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Does anyone believe this will not become the law?

You can peaceably gather in protest and maybe get a few sniping remarks on the nightly news, you can call, write, knock on your representatives door, you can donate money and time, but none of it will stop this treaty from being passed because those in power wrote it for themselves and will pass it for themselves.

If anything were to stop it it would be the wide disregard and disobedience of the illegitimate laws it supposedly creates.

Whether or not that is true, that is some of the worst sentiment to be spreading. If you feel strongly, call you congressman, organize a group, do something. Posting that no one can do anything doesn't help anyone.

It seems to me like an accurate reflection of reality though. When governments and corporations propose legislation in secret it is never going to be in citizen's best interests. On the national and international scale democracy almost doesn't exist. We are being governed by the rich elite and being able to vote is just a sideshow.

Democracy as it is currently implemented is fundamentally flawed because it puts politicians and political parties in power. I mean, it fundamentally is about giving other's power. That is a freaking crude proxy to furthering citizen's interests. It's a blunt instrument. People in power can be influenced/corrupted/manipulated disproportionately by corporations and others with power. Citizens are disenfranchised and mostly powerless.

IMHO the ultimate expression of democracy would not to vote others into office, but to propose and collectively edit new legislation and vote on that. Skip the politician middlemen, go straight to the issues that matter. I imagine that citizens would be allocated a number of non-transferable expiring vote-credits that they can use to spend on pushing legislation.

In summary: until the very nature of democracy evolves we are destined to inhabit a dystopian world that serves only the interests of the elite.

The basic idea of how we do democracy is more-or-less sound. Democracy is pretty robust to different implementations e.g. federal democracy, parliamentary democracy, etc.

If democracy has an Achilles's heel it is probably concentration of power. Democracy works better when power is diffuse, and you even see this expressed in the American constitution somewhat. However, although the framers of the US constitution implemented diffusion of power pretty well within government itself, they did nothing to secure diffusion of power across society more broadly[1], and as it happens that is kicking the shit out of many Western democracies now as wealth inequality (and imbalance of power, by proxy) approaches levels that have not been seen in many generations.

[1] Possibly they even did this, by restricting the vote to land owners initially (although I don't think that was their motivation to do so). There is no question limited suffrage sucks of course, but I suspect participants in American democracy early on were on a much more level playing field than what we have now. It would have been a good idea to try to preserve that diffusion of power in society somewhat, along the way to universal suffrage. We didn't, and now may be paying the price.

"The basic idea of how we do democracy is more-or-less sound."

Sorry to tell you but... human beings are bad at reasoning:

Science on reasoning:


On democracy


That book seems to be exploring in part the very concept I outlined in my post: that concentrated wealth will subvert a democracy.

Except its much worse... it has always been so, you're just becoming aware of it.

You really need to bone up on your history...


"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil intersts in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested."[p. 10]

"War is a racket. ...It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives." [p. 23] "The general public shoulders the bill [for war]. This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations." [p. 24]

General Butler is especially trenchant when he looks at post-war casualties. He writes with great emotion about the thousands of tramautized soldiers, many of who lose their minds and are penned like animals until they die, and he notes that in his time, returning veterans are three times more likely to die prematurely than those who stayed home.


It seems to me like an accurate reflection of reality though.

The treaty hasn't passed yet; that reality doesn't exist. We don't yet know what the future will produce and who will have what effects on how it turns out. At any rate, pessimism is probably not the most helpful contribution to the process.

Yes, powerlessness is self-fulfilling. If we believe we can effect decentralized change, we will succeed at some scale, at least within our immediate social circles. History is full of stories with small beginnings, outside of institutions that were subject to regulatory capture. At a minimum, we can create new business models that have not yet been forbidden, and undermine the economics of the desperate companies that have resorted to shameless manipulation of law and enforcement.

> powerlessness is self-fulfilling

I remember Scott Alexander wrote a piece exploring similar concepts:


"When I was younger, I always imagined dictatorships as surviving whenever the dictator had a majority of power in the country. If the percentage of people x weapons controlled by the dictator's supporters was greater than the percentage of people x weapons controlled the dictator's opponents, the dictator won; once the rebels got more power, the dictator got overthrown.

That was, of course, wildly simplistic. Rebellion is first and foremost a coordination problem. (...)

The real-world upshot of this problem seems to be that even when everyone knows a dictator is unpopular, people won't protest unless they think everyone else will protest. This ends up getting bogged down in self-reference: lots of people will protest if and only if they think lots of people will protest."

> Does anyone believe this will not become the law?

If enough will protest - it won't. ACTA failed in Europe.

> disobedience of the illegitimate laws it supposedly creates

This is the key problem. Lawrence Lessig has been making a good case recently that the root problem is institutional corruption, but I think that was the problem we had in the past. The time to address corruption was several decades ago. Unfortunately, most people we either scared by the changes that technology was bringing to society or blinded by greed and shared hallucinations about prosperity.

Unfortunately, most people were happy to assist this corruption through indifference. Lt. Gen. David Morrison described this problem very succinctly in his calls[1] for people to report harassment whenever they see it:

    The standard you walk past,
    is the standard you accept.
So now, after decades of walking past corruption I believe we're past the problem of corruption. We now live with politicians are actively trying to undermine the legitimate operation of government. We now live with the expectation of revolving door corruption. Wort of all, we now live with the results of putting politicians in a Skinner Box that conditions them to believe they are above the law. Operant conditioning works, and now we are seeing the results walking past decades of problems.

What we're seeing with the TPP (and may other situations in modern society) is the breakdown of the Rule Of Law. Why the hell should anybody else respect the law, when it clearly doesn't apply to entire classes of criminals? Why should we care about laws that are clearly designed to make these problems even worse for the benefit of the few? Well, most people eventually realize they are being taken advantage of (even f it takes a few decades), and we've already had a few previews of what happens when people no longer respect the law in places like Baltimore and Ferguson. It's small praise, but I suspect that even a small portion of the worrying aspects of the TPP end up happening, it will actually impact a lot of people who are already living on the edge. Rebellion happens when people start to go hungry.

We could walk back from this line, but that would require too many people to admit to their own. Why would the? We've been conditioning them to believe the are untouchable and right. The best description I've ever seen of this mindset is this interview[2] with a "senior adviser to Bush":

    The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community,"
    which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious
    study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment
    principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works
    anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own
    reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll
    act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how
    things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left
    to just study what we do."
Does this sound like someone who will walk back from their mistakes for the greater good? No, that's the voice of a fanatic who knows he can never be wrong.

As Lawence Wilkerson - former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell - said about our current situation in his recent lecture[3] on the fall of the American Empire:

    This is what empires do. This is what they do...
    particularly when they are getting ready to *collapse*.
Meanwhile, as these problems get worse and worse, there is a growing risk of someone deciding the Guillotine is a cheaper and easier solution.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaqpoeVgr8U

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/faith-certainty-a...

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckjY-FW7-dc

This is why we need Bernie Sanders as our next president. His record shows he will stand up against institutional corruption and any action he takes towards this end, big or small, will bring more legitimacy back to our government.

but if everyone believes it is wrong and don't follow it (or part of it), they can't jail/fine everybody...

try to persuade everyone that it isn't wrong and don't follow it :)

We're a small subset of the population. Remember, people believe that the govt snooping around isn't a big deal because they have nothing to hide

If it does become law, then it'll be because that's what people want, or because people don't care. If you care strongly enough to want to influence others with money, then you're effectively wanting to corrupt the system.

At the end of the day, it's your friends, family and neighbors who will be to blame. They're the ones who'll keep voting for the person/party that puts these rules into law. Those are the people you should be annoyed at. They're making the decisions with their votes.

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