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TPP trade deal puts profit over people, say labor activists

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a convoluted logic that allows multinational corporations to sue (national governments)

A good example is a case now in progress where Philip Morris is suing the Government of Australia for selling cigarettes in plain packets.

As the headline states, the TPP trade deal puts profit over people. That it's even being discussed shows how we have allowed corporate greed to take over.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Without profits there are no companies, understand? And with no companies, there are no jobs, understand? If the company you work for stops earning a profit, it will close, and you will be unemployed, simple as that. Companies exist to earn a profit, and for no other reason, period.

Tariffs are designed to protect companies and industries from competition, in other words, to protect their profits. A large company or industry group will petition a government to enact a tariff to limit foreign competition for the goods it sells. This is done so the company can charge more for these goods, and increase it's profits. The company makes more money, and of course can pay it's workers. But the money is not really earned, a tariff is really a government subsidy, and the consumers end up paying for this subsidy. The workers who labor in a subsidized industry might make more money, but the general effect on the economy is that everyone else earns less, because the rest of us have to pay the subsidy.

I do not support TPP unless it has zero tariffs on all goods, with no exceptions. If a company cannot earn a profit without a government subsidy or tariff, too bad, it will have to find a way to earn a profit, or close.

A century or so ago horses were the main form of transportation, and the breeding, care, feeding, and selling horses was one of America's largest industries. When the automobile was introduced, this industry tried very hard to prevent the spread of automobiles. Laws across the country were enacted to make car ownership difficult, requiring licensing, registration, and registration, things which did not apply to horse-powered vehicles. To this day, in America, a horse or horse-drawn vehicle has the right-of-way on any public road. If the horse industry had had it's way, we would still be riding horses today.

Industries nowadays seek the same protections, they do not wish to compete. If you are happy paying three times more for cheese, four times more for meat, or seven times as much for rice... Most of us aren't.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

The talks are private, so how does anyone here know what the talks are about? Am I missing something?

I do believe in 0% tariffs, but I doubt this agreement will put that forth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who is the genius that agreed that a corporation may sue a nation or a state because regulations MAY hinder his "EXPECTED" profits? Does that put us back to the 1880s? Who in a "fair trade" deal gets GUARANTEED PROFITS?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Who is the genius that agreed that a corporation may sue a nation or a state because regulations MAY hinder his "EXPECTED" profits?

Because of Japan, and how Japan quickly set up non-tariff barriers when tariffs were abolished on some goods. Japan has a way of getting around legal agreements they commit to, like calling their commercial whaling expeditions "scientific research". There is no point in eliminating tariffs when they are quickly replaced by inspection fees or quotas, so any treaty must have some legal recourse to stop such shenanigans.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

True.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All of the trade deals, trade restrictions, tariffs, unions and most regulations are designed for the politicians and bureaucrats to make money for themselves at the expense of corporations and people. People are on the bottom but it is the political class who makes the most profit from trade deals.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

allows multinational corporations to sue... if a government passes a law or regulation that protects its people to the possible detriment of sales,”

Protecting "people" to the detriment of sales? Don't sales involve people buying stuff, of their own volition?

To be clear, these labor activists want to put the priority on protecting labor from competition, and sacrifice consumers (who are also providing labor usually).

That is not in anyone's benefit except the labor activists, and I don't care about what works for activists. They should get real jobs themselves and provide useful services to others instead of acting like leaches on the economy.

"but not so human rights,”

Oh please, no one has a "human right" to be protected from competition for labor.

However, activists say ISDS has been used to pressure states not to raise the minimum wage or enact labor reforms.

Raising the minimum wage is crappy policy, if TPP is against it then I am for TPP.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Funny how little people know about the basic fundamental of any business. Henry Ford did not start the Ford Motor Company to make cars, he did it to make money. Steve Jobs did not start Apple to make people feel cool, he did it to make money. Ray Kroc did not start McDonald's to make Americans obese, he started it to make money. You yourself probably don't work because you love what you do, you do it to make money.

"Greed" is not a dirty word, provided you can satisfy your greed without harming others. I want the things money can buy, so I need to find a way to make money. The honest way to make money is to provide a product or service which people value enough to buy. I get the money I want, and my customers get the products and services they want. To make the products, or provide the services, I need to buy materials, machines, and hire workers. I have to hire professionals to do my accounting, handle my legal affairs, and a hundred other things. I don't pay them for these services because I want them to do better, I do it so I can increase my sales and make more money. Yet everyone in the process, from the seller of the materials, the producers of the machines, the owners of the building, the utility companies, to the accountants and lawyers gets a little of my money as I work to satisfy my greed. If I were not as greedy as I am, what would happen? My greed pays the salaries of many people who would otherwise get nothing from me.

That is business, that is how it is done. And so far, no other method yet tried by man has done more to elevate our quality of life. And the underlying principle of it all is greed.

When I run my business, my goal is to make as much money as possible. I do this by producing the best goods possible for the lowest price. This means buying the highest quality materials, and using the best help I can find. I pay as much as necessary to get the people I need to work for me. These people do the minimal amount of work they need to do to maintain quality of their work, and earn their pay. If they are outstanding, then the can move up and earn more pay. If not, then they don't. If they don't like the work, there is nothing stopping them from leaving, and certainly nothing stopping them from opening their own business and competing against me.

I ask for no favours, and I expect none. I could make more money if there were less restrictions on some goods. I dare not open a business which sells foreign goods in Japan, because Japanese tariffs make these goods too expensive to sell widely. I would love to import goods from Europe and America to Japan, and doing so would help American and European workers, as their employees would make more money if they could sell more goods in Japan. But such isn't the case.

If there weren't tariffs ranging up to 30% on some of the goods I sell to Europe, I would sell more, and my company and workers would earn more from exports. If my goods weren't subject to a 60% tariff in Brazil, I would sell more there. Ironically, none of my goods compete with anything made in Brazil, so Brazil's tariffs protect nobody, they only enrich the Brazilian government.

We need to realise that businesses and companies are not evil entities whose sole intent is to enslave the world. In a world where everyone was a slave, it would not be possible to earn a profit. Businesses and companies exist to make money for those who run them, and they provide the jobs which 90% of us have. The more difficult it is for businesses to make money, the more difficult it will be for businesses to hire and pay employees.

Tariffs are not about protecting jobs for ordinary people. They are about companies who wish to satisfy their greed with other people's money, and corrupt politicians who can profit from the graft such deals create. If a company cannot produce a good product at a good price without a tariff, then either that company is poorly run, or it should choose another product to make.

In Japan we can see the effect of high tariffs. The results are quite evident. High tariffs have led to an abnormally high cost of living. This has two effects. First, the birthrate declines, because people cannot afford to raise and feed children. Next, abnormally high prices reduce consumption. As the birthrate decline accelerates, consumption is reduced further. Companies sell less, profits decrease, wages fall, deflation ensues. Decreased sales means decreased tax revenue, which leads to deficit spending, and the world's largest national debt.

Another effect of high tariffs is that they reduce the need of a company to compete. A company which must compete on a level field must create better products and services, and always work to increase the efficiency of it's operations. Here in Japan we have seen very little in the way of new and innovative products lately, and anyone who works at a Japanese company knows that efficiency is a bad joke.

Tariffs protect the few at the expense of the many, and are a primary tool of graft and corruption.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Labor activists worry that a U.S.-led free-trade deal under negotiation will prioritise corporate profits over workers’ rights and pressure governments to bow to the will of investors.

Um, that is the way it already is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

sangetsu03 AUG. 12, 2015 - 02:03PM JST Henry Ford did not start the Ford Motor Company to make cars, he did it to make money. Steve Jobs did not start Apple to make people feel cool, he did it to make money. Ray Kroc did not start McDonald's to make Americans obese, he started it to make money. You yourself probably don't work because you love what you do, you do it to make money.

Do you actually have evidence from primary sources to support those claims? Or are you just saying them because it feels good to you to authoritatively says stuff?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Do you actually have evidence from primary sources to support those claims? Or are you just saying them because it feels good to you to authoritatively says stuff?

I often met Steve Jobs in 1980's when he was operating Apple's factory in Garden Grove, California. You can read Ford's memoirs, I did when I was studying for my MBA. Ray Kroc gave a speech to business students back in the 70's, my instructor was one of these students, Kroc was not interested in the food business in any way, he said that real estate was more profitable, and that McDonald's franchise plan allowed the company to acquire vast amounts of real estate, while the franchisees owned the buildings. It must be true since McDonald's is the world's largest private land owner.

But one needn't be an authority to understand such a simple concept. But you would need to be a great fool not to understand it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Labor activists worry that a U.S.-led free-trade deal under negotiation will prioritise corporate profits over workers’ rights and pressure governments to bow to the will of investors.

They are right. Simple, no need to say more than than this.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I can't agree more, It's unfortunate that human and consumer rights are neglected. The TPP is rather a political hub than economic. Issues of power interplay is most important to them and profit is power these days.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I suppose no one here is self employed? No one here owns a business and pays a salary to others? No one here has other people who depend on them for their pay?

What does "free trade" mean? It means that companies and governments cannot give themselves advantages that others don't receive.

Which countries in the world have the the lowest tariffs? The top three would be Hong Kong, Switzerland and Singapore. How strong are the economies of these countries?

Which countries have the highest tariffs? Developing, or "third-world" countries. How strong are the economies of these countries?

Generally-speakding, the countries with the lowest tariffs have the highest GDP per capita, the countries with the highest tariffs have the lowest GDP per capita. As tariffs go up, wages, employment, and GDP go down. When tariffs go down, wages, employment, and GDP go up. Yet ignorant people believe the opposite is true, and that enacting tariffs protects jobs and increases income. Which country has the highest tariffs? Zimbabwe, which has a 95% unemployment rate, and an average income of under $1 per day. So much for the theory that tariffs protect jobs and wages.

Tariffs are political tools used by governments to reward themselves (to buy votes from fools) and their supporters (so as to extract kickbacks), and to punish their competitors.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Which countries in the world have the the lowest tariffs? The top three would be Hong Kong, Switzerland and Singapore."

2 of those are port cities. Switzerland has extremely harsh tariff regime on farming products, averaging around 30%. The USTR has made numerous complaints over Switzerland blocking market access to US products.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's an international trade agreement so it's not shocking that businesses would be taking the drivers seat. It's not a document designed to do anything to workers since that's not something you would negotiate into such an agreement. And what would people like to include? A global minimum wage? Global safety standards? Go for it, but this isn't the agreement for it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nobody in their right mind would vote for this because even small self employed people will never benfit from this only the big boys put some better protection in that document or else its just glorified toilet paper.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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