Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trans-Pacific Partnership won't improve workers' rights in Asia, critics warn

Congressional Democrats and labor unions have in recent days vigorously attacked one of President Obama’s main arguments for the proposed Pacific trade deal – that it will increase worker protections in Vietnam and several other Asian countries.

These critics question Obama’s assertion that the pact will get Vietnam to grant real freedom of association to labor unions, despite a pattern of repression by the country’s communist government. The pact, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), includes Vietnam, Chile, Japan, Mexico and eight other countries that account for 40% of world trade.

Will the TPP really protect workers?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership being negotiated between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations has been characterized as the most progressive trade agreement in our history, with the strongest labor and environment provisions ever.

But what is the benchmark? To date, the United States has never had a trade agreement that protects basic rights and raises wages and living standards for working people. Previous agreements have failed to ensure the integrity of the democratic process and preserve consumer and environmental protections. Comparing this pact to previous agreements sets a pretty low bar.