27/11/2014

TTIP or the law of the jungle

If it is true that today the world is at a crossroads, two forces are currently in times of struggle. And if it is true that the we are the system, becomes ever more urgent that we start taking sides in this fight, because the reality seems to be happening above us, and we are not realizing.

Exists and is working now in a transnational trade agreement that will affect the whole world, will the change many of the already minimal structures of protection and of rights of the  citizens and why not say, of governments themselves. But you will have not read in any newspaper or on television, or by any means of mass communication, so that once again they have been heralded as genuine accomplices of power, not the citizenry and public opinion, by the theoretically have their rationale.

W_banderasUSAyUE
Politically, the agreement will eliminate differences between American and European regulations —’Eeuuroflags’, Javier Aristu, 2014

On November 28 2011 was created the Working Group High Level Jobs and Growth, in order to explore possible avenues for increasing investment and trade between the US and the EU. In June 2013, EU and US announced ‘the solution’: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement —TTIP is its acronym in English—. This agreement is a free trade agreement with historical and terrible precedents, terrible why none have achieved the objectives posed to social and employment level, if not the opposite. The NAFTA, for example, was predicted by the voice of Bill Clinton the creation of 20 million new jobs and after years has destroyed a million jobs and has increased the insecurity of those left standing.

Well, the TTIP has its reason for being, in theory, because will create —said by the most optimistic voices— two million new jobs and a GDP growth of 1% per annum for US and EU. However, in front of such encouraging figures, none of the powers —including Spain— has made public these estimates, neither have said a word about the treaty nor included as part of its political program, to get voters. Curious, very curious.

What pretends the treaty is to reduce all trade restrictions between the two powers, tariff and which are not tariff. Tariffs between the US and EU are already very low, almost symbolic, there is an almost free trade between the two powers. However, non-tariff restrictions maintaining sovereignty in type laws, labor, social, environmental and economic policies themselves are very different on either side of the ocean. It is here where the treaty aims to influence more strongly, and is basically his real reason for being.


Very different regulations

Europe has a policy more stringent than US levels. For start there are the welfare states in Europe stronger and more extensive in the world, compared to the US which has the weakest welfare state that exists in the Western world. In the dimension of rights cannot be further from each other, neither the regulations concerning the use, production, or use of agricultural chemicals and genetically modified products. In the US there are tens of chemicals, but are banned in Europe. In the US, for example, to determine which products are dangerous for human consumption is the government itself who studies and concludes and if you can market or not. In Europe the process is reversed, the companies who must prove that these products are not toxic, then the government approves or not for consumption.

Environmental laws are much laxer there than here, and returning it to name those concerning social rights are incomparable. Moreover, the economic models and production differ at all levels. In the EU, 99% of GDP consists of small and medium enterprises and their destruction would adversely affect their economies, something that has been said ad nauseam in EU. US has a model that is inversely based on large multinational corporations  and large armies of workers, technically called working-poors, only two of the rights established by the International Organization of Workers are met, in front of the eight rights respected in Europe. Moreover, since their model of welfare and production, US have the most deregulated, free-market and most neoliberal economy of the world.

W_eurodolar
Economically, the agreement between the United States and the European Union will affect to 60% of global GDP —’Eeuuromoney’, Javier Aristu, 2014


Leveling contingencies

Well, the TTIP it aims to standardize these differences, and on either side of these barriers or restrictions —called contingencies— want to be equivalent by both parties of the agreement. But the fact is, to achieve this, clearly Europe will have to do more lax regulations for all, because if what is needed is leveling Europe, must necessarily lower the level of its laws towards new and less restrictive. As Juan Torres López, specialist in Applied Economy and member of the Scientific Council of ATTAC, says in an interview for the website DailyMotion, this agreement as to the contingencies will mean three major changes:

1 —The agreement will make the exchange of products equivalence is established,what is good there, here is good too , the rules are standardized, and products that are banned here may be marketed and therefore consumed. Some examples are:  with hormone-treated beef and veal, turkey and chicken cleaning with  chlorine or greater number of transgenic products, all hitherto banned in the EU. And it is not necessary contained on labels —another fundamental difference—.

2 —Laws and specific courts for what is called ‘investment protection’. If an investor or company operates for example in the same sector as the public, can ask the same condition or better to compete with it freely and therefore the public sector be left unprotected.

3 —Creation of specific courts for such regulations, that historical experience with similar treaties said to be discrete and silent publicly and often highly arbitrary.

In short, an authentic and definitive blow to democracy and sovereignty of nations, governments and the public sector. A final blow to the emerging economies, because the West is allying with the West —US and EU account for 60% of global GDP—, but with the freedom to continue relocating. And finally, the triumph of one of the two tendencies in struggle, the no democratization and free markets where the maximum benefit reigns above all else, nature, individual rights and society. The treaty still in negotiations now; the Commissioner DeGucht, one of his captains, said that negotiations should remain confidential until its end. The deal could be in place later this year or early next. In Spain, on May 6 2014, IU raised a referendum for TTIP which was rejected by voting against PP, PSOE, CiU, PNV and UPyD, i.e., all major parties. One last item of interest: nine of the ten parts that make up the treaty negotiators are formed by lobbyists and corporations.

Bye bye Old Continent, hello Mc Donald’s! What can we do?

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Esta bombilla californiana lleva encendida desde el año 1901 —Imagen Unknown Author
Antes de que los fabricantes adoptaran la obsolescencia como norma, allá por la década de 1920, se fabricó una bombilla en junio de 1901... que sigue funcionando hoy en día, más de cien años después. Se encuentra en una estación de bomberos de Livermore, California, en Estados Unidos. El artilugio despierta mucha curiosidad, por inusual, hasta el punto de que han instalado una webcam para seguir los años de vida de esta 'anomalía'. ¡Y no es la única! Hay más bombillas centenarias funcionando, aunque no tan longevas. Esta bombilla eterna inspiró al español Benito Muros, presidente de OEP Electrics, para crear una bombilla LED que no se gasta nunca. Muros, además, ha emprendido una encrucijada contra la finitud de los productos de la economía actual. Creó el Movimiento SOP —Sin Obsolescencia Programada— como 'una nueva manera de pensar, de hacer las cosas. De crear un nuevo sistema en que los productos estén diseñados y hechos para durar para siempre y que no nos obligue a gastar innecesariamente, y ser más respetuosos con nuestro planeta', según relata el propio Muros en una entrevista en La Vanguardia en 2012. Como es fácil imaginar, la bombilla de Benito Muros tiene dificultades para entrar en el mercado. Según cuenta en la misma entrevista, 'las distribuidoras nos dicen que viven de las que se funden, y los grandes almacenes nos proponen duplicar su precio, a lo que nos hemos negado. Hemos tenido ofertas millonarias para no sacarla al mercado y amenazas de muerte, que están en manos de la policía'. La idea es sencilla: si los productos no tienen fecha de caducidad, no se generarán residuos. Las voces que apoyan la obsolescencia argumentan que su desaparición colapsaría el sistema, ya que miles de personas perderían su puesto de trabajo. Lo cierto es que en el planeta ya somos más de 7000 millones de personas. La cantidad media de basura que generamos cada uno de nosotros es de más de 1 kilo al día, según la oficina de estadística Eurostat. Es decir, en un día producimos más de 7000 millones de kilos de basura. Muchos de estos residuos no son biodegradables, y otros muchos son, además, contaminantes. La situación se revela insostenible. El documental 'Comprar, tirar, comprar', de Cosima Dannoritzer, analiza el tema en profundidad, y ofrece una singular solución: arreglar en lugar de comprar. Una reflexión interesante.It is called 'planned obsolescence' to the determination of the end of life of a product, so that, after a certain period of time determined by the manufacturer, the product becomes obsolete, useless. The aim of this practice is the economic profit: at some point the product will fail, and force —although this is always relative— the consumer to buy another. And so on. This production system generates a huge amount of waste, causing an environmental problem, due in large part to the lack of proper management of these wastes. Any product is susceptible to planned obsolescence: from a mobile to the clothes 'gets old'. Although it all began with a light bulb.
This Californian light bulb is on since 1901 —Imagen Unknown Author
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El bueno de Keynes predijo que la industrialización traería como consecuencia la felicidad humana —Foto Unknown Author
Casi ese siglo después y tomando como punto de partida ese ensayo, Robert Skidelsky, historiador económico y reputado biógrafo del creador del keynesianismo, ha publicado junto a su hijo y filósofo Edward el libro '¿Cuánto es suficiente?', en el que reflexionan sobre el sistema económico actual y el alejamiento de la sociedad del concepto de 'buena vida', algo que los seres humanos han intentado perfilar a lo largo de los tiempos, desde la Grecia clásica hasta el cristianismo o el marxismo. Según el libro, el progreso y la fuerte mejora en las condiciones de vida que siguieron a la Segunda Guerra Mundial se torcieron en los años 80, cuando Ronald Reagan y Margaret Tatcher establecieron el crecimiento de la economía como fin en sí mismo y no como un medio para la consecución de la buena vida de las personas. Ese indicador de crecimiento, que no tiene en cuenta otras preocupaciones del ciudadano como la salud, el ocio o el Medio Ambiente, tuvo un triunfo rápido y contundente sobre el resto de fines de la economía debido al espectacular aumento en el nivel de vida de las décadas de los 60 y 70 y a la cercanía al pleno empleo en las sociedades occidentales. 'En tales circunstancias, el pensamiento económico quedaba libre para concentrarse en la eficiencia de la eficiencia de la producción'. W_dinero
Unos cuantos miles de dólares americanos —Foto Unknown Author
La buena vida, a diferencia de la felicidad —algo privado y psicológico, no siempre conectado con las condiciones de vida— se basa para los Skidelsky en una serie de elementos básicos que el Estado debería promover, aunque corresponde a los ciudadanos disfrutar y desarrollar por completo: salud, seguridad —física o económica—, respeto, personalidad —libertad para actuar con autonomía—, armonía con la naturaleza, amistad —lazos afectivos con los demás— y ocio —lo que se hace porque sí, no por obligación o con un fin—. Los autores son optimistas sobre el futuro. Frente a la confusión entre necesidad y deseo que parece imperar, proponen una renovación ética, más políticas sociales y la reducción de la presión por consumir o la publicidad que altera la libre elección del ciudadano. Creen que hoy nos encontramos mejor preparados que nunca para esa buena vida: materialmente estamos mucho mejor que en los años 30 y el conocimiento es accesible a mucha más gente, dos factores que combinados con el despertar ético que puede suponer esta crisis económica podrían dejar a las sociedades avanzadas en una mejor posición de partida que la de Keynes en 1930.In his essay 'Economic possibilities for our grandchildren', in 1930, the British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that within a century industrialized societies have progressed so far that its technological advances allow people to live comfortably, with little need for work, and that provide happiness. W_keynes
A quite enthusiastic Keynes predicted that industrialization would result in human happiness —Photo Unknown Author
Almost a century later and taking that essay as a starting point, Robert Skidelsky, economic historian and biographer reputed creator of Keynesianism, published with his son and philosopher Edward the book 'How much is enough?', which reflect on the current economic system and society away from the concept of 'good life', something that humans have tried profiling over time, from classical Greece to Christianity or Marxism. According to the book, strong progress and improvement in living conditions that followed World War II were twisted in the 80's, when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher set economic growth as an end in itself and not as a means of achieving the good life of the people. That growth indicator, which does not take into account other citizen concerns such as health, leisure or the environment, had a quick and decisive victory over the other end of the economy due to the dramatic increase in the standard of living of the decades of 60 and 70 and proximity to full employment in Western societies. 'In these circumstances, the economic thought was free to concentrate on the efficiency of the production efficiency.' W_dinero
A few thousand US dollars —Photo Unknown Author
The good life, as opposed to happiness —something private and psychological, not always connected to the living conditions—, for Skidelsky is based on a number of basic elements that the state should promote, while it is for citizens to enjoy and develop full: health, security —physical or economic—, respect, personality —freedom to act autonomously—, harmony with nature, friendship —bond with others— and leisure —what is done for its own sake, not out of obligation or an end—. The authors are optimistic about the future. Faced with the confusion between need and desire that seems to dominate, proposed ethical renewal, more social policies and reducing the pressure to consume or altering advertising freedom to choose. They believe that we are now better prepared than ever for the good life: we are materially better than in the 30s and knowledge is accessible to many more people, two factors that combined with the ethical awakening can make this economic crisis could leave advanced societies in a better starting position than Keynes in 1930." ["post_title"]=> string(79) "¿Cuánto es suficiente?How much is enough?" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(18) "how-much-is-enough" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2020-03-03 02:08:07" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-03-03 01:08:07" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=3396" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#1843 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(5410) ["post_author"]=> string(4) "2049" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-11-18 00:01:46" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-17 23:01:46" ["post_content"]=> string(1863) "'Pagar por contenidos es un acto de rebeldía'. Escultor de formación, trabaja en entornos digitales para la publicidad desde 1994, es autor de obra multimedia y de campañas digitales y superviviente de la primera burbuja de Internet. Refugiado en la industria editorial, lleva a cabo colaboraciones varias y es responsable de 'Random Soundscapes' para Rojo Magazine y de 'Lettering Beyond Computer Graphics', una recopilación sobre el fenómeno lettering. Master en medios sociales y reincorporado a la publicidad como social media strategist desde 2009, actualmente trabaja en The Fact como director creativo en el desarrollo de aplicaciones, websites, campañas digitales, nuevos medios y medios sociales.'Paying for content is an act of rebellion'. Sculptor training, he works in digital environments for advertising since 1994, is the author of multimedia work and digital campaigns, and survivor of the first Internet bubble. Refugee in the publishing industry, is responsible for 'Random Soundscapes' for Rojo Magazine and 'Lettering Beyond Computer Graphics', a compilation of the lettering phenomenon. Master in social media and reinstated in advertising as social media strategist since 2009, Daniel is currently working on The Fact as creative director in application development, websites, digital campaigns, new media and social media. " ["post_title"]=> string(114) "WHAT ABOUT: El futuro por Daniel BlancoWHAT ABOUT: The future by Daniel Blanco" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(38) "what-about-the-future-by-daniel-blanco" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2021-05-05 15:00:01" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2021-05-05 13:00:01" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(29) "http://whatonline.org/?p=5410" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } }