Free Trade Agreements, as presently conceived, are really global constitutions for global corporations. They are designed primarily to create a beneficial transnational habitat for corporations to grow and flourish in a World Economy because the fact is that corporations are no longer sedentary, but chase their resources, labour, and markets around the world. These FTAs are designed to provide a favourable business climate for investment and profit-taking. And no one, and not Mr. Trump, is going to command them to heal, sit, and stay.
Labour used to be the mobile social factor and the corporation (or capital) was the fixed or sedentary factor. This situation has reversed itself, and this fact is connected not only with “rootless capitalism” (as even the UK’s Conservative PM Theresa May put it), but also with the “Precariat” and what is called “job churn”. As a former IBM executive put it, “money knows no country”.
The former USSR had a great and admirable constitution. Constitutions are supposed to be the “law of the land”. Unfortunately, the Soviet constitution was mostly symbolic and pro forma, because the real constitution and the law of the land was contained in the regular economic “Five Year Plans”. These rotating Five Year Plans were the equivalent of terms of government in the electoral democracies, after which they were likewise, reviewed, or amended, or scrapped and replaced with another cycle of Five Year Plans.
Very much the same thing seems to be occurring with so-called “Free Trade Agreements”. These FTAs are taking the form of global political and economic constitutions which supersede national ones, much as the Soviet Five Year Plans superseded the Soviet Constitution. This was the “Trojan Horse” in the CETA deal that bothered Mr. Magnette and his Walloon government. These FTAs have served, in effect, as a usurpation of constitutional government — the equivalent of the Soviet Five Year Plans.
The process of globalisation, in the form presently pursued, quite literally generates “more heat than light”. Is that not evidently so? Climate change and globalisation are conjoined. Our present enthusiasts for the economic orthodoxy of global economic growth and the expansion of the realm of production and consumption have somehow managed to ignore the second law of thermodynamics.
Since it is not a question of reversing globalisation, but of transforming it through a “transvaluation of values” to overcome its more destructive tendencies — that is to say, reversing the relationship between heat and light so that it assumes more the character of the latter than the former — we’re obliged to consider how this alchemical process of value transmutation can be effected so that “more light than heat” can be the outcome.