square an ‘arterial route.’
The daily mail reported this back in May: “according to The Wall Street Journal, One Times Square brings in more than $23 million annually from the signs, with companies paying several million apiece for the coveted ad real estate. In 2014, a new eight-story-tall, 24-million LED pixel screen began renting for $2.5 million for four weeks….”
Crowd funding anyone? For the Gates cartel or other filthy-rich fiendishly despotic cruise captains sailing around on their lakes of putrid slush, that’s no more than a knowing wink and a greasy coin in the glove.
Splendid addition to Nader’s commentary, David! Timely, and unfortunately true. Last night i watched a brief segment of the Bioneers Conference and was very impressed with a gent from Australia – Darren Doherty, and what he was teaching and practicing in conjunction with Permaculture.
Looks good Frank! Just visited his site. I heard about this work last year (Jan.2014) at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, where it was being flagged as “Regen-ag-Iberia” in Spain. I’m keen to pick up on this year’s Bioneers. Great event.
I dare say he’s presenting the same ideas as Geoff Lawton puts out so effectively, that I think are just amazing. I also learned about a new system of business/workplace management the other day, a technique called self-management that essentially does away with “managers” altogether. It is said to work really well ~ increasing productivity, better economy and job satisfaction.
Yes, David, it is like Geoff Lawton’s which is a double-plus! And on the technique of “self-management”, or as R. D. Wolff calls it – “employee-directed enterprises” is the way to go!