Thursday, 8 September 2016

Monbiot right on corporatist threats

I recall that I've recommended articles by George Monbiot at least twice before, and do so again today. He's not right all the time, of course, but just occassionally connects nail with hammer. If you haven't already done so, I recommend you read his piece in the Guardian on the successor to TTIP

The innocent seeming Canadian trade deal is nothing of the sort. It opens us to any US headquartered global corporation with an office in Canada riding roughshod over Parliament, democracy and law. It enshrines the legal right of global corporations to make profits anywhere in the EU, blocks national states from measures that prevent this, and hands legal jurisdiction to a new 'international tribunal' - run in effect, no doubt, by those same global corporations.

We must reject it of course - throw it out, renegotiate it, repudiate it, legislate against it. Whatever it takes.  

Monbiot is right in that we will see more and more of this type of trade deal sponsored by the global corporates. They battle for market share and grow by takeovers and mergers across the globe, seeking to establish a hegemony, an oligolopy, that makes slaves of us all. We must fight and we must win. 

As Monbiot writes, "When you are told that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, this is what it means. This struggle will continue throughout your life. We have to succeed every time; they have to succeed only once. Never drop your guard. Never let them win."

Amen to that. 


Barnacle Bill said...

Global corporations probably pose a greater threat to our own personal liberties and way of life than do even governments. Even the federalist monster across the Channel from which hopefully we will be divorced in the not too distant future.

They are both the modern day vampires and leeches of our society.

One part of this reach for global dominance that is going unreported at the moment is that of the German company Bayer for Monsanto. Bloomberg's headline says it all -

It's not magic beans but control of the very seeds that produce our food which is at stake here. Monsanto with it's GM engineered crops seeks to handcuff/shackle farmers to it's self. Not from any humanitarian or philanthropic motives but pure greed, to feed it's bottom line and benefit shareholders only.

This is another global corporation move that needs to be stepped upon swiftly.

Poisonedchalice said...

Raedwald - I hadn't realised, so thank you for being vigilant on my behalf. I will now go back to 38 degrees and inform them as well, because they had an enormously successful anti-TTIP campaign. Monbiot is right; we must win every battle, the corporatists need only win once.

Anonymous said...

Monbiot's "Captive State" opened my eyes to the corporate takeover of the UK's assets and businesses. He can shove his CO2 hysteria.

It doesn't matter what flavour of politics we hold dear, we always seem to be slaves to these corporates.

Leaving the EU is a step in the right direction; and scrapping TTIP, emptying the TTIP box, and examining each issue on its merits would be much quicker.

It's this 'big project' type of deal that allows other, not-so-wanted stuff to slip through.

mikebravo said...

The trouble with Moonbat is that he can't make the leap and see who the real enemy is.

"They are attempts to circumscribe democracy on behalf of corporate power". With the aid of big government that loves corporates.

Even as TTIP dies there is the EU trying to negotiate the same thing under a different name -"The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) is ostensibly a deal between the EU and Canada". If that fails they will try another - "If parliaments reject this treaty, another deal is being prepared: the Trade in Services Agreement, which the EU is simultaneously negotiating with the US and 21 other nations".

His beloved EU is doing what it always does - tries to subjugate us to it's and it's friends power.

Big government is the enemy:

"When you are told that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, this is what it means. This struggle will continue throughout your life. We have to succeed every time; they have to succeed only once. Never drop your guard. Never let them win".

I wish!!

Anonymous said...

"Global corporations probably pose a greater threat to our own personal liberties and way of life than do even governments"

Well Hillary is bought and paid for, if she gets it.

Its one of the reasons that Trump is such good value; the shrieking he creates out of the corporate media whores is fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

Monbiot gave a talk at Ruskin College when I was there - warble gloaming had a very small fan base back then and we in the room were a bit too sceptical for his liking. This was before political correctness and groupthink so basically you had a 1 hour talk, then questions and that was that. Of course today you can't have questions because the 'science is settled' and if you don't agree you're a Nazi.

There have been hundreds of George Monbiots since then and it is they who have made it impossible to properly discuss Climate Change.

Monbiot is confused.


Cuffleyburgers said...

Radders - agreeing with Monbiot is seldom to be recommended... I think regarding TTIP generally it is a corporate stitch-up designed to benefit giant multinationals who have the resources to lobby Brussels and Washington who love being lobbied because it brings all sorts of goodies for the lawmakers themselves.

The mere fact that it was negotiated in secret says it all - you can fairly describe that as an abrogation of the ethics of democracy, not that ethics count much.

So as as the dispute mechanism is concerned, as I understand it, this is actually quite correctly a mechanism which gives multinational operators some recourse where governments unilaterally change policy in mid stream, costing companies billions. An example would be any nuclear operator who had made sunk costs in Germany who suddenly finds himself high and dry because the govt there has against all logic decided to outlaw nuclear power. Tom Worstall has argued the case eloquently on numerous occasions.

And anyway, what is wrong with US companies coming to Europe and making profit? To the extent we are not obliged to use their products or services, if they are making profits it means they are bringing bnefits?

The fundamental problem is that government in the EU and Washington is in the pockets of corporate lobbyists. You can't blame the companies they are doing their job, trying to make money for their shareholders (very often us through penson funds and the like). THe blame lies squarely with the governments themselves who have knowingly and willingly allowed themselves the pleasure of being hijacked, and also the media who are making a piss poor job f holding them to account.

This article is an example, instead of arguing from a point of view of the benefits of free trade but criticising the opacity and corporatistic bias of TTIP it is simply a shrill rant against the top echelons of the private sector.

Let's face it these companies have, by virtue of their hunger for profit achieved far more to benefit humankind than all these governments put together. If we are rich nowadays that is because of them not because of the bureaucrats.

Raedwald said...

Cuffleyburgers - it's the social and economic fallout that's so wrong. The global corportes have made the UK into a low skill, low wage economy attractive only to East European workers; in expanding markets to Africa and the Middle East, every camel jockey now has a 3G phone and enough money to pay the smugglers to take him to Italy.

Back in the 60s we had a principle - the polluter pays. If a firm poisoned the local stream, it had to pay to restore it. Then we stopped them poisoning the water altogether. Well, that principle applies now - the social fallout from migrant labour, global strategic investment, and the costs and consequences of 100 million southern poor wretched migrants tearing at our borders are being borne by us, national taxpayers - yet they are largely problems caused by the global corporates. Who can force them to pay for the problems they make?

These firms have no morals, no national allegiances, no motives other than greed and ever expanding profits. They will destroy our nation and our people if we let them.

And yes - they should have NO independent legal recourse if a people democratically decide to change something that commercially disadvanteges them. Tough. It's a commercial risk. Only war can overcome a national democratic will - not a heap of shite shyster international bottom-feeding corporate lawyers.

Other than that, you have some fair points ;)

Anonymous said...

Raedwald said @ 16:01

'These firms have no morals, no national allegiances, no motives other than greed and ever expanding profits. They will destroy our nation and our people if we let them.'

Bilderberg for instance was set up to establish Globalism, starting with the West. What you describe is one of the most important aspects of it: no borders nation killing - bring down the First World without a bullet being fired. All this ideological talk about 'diversity' is bollocks, they don't care because they're on course to rid the earth of at least a dozen white nations (ethnic groups) this century. Fucking evil is what they are.


Cuffleyburgers said...

Radders - Global corporates in any country are subject to the law like anybody else. What is unacceptable is to use their clout and politicians wekanesses to forge laws that operate in their favour and against the little guy.

ANd your other point is plain wrong - the law of contract applies to all transactions. Where a government is in breach of a contract then it has to settle according to the terms of the contract. In the UK that would certainly apply, always. Not the case in many other jurisdictions. The dispute mechanism among its possible negative outcoems of which there may be many, we don't know because it's a secret, which is bad of course, seeks to address that which is on the face it a good thing.

Where contract law cannot be enforced then you will not get high quality economic development.

I repeat, innovation and as a consequence wealth is generated by private companies and free enterprise, not government regulations.

A word run by the absurd Monbiot and his Occupy idiotic running dogs would soon come to resemble the soviet union and not dixon of dock green.

The fault lies with government, not with the corporates.

Budgie said...

There is no doubt that corporatism (big multi-national corporates, corporate lobbyists, etc) both harms us and reduces our liberties. Nevertheless, I side with those that say every problem, every loss of liberty, can be traced back to decisions made by politicians.

Marxism has succeeded, unfortunately, in making everything political, and politicians decide, nuance, or impact almost everything.

Raedwald said...

Cuffleyburgers - 100% in favour of national commercial law applying to contracts, without reservation. However, if a foreign corporate co contracts to do something (build a nuclear power station, say) and a new government is elected on a platform of no nuclear power, and legislates to outlaw new construction, then in general terms the contract would become void for frustration, and the foreign firm could apply for a remedy in the UK courts.

What's wrong with that? We have a 1,000 year old legal system that works very well. We don't need an offshore tribunal applying some new form of law. Parties agree at the commencement of a contract under which legal system and which jurisdiction disputes must be settled - I will fight with all my might any new treaty that gives a US or Chinese global firm the right to either overide an agreed contract term that states English (say) law applies or prohibits such a term in contracts in the first place or that makes mandatory the jurisdiction of some new offshore tribunal.

Innovation rarely comes from the global corporates. Every invention / development of note since the war has come from SMEs and even garden shed firms, or from 'blue sky' academics. All the global corporates do is to take them over once they've broken the barrier. They're just acquisitive thieves.

A substantial number of the 17m who voted for Brexit are those whose lives have seen no advantage from the relentless march of the global corporates, or rather the reverse. It's time we fought for our own rather than for some crooked Miami fat cats.

Budgie -

Yes of course. A whole toerag generation of avaricious and mediocre politicians and their dags have offered their arses for the global corporates to bugger, betraying their nations and people. Well, their time has come - all over Europe we're throwing them out.

Poisonedchalice said...

Great debate. I've read both Raedwald & Cuffly's points; both valid in many respects; but what shines through for me, is the fact that the UK recently voted to rid itself of the principle of foreign government taking precedence over UK laws. So why would we then want the likes of TTIP reversing that decision and putting our laws, once again, into the hands of foreign powers that may not have our interests at heart?

Does anyone think that the USA or China would allow a court to sit and decide a commercial outcome of recompense here in the UK? Using UK laws, not theirs? Of course not, that would never happen. So why would we roll over and allow that to happen to us?

Foreign companies come to Britain because we are a stable and long-standing trustworthy nation that keeps it's promises and understands well the rule of law - law embedded in our nation for a thousand years. As yet, and in spite of all the talks and subsequent failures of phoney trade negotiations, I have yet to see a foreign company leave once it has arrived.

Britain is a safe pair of hands; safer than any other country on Earth.

Cuffleyburgers said...

Budgie, Radders - I think we are disagreeing only on questions of nuance - I am delighted TTIP has been frustrated I just don't share Moonbat's reasoning.

I take your point Radders about innovation coming more from the start-ups than the established big corporates, in most fields that's probably true, but the the big corporates provide capial to bring clever inventions to marekt which start ups by themselves might not be able to do, via buy outs and so on.

That is why it is essential that big corporates aren't allowed to buy influence in government, because that influence is always used to discourage real entrepreneurism and hold up prices, and diminish competition.

But as Budgie says, the politicians are to blame.

By the way Radders, I disagree that the UK has been reduced to a low wage economy. That is simply not borne out by the facts. If anything there is a shortage of high skilled workers due to the inadequacies of the public education system and the perverse incentives offered by the welfare state.

Globalisation benefits consumers by imposing competition on producers.

visc said...

"The fundamental problem is that government in the EU and Washington is in the pockets of corporate lobbyists."
- Then the lobbyists and those that pay them are the problem

"You can't blame the companies they are doing their job, trying to make money for their shareholders"

- Yes you can when it subverts the societies they operate in and destry through externalities and behiour without the ability to hold them to account (see above).
You might not want to "blame" an an Axe weilding psychopath for looking to attack you but if youhave a gun in your hand you should bloody well use it.

"(very often us through penson funds and the like)"
- So because people are co-opted in a system that is correupt they ,ust support its continuance? What at best a poor argument at worst moronic. Let's just kiss free will and agency goodby shall we?

"The blame lies squarely with the governments themselves who have knowingly and willingly allowed themselves the pleasure of being hijacked, and also the media who are making a piss poor job of holding them to account."

Absolutteley there is blame there to be had, in spineless self serving aquiescence of those being bought, however who is in the act of commissioning the wrongdoing - the corporates and their lobbyist lackeys.

mikebravo said...


"The media" are also private companies in the main. It is not their job to hold people to account. The BBC is obviously beholden to the government in that the government allows it to exist in it's present form.

It is the government ie MP's who are supposed to hold the executive to account.

It is us, the voters who put in MP's to hold the executive to account. If the MP's are allowing those who hold the reins of power to shaft us it is our job to replace them with those who will not.

If the people of this country or others that have supposedly democratic parliaments allow themselves to become ignorant and distracted, allow themselves to be shafted on a daily basis then who is to blame?

We have just witnessed the executive being removed via the vote to leave the EU. It is the plebs who ultimately hold power at the moment.

The problem is that they are divided and ruled by the dividers and rulers.

visc said...

Mike - agree to an extent, each functionary in this failure has it's own part to play.

Again I agree what we have is the failure of individuals to exercise their political rights, that is partly a function of the party system removing agency and political power from the individual. Before 'democrracy' the method of the people showing displeasure was riot, from at least C13th - early C19th). Identifying the problem does not mean we rgain power from those that have taken it while we sleep.

We are in a position, how to move away from it? Just saying "corporations are blameless" is laziness and giving a free pass to those that deserve approprium and a whole lot more, is not acceoptable. Especially when those Corporations are a legal person but no one can be held accountable for their negligence or bad behaviour.

I would conclude that it's not that 'big govenrement' is the problem more so than corporations, they simply different expressions of the same thing. So fuck them all, and lets cut the heads off the hydra one step at a time - in this case we'll start with the Global Corporates while we have the ability. To let them off the hook because of some misinterpretation that they are an expression of a free market.

Raedwald said...

Cuffley, all - I don't think we're that far apart on this. Governments and global corporates both need the disinfectant of daylight and scrutiny to stay healthy; governments and corporates must be managed so as to serve the nation, not their own interests where these differ; we must never abrogate powers or surrender democracy to the corporates, but can make full use of their capabilities so long as the result is wholly in our national interest and that we take full cost recompense for any social or economic damage or 'pollution' they cause.

Above all, the people (through their elected parliaments) govern, not the global corporates.

mikebravo said...


Agree regarding the large corporates but:

We are not in a position to cut their heads off. It is like calling for Blair to be put on trial or stopping cowing down to the Saudis.

The only thing that us plebs can do is change our ways and replace our government with one that will do our bidding. That is our only route to power.

Unfortunately until the great unwashed wake up, get informed and self reliant again, we are at the mercy of the lib/lab/con shysters and snake oil peddlers.

Cuffleyburgers said...


My main point is that Moonbat, Occupy, BLM and 38 degrees are as damaging or worse to our freedoms and well being as the corporates, and similarly influential.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we must fight to keep government accountable; that's what Brexit was all about, that's the main benefit from the death of TTIP, and hopefully the imminet cutting down to size of the Brussles Junta.

Woodsy42 said...

I seem to remember reading sometime that governments are set up as corporations - so the whole lot of them are in the same 'prey on the ordinary folks' club

Anonymous said...

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
Thomas Jefferson, 13 November 1787


G. Tingey said...

Anon 10,58 on 6/11/16
If Hilary is thought to be bought-&-pad for, the Trump is even worse - he PERSONALLY represents big corporations, including his own, after all.

Yes. Publicity, the light of day, no secret treaties is a very good defence.
and, people like 38 Degrees, too

Odin's Raven said...

The global corporations are consuming the states and their citizens.