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Monday, September 1, 2014

Trade with the New Generations in Mind

I am fascinated by new generation trade pacts, described as the transfer of power from people to transnational corporations.* I find the topic both compelling and repelling. Despite the discomfort, the study of trade offers essential understanding for those interested in preserving natural life and community infrastructure from nation to nation. 

Years ago, my undergraduate professors startled me with the news that “new generation” trade deals give large corporations the opportunity to manage the public’s assets, and also to sue countries when public laws decrease corporate profits. Should we not ask for more in our global policy? Because if profit of the largest entities is the prime intention, than that is simply what we will get, and all the environmental and geo-political instabilities associated with that. When setting regulations between countries can we ensure resource security, vital public services, and the greater political security that comes with that? 

Trade deals are written in private. What if the best in us was put forward for their composition. What if the wisest elder, with a great sense of humour, soft heart, and economic knowledge sat at the table to negotiate? Why not seek robust economy based in real jobs and environmental security? 

Such global-impact regulations should be approached with loving-kindness. For no child in the so-called Global North will be secure in an insecure world and no child in the Global South, with all its restriction of access to clean water and basic human rights, will be fully nourished. We could take less in the North in exchange for greater security. 

We can do better than an international trade law that allows corporations to sue nations if corporate profits decrease over the use of public laws. 

People are awakening to what is truly valuable. When I think of the people in my city I see so many whose primary desire is security for families, friends and community. This is a reason to learn about trade pacts. 

As a North American, the place of birth of the “New Generation” deal, I feel a responsibility to be part of general dialogue to create fairer trade. I am curious about global law after the new generation pact and what else is possible! 

This blog is a creative space for exploring New Generation trade from a different perspective, one that is truly generational and focussed on what we are offering children and their children to come. In peace and faith! 

Jennifer Chesnut
Trade Justice Chair

*trade pact description from Maude Barlow, Chair of the Council of Canadians

Published originally on  August 30, 2014 in

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