The future of trade could be good, bad — or just plain ugly
World Economic Forum

If we’re going to talk about trade, let’s talk about what people object to, which is not trade itself, but the non-trade elements of the ‘trade’ agreements.

There is confusion between those who oppose trade in principle, versus those who support trade but oppose the inclusion of one-sided, non-trade additions like the ISDS, extended patent protections, etc. Those exist only to ensure profits are privatised and costs are socialised. Totally counter-productive and unnecessary.

Books could be written, and have been, about the failings of the ISDS, with its pretence of being a court, while lacking every basic element of balanced justice. Why is there expectation that people would support an institution so opposed to their interests and the interests of society?

There is a lot of support for trade, a lot more than we see in articles by ‘trade proponents’. There is also a lot of resistance to the inclusion of self-serving, non-trade clauses, objections which don’t appear in the discussion. This divide pretty much mirrors the divide between the ‘elite’, the 1%, versus the rest. Failure to discuss the root causes of the objections won’t get us anywhere.

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