Today, I signed a petition via Avaaz.org to stop what they are calling ‘the corporate death star’. Now that’s obviously a bit over dramatic in order to attract attention. But to be honest, it would be hard to find a worse piece of legislation for democracy than the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
This agreement is being negotiated in the utmost secrecy by global corporations and various national governments. No one outside this select group is being allowed to see any documents from these meetings – not even the respective parliaments etc of the countries negotiating it.
The purpose of the agreement appears to be to extend various, already draconian copyright and patent laws. In this sense, it is the latest in a long line of efforts that include the failed ACTA and SOPA. Clearly all of these, and especially the TPP are worth fighting just for being what they are.
But what is especially worrying is the secrecy and the fact that, if it passes, it will be very difficult indeed to undo. In fact, it is likely to become an international norm.
So here we have yet one more example of governments and corporations colluding, to the detriment of the rest of us. But there is something else here. Many people will be tempted to blame the corporation, to accuse them of immorality.
But what this actually shows is that transnational corporations recognise the essential need for global rules. They see that this is the only way to operate in the global marketplace. Unsurprisingly, they seek to bring about legislation that will most benefit them – which is to say, make them more money.
This should not really shock us, as it is exactly what a business is supposed to do! The morality, the regulation, the control is supposed to come from governance. That governance is supposed to be derived from us, the people. If the corporations can see that global rules are necessary, isn’t it high time that the rest of us caught up?!
As Simpol founder John Bunzl recently put it:
“You’re not going to have a sustainable global economy unless you have governance that’s on the same scale as the economy it’s supposed to bloody govern!”
It’s up to us, the people, to combat this. Right now, I urge you all to go and sign the Avaaz petition in order to try and stop this now.
But, in the longer term, we’re simply going to have to create citizen powered global governance. It’s the only way to stop this happening over and over again.