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Stop the TTIP!

TTIP stands for “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” and is also known as TAFTA, Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement. It is a free trade agreement of 800 million that has been secretly negotiated since June 2013. Corporate groups or multinationals dominate the negotiations. Legislators, consumer, environmental and labor groups are denied access and depend on leaks.

Since tariffs are already very low (around 3%), non-wage trade barriers, e.g. labor and environmental regulations, are the main theme of negotiations. Europeans fear that privatization and Americanization could be massively encouraged. Book dealers and public sector workers fear takeovers. If a French university wants to open a branch in Munich, it would be entitled to all the subsidies given to the University of Munich.

The TTIP like TISA (Trade in Services Agreement) threatens the sovereignty and decision-making of community. Corporations can sue states but states cannot sue corporations and decisions are irrevocable. “Foreign investors” are set above labor and environmental groups. Philip Morris is suing Australian and Uruguay for lost profits because of warnings on cigarette packages. A French company is suing for lost profits in its Egyptian waste disposal firm because of higher Egyptian minimum wages. Vattenfall, a Swedish energy conglomerate, is suing Germany for 4 billion Euros for closing two antiquated nuclear power plants. A Canadian firm Lone Pine is suing Quebec through an American subsidiary for lost profits because of its anti-fracking law.

The European Commission suspended the secret TTIP negotiations for four months to get citizen consultation on the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision. This proposed parallel system with 3-person arbitration courts allows corporations to sue for lost profits and decisions are irrevocable.
What a scandal to set “foreign investors” above labor and the environment!

Stop the TTIP!
authors: D Haufler, S Wagenknecht and F Roetzer


A recent 29-page study from Tufts University (October 2014) warns that the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could cause European disintegration, unemployment and instability:




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The Myth of the Unexpected Crisis and Security by Tobias Straumann and Georg Seesslen

Many knew the rise of housing prices for years had to end some time or other..
Four theses explain why the Fed was not active during the real estate boom: power of lobbyists, market ideology, trust in abstract academic models and inflation targeting…
The only security guaranteed us…is that nothing will change, nothing in the basic hierarchy of power…

to read the translated articles by Tobias Straumann and Georg Seesslen, click on


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Rethinking Prosperity

Rethinking Prosperity

Maybe our thinking about prosperity needs radical reconfiguration. The Gross Domestic Product measures everything but what makes life worthwhile said Bobby Kennedy.

Unlike a chair, an idea can be shared by a whole people. Time for alternative economics, reducing working hours and work fetishism, exchanging roles and redefining work and for time sovereignty and resisting instrumental rationality normalizing the absurd (cf. Jurgen Habermas).

Harry Kravitz as a “buyout artist” gained $35 million a year or $100K a day for selling off parts of businesses and of course paid no tax. Elizabeth Warren and Joseph Stiglitz are teaching the nation that Warren Buffet should pay more tax than his secretary. Hedge fund and buyout artists are enjoying a guaranteed basic income – thanks to system myths, profit-making blindness and enforced conformity. Time for system change; the slow ones now will later be fast.
http://www.themetimeradio.org changes life into an open door if we are not overwhelmed by anxiety.

Posted in Bob Dylan, Political Theory, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution, Reducing Working Hours | Leave a comment

No Redistribution Without the Social State and Distribution Debate Picks Up Speed

to read the translated articles by Norman Wagner and Matthais Schnetzer, visit


In Austria, 30% of the gross domestic product is spent on social services (not including education spending)… Since the 1990s, social security has been increasingly discussed as a financial burden and less as a social achievement… The irony is that the social state is the target of austerity measures in times of economic insecurity with high unemployment and rising poverty although it is then urgently necessary, The social state ensures that the income of persons impacted by a crisis like the current one will not fall enormously and purchasing power will not collapse. Expanding – not cutting – the social system is urgently necessary in the present situation.

With his book “Capital in the 21st Century,” Thomas Piketty has aroused a great international discussion on neoliberalism as an inequality machine and the dangers of patrimonial capitalism.

Posted in Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution, Thomas Piketty | Leave a comment

The Inheritance of Inequality and Rethinking Growth

The economy exists for people, not vice versa. The economy should be a part of life, not a steamroller crushing self-determination and creativity. The economy should be embedded in society; society should not be embedded in the economy. Social and ecological reality should not be externalized or factored out but included in discussion and future planning. Thomas Piketty and alternative economics emphasize inequality and mass unemployment as dangers in late stage capitalism.

As lessons from the 2008 financial crisis, the financial sector must be shriveled and the public sector expanded. Market failure and state failure must be identified and confessed so errors are not repeated in the future. Profit and shareholder interest must be supplemented by sustainability and stakeholder interest. Quantitative growth must give way to qualitative growth, excess must yield to access and more to enough.

to read the translated articles “The Inheritance of Inequality and Rethinking Growth,” click on


Comment by drc2 on www.thomhartmann.com

What I noticed even in the midst of CAPITAL was the way the yarnball was being pulled apart by threads that could not just be trimmed to keep what we have going.

The Social State is really democracy. It requires wealth to serve the economy that serves a democracy rather than running a plutocracy over us in the name of ‘freedom.’ What it takes to get the wealth glut punctured so we can have our money back is not a reform, it is a revolution.

The fact that this establishment of encrusted wealth and power must yield has been denied by those inside it for a long time. They have had loads of clever theories to prove that more for them would result in some more for us so we should be grateful rather than resentful of them. And, as the established encrusted of the past, they have presumed a right to feast while others starve and to live while others die in a society, much less one that pretends to be about “liberty and justice, for all.”

The incentives within the bubble to believe in the bubble are as strong as ever, but the signs of wear and tear or downright delusion are showing up inside the bubble and not just from outside “the ideology.” We shall see, of course, because we are in this larger boat and have been working on our swimming skills for a while.

Posted in Alternative Economics, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

From real capitalism to finance capitalism and (hopefully) back – the role of the navigation map by Stephan Schulmeister

From real capitalism to finance capitalism and (hopefully) back – the role of the navigation map by Stephan Schulmeister, Austrian economist, May 22, 2013



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New Economy and New Prosperity by Cordula Drautz

The idea that the economy must be embedded in the normative order of society underlay the whole political economy of classical authors around Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Thomas Robert Malthus… In the current debate, there is a great chance to develop a new economic model…

High growth rates based on excessive debts and virtual speculation cycles are jointly responsible for financial and economic crises like the present crisis with fatal consequences for the real economy like the loss of thousands of jobs, social insecurity and de-stabilization… Is an economic system conceivable that need not grow or must grow differently and nevertheless can guarantee social prosperity, economic stability, job efficacy and ecological compatibility?

Economic structures that form the basis for social prosperity have become dysfunctional. The financial markets have expanded their original function and are now self-financed markets in which protection from risks has become itself a highly speculative business… Given its uncoupling from the real economic output, the necessity of a global framework regulating the financial markets and assigning a “serving” function to them is urgent.

to read Cordula Drautz’ 2010 article “New Economy and New Prosperity,” click on


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Video: John Paul Stevens on BookTV, 56 min

Video: John Paul Stevens on BookTV, 56 min, last broadcast on September 1, 2014

Justice John Paul Stevens was an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1975 to 2010. He was appointed by President Gerald Ford and was the second longest-service justice in the Court’s history, after Justice William Douglas, whom he replaced.to watch the 56-minute interview with John Paul Stevens last broadcast on September 1, 2014, click on


After Words: Justice John Paul Stevens, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution,” hosted by Jeffrey Rosen, National Constitution Center

The recently-retired Supreme Court Justice, long considered among the liberal members of the Court, recommends six ways he believes the U.S. Constitution should be amended. His largest targets for reform are campaign finance, the death penalty, gerrymandering and the Second Amendment. He talks with Jeffrey Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center.

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Thomas Piketty’s 1-hour 2014 Presentation

to hear Thomas Piketty’s 1-hour 2014 presentation on inequality of incomes and assets, click on

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Free Trade Agreement TTIP Endangers Democracy

Free Trade Agreement TTIP Endangers Democracy

Investor courts of arbitration create an exclusive special right for foreign corporations. They could demand unlimited compensation when they see profits narrowed by democratic decisions. The lawsuits will be decided by economic lawyers changing roles as prosecutors, defendants and judges, not by independent courts.

Stopping the TTIP is crucial for preserving sovereignty, environmental justice and public sector jobs. Investor protection must not be allowed to trump environmental and labor regulations in a “parallel system” of justice.

You can read a 20-page “Alternative Trade Mandate” at www.alternativetrademandate.org.

to read the translated articles by Christoph Bautz, Ursula Storost and Annette Sawatzki from August 2014, click on


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