Links

Any link's presence here is not necessarily an endorsement of it's content. To see the Healthcare Hijack or Medicare and Social Security Stealth Capture - or Global Good Jobs Theft links click the links on the upper left.
Saskia Sassen on the Age of Extraction

"What marks the specificity of our current period is that we have extracted so many resources from our planet and pushed so many people and whole communities off their land to do so, that this extractive logic is now becoming highly visible. Elsewhere I have argued that this extractive mode has also generated new types of migrations. And it is not clear to me how this all ends, but it can’t be very good." GT: "Recently I was reading an article in which you were positing the importance of considering expulsion as an analytical category, which adds something more to the well-established category of exclusion, as it introduces the concept of ‘systemic edge’. What are the main differences between borders, peripheries, and systemic edges?" SS: "Very glad you picked up on this. In Expulsions I develop an argument, partly methodological and partly conceptual, that aims at identifying a radical rupture that goes well beyond what is captured with more familiar categories such as inequality and social exclusion. When that systemic edge is crossed, such conditions become invisible to our ‘standard measures’. I see a multiplication of sharp breaking points that can be thought of as systemic edges. Once crossed you are in a different space; it is not simply a less agreeable or liveable zone, as might be the spaces of social exclusion. It is far more radical: you are out."

Putting Health First - Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Canadian Health Care Reform, Trade Treaties and Foreign Policy - this essay describes the traps in the GATS agreement for Canadian health care, and it also would totally apply to a hypothetical US healthcare plan if it had prexisted the creation of the WTO. it also discusses 'carve outs' and why they are needed by Canada to protect their Medicare (public health care) from Trade Agreements put forward by countries like the US that try to destroy, and privatize them. Note: the situation of the Canadian system is different than the UK's as Canadian Healthcare is exempt from GATS, and the UK's public option the NHS like US's optional short term public experiments like the ACA are subject to the GATS privatization agreements progressive liberalization ratchet, etc. requirements. Unfortunately.

GATS and Public Service Systems

This is a must-read article as its by far the most concise and understandable explanation of the "governmental authority exception" an all important "two-pronged test" or definition, that defines the scope of what is allowed to be a public service and what is not, in the GATS agreement. In other words, what is subject to privatization rules, and what isn't. This definition is also borrowed or imported, in the computer programming sense, "as is" into hundreds of other trade agreements all around the globe. So this essay is extremely useful in understanding which healthcare or higher education proposals could work (and which ones would be subjected to a death of a thousand cuts, and couldn't) for example. The essay was originally written and published by the government of British Columbia province in Canada.

How the World Trade Organisation is shaping domestic policies in health care

David Price, Allyson M Pollock, Jean Shaoul, THE LANCET - Vol 354 - November 27,1999, pp. 1889-1891 "Multinational and transnational corporations, including the pharmaceutical, insurance, and service sectors, are lining up to capture the chunks of gross domestic product that governments currently spend on public services such as education and health. The long tradition of European welfare states based on solidarity through community risk-pooling and publicly accountable services is being dismantled. The US and European Union governments are aggressively backing this project in the interests of their business corporations. But the assault on our hospitals and schools and public-service infrastructure depends ultimately on a promise from one government to another to expand private markets. Such promises can be kept only if domestic opposition to privatisation is held in check. We need to constantly reassert the principles and values on which European health-care systems are based and resist the WTO agenda"

GATS and Financial Services Deregulation by Patricia Arnold

Medicare, Social Security and other governmentally subsidized financial services are put in grave danger by the GATS - This paper by a noted professor in accounting who has written a great deal of highly readable material on the WTO and its interaction with financial regulation is a short and concise intro to many of the major issues, particularly the threats GATS poses to Social Security and Medicare if those areas are allowed to compete with commercial banks or insurers. Caution is needed because millions could see huge changes in their only retirement benefits just as they were needed the most if Social Security and/or Medicare lose their protection from GATS rules, which is likely if current proposals are implemented,- see the Annex on Financial Services.

The Trojan Horse of e-commerce.

The Trojan Horse of e-Commerce Professor Jane Kelsey (University of Auckland) Intellectual Property and Trade in the Pacific Century Brisbane, 22 June 2017 QUT Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Program The comprehensive chapter on electronic commerce in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) heralded a game changer in the negotiation of international rules. The benign chapter heading belies a fundamental rewriting of the international trade rules to serve the rapid growth of digital economy, controlled by a powerful oligopoly of mega-corporations. Their stated goal is to achieve global rules that protect them from national regulation of their activities for the indefinite future. The TPP text has since been tabled in the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) negotiations and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), judging by a leaked list of the headings of articles in the e-commerce chapter. If adopted, these rules would impose huge and unforeseeable fetters on the sovereignty of governments to regulate their economies, and address related issues of privacy, security and consumer protection. The cross-fertilisation of the e-commerce chapters with others on cross-border services, financial services, telecommunications and transparency would create a regime of unprecedented constraints and complexity that even advanced countries in RCEP would struggle to implement them, let alone the developing and least developed country parties in the RCEP.

The Potential Impact of the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services on Health System Reform and Regulation in the United States. (2009)

This paper is perhaps one of the best introductions to the GATS and healthcare issue for Americans on this site. In this 2009 paper, the late Nicholas Skala, explains the "GATS" agreement, and its implications for US healthcare reform and why we urgently need to apply for and pursue a specific procedure (Article XXI) to withdraw from the GATS in order to avoid built in traps for the unwary, for example, to get sustainable public health care. If you only read a few papers on GATS on this site, make sure this is one and also read the materials on GATS Article I:3 and 'governmental authority exclusion" keyword. Also see "explainer" tagged items.

Public Citizen: Threats to Health Care Policy

"The WTO’s GATS delves into “areas never before recognized as trade policy"... "The GATS represents a 180-degree turn from the U.S. approach to health care policy − away from regulating industries for the benefit of the consumer, and towards regulating governments for the benefit of multinational firms and industries".

Public Citizen: Comments on International Services Agreement ("TISA")

TISA is the US and Australia's proposed "mext generation" trade agreement to promote global outsourcing and offshoring of services. Its "everything in by default" approach makes it much more likely to be dangerous and its effects unpredictable. It would block Medicare for All and limit public services to only those which met very narrow exceptions or were essential to national security. It would create a lot of dishonesty in government because what politician would honestly say that a trade agreement tied their hands from delivering positive change, only allowing corporations to take more and more?

Jane Kelsey: Secret talks bring threat of financial crises

"They also want to make light-handed regulation the global norm. A standstill rule aims to freeze the existing level of regulation as the new bottom line. What Wikileaks posted was the draft chapter on financial services. We can assume it will be very similar to the TPP's financial services chapter. This is especially scary, because it aims to extend the model of liberalised and deregulated financial markets that brought us the global financial crisis. The International Monetary Fund has criticised the US and EU for being in denial over the risks this model poses to themselves and the world. Yet they are pushing a more extreme version in Tisa, and, presumably, in the TPP. The Wikileaks expose caused a flurry across the Tasman. Journalists realised that Tisa could threaten the four pillars policy that prevents mergers and takeovers among the Australian banks, who own most of ours. Limiting competition means less reckless behaviour. Removing those restraints means pressure for even higher returns and temptations to play Russian roulette in the shadow banking system."

Public Citizen: Medicare and Social Security - SOS: Save our Services from the WTO

Bottom Line: If the Bush administration succeeds in even partially privatizing Social Security, under the WTO GATS agreement foreign corporations could end up with treaty rights to raid our tax dollars for profit and Americans could face shredded retirement and Medicare safety nets. For now, Social Security is probably safe from the GATS because the agreement exempts services that are exclusively a government monopoly and are not also offered on a commercial basis. But if Social Security is even partially privatized — as the Bush administration is advocating — and folks begin to invest some of their federal retirement funds in the stock market, then GATS would require some things that the privatizers don’t want to talk about. The agreements would: * permit foreign and offshore firms to compete for private Social Security accounts, thus preventing the most stringent regulation of these accounts and increasing the risks to retirees; * make it harder to fix Social Security after the privatization experiment predictably fails, because GATS requires that nations first compensate all of their trading partners for lost future economic opportunity if they “take back” the service from the private sector and make it public again. * Failure to compensate would result in punitive trade sanctions, which is why some say GATS makes privatization a one-way street.

Public Citizen: "Presidential Candidates' Key Proposals on Healthcare and Climate Will Require WTO Modifications"(2008)

This essay's by Public citizen explains how the 2008 Presidential candidates proposals (just as today) all violated provisions of the GATS agreement and US 'commitments' and other trade rules and how those commitments were likely to conflict with the promises, making them impossible or very difficult to implement the longer we waited. The references are extremely useful. Highly recommended you read this if you are interested in healthcare in the US.

Joint Declaration on the GATS agreement and Higher Education

Public higher education is under attack, globally. This attack begun in an WTO agreement called the General Agreement on Trade in Services, or 'GATS'. This is a statement on the GATS by the organizations that accredit literally thousands of universities in the US, Canada, and the EU, including the European University Association on whose web site it is hosted.

"TISA's Threat to Democracy" A Trade Justice Alliance Webinar

"The TISA would override your Constitution, override your domestic laws" - 55:30 (Sanya Reid Smith) 2 hour video with: Sanya Reid Smith, Legal Advisor and Senior Researcher, Third World Network, Deborah James, Director of International Programs at the Center for Economic and Policy Research ABOUT TISA: TISA, the Trade in Services Agreement or TiSA, is the largest multilateral trade deal ever negotiated, and currently includes 50 countries. TiSA would set the rules for “services” that the text defines so broadly as to encompass almost all areas of our lives. TiSA would apply to approximately 80% of the global economy yet the massive corporate-designed agreement has been negotiated completely behind closed doors without public input. Without WikiLeaks, we would know very little. TiSA would inhibit regulations of the very banks that brought down the global economy, destroy online privacy and data protections and would legally codify global privatization of the commons, including access to clean water, public education and quality health care. TiSA would entrench neoliberal dirty energy projects like fracking and tar sands at the expense of renewables like solar and wind power. Despite President Trump’s proclaimed opposition to TPP, and his checkered messages around NAFTA, he has yet to say one word about TiSA which has farther-reaching implications.

How the United States Exports Managed Care To Third World Countries.

As their expansion slows in the United States, managed care organizations will continue to enter new markets abroad. Investors view the opening of managed care in Latin America as a lucrative business opportunity. As public-sector services and social security funds are cut …