Recently Added

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)

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)

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.

British firm may have created a successful lock in of US healthcare policy, read story to understand how scary this kind of corporate lock-in is.

It was a mystifying story. In 2014, a Midwestern TV station - in response to a viewer tip, reported on a mysterious warehouse of contractors of a controversial British firm who were allegedly "being paid to do nothing". Even though its existing workforce were literally going crazy from not having enough work to do, the company hired more people. Here we are also going to discuss the concept of "moral hazard" and governments, a discussion that has nothing to do with any particular company.

Trump in the UK, saying NHS is "on the table", 2014 (UK's) Serco "being paid to do nothing" KMOV story. GATS information blockade. What does it all mean?

That is the question. We Americans are being kept in the dark about an incredibly important change which is supposed to be public, the WTO GATS agreement on services and its chilling effects on policy. If we knew about it we would realize, so many things which are happening are supposed to "lock in" preventintg the things we want to be able to vote for. After the corporate interests and foreign countries all get their pound of flesh, whats left to democracy?

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.

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".

subsidies

WORK IN PROGRESS - If you want to know about how the WTO frames subsidies in health care when those subsidies are in a "public option" situation like those in the US or UK (which is to say mixed systems) - its disturbing.