Saturday, May 4, 2013

Trade Agreements, Trans-national Corporations and the Sovereignty of Nations

We have shown the problems with unbalanced trade.  Now we deal with the 'investor-state
system,' whereby trans-national corporations- ‘investors,’ are, by international trade agreements such as NAFTA,  given rights which transcend those of the nations in which they operate.

We note a positive reaction to the abuses of the investor state system:
“12 Latin American governments have gathered to create a common response to an increasingly common menace: investor-state suits, in which foreign corporations are dragging sovereign governments to extrajudicial courts to demand taxpayer compensation for health, environmental, and other public interest policies.”

The fact is, corporations are obligated to drag sovereign governments before these tribunals. 

Indeed,  if allowed, trans-national corporations are obligated to act contrary to the interests of any and every nation, to pollute and trample sovereignty, to exploit workers and violate public well being as long as it increases profits. According to Milton Friedman: “...there is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it(s) resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”

Simply, they have no social responsibilities to any society. The caveat, ‘stays within the rules of the game, engages in open and free competition without deception of fraud,’ is nonsense, a fob for fools.  It is cast aside by corporations at the first opportunity to manipulate competition and the system, and deceive.   Corporations must, in fact, do these things,  in order to compete with other corporations, which are intent on doing the same thing.

And it is a duty of government, and the people, to oppose this manipulation, and to regulate, and  to prevent this from happening.

Transnational corporations *cannot* be citizens of any nation.  They cannot be expected to act in good faith, if by acting in bad faith, if by manipulation of law and system, they can secure greater profits.  Corporations are predators, and the citizens and governments of all nations are their prey.  Governments of all nations must beware, if they are to secure be blessings of liberty and prosperity for their citizens.

And when transnational corporations make the ‘rules of the game,’ when their lawyers sit in judgment, all bets are off:  Anything goes. But you may be sure it will cost you. 

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