Today, Ons 26.03., there was in Pikkuparlamentti an information session about the TTIP, arranged by attac. After having listened to all those experts (in Finnish) I did in fact feel rather exhausted and depressed. But anyway the occasion had stirred my brain. With the following results:
(a) I was very much reminded of an acquaintance in Germany, a man 76 years old who has spent all his professional life in the import-export business. He was summing up some of his impressions this way: “Best of all I have liked to do business with the Japanese, but least of all with Americans. They always try to cheat you.” And I do doubt indeed VERY much whether any Finnish politician (especially from Kokoomus) will be able to really keep this piece of wisdom in mind when having to negotiate with Americans.
(b) I do remember how, after the re-unification of Germany, the Western German system was rolling into what had been the DDR. And I do imagine that the US system will try something similar wherever it seems possible. They will presumably not hesitate to recruit US presidents for their purposes (who might hint that the USA might not come to aid in the defense against the Eastern Enemy if the wishes of US enterprise were so simply disregarded …) and will anyway bring an army of lawyers, which will make any conflict VERY expensive. – Indeed, should the idea be realized that in the case of a conflict between a firm and a country it should be ALWAYS the country which has to pay the expenses of the resulting procedures, I expect that the firms will all the time invent conflicts already in order to make others pay the salaries of their armies of lawyers. And the resulting huge bills will, with time, very efficiently deter governments from risking ANY conflict with the firms.
(c) The idea that in case of a conflict between a firm and a government the matter should be decided in special courts which are staffed by experts of economy (especially of the US, Chicago-School-of-Economy orientation) would guarantee that the needs and interests of mere humans will go unconsidered, as experience shows that amounts of money on paper or computer screens are, by such economists, always considered more important than, e.g., human lives. Thus, it would be an essential demand that any such courts should be staffed by usual judges (who also should have some previous experience with more usual cases which concern “real” humans).
Altogether: I do fully see that any honest entrepreneur (of the type described by Marx) who wants to export or needs to import some reasonable product across some border will understandably be happy if there is less bureaucracy to be considered (from where a wish for “free trade”). But in the situation as it has meanwhile developed, with US business habits, lots of politicians who are dependent on the money which free enterprise can grant (or withhold), astronomical amounts of money circling the globe electronically, speculating/gambling bankers, tax havens, armies of lawyers, etc. etc. … I do think one should stop thinking in terms of “classical” honest entrepreneurs and think many more times than only twice before agreeing to anything like the TTIP.
I also think that it would be good if others could contribute to this discussion, and if they also could use whatever contacts they have to spread the here-discussed ideas/results.