In Part One
I described the corporations’ basic regulatory Gleichschaltung
(coordination) plan they hope to attain with the TTIP and TPP globalization compacts. In Part Two
I described the specific demands of the GMO cartel within this framework. Now in Part Three I’ll discuss the eagerness with which the European Commission (EC) has responded to these plans and demands. First a few words about the position of a nominal government bureaucracy like the EC.
In being formally totalitarian, dedicated only to profit in principle, corporate bureaucracies are explicitly established as the direct exercise and rule of power (Might Makes Right), mediated only by government regulatory action. Strictly speaking, corporations are not supposed to be restrained directly by law. On the contrary, part of the purpose of the corporate form is to place absolutory legal barriers between the actions of corporate cadres and those actions’ having any actionable legal character, civil or criminal.
Government bureaucracy, meanwhile, is supposed to be restrained by law and by respect for democracy. But here too individuals are often formally absolved of personal responsibility for actions. This kind of absolution goes to the core of the evil of any such hierarchies, since nothing is so firmly proven as that if you give individuals power and freedom from consequences for their actions, they’ll take their actions to bad extremes. That’s why humans should never allow power to concentrate, and should never grant individuals a blank check, and most of all should never combine the two. Meanwhile it’s laughable to expect any bureaucrat to respect democracy. By its nature bureaucracy respects only administrative power and process, and despises law and democracy.
With this Gleichschaltung plan, a more complete formalization and rationalization of government bureaucracy’s subordination to corporate bureaucracy, the nominally “legal” bureaucracy is to be subsumed under the direct power bureaucracy. The government regulators are then to use their nominal fig leaf of legality, not as a restraint on power, but as propaganda on power’s behalf (and, where appropriate, as a weapon against rivals). This is the most institutionalized and rationalized form of the neoliberal scam.
So EC bureaucrats and similar bureaucracies (e.g. the FDA and USDA) exemplify the mindset and role of the bureaucrat, which is to carry out the dictates of power in an automated way. As corporate power increases, these government bureaucracies will naturally become more inherently pro-corporate. This is according to their basic inertia, what they inherently are, rather than “capture” or “corruption”. These latter do exist, but are epiphenomenal. To emphasize those is to reinforce the lie that corporations and regulators have any kind of inherently adversarial relationship. On the contrary, where corporations hold the power, bureaucrats naturally see them as their true constituency. All this is also naturally pleasing to the inherent elitism and anti-democratic tendencies of bureaucrat types.
The existing EU system is not pleasing to the EC. Although it has vast power to propose and decree “legislation” (what really are administrative decrees for the most part), it’s subject to some checks and balances from the European Council of national ministers and, to a lesser extent, the elected Parliament. Both of these latter bodies are subject to considerable bottom-up pressure from the people, and in turn put pressure on the EC. The best example of how the EC has been hamstrung is how relatively few GMO applications it had approved, even though in theory it could have decreed the approval of far more.
So in the EU there’s mostly administrative rule in theory, but to its disgust the EC has to jump through lots of political hoops. It looks to the TTIP to solve this problem of residual democracy. That’s why the EC is so ardent to embrace a compact which will turn it into a flunkey of the US government and mostly US-based corporations. The EC would rather hold a lower position in a fully rationalized, coordinated hierarchy of administrative rule, than be at the top of what it sees as a mishmash.
The EC wants to fully throw Europe open to the corporate onslaught, but it’s craven. Only European corporations and bureaucrats want the TTIP. There’s zero need for it from any human point of view. On the contrary, it will further destroy any broadly shared prosperity in Europe, making it more like the US in this sense. (Obviously it will also only further harm the American people as well.) This is why the EC’s negotiator Karel de Gucht has been lying to the people of Europe
On the European side, there are fears that negotiators will simply cave in, change the rules, and open the door to US products of various kinds that have created fear and anxiety for public health and the environment. A set of high-profile cases are gaining prominence, including GMOs and chlorine chickens, certain chemicals which are approved in the US but banned in the EU. But governments as well as negotiators have taken care to stress there is no danger as they will not give in on the fundamentals. Protection levels are not on the table, and will not be negotiated away, they say. Such assurances have even come from the EU’s top negotiator, Commissioner Karel de Gucht, who stated recently that “nothing under this agreement will lower standards of protection. Removing regulatory barriers is not a race to the bottom.”
The immediate political point of the regulatory coordination chapter, or “Regulatory Coherence” as the EC calls it in its reply to the US and the corporations, is to keep these kinds of politically inflammatory measures out of the explicit language of the compact. The compact has to be approved by the European Parliament, and the fact that the EC’s negotiator has felt constrained to hold a delaying “consultation” on ISDS and promise there will be no race to the bottom demonstrates how the EC fears the Parliament may reject the TTIP if it explicates the real goals. So regulatory coherence is meant to postpone the formalization of these goals and shift them to the non-democratic bureaucratic realm.
Although the original EC mandate for negotiation with the US didn’t say much about regulatory coordination, the EC team has been in close talks with such corporate groups as the US Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope since at least autumn 2012. The EC invited these to draw up guidelines, which turned into the corporatist manifesto
I analyzed in Part One
In autumn 2013 Gucht openly proclaimed his support for a Regulatory Cooperation Council.
“Here again we have learned from the past: If we want regulators to work together in the future we need to make sure that they are equipped to do so. I therefore propose that the TTIP establishes a new Regulatory Cooperation Council that brings together the heads of the most important EU and US regulatory agencies.”
In December an EC draft proposal
, “TTIP: Cross-Cutting Disciplines and Institutional Provisions” for “Regulatory Coherence”, was leaked. This is the EC’s broad proposal to US negotiators, and its signal to the corporations that it has fully embraced their plan.
It kicks off by defining the Scope: To coordinate all regulation which has anything to do with “any planned and existing trade”. That means all regulation, law, court decisions, etc. It’s the same principle as with the totalitarian expansion of the commerce clause
in US constitutional jurisprudence, since it can encompass literally anything power wants it to. The coordination is also to be extended by whatever means necessary to EU member countries and US states. Specific sectoral provisions will supersede “cross-cutting horizontal” coordination, which sets a floor.
The section on the Institutional Framework takes up with gusto, down to details, the CoC/BE proposal for a Regulatory Cooperation Council which will supervise the whole coordination effort. This executive committee is to meet twice a year with the attendance of such officials as the EC secretary general and the head of the US Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). It’s to gauge the progress of the ongoing, always escalating and accelerating corporate assault. It’s to receive “substantive joint submissions” from the corporations and be “assisted by sectoral ad hoc working groups” such as the ones the BIO demanded
be set up for GMOs and pharmaceuticals. An “advisory committee” of corporate bureaucrats would join the EC and US bureaucrats in “crafting regulatory measures”. This harkens back to the US bureaucratic ideal that the corporations “would essentially co-write regulation”.
While coordinating among themselves government bureaucrats are to keep the corporations informed throughout.
The proposal goes through the basics. The section on “Essential requirements for effective regulatory cooperation” describes how regulators “should actively cooperate” toward furthering corporate imperatives and the coordination goal. They must seek “equivalence”, exchange data and information, make any necessary communications to the corporations and other government bureaucracies. Lower-level cadres are to be proactive toward corporate goals. For example, an FDA cadre is not only to do what Big Ag and Big Drug ask, not only to consciously think of what the corporations want and carry out their instructions. He’s also to proactively look for ways to improve the corporate power position. The corporations are to give direct orders as they see fit.
The section is clear that constitutions, laws, democracy in general must not interfere with the bureaucratic coordination plan. These political elements are explicitly called “barriers” and “inflexibilities”. This underlines how democracy and politics as such are considered atavistic by the technocratic corporate and government bureaucracies.
Section 3 regarding “Periodic information on upcoming initiatives in the pipeline” is a kind of early warning system. Regulators are to keep one another and the corporations posted about “any regulatory and legislative initiatives with potential trade impact as of planning stage”. This obligation extends even to informal rumors and such. Thus if a USDA cadre hears though the grapevine about a proposal which may affect Monsanto’s interest, he’s obligated to inform Monsanto.
When we combine this duty to notify the corporation “regardless of whether [the regulator was officially] notified” with the strong requirement that regulators be “proactive”, as in the CoC/BE manifesto, this implies that regulators should also serve as corporate spies.
(The EC draft doesn’t emphasize the “evergreen” motion and proactivity of the regulators as strongly as the CoC/BE manifesto. But the fact that the EC agrees to the establishment of the Coordination Council, meeting twice a year, subordinated to the corporations, implies that in practice it will support and carry out all the elements of the manifesto.)
There’s also the duty to reply to any “reasoned request for information on upcoming regulatory measures”, including anything at the level of US states and EU member states. So these government regulators are to serve as publicly funded corporate political research and strategy agencies. They already serve as corporate marketers and propagandists, roles which will be expanded under Gleichschaltung.
“Regulatory dialogues” are to be held whenever a party requests one. These dialogues are to foster the coordination goal and be strategy sessions against any kind of democratic threat. One of the specific subjects will be to decide whether particular regulatory activity should be enshrined at the domestic level or at the extra-national level, within the globalization entities.
This includes specifics on how to influence and/or fight EU regulation which isn’t sufficiently pro-corporate, and the same for US executive or legislative action. The central government should “facilitate a dialogue”, i.e. threaten or cajole a US state or EU member country.
There will be ongoing taxpayer-funded “Impact assessment/Cost-benefit analysis” which will always be tendentious. It’ll recognize only costs and benefits to the corporations, including trumping up phony costs of public interest regulation and phony benefits to justify corporate welfare. Only fraudulent benefits will be touted to the people, while information about the vast costs to the people is suppressed. The analysis will be performed to corporate specifications: “Impact assessment should be informed by appropriate input from the stakeholders [corporations] concerned”. This fraudulent monetized measure of the value of policy will become the sole basis for all government policy.
Throughout this evolution regulators will be constantly reinforced in their consciousness of being corporate servants, and constantly spurred to serve the corporate imperative in all their day to day actions.
This also means they should make plans and seek to accomplish goals without regard for constitutions, laws, regulations which aren’t sufficiently coordinated, and court decisions.
They’ll be assisted in this by “investor to state dispute settlement” (ISDS), which will be the subject of another post. In addition to its corporate welfare goal, ISDS will seek to quash existing policy which isn’t sufficiently pro-corporate, and politically chill and preemptively quash any such prospective policy.
To sum up. Regulatory coordination as enshrined under the TTIP and TPP will seek to:
*Formally coordinate all regulators under the goal of serving corporate power. It will formally subordinate government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy. Bureaucracy will go to war against democracy, politics and whatever’s left of law, while sham law will be enlisted to serve corporate power. All real government power (i.e. the power of violence) will be put under corporate control.
*A race to the bottom among all governments in all regulatory sectors.
*The direct access of corporations to regulators. Corporations shall directly write regulations.
*Regulators shall always be proactive.
*Regulators shall always inform the corporations of any threat and help them to fight it.
*Regulators are to be required to respond to any corporate demands.
*All this is to be always in motion, always accelerating, always seeking the next way to further amplify corporate profit, power, control, domination.