The TPP/TISA Trade Agreements Will Force Australia to Privatise Education

NBN photo

Des Pensable copyright 2016

Imagine if the Turnbull government later this year announced that it had decided that all schools, colleges and universities in Australia MUST be privatised over the next several years because we have signed an international agreement that says we have to?

You probably can’t imagine this happening because you wouldn’t expect any Australian government to sign any agreement that FORCES us to do something that momentous that the majority of Australian people might be against, certainly not without our agreement.

Well it’s REALLY happening. The new TPP and  TISA “trade” agreements are about much, much more than trade. The TPP is a 6000 page document which sets about to restructure the whole of Australian society, culture, working conditions and law. These agreements mandate and that means FORCE Australia to privatise all government services including education and Australians won’t get a say in it.

They even go further than this. They stipulate that once privatised, any new state or federal governments CANNOT go back to providing government services, even if the privatised services are considered substandard or not in the interests of the parents.

This will never happen you say. You’re wrong! The federal government has already assumed that the TPP/TISA agreements will be signed before the next election this year. PM Turnbull has been in the USA lobbying them to ratify it as soon as possible.

The Abbot government had already set the privatisation of schools and TAFEs into motion before we’ve even ratified the TPP. They’ve already done this by telling the states that the federal government is budgeting to cut the Gonski funding that was promised to bring state schools up to a higher standard.

The states will have to somehow find billions of dollars to do this. Treasurer Hockey was in favour of paying more for education by raising the GST to 15%. Some state premiers such as LNP Premier Baird are in favour. That’s an extra 5% tax on every person in Australia (but not the corporations) which is unlikely to get through a combined Labor/Greens vote in the senate.

The only alternative then will be to privatise but education authorities say privatising education is a really bad option. The UN argues that privatising education is bad as it increases the inequality gap between the rich and poor. We already have too much inequality.

The Victoria, NSW and Queensland have already started to privatize their TAFE systems with major resistance from TAFE teachers, unions and past and present students. NSW is currently considering downsizing its TAFE and selling campuses. Premier Baird recently announced he will cut half the TAFE budget favoring private providers.

According to NSW Greens senator John Kaye last year, “More than a third of the teaching workforce has been hollowed out by an intentional strategy of dumping TAFE into competition against lower quality private providers.” “There are now 3,610 fewer teachers than three years ago.” A recent report showed that privatising the TAFEs is failing badly.

Privatising the TAFE system pales into insignificance compared to privatising every state’s primary and secondary school systems. Imagine the chaos, different private local and foreign companies offering widely different courses for widely different costs. Imagine mass unemployment of teachers; lower salaries; no unions to uphold standards; compulsory religious education; McDonald’s primary schools and KFC high schools.

The Turnbull government is selling the TPP trade agreement as economically essential for us yet the World Bank has suggested that it offers little benefit to Australia, perhaps a 0.7 % increase in GDP by 2030.  The TPP has been criticised as increasing inequality and causing the future loss of 39,000 jobs in Australia.

Andrew Robb the Australian Trade minister says the World Bank is wrong but can’t show us any economic models that disprove the World Bank model. Another independent US study also showed that Australia would receive virtually no benefit with only an increase in GDP of 0.2% by 2025.

If we hardly gain anything economically from the TPP why the hell are we signing a trade agreement that will FORCE Australia to change its perfectly good educational system ?

Signing the TPP doesn’t seem to make any logical sense unless it’s about a furtive attempt by the Australian government to assure the USA sticks to the ANZUS treaty.  Is the TPP just about US geopolitical posturing or perhaps a failing US dollar? Is the Australian education system to be a sacrificial lamb to neoliberal ideology?

Whatever the real reason, Australian children will suffer and so will our future unless we refuse to ratify the TPP and TISA agreements.

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NOTE- News Update (articles after this was published.)

  1. Paul Goulter: TPP puts profit ahead of quality education
  2. Concern as private training colleges to compete with TAFE to teach HSC courses
  3. This is how they will privatize the Australian public schools. The Government announces decision to privatise all state schools in England
  4. Selling off the Family Jewels – a simple article about privatisation in Australia
  5. Privatisation has damaged the economy, says ACCC chief
  6. We will smash their business model: Simon Birmingham outlines private college crackdown

The Dangerous Relationship between TPP/TTIP/TISA, US Dollar and Global Warming

new world1

Des Pensable copyright 2016

Time is money. The world runs on money. International trade is good for us. The TPP and TTIP will be good for us. We hear this from our government all the time but we also hear comments from its critics. We need to reduce inequality as poverty is increasing and Climate Change is the biggest economic threat in the world in 2O16.  So what does the TPP/TTIP/TISA have to do with the US dollar (USD) and Global Warming?

The world today was largely shaped by an important event way back at the end of WW2. In 1947, the industrial base in many countries was largely destroyed. The exception was the USA. The leaders of most of the western countries had a meeting and decided a new world currency would help reconstruction and trade.

The US dollar (USD) was selected on the understanding that the dollar was convertible at any time to gold. This is widely known as the Bretton -Wood accord. One ounce of gold was pegged at $US35 to stop currency speculation.

It worked well for two decades but in the late 1960’s some European countries were worried the inflationary economic policies and the expensive militarism of the USA.  Germany and Japan were challenging USA in industrial power. The Europeans were worried about the USA ability to convert the USD to gold so they started to redeem their paper US dollars for gold.

At first the USA complied but this depleted US gold stocks so much that the US President Nixon suddenly shocked the financial world by declaring in 1971 that its currency was a fiat currency which basically means the strength of its currency was solely based upon USA economic / military might rather than gold.

This had consequences. To maintain the value of its USD it had to be and remain to be the world’s most powerful country. It had to be the world hegemon. (Russia wasn’t happy about this of course and the Cold War eventuated.)

To help it remain the world hegemon the USA realised that all modern economies relied on the use of fossil fuels so it decided to tie the value of the USD to trade in oil.

The USA politicians knew the middle east had the world’s biggest reserves of oil at that time. They knew a modern military moved on oil and they knew the post Ottoman empire borders in the middle east were a huge mess randomly dividing ethnic, religious and sectarian groups. They knew some countries were blessed with bountiful oil and others had little or none.

They knew that other nearby oil-poor countries within the chaotic border system would covet that oil so they made a deal with the Saudis. They would supply arms and protect the Saudis against all others if the Saudis agreed that they would only sell oil in USD.  The Saudi government agreed and later all the OPEC countries agreed as well. They created a monopoly that set the prices that world had to pay.

That meant that all countries in the world (including China and Russia) needing to grow their economies would need USD to buy oil so the USD would have to be held by all countries to pay for that oil. The Petrodollar was invented. The strength of the US dollar was no longer based upon gold but upon trade in fossil fuels and would continue to be the world’s main currency.

A very smart part of the deal was that any country trading in oil that had surplus USD would invest any surplus USD in US treasury bonds. This was supposed to stop the oil supplying nations from upsetting world finances by speculating with their spare currency.

However, this effectively gave the USA an enormous foreign loan to do with as it pleased. The US Treasury loaned this money to banks who loaned it to the finance industry who began to speculate with it. The result was that the USA was awash with money that it hadn’t actually earned.

It was ideal for spending on spy networks and military interventions all around the world to maintain its hegemony. It was also ideal for sanctioning countries that didn’t do what the USA wanted them to do. The US government could declare economic war on a country by withholding or refusing its trade in USD, by sanctions and by speculating on its currency and it did.

Even better, since the world needed to keep USD in their treasuries to pay for oil it could print paper money and exchange it for goods. In fact for decades now, unlike a barter system, or a monetary system based on something real like gold, where something of value is swapped for something else of value, the US has been trading and consuming the world’s goods with printed paper.

It can only continue to do that while people believe that its paper has some value. Several times throughout history where countries have tried fiat currencies like the USD it had failed dismally. All the paper currency ended up worthless.

If people of the world stop believing that the US paper dollar is worth something then they will stop trading their produce for worthless USD paper currency and the US will plunge into a massive recession bankrupting the rich and causing massive unemployment and undoubtedly a revolution.

To protect its currency and its ability to trade paper for produce the USA must be seen as the most powerful nation of Earth. To do that means that it had to stop anyone else becoming a serious competitor. It had to stop anyone trading oil in currencies other than USD and it did.

Iraq broke with the oil for USD rule and started trading oil for Euros. Iraq was invaded by the USA and its new puppet government resumed trading in USD. Libya suggested that Africa move to a currency based on the Libyan gold dinar a currency backed by hundreds of tons of gold and silver for all commodity trading. Libya was overthrown by US/ French / NATO forces and its gold and silver vanished. It’s now a ruined state.

Recently, the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) set up an alternate world trade and banking system backed by thousands of tons of gold and silver in an attempt to re-establish and stabilize the values of world currencies based upon real goods they produce rather than US military power backed paper dollars. This directly challenges the USA and USD hegemony and we are yet to see what happens.

The US is the most debt ridden country in the world through fighting countless wars to maintain its hegemonic world empire but it now faces a serious enemy greater than any county and that is Nature itself.

The power of its dollar was built on trading fossil fuels which are causing Global Warming which in turn are destroying our world.  At the Paris Climate Change conference in December last year 200 countries around the world agreed to phase out using fossil fuels and switch to other renewable fuels such as solar, wind, wave and geothermal power. That means the death of the fossil fuel industry, no more petrodollars and no more cheap loans of foreign currency for the USA finance industry.

So while monster fossil fuel corporations like Exxon have delayed Global Warming action using corporate funded misinformation and denialist campaigns and others will probably continue this for some time yet, inevitably the USD will have to be based upon something other than fossil fuels trading if the world is to survive a Global Warming catastrophe.

With the death of the petrodollar at hand, the US political and corporate elite believe that USA/  USD hegemony can be re-established with a new world trading system devised in secret by a consortium of transnational tax dodging companies and USA/European corporate bankers. The same bankers that brought on the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 and were never jailed because they were too big to fail.

The dozens of chapters and thousands of pages of this new trading system are embedded within the TPP/TTIP/TISA agreements which might well be labelled the 3T agreement as it is about Trade, Transnationals and Tyranny. It’s primarily about US world trade hegemony.

These new highly restrictive and punitive trading agreements herald in the changes needed by the USA led consortium to create the new international order which of course will continue to use the USD and MANDATES an authoritarian antisocial neoliberal economic continual growth philosophy. Corporate rule rather than democracy.

Thus the value of the USD will soon be based on US led corporate controlled world trade in goods and services produced by the TPP/TTIP countries which effectively become vassal states within a US corporate hegemonic sphere of influence.

There are many dangerous things about the TTP/TTIP/TISA agreements however from the point of view of this article the four most dangerous changes that the TPP/TTIP/TISA agreements will do is

  1. allow free unrestricted movement of currency within the TPP/TTIP/TISA countries
  2. set up a new legal system (ISDS) that settles disputes between governments and the transnational banks and corporations beyond control of all governments and not answerable to the people of the world.
  3. mandate that all the governments must privatise ALL government run services such as power, water, education and health etc.
  4. Totally ignores Global Warming and mandates trade is more important than the environment.

These changes will allow the transnational corporations and bankers currently holding  massive amounts of USD paper money held in tax havens estimated at up to 32 trillion USD to be used to buy real estate, farms, businesses and privatise ALL government run services and pollute the environment at will. This has already started as they are buying up the world’s fresh water. Take a minute to think about what this means.

They will use printed USD paper to buy the world and then rent it back to the people living in those countries. Everything will be owned and everyone owned through their debt to the banks. This includes ALL the citizens of all the countries poised to sign the TPP/TTIP/TISA. Your lives are soon to be traded for paper USD. If you don’t know what being sold as a slave means your children and theirs will know.

In return the US military will protect its TPP/TTIP vassal states from others such as the BRICS states thus creating a new Cold War. The USA is already the biggest supplier of armaments so business in that area is assured. Your kids will be able to get a good job as cannon fodder.

Does this remind you of the Roman Empire as there are plenty of analogies? The only truly free people will be outside the US corporate TPP/TTIP/TISA controlled hegemony. So where do you live? It might be a good time to move.

Halleluiah! The USD can be saved. All the US corporate controlled world will continue to need USD and the USA can continue to get goods for printed paper as long as it manages to keeps this artificial system from collapsing. The question is can it?

There are four major problems.

  1. TPP/TTIP/TISA agreements will hinder Global Warming mitigation.
  2. The growing world population will increase Global Warming.
  3. The BRICS consortium threatens the USA corporate banking domination.
  4. Action to Fix the Global Warming problem considered the world’s most important problem that threatens its very existence will be hindered by 1-3 above.

All of these issues are interrelated and will DOMINATE the next few decades and the outcome will determine whether our civilisation survives or not.

These issues will be further examined in future blogs.

NOTE : The countries of the world have not yet signed up to the TPP/TTIP/TISA agreements. Now would be a good time to reconsider whether this really is in our best interest.

see also

The Hidden Agenda of the TPP- to Block Global Warming Mitigation

Geopolitics of the TPP / TTIP/ TISA: How Will Australia Be Affected ?

Will Malcolm Turnbull Use the ISDS in the TPP to Sell Our Souls to the DEVIL?

TTIP/TPP/TISA Trade Agreements Mandate Corporatism and Sound the Death Knell of Social Democracy

Twenty Two Reasons Why the TPP will Adversely Affect All Australians and Should be Stopped

Post publication updates from world media

The Geopolitics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), A US Imperial Strategy

Should You Become a Climate Change Activist This Year?

 

people vs oil

Des Pensable copyright 2016

Note : This story has been slightly updated to make it more relevant to 2017.

In December 2015 about 200 countries from around the world had a meeting in Paris and agreed that Climate Change was becoming a serious problem that needed to be fixed. They agreed that the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal was the cause. They agreed to phase out the use of fossil fuels over the next few decades replacing them with renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power.

That sounds wonderful, our politicians are finally doing what we pay them to do you might say. Well you would be wrong. The politicians have been brought together several times before and would not or could not agree to do anything about the problem. This time they made a few difficult decisions but left many issues undecided such as how much to spend and how quickly the problem should be fixed.

So what was different this time?

The difference was activists. These are people like you and me, religious and non religious that care about the world and their own families. There are millions of them who are in all the world’s counties, all the religions and all the cultures. They want their children and grandchildren to see and live in the wonderful world that we have inherited from our ancestors. They believe that if not stopped, Climate Change has the potential to change the world to be different and much more hostile world than we or any of our ancestors have ever known.

Over the last several years these people from all around the world have noticed the changes in our world. They’ve noticed trees and flowers blooming earlier. The bush and wild fire seasons starting earlier and finishing later each year. They’ve noticed the storms, hurricanes and cyclones getting bigger and more damaging. They’re seeing droughts where before there were none. They’ve seen mass deaths of wildlife. They are witnessing these changes with their own eyes.

They’ve also heard about and seen videos of the melting glaciers and arctic sea ice. They’ve heard about sea level rises and the predictions based on real evidence of much worse to come if the people of the world don’t act to fix it. They see Climate Change as being like a cancer diagnosis. It’s a shock at first, they deny it, but eventually they accept it. Then they get busy trying to fight it. That’s what is happening right now all around the world.

There are lots of reasons and excuses why people were not fighting Climate Change. The worst excuse was that it’s somebody else’s problem. That’s where you’re wrong. We all breathe the same air. The air is a world community commons. It belongs to us all. Governments and corporations don’t own it but governments are allowing fossil fuel companies to pollute it by dumping massive quantities of greenhouse gases into it causing Climate Change. This is affecting people’s health and livelihoods all over the world.

The big excuse it that it’s really too difficult for an individual and should be left to the government. While this may be true it’s not that simple as governments listen to the rich and powerful first. The people who have lots of money invested in fossil fuels that care more about money than people. If you’re not rich and powerful like most of us you won’t get heard at all.

Aussies do know about the problem and want action to fix it. Before Christmas in 2015, in Sydney 45,000 people like you marched with their kids for Climate Change action. 60, 000 marched in Melbourne. Thousands more in towns all around Australia. Millions marched all around the world. You are NOT alone.

The way to be heard is to join in with others as a group and make so much noise that you are heard. This is what democracy is all about. This is how all the people of the world managed to get politicians to Paris and get them to make the decisions that the wealthy fossil fuel investors and banks didn’t want them to make.

The next thing is you need to keep doing it. Persistence works. We need  to keep making a noise so that politicians hear us and will actually do what they committed to do in Paris. They have a bad habit of promising to act on a problem and then forgetting their promises later. We must keep them honest. We really can make a difference by being activists.

When dodgy gas companies wanted to mine for Coal Seam Gas (CSG) in our Sydney water catchment area using dangerous methods and poisonous chemicals hundreds of people objected then joined together to protest. Dozens of small groups protested all over Sydney. They made CSG mining a state election issue and won.

Two years later the incoming government killed the idea by cancelling the gas mining licences. The activists not only protected Sydney’s water supplies from pollution but also helped reduce Global Warming by keeping the gas in the ground where it can’t be burnt to pollute our air. People uniting in the fight against fossil fuel pollution works !

Government decisions should put people first and profit second. This doesn’t always happen. That’s what being an activist is about, reminding the politicians that the people are their boss not the rich fossil fuel corporations or investors. When are you going to become an activist and help your friends and neighbors stop Climate Change?

Watch this – The world’s Astronauts plea to the Paris Climate Conference …   (8 mins)

Here’s  a few ideas to get started.

  • Join an activist group such as Lock the Gate, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace, 350.org (Australia), Friends of the Earth or one of hundreds of local organisations.
  • Divest in fossil fuel assets by moving your savings to a bank that doesn’t invest in Fossil fuels.
  • Become independent yourself on power by going Solar.
  • Resist new coal mine development in Australia
  • Resist Coal Seam Gas mining in Australia
  • Lobby hard for the removal of ALL government subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
  • Vote for politicians that will take serious positive action to mitigate Climate Change – get them to put it in writing.
  • Fight against the corruption of our politicians by the fossil fuel energy mining companies as revealed by ICAC.
  • Join the Greens who have the strong anti corruption and environmental protection policies.

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Read more by this author at the Des Pensable Graphiti web site.

Des is a Climate Reality Project Leader who can give a talk about Climate Change to groups in your locality.

Post publication additions and updates.

Fossil fuel zombies and the fight against undead Big Oil

A new wave of climate insurgents defines itself as law-enforcers

The world’s Biggest Gamble