Shadow Sovereign - how trans national corporations are
taking power -Transcription by Janet M Eaton, PhD
Susan George introduces her new book
The Idea of this book was to explain different ways in which the corporations operate to insert themselves, to infiltrate various functions of government. So I start off with ordinary lobbies just how do they do it, what are the techniques, what are some examples, what’s the situation in Europe where we don't have a binding code - that sort of thing .
And then a kind of mega -lobby in which all corporations from one industry come together—it could be food companies, it could be pharmaceutical companies , any sector will have its own centre or foundation or institute. They give these neutral names to it but it’s a group lobby that's going to try to get for the whole industry what they want and those have become quite powerful.
And then the centre of book is a long chapter about the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - the famous TTIP between the United States and Europe and this is a case study - it's a long case study of how you can take over the judiciary with the investor to state dispute resolution function where if you're a corporation you have the right to sue a government. This begins with bi-lateral treaties, and it has been taken up in a big way in the TTIP negotiations and how you can take over legislature through regulatory cooperation as they call it but which puts the companies in a position to actually decide what the regulations are going to be- and which I think also invades the executive branch of a democracy because if you are threatened with so many law suits every time you pass a decent law for labour or for the environment or for people' s welfare and health you can be sued and I think that this freezes the executive initiative especially in smaller and weaker countries which are not able to withstand lawsuits for literally billions of dollars
And then I move to the International level with the invasion of the United Nations and many of its specialized agencies.
And then the Davos level which is a completely new thing - not many people know about the - Global Redesign Initiative in which Davos is really deciding with study groups so to speak or thematic groups around about 80 different subjects - they’re simply saying states don't work any more, multi-lateralism doesn’t work; its not efficient, we are efficient , we are going to study what's needed and then we'll see; but now they are beginning to put into practice the reports of some of these groups- so that's an ongoing story which I hope TNI will follow up on because it's something that's really going to change the landscape I think - move states out and bring power into what used to be state functions but since we have so little democracy at the international level there's a kind of entry point there for them via Davos which I think is going to be extremely dangerous.
I think a book is important when it tells you what is going to change in your daily life among other things and this one explains exactly what e.g. the treaty can change . It can change what you eat, it can change your health conditions, it can change your salary and your working conditions, it can enter into the day to day business of a government and challenge it if it doesn't suit the largest corporations and I would like to say I am not talking here about small and medium enterprise in fact I think they are victims of exactly the same process. It's the huge transnationals that have been preparing this for twenty years- they know what they want ; they have been working together in the Trans Atlantic Business Dialogue and other formats of that sort so that they have become and they say it - the Trans Atlantic Economic Council says we are a political organization and our goal is to harmonize the economies of the United States and Europe. Nobody voted for the transnationals to be a political organization - nobody voted for them to change and to integrate the two economies - this is a usurpation of power in the classical sense. So I am trying to explain how now in the absence of democracy particularly internationally the corporations see a terrific opening and they are rushing into it and filling that space as we speak.