Trans-Pacific Partnership – For The People Or For The Few?

The Trans Pacific Partnership, TPP, is an international treaty a decade or more in the making, the contents of which have been kept from the public. It has been fiercely debated in Congress and has received criticism from around the world.

Kept under lock and key like a classified document, it doesn’t just involve the governments of the 14 sovereign nations from around the Pacific Rim: some 600 corporations have also been involved in the development of this treaty. The provisions, which are still being negotiated, cover many areas, from traditional trade agreements to internet freedom, health care costs, labor, and more.

One look at how the TPP made it this far starkly reveals the power and brashness of the corporatocracy: multinational corporations gave more than a million dollars to key congressmen before they voted to approve President Obama’s power to fast-track the TPP through Congress. This power to fast-track means that he will negotiate and finalize the provisions of the treaty before Congress can vote on it, and that they will not be able to make amendments to it. This power doesn’t only apply to the TPP, but will apply in the future to other treaties and other Presidents. The power “of the people” is quickly ebbing.

I am not alone in holding this opinion of our government: “How can we expect politicians who routinely receive campaign money, lucrative job offers, and lavish gifts from special interests to make impartial decisions that directly affect those same special interests?” Mansur Gidfar, spokesman for the anti-corruption group Represent.Us. said. “As long as this kind of transparently corrupt behavior remains legal, we won’t have a government that truly represents the people.” (source: The Guardian)

Our “hope and change” President seems to be in bed with the corporatocracy, especially Big Pharma, with this treaty. Among the many topics covered by the TPP, one that will impact every American and every citizen of the 14 member countries is health care and the cost of drugs.. Instead of working to lower health care costs for US citizens and those in other nations, the TPP will line the pockets of the stockholders of multinational corporations that produce drugs and medicines, actually raising costs in an already exploitive industry.

Intellectual Property, such as the research pharmaceutical companies do, is a large and hotly debated part of this treaty. It is just a smoke screen to allow the big corporations something like carte blanche to charge high prices for drugs without competition from less expensive generic drug makers. While we all understand that these companies need to make decent returns on their investments in research and development, agreements like TPP open the door for windfall profits and returns that are anything but decent, while closing the door on health services needed by people around the world.
Increasing the cost of drugs and health care is not the way to create a future world where all people have access to basic human rights, including access to affordable health care.

While this issue is a crucial one for all of us, the bigger picture of the TPP is the erosion of power held by the people who vote for these governments and the expansion of control by the few at the top of the food chain: the leaders of multinational companies and special interests. We can’t wait any longer to speak up for ourselves and our neighbors. Let’s add our voices to the outcry around the world and demand that our Congress people vote against the TPP.

About John Perkins

John is a founder and board member of Dream Change & The Pachamama Alliance, non-profit organizations devoted to establishing a world future generations will want to inherit & the author of the NY Times bestseller, Confessions Of An Economic Hitman.

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