Samstag, 25. Januar 2014

TTIP: A Clash of Offline- and Online Culture?

‘The Transatlantic Colossus: Global Contributions to Broaden the Debate on the EU-US Free Trade Agreement’ (2014), a publication from the Berlin Forum on Global Politics in collaboration with the Internet & Society Collaboratory and FutureChallenges.org of the Bertelsmann Stiftung. The attached presentation shows my own perspective on the content of that publication.

It has been always a great honor to collaborate with the ambitious fellow colleagues by the FGP and the Colab. We are very happy to have the opportunity to broaden the debate on the upcoming TTIP agreement with that publication.

Free trade is always a good thing for all people worldwide involved in this process of accelerated economic growth and greater social justice. Nevertheless there is a big "but" when arguing in favor of free trade because its a very theoretical concept ignoring all other areas of daily life. Free trade so far is a pure economic concept initiated by the offline world some centuries ago. In the meantime the digital world emerged. The digital world (and digital globalization) is characterized by the idea of a borderless world, a world without control of single persons, a world of sharing ideas and help, a world of participation and finding solutions in a collaborative way.

Against this background its obvious that the upcoming #TTIP agreement could try to change the rules  in an old fashioned direction; to control people, to avoid transparency and political participation, to rise barriers for achieving higher profit, to open up markets against the will and consumer preferences of people.

To avoid this direction its indispensable to ask consumers for their preferences, to open up the negotiations for the public, to take the environmental impact into accout and to ask whether a bilateral agreement makes sense in a globalized world or not.

In order not to be misunderstood: The current critics are not an indicator for a general critical attitude against free trade per se. Its more about the old style of political process and globalization which is backed by the current rules of the negotiations.

What about a globalized future based on the rules of the digital world mentioned above?