The Anti-Neoliberalism 8-Track Tape #1: the end of the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the Empty Bong Hit

I checked the tags on random clothing items in my closet. All made in countries in Asia, some of which are part of the TPP (stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership) that the U.S. is now not going to do. I assume these companies, American I think, will pay more now to sell these goods here in the U.S. if they chose to do so. The shoe is Rockport (American, but made in India). The blue shirt is Mossimo Supply of California (made in China).

Again, not arguing to keep the TPP, just making the observation that something is going down and once again the ordinary citizen don’t know what that something seems to be. We just want to know, dig. Once and for all. Hold some meetings or something and explain things like we aren’t in 4th grade.

Most likely regardless of what is going down now is someone has been sticking it to the American worker for years even though the payoff was just cheap goods (I got all of this stuff for pretty cheap because I hold out for sales). Many weren’t making good money but they could buy cheap stuff made in Asia so they grinded on through life. Countries like India, Pakistan, China, and Thailand to name a few make most of the clothes in my house.

According to writer Paul Mason, the real goal of all of that was not to improve the economic level for American workers but to drag them down further to the level of the Asian workers making these goods so all workers in the world are closer in the same range. Mason contends that “neoliberalism was the first economic model in 200 years the upswing of which was premised on the suppression of wages and smashing the social power and resilience of the working class.” It has given us a permanent state of austerity which has the intention of “driving the wages, social wages and living standards in the west down for decades until they meet those of the middle class in China and India on the way up.”

In other words, make all the workers of the world about the same: peasants barely getting by and subject to the orders and subservient to the obedience of the filthy rich who run their nations with self-centered economic policies. It sounds dystopian, I know but is it totally preposterous?

While the bama from Queens did cancel the TPP, no one knows what it means. The next intent is to impose a tariff on U.S. companies importing goods into the U.S. and on China and I guess other Asian nations.

So if my Rockport shoes cost $70 before the tariff and were made in India which will soon get hit with a not made in America tax (remember how Michigan was like don’t buy Asian cars; how did that turn out?), what will the shoes cost soon — $100? I won’t buy them. Not because I hate the system but because I can’t afford them unless wages go up. And so how are wages going to go up if the economy is constricted by a trade war?

Was the TPP a bad deal? And getting out of it is a bad deal as well? I think so. But hasn’t the U.S. ceded 25 percent of the world trade market to China and Japan?

Here is what Peter Petri, Michael G. Plummer, and Fan Zhai wrote in a 2014 academic paper of the TPP:

“Of the world’s $14 trillion in trade in 2010, $9 trillion involve APEC countries — a useful, though synthetic definition of the region — as either an exporter or importer or both. Within the APEC region, trade in the Americas amounted to $1 trillion, in Asia and Oceania $2 trillion, and across the Pacific also $2 trillion. The region comprises not only the world’s “factory floor” but also its most important sources of services, technology and investment, and final goods markets.”

Still none of this makes sense. Some say the deal was bad. Some say it didn’t matter. The point was to keep China from dominating the region even more. That is not me talking; that is the Obama administration’s line. Like when chain stores open up another store anyway to stop a competitor from opening up a store. The store don’t do well but your competitor can’t make gains on you.

Like an empty bong hit. You don’t get high but neither does your weed head friend who always smokes up your stash. You save your weed for another day. Tell him he can high on the residue if he can manage to do so. Bad analogy I know. Out.

bard-barrister. 2021 Medium-Writers-Challenge Honorable Mention Recipient —