Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

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LaserGuy
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Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:12 pm UTC

A bloc of 12 countries, making up some 40% of world GDP has signed the Trans Pacific Partnership, arguably the largest free trade agreement in history. Advocates have called the deal a "no-brainer", arguing that such an agreement will lead to significant economic growth and mutual trade benefits. The agreement has also been considered a coup for the Obama administration keen on creating a Pacific power bloc that can counter the influence of China (the agreement includes most of Southeast Asia, including countries such as Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Phillipines, and Indonesia, but notably excluding China). The deal has been controversial on a number of fronts, not least of which has been the extreme secrecy under which it has been negotiated: US lawmakers and various other national parliaments have expressed frustration about being unable to see the text, as have civil society, environmental and labour groups, who complain that the deal is a sellout to major corporations (which have been included in the discussions).

The deal includes a controversial ISDS provision, which would allow foreign corporations to sue countries for implementing domestic laws that negatively impact their profits. While such deals have been fairly common in other trade deals, including NAFTA, they have been subject to increased scrutiny in recent years after multi-billion dollar lawsuits have been launched against various governments under ISDS provisions. Other sensitive issues in the deal include provisions regarding pharmaceutical patents, where critics are concerned that extensions of patent lives will lead to more expensive prescription drugs. There is also a controversial intellectual property chapter, which exports various aspects of the US Digital Millenium Act abroad.

In my home country of Canada, there has been concerns about how the deal would affect our closely protected dairy industry, as well the auto sector. Canada is in the midst of an election, and at least one of major parties has indicated that it may walk away from the deal if elected.

The deal must be ratified by all twelve national governments, so this is by no means a done deal. In the US, populist presidential candidates on both sides of the spectrum, including Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, have also come out against the deal.

From the WSJ
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:23 pm UTC

If Trump and Bernie are against it, I suspect the safe economic strategy is to embrace it.

More seriously, I'd have to see the actual text to evaluate it fully. I like free trade as much as the next person, but a nice title can obscure all manner of hidden yet important details.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby cphite » Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:19 pm UTC

A huge international deal that will effect trade, the economy, employment, healthcare, the environment... all being decided by a handful of elite government types and wealthy corporations; and deliberately kept secret from the people, the groups that advocate for us, and our own elected officials... what could possibly go wrong??

More seriously, regardless of whether this turns out to be a good deal or a shit deal, it's frankly amazing to me how quiet people have been about it considering the scope.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:01 pm UTC

Honestly, it seems as if most people these days just don't care about foreign policy. Even pretty major wars are something akin to a sideshow, and are promptly nudged out for any local news whatsoever. Boring trade negotiations? Pssh, nobody but low ranking jedi knights care about that.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:25 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Honestly, it seems as if most people these days just don't care about foreign policy. Even pretty major wars are something akin to a sideshow, and are promptly nudged out for any local news whatsoeverKARDASHIANS OМG. Boring trade negotiations? Pssh, nobody but low ranking jedi knights care about that.


Fixed it for you.

What I mean is, trade negotiations are opaque as hell. Everyone, including the people signing it, and probably even most of the people who wrote it, needs a lot of people to read through it to tell us what it means and what's in store when it passes. This doesn't attract ratings, not like celebrities and outrage (or even better, both combined). And anyways it's a lot easier and more rewarding for those making decisions for mass media to cаter to an audience by telling them shit hit the fan because of the republicans or the democrats.

/cynicism is as easy as outrage too

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby BattleMoose » Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:50 am UTC

I really have no idea what to think about this. No clue if its a good idea or not. Seen a lot of controversial claims against it, no idea if they are founded/unfounded.

The secrecy however is a complete non-starter for me. If I cannot access the text of the proposals, its a hard no against it. There is no excuse for such secrecy.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:17 pm UTC

Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:/cynicism is as easy as outrage too


Oh, I agree. My cynicism is mostly reflexive, I can't actually evaluate it without access and the willingness to spend a fair amount of time checking it out. And honestly, while I'm far more willing to do this than most, I certainly can't do that for every bill, law, treaty or agreement. There's a ton of those buggers, and they tend toward the lengthy. Actually investigating stuff is hard, optimism or cynicism are both easy by comparison.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby cphite » Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:46 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I really have no idea what to think about this. No clue if its a good idea or not. Seen a lot of controversial claims against it, no idea if they are founded/unfounded.

The secrecy however is a complete non-starter for me. If I cannot access the text of the proposals, its a hard no against it. There is no excuse for such secrecy.


This. Exactly this.

Granted the average person isn't going to be able to completely digest the entirety of the agreement, especially at the detail level... but there is no good reason for the level of secrecy, particularly at the level of our elected legislatures. Some nonsensical bullshit has been offered about not wanting various countries to know what other countries are agreeing to; but that flies in the face of the term "agreement".

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:45 pm UTC

Hillary Clinton has come out against the TPP, claiming that, as far as she has been briefed, it does not meet her requirements for a trade deal to "create good American jobs, raise wages and advance our national security". Her statements aren't unequivocal--she's clearly hedging a bit--but it's a strong statement against a treaty that she had advocated for during her tenure as Secretary of State.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:53 am UTC

If Obama is still in office when it's time to be ratified, all we'll have to do is start calling it "Obamatrade" and put an end to the nonsense once and for all.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:32 am UTC

This kind of thing is the democratic equivalent of the grade-school "open your mouth, close your eyes, and you will get a big surprise." Nothing good ever follows it.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Zamfir » Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:41 am UTC

Some secrecy is unavoidable when negotiating treaties.

The main democratic step takes place upfront - you vote for the people who will negotiate (or at least, who will delegate that task). And their performance will be re-evaluated at election time, just as for other choices they make.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby jseah » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:49 am UTC

I get that revealing treaty elements while negotiating is justifiable, but publicising the treaty once it is finalized would seem to be common sense. Is that going to happen before the ratification votes?

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Not that it matters for where I stay. If the Singapore and Malaysia governments like the deal (and they must do if the treaty is finalized), the treaty will pass with virtual certainty.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby cphite » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:12 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Some secrecy is unavoidable when negotiating treaties.


Sure; it's not unusual that Country X makes a side agreement with Country Y, and doesn't want Country Z to know the details of that particular side agreement until the overall agreement is signed.

But we're talking about the legislators of Country X - the people who will ultimately be responsible for ratifying it - not being allowed to see the details. There is no justification for that.

The main democratic step takes place upfront - you vote for the people who will negotiate (or at least, who will delegate that task). And their performance will be re-evaluated at election time, just as for other choices they make.


Even if we accept the secrecy during the negotiation phase, that phase is over. The deal should be made public now, so that we - you know, the people our representative government is supposed to represent - can express our support or lack thereof for the deal.

We don't just elect people and then blindly accept whatever they do for their term. We're supposed to have a voice, especially regarding deals of this magnitude.
Last edited by cphite on Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:19 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:15 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Some secrecy is unavoidable when negotiating treaties.


Sure; it's not unusual that Country X makes a side agreement with Country Y, and doesn't want Country Z to know the details of that particular side agreement until the overall agreement is signed.

But we're talking about the legislators of Country X - the people who will ultimately be responsible for ratifying it - not being allowed to see the details. There is no justification for that.


Eh, this is a problem inherent to democracy. It doesn't mesh overly well with secrecy. The more people you show, the more people know, and the more likely it is the details will be sufficiently publicized so that country z does know.

This is particularly true when representatives are factionalized, and a "leak" may serve interests of a party that wishes to scuttle the deal.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby cphite » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:23 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
cphite wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Some secrecy is unavoidable when negotiating treaties.


Sure; it's not unusual that Country X makes a side agreement with Country Y, and doesn't want Country Z to know the details of that particular side agreement until the overall agreement is signed.

But we're talking about the legislators of Country X - the people who will ultimately be responsible for ratifying it - not being allowed to see the details. There is no justification for that.


Eh, this is a problem inherent to democracy. It doesn't mesh overly well with secrecy. The more people you show, the more people know, and the more likely it is the details will be sufficiently publicized so that country z does know.

This is particularly true when representatives are factionalized, and a "leak" may serve interests of a party that wishes to scuttle the deal.


But that is part of what it means to be a free society governed by a representative democracy. Sometimes it's messy. Yes, it's possible... in fact probable... okay certain that leaks would happen. Too bad. That's part of the process. The fact that leaking information to the public can affect the outcome is actually the point.

The alternative - the one where it doesn't matter what the people think - is worse.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Dauric » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:53 pm UTC

cphite wrote:The alternative - the one where it doesn't matter what the people think - is worse.


We're already there, but for different reasons than governments being secretive.

If the issue was presented in a nonpartisan, nonpolitical analysis of the policy and it's ramifications the vast majority of the public wouldn't understand it, or frankly give a pair of fetid dingo's kidneys enough to do the work to understand the issue. The further problem is that no issue can be presented in this fashion, but rather in our highly factionalized political climate everything becomes part of the political game between factions, rather than as governance policy. what "The People think" is filtered through a lens that resembles professional sports more than statesmanship. It becomes more important to "Score points" for one team or the other by passing or torpedoing policies based on which team put those policies forward.

It shouldn't be any surprise really that people looking to actually 'govern' with sensible policies want to avoid the realm of political sports. I'm not suggesting that they're going to come up with the best solutions in secret while the public focuses on the political game unfolding in our media, rather I suspect the opposite, but at present the public forum isn't a much better option for sensible policy.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Zamfir » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:14 pm UTC


If the issue was presented in a nonpartisan, nonpolitical analysis of the policy and it's ramifications the vast majority of the public wouldn't understand it, or frankly give a pair of fetid dingo's kidneys enough to do the work to understand the issue.


How can a trade agreement be nonpolitical?

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Dauric » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:24 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:

If the issue was presented in a nonpartisan, nonpolitical analysis of the policy and it's ramifications the vast majority of the public wouldn't understand it, or frankly give a pair of fetid dingo's kidneys enough to do the work to understand the issue.


How can a trade agreement be nonpolitical?


Probably poor word choice on my part, but having to do less with elections and people involved in, and more about the economics of the policies themselves.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:31 pm UTC

But seriously, while it's true that our media could do a hell of a lot better job of presenting the facts and not playing to partisan interests, it's absurd to suggest that that would make the proposal not (or significantly less) contentious. The proposal is inherently contentious, because it has significant direct impacts for a broad swath of citizens of all these countries, and indirectly affects basically everybody to one extent or another. Of course people are going to have strong and strongly differing opinions on that, and it's not wrong for them to have them, or to act on them, because that is what having a free country with a democratic government is about.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Dauric » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:44 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:But seriously, while it's true that our media could do a hell of a lot better job of presenting the facts and not playing to partisan interests, it's absurd to suggest that that would make the proposal not (or significantly less) contentious. The proposal is inherently contentious, because it has significant direct impacts for a broad swath of citizens of all these countries, and indirectly affects basically everybody to one extent or another. Of course people are going to have strong and strongly differing opinions on that, and it's not wrong for them to have them, or to act on them, because that is what having a free country with a democratic government is about.


I agree with this. The problem is that the Republicans have made a point of torpedoing their very own policy positions if those positions are supported by Obama. To a degree both Republicans and Democrats (but primarily Republicans in an effort t deal with their Tea Party faction) have been playing this bit where the effects of the policy itself take a back seat in importance to which 'team' will 'win' by passage or blockage of a particular piece of legislation.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:47 pm UTC

I don't disagree, but that's no excuse at all for this "can't see it until you've voted on it" horseshit. Legislators can't judge whether it best represents the interests of their constituents to vote yea or nay unless they actually have some idea what the thing they're voting on is.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby sardia » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:50 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:I don't disagree, but that's no excuse at all for this "can't see it until you've voted on it" horseshit. Legislators can't judge whether it best represents the interests of their constituents to vote yea or nay unless they actually have some idea what the thing they're voting on is.

Isn't there a90 day public review period before any vote is held? Or are you freaking out because of the scare mongering?

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:05 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Isn't there a90 day public review period before any vote is held? Or are you freaking out because of the scare mongering?

I'm freaking out because congresspersons on both sides of the aisle are raising concerns about being unable to see this, while at the same time, multiple large (and less than entirely admirable) corporations are being openly invited to have a say.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote:The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. [...] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing.

That's, you know, maybe a little teensy bit suspicious.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby jewish_scientist » Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:26 pm UTC

jseah wrote:I get that revealing treaty elements while negotiating is justifiable, but publicising the treaty once it is finalized would seem to be common sense.

I agree with this. Imagine if all the negotiations of the America-Iran Nuclear Arms Treaty (not the actual name) were made public; the news would explode with alarmists and pundits every time there was a meeting. Then again, they would be talking about actual government policy instead of things so stupid the brain cells of people saying them commit mass suicide.


cphite wrote:Sure; it's not unusual that Country X makes a side agreement with Country Y, and doesn't want Country Z to know the details of that particular side agreement until the overall agreement is signed.

I find it completely understandable if Haiti and Indonesia want to make a treaty about military issues, but do not want Nigeria to know about it*. However, a trade agreement should be viewed by everyone, especially if it applies to private companies; and the idea that the people who decide whether to ratify the treaty or not cannot read the treaty is stupid. I mean, let's-shut-down-the-government-for-no-reason level of stupid.


sardia wrote:Isn't there a90 day public review period before any vote is held?

I doubt that 90 days is enough to look over a deal this big in detail. A legislator would not read ever line personally; he would appoint a group of people he trusts to do that. How many people do you think it would take to read, comprehend, and then cross reference every sentence of this treaty in 3 months?


LaserGuy wrote:In my home country of Canada, there has been concerns about how the deal would affect our closely protected dairy industry, as well the auto sector. Canada is in the midst of an election, and at least one of major parties has indicated that it may walk away from the deal if elected.

Canada has a closely protected dairy industry? *Googles Canada Dairy Industry* Wow. Here I was thinking that maple syrup was Canada's big thing.



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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Vahir » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:43 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:Canada has a closely protected dairy industry? *Googles Canada Dairy Industry* Wow. Here I was thinking that maple syrup was Canada's big thing.


That's a bit like saying that cotton production is the US's thing. Maple syrup is only a really major industry in the province of Quebec, and even there, it's hardly the driving force of the economy. The Canadian economy is just as varied as America's, or France's, or any other country.

/Recognizes that you're probably joking.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:53 pm UTC

Indeed, they also export hockey and TV actors!
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Vahir » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:56 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Image


We do not... mention... the actors!

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:58 pm UTC

"Spooock!"

Edit: and also The Red Green Show, which will be in reruns on PBS until the end of time.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby K-R » Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:42 am UTC

White Hat Hackers Would Have Their Devices Destroyed Under the TPP
Car hackers, farmers fixing their high-tech tractors, and teenage DVD rippers; all over the world, these digital tinkerers could have their devices seized and destroyed by the authorities thanks to provisions in the newly-minted Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

The finalized copyright chapter of the TPP, leaked on Friday by Wikileaks, reveals that under the agreement, “judicial authorities shall, at least, have the authority to [...] order the destruction of devices and products found to be involved in" any activity that circumvents controls that manufacturers build into their software or devices, known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.

“As a result,” Jeremy Malcolm, senior global policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote me in an email, “those who are tinkering with their own legally-purchased digital products will be at risk not only of financial penalties, but also having their equipment seized and perhaps destroyed.”

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby commodorejohn » Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:55 am UTC

Quelle surprise.
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:19 pm UTC

Oh joy, more DRM enforcement.

Ya, once I buy the device, it's mine. If I'm not using it to mess with other people, or copy and distribute, or whatever, I get to do what I want with it. That's what buying *is*. Screw this.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby sardia » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:46 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Oh joy, more DRM enforcement.

Ya, once I buy the device, it's mine. If I'm not using it to mess with other people, or copy and distribute, or whatever, I get to do what I want with it. That's what buying *is*. Screw this.

Corporations know this. That's went thru don't let you but things anymore. The smart money always leases or grants licenses to use.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Chen » Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:50 pm UTC

Looks like the full text of this has been released. I haven't really found any good articles or anything that talk about the details though. Anyone else have any decent links?

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 06, 2015 4:15 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Oh joy, more DRM enforcement.

Ya, once I buy the device, it's mine. If I'm not using it to mess with other people, or copy and distribute, or whatever, I get to do what I want with it. That's what buying *is*. Screw this.

Corporations know this. That's went thru don't let you but things anymore. The smart money always leases or grants licenses to use.


I'm okay with leases or whatever, so long as they are sold as such.

But if your ad says "buy x today for $moneys", then I expect it to be a goddamned sale, not a lease.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby sardia » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:26 pm UTC

Not according to conservative/pro business judges. The only thing that matters is the tiny contract you signed when you were clicking through to the party money screen. They have won on this position.

Quick question, what's the libertarian position on contract law?

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:45 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Not according to conservative/pro business judges. The only thing that matters is the tiny contract you signed when you were clicking through to the party money screen. They have won on this position.

Quick question, what's the libertarian position on contract law?


Contracts are all holy and what not. Which is fine, when those contracts are portrayed accurately.

Beefing up truth in advertising laws is a reasonable solution here, I think. If the thing you are actually doing is a lease, and your ad uses words like "own" and "sale" regarding that contract, it seems fairly obvious that something is being misrepresented.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Dauric » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:51 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
sardia wrote:Not according to conservative/pro business judges. The only thing that matters is the tiny contract you signed when you were clicking through to the party money screen. They have won on this position.

Quick question, what's the libertarian position on contract law?


Contracts are all holy and what not. Which is fine, when those contracts are portrayed accurately.

Beefing up truth in advertising laws is a reasonable solution here, I think. If the thing you are actually doing is a lease, and your ad uses words like "own" and "sale" regarding that contract, it seems fairly obvious that something is being misrepresented.


<ideological libertarian> But those laws are unholy intervention in business! </ideological libertarian>
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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:53 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:<ideological libertarian> But those laws are unholy intervention in business! </ideological libertarian>


Contracts are not good solely because they are words on paper, but because they represent an agreement. You make the agreement, well, fair enough to stick to it.

Me, I see deception as not really being the same thing as agreement. More like fraud.

Note that "conservative/pro-business judges" are probably not libertarian. More republican/corporatist.

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Re: Trans Pacific Partnership Deal Reached

Postby Dauric » Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:08 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Dauric wrote:<ideological libertarian> But those laws are unholy intervention in business! </ideological libertarian>


Contracts are not good solely because they are words on paper, but because they represent an agreement. You make the agreement, well, fair enough to stick to it.

Me, I see deception as not really being the same thing as agreement. More like fraud.

Note that "conservative/pro-business judges" are probably not libertarian. More republican/corporatist.


I completely agree, however the ideological libertarian would claim that the marketplace polices fraud by making it harder for the fraudster to do business as their reputation proceeds them. (Alan Greenspan reportedly made this argument against the CFTC policing derivative investments*)

*Frontline: The Warning

again, my snark was not 'functional' libertarianism, but that hard ideological flavor that says all intervention in the marketplace is bad.
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