Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Earth moving into the future united as a planet

...or not...

Eurozone, ASEAN, TPP, AIIP et al aren't global per se, but they're running into each other on an already-established global market and in the presence of megalomaniacal religions vying to control everything everywhere without learning from history that such a thing is beyond human capability, based on the failure rates of all the previous empires of the past, all of which were based on the same megalomaniacal religious premise.

There's been a sort-of global market (everywhere minus the Poles and the Americas) since antiquity, a trade party that Europe was extremely late to, but in "discovering" the Americas leveraged their way up the trade food chain, so to speak, and the latest efforts in the latest trade treaties are pretty much reinventing a rather old wheel, struggles to dominate trade being the objective...until we arrive at a point where Pacific partners would need to negotiate with Asian partners, and both those would need to negotiate with the Eurozone, which already negotiates with Atlantic partners, and it's those negotiations which will further the interests of an entire planet.

South America, as is the case with North America, finds itself on both the Atlantic and Pacific so although it's not such a big deal of being on both coasts in the North, you find that South America being commercially demarcated down the middle with interior nations being left out of both sides and Panama sitting in the catbird's seat.  If that continent seeks to enjoy unity as a contiguous continent of mutual commercial interests, you can't cultivate a division like that.  A similar rift exists in Eastern Europe outside the Eurozone where Greece and Turkey both sit in the catbird's seat as domination of the Ukraine becomes more important to many others besides the two belligerent parties directly involved.

This post is being typed prior to the Big Interview of President Obama by MSNBC's Chris Matthews, and when that takes place, odds are pretty good that I'll have more to add about this, including opposition to TPP fast-tracking by the AARP, unions, and the like.

Watch this space.

WikiLeaks text of TPP draft
NHK World report on TPP
NPR's On Point analysis of the TPP
The interview on MSNBC "If we don't write the rules on trade with these countries, China will"
The interview Part 2
The interview, Part 3 (About Iran, Yemen, not the TPP)

Obama: past trade deals didn't work for us but we now have the opportunity to put in labor standards, environment standards, and equal access to their markets as they have to our markets. Labor et al jumps to conclusions based on past trade agreements while the TPP sets new precedent and it's being prematurely judged. The problem with NAFTA was problematic enforceability, while the TPP lays out specific penalties. 

Past trade agreements have not resulted in better wage equality so a thrust of the TPP is not just about trade surpluses/deficits, but about exporting what we're particularly good at, for small business as well as large.  "We're good at services" and making things no one else in the world can make, and we're just not competitive as a provider of low wage labor--we "should compete for the high end". "IT, talent, innovation...and we're still doing great in manufacturing". 

TPP compels countries with no environment policy to have one.
* It's not a secret deal because of 17 public briefings (I observe that the various drafts and negotiation process remain secret, which is why WikiLeaks stepped in)

The nature of labor is changed to where computerized machinery does routine work people used to do, but this change doesn't mean that only highly educated high-end people get labor benefits; it's the people who used to do the work that can learn to operate the machinery that does the work, which means ongoing education. Though we've moved from primarily agricultural to primarily technological on the world market, we're still the world leader in agricultural production. Bottom line is that status quo no longer works and is no longer a viable option; the opposition to TPP is just protecting status quo.

 * It's not a "fast track" deal because what's being sought is nothing beyond what previous Presidents after WII have enjoyed, and Congress lays out what kind of deal they want, the President negotiates for stuff and brings the results back for Congress to read and vote on.

The key to upward class mobility is education (and I observe that we're in a nation that has turned education into a rake-in-big-bucks-low-delivery-of-low-quality-product-except-sports.  This includes the "job retraining" racket in community colleges, particularly in the State of Illinois via which I speak from direct experience.  If you want to see posterboys of what's wrong with community college education, look at those in Illinois first.  They abound.  Permit me to save you hunt-n-pick time: start with John A. Logan College).

China is the big "gorilla in the room" and doesn't play by the same rules and is bullying other countries to sign on to its deals which put American companies to a disadvantage while not having high labor and environmental standards. Despite doom/gloom whining to the contrary, the U.S. is still the world's biggest economy (and I've heard that it's China's which is now the world's largest. I wonder what happened there).  We can put people to work now working on infrastructure, medical research and development(here we go again with the debate on who does that better--industry or government?  Problem is that industry is too dependent on government, so either way, we're screwed).  It all boils down to this bottom line in writing trade agreements: us vs them, as in U.S. vs China.

Warren: the agreements were reached in secret and waiting until it's a fait accompli is a large part of what's wrong with it.

Rep. Gerry Connolly: the TPP is an agreement with nations that the U.S. already enjoys a trade surplus with, not a trade deficit, with 11 of the countries we have existing trade agreements with (I observe the China factor as a future rebuttal to this point--status quo now is guaranteed to change later. I also observe that Japan is darn near adamant about maintaining its current tariffs--even though "Abenomics" has been a less than stellar success in Japan--under any TPP agreement--so much for equal market access. Obama does mention the Japanese tariff situation much later, near the end in the Part 1 video)
Success is in education, technology, talent. VA is now "Silicon East" compared to being mainly dairy 50 years ago--but this is now an international economy.

Debbie Askin: IT is already 60% of money made by export in her company, and that's where the jobs are: knowledge services.  The TPP 'levels the playing field".

Dr. Abhijit Dasgupa: Agrees with Askin as that applies to the health care arena, information/knowledge needed by health care providers.  

Jim Corcoran, VA Chamber of Commerce: The Dulles corridor is booming because VA exports equal quantities of services and manufactured goods to the tune of about $35 billion per year.

Mini-UPDATE: don't hold your breath on my commentary about what the President said because I was out at the Garfield County office getting my stormspotter info updated, and there's another class in the foreseeable future...so, what'll happen first is an update to my previous post about the weather, with graphics to go with that cloud formation I spotted, and explain what anviling is.  But it's late right now and I'm not going to do any more for tonight.  Done, and commentary is above.

Wednesday Mini-UPDATE, NHK Edition: One of the reasons I'm sure is behind the push for a fast-track is Japan's friendly overtures to China despite China's  building of maritime military facilities in the South China Sea, and the TPP's intentions, apparently, are to curb China's military ambitions by curbing China economically.  Japan, clearly, is having none of that as the mayor of Okinawa continues to make an issue of evicting the U.S. military base there (it's a campaign plank that got him elected, it's said).  Japan clearly is in favor of being a factor in China's concept of a New Silk Road, North/South unifications and a whole raft of things the U.S. looks upon unfavorably.  Even if the TPP approval in the U.S. does get expedited, it's still going to run cattywonkers to China's big plans.  Russia, still embroiled with its own local megalomanias, might very well get caught with its proverbial pants down either way.
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