“TTIP Is an Assault on Democracy”

The view of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek on the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Trade agreement:

“This is particularly clear when we look at the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) for resolving disputes between investors and states. This arbitration procedure gives companies the power to sue states if they are responsible for loss of profits. That means multinationals can impose their policies on democratically elected governments….

“Such rules already apply in several bilateral trade agreements and we can see how they function. The Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall sued the German government for several billion euros [4.7 billion] in compensation after the latter decided to gradually take nuclear plants off the power grid in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. A measure adopted by an elected government to protect public health is hanging in the balance because of the potential losses of an energy giant.”

Source: La Repubblica, October 19

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3 responses to ““TTIP Is an Assault on Democracy”

  1. Trade agreements these days usually have exceptions to the rights of investors to complain about regulatory measures if the measures are for the protection of environment or labour rights – we haven’t seen if the TPP has such provisions or how strong they are.

  2. The ISDS is not as arbitrary as Zizek makes it sound. For instance, when long-term contracts are breached (i.e., on environmental or health grounds) than, according to international trade law, the plaintiff can sue for compensation. That may very well be the case alluded to here.

  3. The Slovenian is wrong. The ‘energy giant’ is probably controlled by a Swedish pension fund, like our CPP or the Ontario Teacher’s. Why should short term politicos be allowed to wreak havoc for the latest green fashion? No tsunamis threatened German nuclear plants.