Have you seen the reports that TransCanada is using NAFTA to sue the U.S. for $15 billion because the XL pipeline wasn't approved? If the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and/or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are approved we can expect more of that kind of thing. The decisions won't necessarily be made in United States courts, nor will they have to respect environmental or labor laws that get in the way of trade and profits. That's ass backwards! The economy represents intermediate phases between natural capital and human well-being (page #42), yet we have corporations that are legally obligated to maximize profits and global corporations doing their best to undermine sovereign governments so profits can be increased based on "growth."
Northern Minnesota, St. Louis River
Photo by J. Harrington
You may wonder what this has to do with Minnesota. Foreign entities are major investors in pipelines traversing Minnesota. Expansion projects are now subject to the preparation of a state Environmental Impact Statement, a decision reached by Minnesota courts. Corporations with significant ownership control by foreign investors are mining Minnesota for taconite and planning to mine for copper. The Minnesota pipeline projects may become plaintiffs similar to KXL's owners if Minnesota determines that the environmental risks are unacceptable. If the state is dragged into a trade arbitration settlement it could cost Minnesotans big bucks. My Minnesota has raised similar concerns about the outcome of the PolyMet NorthMet project. Our Iron Range is suffering in part due to a slowing of economic growth in China and reduced demand for steel. A growing global economy controlled more by international corporations than by national and state governments isn't what we need. No trade deals are better than bad trade deals, whether they're supposed to be good for agriculture, mining or forestry, they need to be good first of all for Minnesota. I still sort of like the idea that we all do better when we all do better, not just when it benefits the 1% who then let it trickle down to the rest of us. Maybe we need evaluations of international trade agreements to see how well they help attain the world's new Sustainable Development Goals, as a way to see if they help level of further tilt the playing field for world development. It's past time to think about the legacy we're leaving to future generations.
Part of a Legacy
I take pillows outdoors to sun themas my mother did. “Keeps bedding fresh,”she said. It was April then, too—buttercups fluffing their frail sails,one striped bee humming grudges, a crinkleof jonquils. Weeds reclaimed bare ground.All of these leaked somehowinto the pillows, looking odd where theysimmered all day, the size of hams, out of placeon grass. And at night I could feelsome part of my mother still with mein the warmth of my face as I dreamedbaseball and honeysuckle, sleepingon sunlight.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.