The Guardian reports on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the Europe and the United States. TTIP is being marketed by its supporters as a de facto economic stimulus for ailing Europe, providing up to £100bn in extra growth. It is presented as a free trade agreement. The actual aim of TTIP is to strip away obstacles to large corporations making profits – such as regulations that protect our privacy, the environment, food safety and the economy from a rapacious financial sector. Further, TTIP further opens up public services to private companies motivated primarily by profit rather than people’s needs. The main attack on democracy is a part of the treaty called Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). If you are worried about the power of corporations over our democracy, be very afraid: ISDS in effect grants multinationals the same legal position as a nation-state itself, and allows them to sue sovereign governments in so-called arbitration tribunals on the grounds that their profits are threatened by government policies. For example, Australia, signed an investment treaty with Hong Kong in 1993. When Australia’s federal government introduced legislation to enforce plain cigarette packaging, the Asian arm of the cigarette company Philip Morris used the treaty to sue it.
Threats to democracy from ISIS in Iraq and now also from ISDS in Europe?