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Joseph Stiglitz comes out against the TPP

So, a week or so ago one of my favorite living economists, Paul Krugman, posted a piece on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He wasn’t for it, exactly, but he thought it just wasn’t that important. I disagreed, to put it mildly.

But yesterday, one of my other favorite living economists, Joseph Stiglitz, came out swinging against the TPP in a New York Times opinion piece.

Some of his points:

  • Based on the leaks we’ve seen, the TPP doesn’t look good; it’s a symptom of our political dysfunction that it’s even being considered.
  • Tariffs are already low; agreements like the TPP focus on reducing non-tariff barriers to trade, which are hard-won labor, environmental, or consumer protections. In his words, “‘Trade agreements’ new boosters euphemistically claim that they are simply after regulatory harmonization, a clean-sounding phrase that implies an innocent plan to promote efficiency. One could, of course, get regulatory harmonization by strengthening regulations to the highest standards everywhere. But when corporations call for harmonization, what they really mean is a race to the bottom.”
  • One of the worst aspects is that it allows corporations to sue governments in international tribunals.
  • There’s not even good evidence that developing countries benefit.
  • The economists who support it are working from wrong assumptions.

Which are much the same points I made in my comic on the subject. It’s kind of nice when someone of Stiglitz’s stature agrees with you.

3 comments to Joseph Stiglitz comes out against the TPP

  • Toby Thaler

    Krugman is a classic liberal. Better than a neo-liberal for sure, but some things he simply doesn’t get, like limits to growth. The Stiglitz column is a refreshing break from the usual miserable scientists’ blather.

    I would appreciate it if you put your skilled pen and intellect to economics:ecology connections. Peak cheap energy and all that. E.g., Richard Heinberg, Charles H. Hall, and check out Gail Tverberg’s blog.

  • I’m finding these days that decades of the system not working the way anyone would really want, even a lot of capitalists after they sobered up and realized that they had peed in the river just to make sure no one could drink in it, are starting to listen to activists and those with a more pragmatic perspective on the economy. I might be being optimistic, but there’s a ton more interest now in trying to actually do rigorous sociology. (In sociology, we take for granted that you can’t talk about economics without talking about race, race without talking about gender, gender without talking about sexual orientation, etc.)

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