The Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) between the US and the EU intends to create the world’s largest free trade area, “protect” investment and remove “unnecessary regulatory barriers.” It’s basically another corporate power grab to allow international consolidation of world trade, especially in the agricultural industry. Biotech and Big Pharma are dumping a fortune into pushing this strategy; meanwhile a growing number of watch dog citizens groups are expressing concern that the treaty is being negotiated almost entirely in secret, which it absolutely is. Despite such secrecy it’s fairly obvious that these negotiations could result in allowing such fine American innovations as “GMOs” and “Fracking” into places where they’ve already been banned— namely Europe. It also threatens to create exciting new exploitable loopholes in long-standing international environmental regulations and intellectual property law.
Even some mid-sized American corporations— who would normally salivate at the merest thought of new foreign markets— are starting to complain about TAFTA, because it so-heavily favors multinational corporations at the expense of American business. Ultimately it’s not hard to imagine the treaty creating new pipelines of American wealth out of the US economy and into the overseas banks and tax shelters of the multinationals. The ever-widening flood of American dollars siphoned permanently out of the hands of domestic consumers—begun in the 1990’s by NAFTA— will undoubtedly increase under the similarly named TAFTA. If and when it gets signed into treaty, expect more heinous power grabs by corporate financiers: our gas reserves will get piped overseas, American farm products will get choked out by cheaper foreign imports, and assorted megacorporations will continue to consolidate American resources for packaging and sale— all under the legal authority of international tribunals beyond our borders.
The food sector is already essentially monopolized: four megacorporations process 80 percent of American beef, four retailing chains sell 50 percent of our groceries, and one out of every three dollars spent on groceries in the U.S. goes to Walmart, the biggest importer of foreign food in America. Meanwhile 10 fast food companies control 47 percent of all fast food sales, and three companies (Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta) own 49 percent of the world’s seeds. Nearly every major food commodity (wheat, corn, soy) is controlled by just four corporations, who spend 40 million dollars a year lobbying government officials who then reciprocate by granting them $15 billion+ a year in federal tax funds to subsidize the production and sale of corporate agribusiness commodities.
Fans of dystopian science fiction aren’t surprised by these developments in the least. It’s no coincidence that the Hollywood film portrayal of the Antichrist, as depicted in The Omen and its sequels, begins his apocalyptic bid for power by first cornering the world’s food supply. And Soylent Green, as we all know, is people… but only in the metaphorical sense. At least for now.
“I have come to the conclusion that imperialism and exploitation are forms of cannibalism and, in fact, are precisely those forms of cannibalism which are most diabolical or evil.”
—Jack D. Forbes