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Fed Economist Cheers Middle Class Squeeze

"This isn’t one rogue economist. This is a highly trained government official in a position of authority who says he just doesn’t care whether cities are places where the middle class can live. His remark is entirely in keeping with a decades-long series of policy decisions that makes life for the middle class last priority. A new Brookings Report shows that the middle is disappearing from New York, San Francisco, and dozens of other cities. And that’s just peachy, says the only government official quoted in the story. If no one really cares, then how much easier will it be to cut loose the middle class entirely? Why worry about predatory lending and home mortgage foreclosures, why regulate tricks and traps in credit cards or payday lenders, why fix public schools or think about how to provide universal health insurance? The rich are doing fine, and, according to the Federal Reserve economist, so long as service labor can be imported from elsewhere, life without the middle class goes on very nicely."

The Great Divide: Rich People Just Care Less

Why do wealthy people often act dismissively to, or ignore those they perceive as below them in class? A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power. This tuning out has been observed, for instance, with strangers in a mere five-minute get-acquainted session, where the more powerful person shows fewer signals of paying attention, like nodding or laughing. The more powerful were less compassionate toward the hardships described by the less powerful. Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at Berkeley, and Michael W. Kraus, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, have done much of the research on social power and the attention deficit...

The Practical Utility of (physician) GAG CLAUSE legislation. (1998)

"State legislatures and the U.S. Congress are currently engaged in efforts to prohibit “gag” clauses in physician contracts.1, 2 These clauses, promulgated by managed care organizations (MCOs) and other such health plans, prohibit physicians from frankly discussing all treatment options, covered or uncovered, expensive or inexpensive, that could be of benefit to the patient. For example, one clause reads: “Do NOT discuss proposed treatments with [health plan] members prior to receiving authorization. Do NOT discuss the [utilization oversight] process with members. Do NOT give out [plan's oversight] phone number to members.”"

“Right now, the deck is stacked against patients,” “Healthcare reform is not going to change the ball game.”

By Lisa Girion, Los Angeles Times - (October 2010) "Yet a patient’s ability to fight insurers’ coverage decisions could be more important than ever because Congress, in promoting cost containment and price competition, may actually add to the pressure on insurers to deny requests for treatment. "By requiring insurers to cover everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, healthcare reform will make it more difficult for insurers to control their costs, or “bend the cost curve,” by avoiding sick people. That leaves insurers with the other big cost-containment tool: turning down requests to cover treatments. “There are going to be a lot of denials,” said insurance industry analyst Robert Laszewski, a former health insurance executive. “I am not setting insurance companies up to be villains. But we are telling them to bend the cost curve. How else are they going to bend the cost curve?” Experts said the legislation under consideration does not significantly enhance patient protections against insurers refusing to cover requests for treatment. Most people currently have no right to challenge health insurers’ treatment decisions by suing them for damages."

G.A.T.S. and Universities: implications for research.

by David Packham, Sci Eng Ethics 9, 85-100(2003) The likely impact of applying the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) to higher education are examined. GATS aims to "open up" services to competition: no preference can be shown to national or government providers. The consequences for teaching are likely to be that private companies, with degree-awarding powers, would be eligible for the same subsidies as public providers. Appealing to the inadequate recently-introduced "benchmark" statements as proof of quality, they would provide a "bare bones" service at lower cost. Public subsidies would go: education being reduced that minimum which could be packaged in terms of verifiable "learning outcomes". The loss of "higher" aspirations, such education of critically-minded citizens of a democratic and civilised society would impoverish the university's research culture which demands honesty and openness to public scrutiny.

American Health Care Horror Stories: An Incomplete Inventory

The statistics demonstrating the scope of our nation’s healthcare crisis are appalling enough. Two of three Americans report skipping needed care each year due to cost, including not filling prescriptions or putting off doctor visits. Millions are forced to borrow money to pay medical bills, leading to crushing debt. Others can’t get the care they need even by borrowing, and suffer fatal consequences: physician researchers estimate tens of thousands of Americans die each year due to inability to afford care.

TiSA - Foul Play

by Prof. Jane Kelsey (pub by UNI Global Union) This is an up to date overview of TISA and its global attack on public services of all kinds, as well as a strong, concise explanation of what its aims are. Creation of a global corporate superstate that limits the powers of nation states and by extension, all voters, all of humanity, to regulate even the most important sections of their economies. It's a must read on the extremely undemocratic TISA agreement.

Boeing’s 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers

Planemaker and suppliers used lower-paid temporary workers. Engineers feared the practice meant code wasn’t done right. It remains the mystery at the heart of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max crisis: how a company renowned for meticulous design made seemingly basic software mistakes leading to a pair of deadly crashes. Longtime Boeing engineers say the effort was complicated by a push to outsource work to lower-paid contractors. The Max software -- plagued by issues that could keep the planes grounded months longer after U.S. regulators this week revealed a new flaw -- was developed at a time Boeing was laying off experienced engineers and pressing suppliers to cut costs.

AFSC:Trade Agreements and Guest Worker Programs

Trade agreements lock in entitlements for foreign firms to take publicly funded jobs if they are the lowest qualified bidders, they also must give foreign companies such abnormally favorable conditions that it is almost certain they will be.

AFSC: State issues affecting Government Procurement

"Don’t Make Trade Commitments Affecting Our State Unless We Authorize It," "Does WTO Limit Local Authority? Proposed Commission Would Explore Impact of “Free Trade”" many others (trade agreements offshore millions of public service jobs like teaching, construction, and nursing, as a bargaining chip in global power, they potentially block domestic programs like Green New Deal, public housing, rent control, zoning restrictions, etc.)

Informal Brief: The WTO Services Negotiations and Migrant Workers (AFSC)

As the World Trade Organization (WTO) gears up for the next ministerial meeting to be held December 2005 in Hong Kong, some developing country governments are pushing for an expansion of the types of labor currently covered under the services agreement. Under the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS), services are categorized into four “modes”. These include: Mode 1 ­ Providing services abroad Mode 2 ­ Consumption of services abroad Mode 3 ­ Commercial Presence ­ Subsidiary branches including service providers such as a banks, hospitals, or construction ­firms that are owned by a foreign company Mode 4 – Temporary movement of natural persons (workers) acro ss boarders to provide services Mode 4 and temporary workers Sectors currently covered under GATS Mode 4 commitments focus on highly skilled jobs, such as doctors, nurses, company executives—sectors favored by current visa systems. Also favored by current commitments are categories of special importance to Mode 3, commercial presence, such as intra­company transferees. Some developing country governments want to expand services covered under Mode 4 to include medium and low ­skilled workers, such as domestic help or construction, thus covering sectors in which they hold a competitive advantage.

Baudrillard: Simulacra and Simulations

from Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, ed. Mark Poster (Stanford; Stanford University Press, 1988), pp.166-184. The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth--it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true. (This essay is relevant to the question of what is truth, when there are multiple competing simulacra, none completely true)

International Approach to Liberalisation of Trade in Financial Services - doctoral thesis on Financial Services Regulation

This is a high quality, law book by Professor Bart De Meester. whose writing style is very readable on trade deals regulation of financial services- especially banking, very relevant to the mess we find ourselves in today.. Especially see: INTERNATIONAL APPROACH TO LIBERALISATION OF TRADE IN BANKING SERVICES see CHAPTER III.2 LIMITATIONS ON THE RIGHT OF WTO MEMBERS TO REGULATE THE BANKING SECTOR

Proportionality analysis and models of judicial review

Proportionality analysis describes a particular legal technique of resolving conflicts between human or constitutional rights and public interests through a process of balancing. As a general tendency, the current vivid academic debate on proportionality pays, however …

Sanya Reid Smith explains what TISA does in a way people should be able to see blocks Medicare For All

A new Medicare For All (as opposed to one that pre-existed GATS and the WTO) seems to conflict with everything TISA stands for. Note that TISA is also supposed to be merged with GATS in the future. Medicare For All would be a ""new monopoly" (forbidden by GATS) and a "state owned enterprise" that "affects trade in" "financial services" (health insurance for example) Altering the conditions of competition, and it also would potentially be trade distorting. It also would not be "no more burdensome than necessary" (to ensure the quality of the service) as the WTO GATS requires. The scope of those affected would likely also be seen as far too large for any government measure. As long as we are in these deals it would likely have to be the least possible.

No Watertight Compartments: Trade Agreements, International Health Care Reform, and the Legal Politics of Public Sector Exemptions

Debates over the legal interpretation of trade treaty (WTO and NAFTA) exemption clauses for public services display a common pattern. Critics of trade agreements argue that these clauses are likely to be narrowly interpreted, providing scant protection from international trade rules to public health care. Defenders usually argue that they will be given a reasonably expansive definition and that trade obligations (at least the more onerous WTO national treatment obligations) will generally not apply to public health care services. This paper argues that although the optimism of trade agreement defenders may be well-founded when viewed from a static perspective, the protection afforded by exemption clauses shrinks with the expansion of market elements in health care. Hence, the major implication of such “carve-outs” for health policy makers will not be the liberty to engage in “business as usual”, but rather the need to assess the trade-related risks associated with market-based reform in the future. This paper analyses the WTO and NAFTA provisions limiting the application of these trade agreements to the health care sector in terms of the various risk scenarios posed by different models of health care reform.

The Debts of Corruption by Patricia Adams

A global movement is asking Western nations to forgive 'odious' debt extended to despotic regimes. The cause has merit, but opposition is building. Tomorrow, a coalition of Canadian churches will present the government with one of the largest petitions in Canadian history – 600,000 signatures calling to cancel the foreign debt of heavily indebted Third World countries. Using biblical language, the Jubilee 2000 coalition asks the prime minister to free the oppressed of their debts by the start of the new millennium. So do the Pope, the Dalai Lama, other top religious leaders, and Jubilee 2000 coalitions formed in 155 countries to oversee this groundswell movement, which has collected seven million signatures to date, and still counting. The petitions will be submitted to the G7 leaders at their meeting in Cologne, Germany, this June. Sensing a political nightmare – as well as an opportunity to cleanse their books of embarrassing loans – the G7 governments, the World Bank, and even the International Monetary Fund are scrambling to produce debt relief proposals to appease the activists. The U.K. believes $50-billion in debt forgiveness is feasible (all figures in U.S. dollars); the U.S. proposal, led by Bill Clinton, aims for $100-billion

Advancing the Odious Debt Doctrine

by Ashfaq Khalfan, Jeff King and Bryan Thomas. McGill University legal scholars have completed an investigation into the Doctrine of Odious Debts, and concluded that it is both "morally compelling" and "relatively well supported under international law". Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), Montreal, March 11/2003

Track 2 of the GATS

The GATS is a scheme to remake society and the world of work, lowering wages and increasing competitive pressures to make business more profitable for trans-national corporations globally. Part of this scheme is recognition of professional qualifications so that professionals can be treated like interchangeable parts in a machine.

"the problematic global regime of financial DE-regulation" Lori Wallach

slideshow - for TACD (this is very good and explains the so called global economic governance orgs and how we got where we are today in a fairly brief concise manner. Its a real mess as that system places huge risks onto the people of the world while offloading the profits to a very few.. manufacturing fake consent that does not exist. )

Foreign Policy In Focus | U.S. Immigration Policy on the Table at the WTO

Should temporary migration to labor become a corporate entitlement managed by the WTO to lower wage costs for businesses globally? They want to increase competition between workers for jobs internationally, to lower wages in high wage nations. The argument that any of this would trickle down to the poor doesn't really stand up to scrutiny.

Million Dollar Shack: Trapped in Silicon Valley's Housing Bubble

"Our family has been priced out! Has the Bay Area gone crazy? Real estate prices have doubled in the last few years, a tent in the backyard can rent for $900/month, foreign investors are driving up prices, evictions and rent hikes are everywhere, people are commuting longer than ever, the middle class is disappearing, empty investment homes are everywhere, and locals are leaving in record numbers. The worst part? Some people are calling it "progress"". ‪ http://milliondollarshack.com/

European Education Association: International Trade Agreements page

This is the new URL for the EUA's statements on trade agreements, but their server's mime-type headers are broken. To download you must save the file with its wrong extension, then change the file name to something appropriate and the extension to pdf. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

AFSC's "Trade Matters" back issues (archive.org)

This is from the American Friends Service Committee, its a periodical they published up until a few years ago that I think did a very good job of framing some of the issues that make trade in services deals important to know about, controversial and difficult to discuss. (Archived so need to click one extra time to select a date)

Statement on WTO GATS Mode 4 Negotiations by 77 Civil Society Organizations

“The WTO has no mandate to negotiate migration policy, nor should it,” said a statement released today by 77 groups from several countries. - - Signers include large human rights and labor organizations, including Migrant Rights International, the Teamsters Union, the American Friends Service Committee, Public Services International, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (USA), Migrant Forum Asia, Welfare Association of Repatriated Bangladeshi Employees, ATTAC Mazowsze (Poland), National Union of Public and General Employees (Canada), and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (Philippines).

2014 Story on St Louis TV station may have GATS lock-in implications

Midwestern TV channel does series on UK contractor "paying workers to do nothing" . Because the US made commitments under the GATS this may legally establish a binding entitlement under GATS to compensation, perhaps in jobs, because GATS is a one way street, unless a country is willing to pay for their policy freedom which gets more costly silently, when things like a foreign service provider entering a market happen.. I think this story may illustrate a big downside to GATS, or shall we say, a darker side to GATS.

Black wealth/white wealth: A new perspective on racial inequality

Black Wealth/White Wealth represents an attempt to understand one of America's most persistent dilemmas: racial inequality. We approach this topic with much trepidation. However, we feel that the analysis presented here will foster new approaches to this …

The Clinton legacy for America's poor

This paper examines the impact of Clinton era social policy changes on the poor. It explores shifts in incentives, behavior, and incomes and discusses the role Clinton did or did not play in influencing the policy mix and the nature of the political debate surrounding poverty. Policy changes included a radical shift in welfare policy, a sizable expansion in supports for low income workers with children, new child support enforcement measures, more restricted support for immigrants, and altered housing policies. Partly as a result of these policies, but ...

GATS and public services

Mary Bottari, an attorney for Public Citizen Global Trade Watch speaks about how GATS captures public services policy. She is at a media conference so she talks about capture that could limit public sponsorship of media.

Trade in Healthcare and Health Insurance Services: The GATS as a Supporting Actor (Rudolf Adlung / WTO)

Staff Working Paper ERSD-2009-15, December 2009, World Trade Organization, Economic Research and Statistics Division Note: Unlike the European countries, the US has made extensive GATS commitments in this area which can be found in the US's Specific Commitments Supplement 3. At the same time, the US does not have a safety net in this area despite having made commitments that limit what we can do greatly. This is an inappropriate and dysfunctional combination.

Analysis of TISA's Annex on Financial Services

By Jane Kelsey - This is an excellent analysis of the aims of this far reaching and anti-democratic "agreement" that *nobody* would agree with. It is nothing less than a global coup that lowers global standards to a least common denominator, shredding professional standards, accountability and expectations of fairness in financial services, and lowering wages and working conditions. Note: Don't confuse this Annex with GATS' Annex on Financial Services.

The WhistleBlower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman

By Peter Rost, MD This book is about drug prices, by a former Pfizer VP of marketing- An inside view of the drug industry, an industry that both saves the lives of people who have enough money to buy its increasingly expensive products, and also lobbies all around the world to keep its prices high. I'd also recommend watching the film "Fire in the Blood", which Peter Rost, the book's author, appears in, if you are interested in this subject.

The TISA Initiative: an overview of market access issues (WTO Staff Working Paper, No. ERSD-2013-11)

"Generally speaking, in a positive-list approach to scheduling commitments, market access and national treatment are granted only in the sectors expressly listed by each party in its schedule; for each sub-sector, the parties then indicate the level of commitment granted for each mode of supply. In contrast, in a negative-list approach, market access and national treatment apply fully to all covered service sectors, except to the extent that non-conforming measures (commonly referred to as “reservations”) providing otherwise have been listed in annexes. In other words, under this approach, everything is in principle liberalized unless specified otherwise in the annexes. In a positive-list approach, nothing is liberalized, unless expressly specified otherwise. Negative-list agreements also typically include a 'ratchet' mechanism, which automatically binds future liberalization for remaining existing non-conforming measures."

The Interaction between European and International Liberalisation of International Trade in Banking Services

by Bart De Meester - This is a doctoral thesis, a quite substantial tome, written like a textbook, on banking and the WTO, its particularly useful it seems because the areas I am interested in have gotten examination in the European context - here in the US where the GATS is not well known to put it mildly, perhaps not so much, at least I have not found much. Plus I cant afford to go out buying books on the subject, as they are expensive, really expensive. Anyway, this looks very informative and its quite understandable as these kinds of books go. I'm sure Mr. De Meester will do very well. Thank you!

Trading it away: how GATS threatens UK Higher Education

"Perhaps the most fundamental observation we make is that, while most of the advantages associated with the internationalisation of HE already lie outside the GATS framework, a significant number of dangers specific to the GATS trade regime lie within it. As a consequence, endorsing GATS as a framework in which to pursue the internationalisation of HE is taking a largely unnecessary risk. We divide our analysis into several sections. In Section 2, we provide a brief introduction to GATS, looking at its structure, the motivation behind its existence and some of the key controversies that are dogging the agreement. We outline 11 general concerns about GATS, and show how each could impact on UKHE. We then address the central question of the extent to which UKHE is currently protected by the so-called ‘public services’ exemption in GATS, and find that the exemption is of highly limited relevance to UKHE. This is likely to be of particular significance given that UKHE stands on the very cusp of liberalisation under GATS".

Public services and the GATS, WTO Staff Working Paper, No. ERSD-2005-03, World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva

Adlung, Rolf (2005) Adlung is a WTO employee. The EU's social safety net is under attack. Partly due to neoliberal construction via FTAs of a new corporate "right of establishment" that nullifies rights to healthcare and education that have never been created in laws as we would hope. Also WTO rules allegedly against "discrimination" ironically are a tool that's being used to dismantle policies and laws against discrimination in countries like the US.

Towards Developing Subsidy Disciplines Under the GATS

Read this carefully so you can understand how the GATS is undermining public education and pulling up the ladders that might otherwise improve social mobility, such as subsidized higher education. All around the world, We are doing this, as are many other rich nations. Its a stealth war on the very idea of a middle class. Everywhere. Note also that this is an Indian government funded think-tank. GATS is really a global con job to con countries out of funding public education, holding out the bait of lower taxes to the wealthy. Judging by email, some readers of this site seem unable to grasp what is going on, as its so far away from what we're fed on TV. Note: "Trade Distortion" is when the normal hierarchies of quality/value/cost (i.e. poor people getting poor services, rich people getting acceptable ones) are disrupted by government intervention or lack of intervention or any other "measure", "devaluing" a service. See also the related principles of minimal derogation, (minimal trade restrictiveness") and proportionality. This applies to healthcare too. Any tiers at all will be expanded. The only way out is to make services free. Thats the only way to preserve their jobs too. Otherwise GATS will outsource them eventually. Unless professionals are willing to work for even less than people in developing countries with rich families who view it as part of the cost to educate them. People with advanced degrees from developing countries are never poor, always rich. So these trade deals do not hep the poor in any way shape or form, they help those who have the most money in very poor countries.

Between centralization and fragmentation: the club model of multilateral cooperation and problems of democratic legitimacy

Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Paper prepared for the American Political Science Convention, Washington, D.C., August 31-September 3, 2000. "Globalization can be defined as a state of the world involving networks of interdependence at multicontinental distances. Globalization as we understand it refers to processes–economic, military, environmental and social–that strengthen or “thicken” these networks" … (discussions of the legitimacy or lack of it. About the "democratic deficit" or "democracy deficit", and what they lack- Its also about the discussion of legitimacy and its own glaring problems)

Exploring the Role Delaware Plays as a Domestic Tax Haven (2011)

Scott D. Dyreng Duke University scott.dyreng@duke.edu Bradley P. Lindsey College of William & Mary bradley.lindsey@mason.wm.edu Jacob R. Thornock University of Washington thornocj@uw.edu "We examine how corporate tax avoidance incentives play an incremental role in explaining why firms organize subsidiaries in the state of Delaware. We also quantify the extent to which Delaware-based subsidiaries reduce corporate effective tax rates. Findings suggest that firms are more likely to have subsidiaries in Delaware if they also have subsidiaries in other states with tax rules conducive to a common tax avoidance strategy involving Delaware corporations. This empirical result suggests that taxes influence the decision to organize subsidiaries in Delaware incremental to legal and/or governance factors. In addition, the tax benefits of incorporating and operating subsidiaries in the state of Delaware are economically meaningful. For a typical firm, we document a reduction in the state effective tax rate of approximately two percentage points. This represents a reduction in state taxes of nearly 50 percent of the average state effective tax rate of 4.6 percent."

The neoliberal (counter-) revolution

G Duménil, D Lévy There is a dramatic contrast between the last twenty years of the 20th century and the previous decades since World War II. It is common to describe the (previous) twenty years of capitalism as “neoliberalism”. Indeed, during the transition between the 1970s and 1980s, the functioning of capitalism was deeply transformed, both within countries of the center and in the periphery. The earlier capitalist configuration is often referred to as the “Keynesian compromise.” Without simplifying too much, those years could be characterized, in the center countries—United States (and Canada), Europe, and Japan—by large growth rates, sustained technological change, an increase in purchasing power and the development of a welfare system (concerning, in particular, health and retirement) and low unemployment rates. The situation deteriorated during the 1970s, as the world economy, in the wake of the decline of the profit rate, entered a “structural crisis.” Its main aspects were diminished growth rates, a wave of unemployment, and cumulative inflation. This is when the new social order, neoliberalism, emerged, first within the countries of the center—beginning with the United Kingdom and the United States—and then gradually exported to the periphery. We explore below the nature of neoliberalism and its balance sheet after nearly a quarter of a century. Neoliberalism is often described as the ideology of the market and private interests as opposed to state intervention. Although it is true that neoliberalism conveys an ideology and a propaganda of its own, it is fundamentally a new social order in which the power and income of the upper fractions of ruling classes—the wealthiest persons—was reestablished in the wake of a set back. Although the conditions which accounted for the structural crisis were gradually superseded, most of the world economy remained plagued by slow growth and unemployment, and inequality increased tremendously. This was the cost of a successful restoration of the income and wealth of the wealthiest

Middle classes losing out to ultra-rich

The middle class is being squeezed out by the rich all around the world. The center is being hollowed out. Dominant political parties are increasingly dishonest false flag operations. The goal is the destruction of trust and the creation of fascism, in order to disenfranchise voters and waste years of time when progressives win. To hide the dysfunction. The fact is, democracy has been taken away and after 20 years, captured actors are growing adept at hiding it under phony narratives. If its not one drama, its enother.

Offshoring companies are gaming the system to do an end run around US wage and hour laws, costing workers their jobs.

This is a good article. I thought that the H-1B visa is for grads of US colleges (foreign students) and that the L-1B visas are for foreign firms that bring in their own workers for typically around six years, at much lower wages. The L-1B workers have advanced degrees but are sometimes paid less than almost any other similarly skilled workers in the US. Its an especially exploitative situation for the foreign IT firms' workers. Who, if they are here, frankly should be able to earn what they are worth, and apply for citizenship after a few years. They shouldnt be exploited for cheap labor. But frankly, they are and its driving a huge amount of dishonesty in Washington. I would not be surprised if I found out healthcare was in part being held hostage, to manufacture a fake "crisis" as a means to get ultra cheap labor.

European University Association Statement on TTIP and TISA

"In the light of information currently available (published and leaked documents, official briefings, statements by governments and the European Commission) on the ongoing trade agreement negotiations, EUA notes that: 1. Negotiators regularly offer reassurances that public services will be protected. However, the GATS definition of a ‘public’ service is not adequate for purpose where higher education is concerned. HE is not administered by the exercise of government authority in the manner of defence, justice and police; it is not automatically excluded from trade negotiations. Moreover, HE fails to satisfy the GATS criteria which allow exemption for services supplied ‘neither on a commercial basis nor in competition with one or more service suppliers’. Many HE systems include both public and private providers and many public institutions depend on a mix of public and private funding. Such hybridity at system and institutional levels means that trade negotiations such as TTIP and TiSA cannot be conducted with legal certainty and clarity." (this was the very first bullet item on a long list) "The European University Association (EUA) represents over 850 universities in 47 countries, as well as 33 national rectors’ conferences. It is the voice of universities in the European Higher Education Area"

The Brave New (and Smaller) World of Higher Education

A Transatlantic View European University Association EUA American Council on Education Center for Institutional and International Initiatives - arket forces, globalization, internationalization, com- petition, new providers, cost efficiency—these descriptors of the brave new world of higher education appear consistently in any discus- sion of its future. Even when used in the same national context, such terms describe different phenomena and elicit different interpretations; cross-cultural conversa- tions are even more difficult. A shared understanding of the forces that are reshaping higher education within and among nations provides an essential founda- tion for the development of sound policy and effective institutional strategies to adapt to these new realities. Such challenges were the focus of the seventh Transatlantic Dialogue, cosponsored by the American Council on Education (ACE), the Asso- ciation of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), and the European University Association (EUA) and hosted by the Université Laval in Quebec.

(India's) Cashless economy brought about by demonetisation hurt the poor and the economy

India's project to use biometrics to set up a cashless economy that was friendly to illiterate people is particularly scary to me. Am I imagining this, or does that seem to you as if it portends a sort of giving up on education of the poor, because using biometrics, they can identify them for administrative purposes (the system uses retinal scanning) without the poor even needing to know how to read or write their own name.

Trade Liberalization & Women’s Reproductive Health

Women often are charged with the responsibility of caring for their families’ health, education and nutrition, and they often supplement, or earn the entirety of, the family’s income, and provide household labor to maintain upkeep of their homes. The liberalization of international trade increasingly affects women’s health by creating new opportunities to improve reproductive health as well as new obstacles to advance reproductive/sexual health and rights objectives in policies, programs and services. New employment opportunities may open up for women, for example, which may enable them to achieve higher income levels and greater access to health services and technology. However, trade liberalization also may lead to higher costs of health services and supplies, lower quality of services, shortages of critical medical personnel because of increased migration or a concentration of health services that may restrict access for lower-income or remote populations

When do human rights violate corporate rights? Why, in the GATS of course.

"How Close Will GATS Get to Human Rights? Similarly to the UN considering gross human rights violations a threat to peace, the WTO should consider certain human rights violations an impediment to free trade. Mutually agreed benefits of trade liberalization may be offset when a human rights infringement nullifies and impairs the multilaterally agreed level of tariff concessions or the negotiated volume of market access commitments in services. The liberalization of services trade through mode 4, whereby the service supplier moves abroad to deliver a service, relies on the free movement of natural persons. This mode of service delivery renders the GATS the WTO covered agreement with the closest affinity to the individual as a subject of international law and therefore, to human rights. Restricting the human rights of foreign service suppliers therefore could have the effect of nullifying and impairing the economic value and legal predictability of the GATS commitments. The WTO Agreements lack the legal basis for prosecuting human rights violations. While WTO Members are bound to respect jus cogens human rights, the non-jus cogens human rights originating in customary international law usually do not raise trade issues relevant enough to question the consistency with a provision of the WTO Agreements. It is suggested that the non-violation nullification and impairment complaints may be used to consider the economic damage which occurs when human rights infringements impair upon GATS commitments, specifically in those cases where the WTO Members receiving services condition their mode 4 commitments to the respect for core labour standards. If the human right amounts to jus cogens or emanates from a human rights treaty to which both parties to a WTO dispute are Members, the human right itself forms the ground of a WTO violation complaint. In all other cases, it is not the human rights violation itself, but its effect that is the economic damage on the sending country's economy, which nullifies and impairs a trade benefit." Keywords: Human Rights, Labour Mobility, GATS, Annex on Movement of Natural Persons Supplying Services under the Agreement, International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, Schedule of Specific Commitments, non-violation nullification and impairment

UNCTAD's inputs to the UN's Secretary-General report on the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration

(Note: they make arguments in the following text that I think are likely fallacious, basically the claims that the so called multilateral trading system is preferable to its absence as far as services go. ) "Trade and services elements of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration Trade and the trading system address root causes of mobility of people as they contribute to poverty reduction(not really true at all, unless you mean making the rich richer), regional stability and security and thus to the promotion of migration as a choice.(if people want to advance they have traditionally moved, these changes basically change where the money of overseas workers ends up, reducing their pay, inserting new middlemen, funneling it to large firms brokering their temporary labor) Along with cooperative arrangements, they can also provide the tools to better migration governance, (corporate capture of migration might be a better term) promoting the recognition of qualifications and with the potential to support, for example, the portability of earned benefits. This twofold linkage of trade and migration can be enabled by international trade related policies that can enhance the effects on economic growth thus being of relevance to a holistic approach to address the drivers of migration. Services trade through the temporary movement of natural persons, or mode 4 of supplying services- supply of a service by a service supplier of one Member, through presence of natural persons of a Member in the territory of any other Member -, relates even closely to regional and international migration as a sub-set concerning temporary migration. It is particularly important in professional and business services, as well in services related to agriculture, manufacturing and mining. In particular, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) article VI.4 envisages the establishment of disciplines, based on objective and transparent criteria, to ensure that measures relating to qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade in services, including temporary mobility of persons."

The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International Organizations

Do international organizations really do what their creators intend them to do? In the past century the number of international organizations (1Os) has increased exponen- tially, and we have a variety of vigorous theories to explain why they have been created. . Most of these theories explain IO creation as a response to problems of transaction costs, incomplete information, and other barriers to Pareto efficiency and welfare improvement for their members.

Migration, Precarization and the Democratic Deficit in Global Governance

Migrants make up a disproportionate part of the social category whose experience in the world of work is marked by “precarity” in terms of informal labour, wage squeeze, temporariness, uncer- tainty and pernicious risk. They belong to the most disadvantaged among a globally growing workforce of casual labour which has come to be called the “precariat”. This, in spite of vast differences in local situations, is currently one of the greatest social and political challenges: to governments, to multilateral organizations, to trade unions and to broader social justice and human rights movements across the world. It is a predicament of the present that takes us well beyond the conventional understanding of North and South, West and East. “Precarity” has currently gained importance in critical labour and citizenship studies in general, and in studies on migration, in particular. Its coining is ascribed to Bourdieu (1963). It epitomizes the nexus of precarious labour and truncated citizenship (e.g. Vosko, 2009; Anderson, 2010; Goldring. 2011).Yet the meaning that precarity conveys in a range of contemporary critical studies is not “social exclusion”, seen as due to redeemable institutional shortcomings, but a “constitutive ele- ment of the new global disorder, to which it is very functional”. (Ricceri, 2011: 68). As such it represents an institutionally embedded hegemonic norm embodying market driven imperatives of “flexibility”, “availability”, “multilocality” and compressed “mobility” across time and space, with “the migrant” as its quintessential incarnation (Tsianos, 2007: 192). But “precarity” – together with its offshoot, the “precariat” – is, equally, adopted as a self-ascribed emblem by contemporary social movements questioning the premises of this very norm. Talking the talk of “precarity” has become regular parlance in political and scientific debates on and through labour and social justice movements concerned with the rights of migrants. There are indications that a global movement is afoot, speaking with or on behalf of millions of migrant “precarians”. This is part of the wider alter-globalization movement, which is developing in tandem with and at the same time contesting neoliberal globalization by emphasizing instead “human rights” and the participatory role of civil society in a democratized global governance of migration (Liki c-Brbori c and Schierup, 2012, [2010]).

“That’s All They’ve Got?” (PCGTW 2010) "What Latest WTO Secretariat Paper on Financial Crisis Does and Does Not Say About GATS Disciplines on Financial Regulation"

March 15, 2010 by Todd Tucker and Public Citizen Global Trade Watch: "On February 3, the WTO issued a document that many in Geneva call the “non-response” to over a year of growing questions from WTO member countries and others about the connection between the rules of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) on financial services and the global economic crisis. 1 Indeed, this was the Secretariat’s first major study 2 in nearly 12 years about the WTO’s financial service rules. 3 The new paper is a disappointment to anyone hoping for a convincing rebuttal to charges that the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) promotes financial services deregulation...

Book: Blame It On the WTO: A Human Rights Critique

by Sarah Joseph 365 pages Oxford University Press, Oxford When the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established in 1995, few human rights lawyers at the time realized the significance of this event for their discipline. In part, this may have been because the creation of the WTO followed more than a decade of neoliberal policies characterized by deregulation and the removal of barriers to trade and investment in many regions. Although it strengthened the system originally established under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1947, the WTO was not seen to represent a seismic shift: it was the final stage of a gradual evolution, rather than the beginning of something radically new... The relative indifference of human rights lawyers also stemmed from a lack of understanding of the consequences of this ambitious overhaul of the global trade system. The WTO was deliberately placed outside the remit of the United Nations. With its establishment, the international trade system included for the first time a dispute settlement mechanism of a quasi-judicial nature, binding upon the WTO Members, and which could allow economic sanctions to be imposed on States that failed to comply with the disciplines imposed on them. Indeed, in retrospect, it is this aspect of the WTO Agreement that appears both the most novel and that has the most far-reaching consequences. Most notably, it created an imbalance between the commitments of States under the WTO framework and their other international obligations, including those under human rights treaties: should conflicts emerge between the two sets of obligations, States may be tempted systematically to prioritize their duties under the WTO, because of the sanctions attached to non-compliance, leaving aside the comparatively ‘softer’ commitments made under human rights treaties. As this important book by Sarah Joseph shows, things are now changing. The problems arising from the fragmentation of international law are increasingly being acknowledged, and solutions are being explored to overcome them. Due to the ‘special nature’ of human rights treaties, which are irreducible to exchanges of undertakings between States, merely to state that these treaties are paramount, will not suffice. We need to work towards practical ways of avoiding conflicts whenever possible, and of solving conflicts when they emerge, in ways that do not lead to the sacrifice of human rights on the altar of increased trade, even for the sake of economic growth.

WTO/GATS and the Global Politics of Higher Education

By Antoni Verger - This is one of the best full sized books I have read on the GATS and its implications for education. If you are an educator or are concerned about the global push for privatization of education under the GATS and the various debates informing it, this book is really quite informative.. See also https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_q=&as_epq=WTO%2FGATS+and+the+Global+Politics+of+Higher+Education

The Limited Case for Permitting SME Procurement Preferences in the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement

"Any agreement to liberalize procurement markets should deal with the reality that some states have longstanding policies supporting firms owned and controlled by historically disadvantaged individuals, rooted in the constitutional orders of those states. Substantial noneconomic rationales, grounded in notions of social justice and human rights, support these programmes, but the domain of these rationales as they are currently understood is limited to domestic societies. This limitation affects all negotiations to liberalize trade across national borders, in that states (or their leaders) do not hold the view that they have obligations to support the programmes of other states in the area of social justice. I argue that all WTO members should have an equal opportunity to implement noneconomic policies having to do with promoting justice within their borders for their citizens. "

The State of Play in GATS Negotiations: Are Developing Countries Benefiting?

I am including articles like this so that we out-of-the-loop Americans can see other points of view. I disagree with the premise that trade agreements trading away rapidly vanishing good jobs forever is somehow good. I don't think it helps the poor in any conceivable way. Highly skilled workers, as they are alleged to be - in order to get their nonimmigrant work visas, should be paid a decent wage, not be working almost for free just for a reference, while body shop firms pocket most of their earnings, paying them in many cases less than US minimum wage (when you divide the number of hours they actually work by their wages). But thats what GATS Mode Four attempts to do, and make it irreversible. The job losses to the indigenous workers are called "efficiency gains". These programs will heavily impact the core middle class professions, turning them into precarious labor. It will be quite literally NAFTA for the rest of the jobs. That's been GATS' goal from the beginning.

Movement of Natural Persons (Mode-4) Under GATS: Advantage Developing Countries

(There are many sides to this story, here is another one of them! GATS set up what amounts to a competition between everybody in the world for a shrinking pool of jobs in order to lower wages and working conditions for everybody) by Dipankar Dey "The actual potential of Mode-4 could not be exploited for the benefit of developing countries that enjoy comparative advantage in this mode over others. The developed countries have offered almost nothing in the Mode-4 negotiation despite liberalizing labor mobility via other mechanisms. So far, the developing country policy makers have failed to exploit the comparative advantage they claim to enjoy in Mode-4. They should be blamed either for their inability to assess the true potential of this mode of service or for their failure to chalk out an effective strategy during negotiation. The Southern negotiators should prepare themselves with appropriate strategy and tactics to enable them to put pressure on their Northern counterparts, for binding the latter's commitments on liberal market access, better working condition and protection of human rights for the immigrant workers."

The GATS and Canadian Postal Services

The 60-page study, " The GATS and Canadian Postal Services," examines the implications of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the current negotiations to expand it for Canada Post and Canadian postal services. US-based multinational courier companies are using the GATS negotiations to try to force Canada Post out of parcel delivery and other competitive services. "Restricting Canada Post to core letter-mail services would doom the Canadian public postal system to gradual erosion and decline," said Sinclair Foreign multinationals are seeking GATS-enforceable rights to Canada Post's advantages without being encumbered by its public service obligations, according to the study. The report's key findings include: The GATS conflicts with existing multilateral rules that ensure the delivery of international mail--the Universal Postal Union rules. The GATS prohibits minimum service requirements in Canada's rural areas and the north. By covering courier services under the GATS, negotiators have exposed Canada Post to challenges under the GATS anti-monopoly rules. A quirk of the United Nations system for classifying services may be all that protects Canada from an even more devastating national treatment challenge. This vital protection however, is at risk in ongoing discussions in Geneva to reclassify postal and courier services. The study urges that Canada's trade policy objectives and negotiating strategy be brought into line with the clear Parliamentary mandate given to Canada Post. The report suggests immediate steps that Canada should take to protect public postal services under the GATS. "But the many threats posed by the GATS to the Canadian public postal system demonstrate that it is a deeply flawed agreement hostile to public services and to regulation in the public interest," Sinclair concludes.

Whistleblowing in a Foreign Key: The Consistency of Ethics Regulation Under Sarbanes-Oxley with the WTO Gats Provisions

By Stewart M. Young - United States Attorney's Office - District of Utah Abstract This Article discusses the consistency of the legal regime established by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the ethical regulations proposed by the SEC, in relation to the legal services portion of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) General Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS). It discusses the GATS and its effect on the legal services market in general. It then examines how the ethics commitments in the United States Schedule of Commitments to GATS are treated. It examines the new ethical responsibility requirements imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the subsequent proposals by the SEC. It concludes by demonstrating that the ethical requirements imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the SEC are not consistent with the United States' obligations under GATS regarding legal services. This Article also discusses possible approaches to reconciling the proposed rules with GATS and action that might be taken by WTO member countries, including under the dispute resolution provisions of the WTO agreements. The ultimate conclusion of this Article is that the SEC-proposed standards as applied to nondomestic law firms are potentially irreconcilable with GATS, and likely to create friction between the United States and a number of our trading partners. The most important purpose of this Article is to analyze the inconsistency of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the proposed SEC rules with GATS. Second, this Article can be read as a case study for the domestic imposition of ethical standards on the trade in services and legal services field in general. Third, this Article will potentially add fuel to the fire for implementing international ethical standards in certain global service industries, including the legal services field in particular. Keywords: Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC, World Trade Organization, WTO, General Agreement on Trade in Services, GATS, ethics regulation

We Own It: UK

"Privatisation has failed - it’s a fringe, extreme ideology. A majority of us believe public services should work for people not profit."

High prices, poor access: What is Big Pharma fighting for in Brussels?

Big Pharma's lobby machine ground into top gear to defend its privileges, doing its best to remove or weaken regulatory measures. A close relationship with the Commission –which fails to take undue industry influence seriously– has played a key role, as has the lobbying firepower of Big Pharma. The top ten biggest spending companies, for example, have increased their lobby budget by €2 million since 2015, and Big Pharma's main lobby group EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) sits on eight of the Commission’s advisory groups. Big Pharma has also rolled out a PR offensive harnessing the powerful emotions around illness, designed to deflect criticism and narrow the scope for debate. Thanks to this lobbying arsenal, the industry has succeeded in influencing the review into pharma incentives and rewards (such as intellectual property rules), as well as a change to a type of patent extension called an SPC (supplementary protection certificate) which allows companies to extend the period of monopoly pricing. It has also affected a proposal for EU collaboration to assess how effective new medicines and health technologies are relative to existing ones, something which helps member states negotiate prices. Drug companies promote the use of ‘new’ drugs because they still have patent protection, and are therefore more expensive, over old ones that don't, even if the new product is not an improvement in medical terms.

Perilous Lessons: The Impact of the WTO Services Agreement (GATS) on Canada's Public Education System

Written for professionals and citizens alike, this book provides a primer on a little-known agreement within the World Trade Organization, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It highlights the threats the treaty already poses and, using highly plausible scenarios, describes how it could undermine public education in the future. Trade policy specialists Matt Sanger and Jim Grieshaber-Otto dissect federal government efforts to reassure and mislead Canadians about the threats GATS poses to public education. They advocate specific changes to Canada's negotiating approach to safeguard our vital public education system. GATS "services" negotiations that are now underway in Geneva pose a significant danger to our public education system. Reading this book is a critical first step towards doing something about it.

When Worlds Collide: Implications of International Trade and Investment Agreements for Non-Profit Social Services

Although Canada has vowed that its domestic social policies will not be compromised by its international trade obligations, it has also been a leading exponent of increasing trade liberalization in the services sector. Unless great caution is taken in the current WTO and FTAA negotiations, this ambivalence could expose many of our social programs to trade-driven privatization and commercialization. Authors Andrew Jackson and Matt Sanger describe in detail the policy implications of these trade treaty talks. They demonstrate the need to strengthen and improve the protections now afforded our social services, many of which--from child care to elder care--are delivered by not-for-profit social service agencies funded by governments, rather than directly by governments. When these services are exposed to trade and investment treaties, the few limited protections provided to direct public sector programs may not apply. Only clear and forceful treaty terms can minimize the risk of trade challenges that could disrupt and undermine these important services The worlds of trade policy and social policy are very different. When they collide, as they inevitably will in the negotiations to expand the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), it will take great diligence on the part of Canada’s negotiators to ensure that our not-for-profit social programs and services survive the collision.

Reckless Abandon Canada, the GATS and the Future of Health Care

This study shows that, contrary to repeated assurances from federal government officials, the government has, in fact, recklessly exposed health care to the GATS commercial rules. Matthew Sanger made the discovery that health insurance has already been included in the list of Canadian services which are subjected to the full force of the GATS rules.

Jobs Abroad Support ‘Model’ State in India

By JASON DePARLE TRIVANDRUM, India — "This verdant swath of southern Indian coastline is a famously good place to be poor. People in the state of Kerala live nearly as long as Americans do, on a sliver of the income. They read at nearly the same rates. With leftist governments here in the state capital spending heavily on health and schools, a generation of scholars has celebrated the “Kerala model” as a humane alternative to market-driven development, a vision of social equality in an unequal capitalist world. .. the benevolent path to development, a retort to globalization — makes the travails of its 1.8 million globalizing migrants especially resonant. The debate about Kerala is a debate about future strategies across the impoverished world".

Regional Trade Agreements and Trade in Services

Ortino, Federico, Regional Trade Agreements and Trade in Services. in BILATERAL AND REGIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS: COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS AND CASE STUDIES, Lester & Mercurio, eds, Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=995781 .... Quote: "‘measures by Members’ means measures taken by central, regional or local governments and authorities as well as non-governmental bodies in the exercise of powers delegated by central, regional or local governments or authorities. However, GATS only requires Members to take such reasonable measures as may be available to them to secure compliance with GATS rules by sub-central and non-governmental bodies (Article I.3(a)). ‘Measures by Members affecting trade in services’ include measures in respect of (i) the purchase, payment or use of a service; (ii) the access to and use of, in connection with the supply of a service, services which are required by those Members to be offered to the public generally; (iii) the presence, including commercial presence, of persons of a Member for the supply of a service in the territory of another Member (Article XXVIII(c)). This list being indicative, the inquiry centers around the term ‘affecting’. WTO jurisprudence has interpreted broadly the term ‘affecting’. A measure affects trade in service when the measure ‘modifies the conditions of competition in supply of a service.’ In other words, GATS disciplines apply, in principle, to any measure of a Member to the extent it affects the supply of a service, regardless of whether such measure directly governs the supply of a service, or whether it regulates other matters but nevertheless affects indirectly trade in services. Furthermore, in line with GATT/WTO jurisprudence, in order to determine whether a measure ‘affects’ trade in services, there is no need to determine actual effects, rather it is enough to demonstrate a potential effect on trade".

GATS, Migration, and Labor Standards

(Search domain www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---inst/documents/publication/wcms_193612.pdf Mode 4]," Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, director of trade in services at the World Trade Organization said "Ah, yes - it could be hundreds [of millions] if we liberalize." John Zarocostas, Migration helps export services, Washington Times, January 3, 2005, p. A10.

Studying the Supra-National in Education: GATS, education and teacher union policies

This article starts by putting the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) into a general context of privatisation. It is noted that the privatisation process is in many cases complex and not only about full-scale privatisation of schools. The growing trade in education must be seen in this context. GATS is not an agreement which deals with educational issues from a political or educational perspective, but from a commercial and trade perspective. The purpose of GATS is to liberalise trade in services, which also includes education. Commitments made in GATS negotiations are difficult to withdraw and the protection of commercial interests which GATS provides is stronger than the protection of human rights, in, for example, the Convention of the Right of the Child. The protection given in GATS to public services, including public education, is ambiguous at best and in many cases open to interpretation by Trade Dispute Panels. It can be assumed that such panels will deal with some educational matters in future. Another risk for the future is that governments will use GATS as an excuse for deregulation and privatisation within the education sector. There is also a risk that education will become part of a general negotiation game where governments may have to open up the education market in their own countries in order to get access to other markets and that education policies will increasingly be decided by trade ministers instead of education ministers.

Trade in Higher Education Services: The Implications of GATS - Dr. Jane Knight (UNESCO)

"Trade in higher education services is a billion dollar industry, including recruitment of international students, establishment of university campuses abroad, franchised provision and online learning. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is currently being negotiated under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). GATS is designed to increase trade liberalisation internationally, and includes ‘education’ as a service sector. Examples of perceived ‘barriers’ in the trade in higher education services might include visa restrictions, taxation that disadvantages foreign institutions and accreditation arrangements that privilege domestic institutions and qualifications. Some view GATS as a positive force, accelerating the influx of private and foreign providers of higher education into countries where domestic capacity is inadequate. Other take a more negative view, concerned that liberalisation may compromise important elements of quality assurance and permit private and foreign providers to monopolise the best students and most lucrative programmes. Many aspects of GATS are open to interpretation, and many nations have yet to fully engage in the process, at least in respect of the potential implications for education. In this report, Dr Jane Knight of the University of Toronto, an expert in the internationalisation of higher education, sets out a clear overview of the GATS agenda, and considers a wide range of issues that may affect developing and developed countries".

Squaring the Circle? Reconciling Sovereignty and Global Governance Through Global Government Networks (Review of Anne-Marie Slaughter, a New World Order)

Anderson, Kenneth, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 118, pp. 1255-1312, January 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=669842 "Anne-Marie Slaughter's widely noticed book, A New World Order (Princeton UP 2004), proposes that the emerging form of global governance is neither a world government nor global governance by partnerships of public international organizations and global civil society, yet neither is it the existing relationship of sovereign states. A form of global governance is emerging, she argues, which can resolve this dilemma in the form of global government networks - networks of national agencies (and courts) working with their counterparts and homologues worldwide to deal with a wide variety of global concerns. The review locates Slaughter's argument within the debate over international relations realism and idealism, and further locates it within a continuum of seven idealized positions in the debate between global governance and sovereignty, with pure sovereignty at one extreme and world government at the other, with the most relevant positions of democratic sovereignty and liberal internationalism located in the middle. The article concludes that Slaughter's vision of global governance through global government networks, ingenious as it is, does not finally avoid spitting us on at least one horn of the global governance dilemma, because ultimately it privileges global networks over democratic sovereignty".

A Just World Under Law: A View From the South by BS Chimni

This is an important work - very much worth reading. Here are two quotes from it.: "Transnational capital sees a borderless world economy as its field of operation leading to the globalization of national production and financial systems. Its third world component plays the role of a junior partner with the crucial task of legitimizing the vision of global capital in its own world. There is also support for this vision in a growing global middle class that hopes to benefit from the ongoing globalization process." ... then he goes on to discuss a number of core concepts which need discussion - "The unified global economic space is being established through a range of international law instruments that include international trade law as embodied in World Trade Organization ("WTO") texts and international monetary law as prescribed by international financial institutions. The key development here is the prescription of minimum uniform global standards. That is to say, irrespective of the sovereign territory on which transnational capital operates it is increasingly governed by the same set of norms or norms that possess family resemblance. For example, every WTO member state has to abide by the norms governing intellectual property rights as embodied in the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPS"). Some states merely get a longer transition period in which to implement them. The examples can easily be multiplied. The emergence of a unified global economic space may also be conceptualized in terms of the growing internationalization of property rights through the medium of international law. Indeed, the phenomenon of internationalization of property rights is crucial to the creation of a unified global economic space. "

Federalism in an Era of International Free Trade THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN SERVICES AND THE REGULATION OF INSURANCE IN THE UNITED STATES

(A student paper that is mostly about states rights and their potential conflict with GATS. However its quite useful because the author seems to have collected references from many other essays and papers in one place, and formatted them for legal citation. Won an ABA award.) by Ethan Marks in Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal Vol. 50, No. 1 (FALL 2014), pp. 129-154 Published by: American Bar Association "This paper placed first in the 2014 law student writing competition of the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section" (RIP Nicholas Skala)

Federal Legislation Seeks to Stop States from Denying or Revoking Licenses Due to Unpaid Student Debt

Student loan debt is a reality for Americans of all ages. The total student loan debt in America is about $1.3 trillion, a figure that has doubled in the last decade. Student loan debt is the second-highest category of debt in America, second only to mortgage-related debt.[1] At the same time, student loan default rates have steadily increased over the last several decades, and “nearly 40 percent of borrowers are expected to default on their student loans by 2023.”[2] Projections like these have driven state and federal governments to be more focused than ever on collecting outstanding student loan debt. Following the lead of the federal Department of Education, some state governments have turned to solutions that exacerbate the problem. Currently, 20 states have laws on the books that allow states to deny applications for or revoke professional and occupational licensure from those who are in default on their student loan debt.[3] The policy of licensure action on those individuals in default on their student loans traces back to a 1990 document from the federal Department of Education titled “Reducing Student Loan Defaults: A Plan for Action.”[4] As the number of student loan defaults steadily increased, the Department of Education recommended (among other solutions) that states “enact legislation to deny professional licenses and state jobs to defaulters until they make adequate repayment arrangements.” Revoking or denying licenses as an incentive to pay back student loans can be self-defeating. It is much more daunting to pay back a loan if one is barred by the state from gainful employment in their field. Without a driver’s license, potential workers, college graduate or not (two-thirds of borrowers who default on student loans did not finish their degree[5]), are often lack reliable transportation to and from work, especially in areas with little to no public transit. And with little support from the state or federal governments until the loans are in repayment, these policies can force people into an unwinnable situation.

Odious Debt (IMF)

"Similarly, Anastasio Somoza was reported to have looted $100-500 million from Nicaragua by the time he was overthrown in 1979. Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega told the United Nations General Assembly that his government would repudiate Somoza's debt, but reconsidered when his country's allies in Cuba advised him that doing so would unwisely alienate Nicaragua from Western capitalist countries. Some countries have attempted to confiscate and restitute funds that an ex-ruler salted away abroad, but with mixed results. For example, Nigeria recently recouped money from Sani Abacha's family, but the Philippines has little to show for its protracted campaign to repatriate Ferdinand Marcos's fortune. Moreover, any money that has been squandered is gone forever."

Can’t Pay Back, Won’t Pay Back: Iceland’s Loud No

Silla Sigurgeirsdóttir and Robert H Wade – Le Monde Diplomatique The people of Iceland have now twice voted not to repay international debts incurred by banks, and bankers, for which the whole island is being held responsible. With the present turmoil in European capitals, could this be the way forward for other economies? The small island of Iceland has lessons for the world. It held a referendum in April to decide, more or less, whether ordinary people should pay for the folly of the bankers (and by extension, could governments control the corporate sector if they depended on it for finance). Sixty per cent of the population rejected an agreement negotiated between Iceland, the Netherlands and the UK to pay back the British and Dutch governments for the money they spent to recompense savers with the failed bank Icesave. That was less resistance than the first referendum last spring, when 93% voted no.

TISA - backdoor services liberalisation on a global level!

The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) currently under negotiation on the side-line of the World Trade Organization (WTO) poses significant deregulatory threats for the majority of services sectors. International trade in services is dealt with by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and its annexes. Each WTO country so far autonomously decides which sectors are to be opened up to cross-border competition. Services sectors liberalisation is carried out once governments gave their explicit agreement to do so (positive lists). TISA intends to reverse this logic and implement a negative listing of liberalisation commitments. Only explicitly targeted sectors in the agreement would not be subject to further liberalisation. This poses significant risks of liberalising all services sectors of the economy unless explicitly exempted from the agreement. TISA would contain “Standstill” and “Ratchet” clauses. Standstill clauses effectively freeze the degrees of regulation in particular sectors and countries are no longer free to implement more strident regulatory provisions. A recently leaked text showed that the financial services industry, through TISA, intends to freeze international financial regulatory efforts by setting a minimum regulatory floor which could not be subsequently superseded by any government wishing so. Ratchet clauses effectively impede government to reverse achieved liberalisation floors. Once a sector is liberalised, there cannot be a turning back. These clauses mean that governments will no longer be able to challenge decisions and choices made by previous governments. The combination of the ratchet and standstill clauses renders the reversal of liberalisation levels impossible. Additionally, TISA could prescribe necessity tests for regulatory measures. Governments would have to prove the necessity of a regulatory instrument before implementing it. For example, in a discussion of universal coverage, a Government would have to prove the necessity of re-regulating already privatised services such as postal services.

Medicaid Expansion in Health Reform Not Likely to “Crowd Out” Private Insurance

"Contrary to claims by some critics, the Medicaid expansion in the new health reform law will overwhelmingly provide coverage to people who otherwise would be uninsured, rather than shift people who already have private coverage to Medicaid." --- comment: This concept of "crowd-out" was literally created by the GATS and it's concept of minimal trade restrictiveness which requires that all government-subsidized measures be the most minimal possible - as well as possibly time limited, for example, only available to either an individual for only a few years, or possibly a country - for only a short period, perhaps a decade or less, (or perhaps only if they are and remain an LDC) . In this case, Medicaid is kind of a loan, not an insurance program, as it is subject to repayment, and only available to the destitute, and near destitute with assets that will only become available at their deaths, such as a home - after their other options have been used up. This "prevents healthcare prices from falling", and "preserves the profit in selling insurance", and "the value of the insurance companies investment". These are the most important things in a for-profit healthcare system. Especially as it becomes "The one bright spot in a dismal economy"

Four modes of WTO

slideshow explaining the four modes - a key concept to understanding how services trade is scheduled.

The Official Propaganda in the DPRK: Ideas and Methods

by Andrei Lankov - These two articles are still among the best short explanations of how the Kim family maintains their iron grip on North Korea. The companion to this one is The Repressive System and the Political Control in North Korea

General Agreement on Trade in Services: negotiations concerning Domestic Regulations under GATS Article VI(4)

(November 24, 2000) "In the current preparatory negotiations on services (part of the “built-in” agenda at the WTO) governments are developing positions regarding GATS Article VI(4) which requires the development of “disciplines” on countries’ domestic regulations over services. Specifically, the article seeks to prevent “unnecessary barriers to trade” in regulations regarding “qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements” and to ensure that regulations are “not more burdensome than necessary to ensure the quality of the service.” In our view, this entire exercise is unjustified. There should be no role for the WTO in overseeing non-discriminatory domestic regulations (those which do not discriminate in standards and qualifications based on nationality.) This exercise represents a wholly unwarranted intrusion of trade law into important domestic public safety laws".

Plan B: Declaration For a Democratic Rebellion in Europe

Democratic Europeans are fighting back against state capture: "A movement to place human rights, civil, political, social, economic, cultural and democratic rights, at the heart of the european project, as an intrinsic part of democracy."

The Value For Money Debt audit: An alternative weapon against state capture

by Mary Serumaga on the CADTM.org anti-debt web site "Many African nations are mired in huge debts arising from foreign loans that have hardly benefitted the people. The citizens need to audit these debts. Odious debts should be repudiated, damn the consequences. Moreover, as Thomas Sankara demonstrated in the four years he was president of Burkina Faso, African nations do not need foreign loans to meet the needs of their people. In the 1990s, post-war Uganda was restructuring the civil service. The country was awash with World Bank funds and donor grants for ‘re-tooling’ public offices, capacity building and rehabilitating infrastructure. At the time, short landings were the order of the day. It is a universal fraudulent practice involving a supplier of goods delivering less than the goods paid for or nothing at all, and then being issued a goods received note by a colluding administrator. The supplier is then paid against the Note. Locally it was called ‘air supply.’"

Municipalities and citizens movement defeat anti-democratic EU directive

"Trade unions and other social movements, city councilors, municipalities, regional councils and even some governments can now claim victory over a proposal tabled by the European Commission in January 2017. - The proposed Notification Procedure directive would have given the Commission veto powers over rules and regulations tabled in the area of services, and it has been clear from the beginning, that it would affect areas such as child care, public services, city planning and labour rights at all levels of government – from the very local to the national level. In a vast and sensitive area of the economy, the Commission claimed the right to scrutinize draft laws well before they were adopted, to change them and to have them repealed should they be adopted in a form not in sync with strict market disciplines."

The GATS’ Article I, paragraph 3.... (and libraries)

What is Article 1:3? Article 1, Paragraph 3 of the GATS defines the scope of the agreement as follows: (b) “services” includes any service in any sector except services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority; (c) “a service supplied in the exercise of governmental authority” means any service which is supplied neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers. What it really means...Clause (c) above constitutes the potential danger to libraries and the public sector. It appears to mean that “if a service is provided on a non-commercial basis but in competition with other suppliers or on a commercial basis but without competition, it is not a service supplied in exercise of governmental authority.” (1) (and so has to be privatized - it canot be allowed to exist as is, under GATS rules)

Causes of the Debt Crisis - Global Issues

"Third world debt has long been recognized as a major obstacle to human development. Many other problems have arisen because of the enormous debt that third world countries owe to rich countries. Debt has impeded sustainable human development, security and political or economic stability. How has this happened?" (Note: it seems this odious and illegitimate "Third World Debt" is cited as one of the reasons for the GATS (???) by the UN in document A/RES/44/232 )

How the World Trade Organization’s new “services” negotiations threaten democracy

Scott Sinclair: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The GATS is extraordinarily broad, dealing with every service imaginable. It applies to measures of all governments, whether federal, First Nation, provincial, state, regional or municipal. It employs both “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches to covering measures and sectors. The agreement is not confined to cross-border trade, but intrudes into many domestic policy areas including environment, culture, natural resources, health care, education and social services.

How ‘free trade’ & investment treaties attack public services & why we have to fight them

by Prof. Jane Kelsey 1980s neoliberal greed took over the world • Structural adjustment – SAPs - at home • Global rules to push it further and faster, then lock it in New version of colonisation affected all countries, North and SouthTNCs targetted services as new source of mega-profits For public sector workers this means ongoing ... Job losses Insecure employment Deunionisation and labour market ‘flexibility’ Loss of protections & entitlements Added costs, but lower incomes Migration for remittances