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Citizens > Consumers

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In all of the media commentary around the Trans-Pacific Partnership, I keep hearing about how this deal will benefit consumers. Not citizens, consumers. And it's no accident, because if you try to defend the TPP in terms of how it benefits citizens, it's a lot harder. It's like trying to defend Mike Myers' career based only on The Love Guru. 

The "free”" in free trade agreements refers to freedom of choice. Opening up international markets gives us the freedom to choose between different milk suppliers or between 20 different brands of unscented deodorant. That drives down prices, allowing us to consume cheap products that give us a deep sense of spiritual fulfillment, leaving us unafraid of death because we're already one with the transcendent. That's just basic economics.

BUT the choices we gain as consumers are traded off with the choices we lose as citizens. Quebec chose to ban fracking, which is extremely destructive to the environment. But that choice contravenes the North American Free Trade Agreement, so they were sued $250 million dollars for not being free enough.

This election reminds us that we're not mere consumers. We're citizens, with power way beyond how much money we have in our wallet. I’ll be voting on October 19th, but it's going to take a lot more than a ballot to push back against those forces trying to reduce the power of that ballot. It's going to take organization, persistence, and AT MOST five different brands of unscented deodorant.

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