TPP can help lift incomes in New Zealand but to make a difference for people, there’s a lot more work still to do.

 

The TPP was never going to be the miracle that shot New Zealand to the top of the global supply chain. Neither was it ever going to be the Darth Vadar of deals where American corporations got to destroy the planet. 

It was always going to be a little bit disappointing to everyone. The deal calls for Vietnam to allow free unions and Malaysia to stop people smugglers, but in most countries there aren’t enough gains for politicians to campaign on it. Stephen Harper doesn’t want the text made public until after the Canadian election and Hilary Clinton’s team just want the damn thing off the agenda by 2016.

Tim Groser’s summary of the benefits of TPP was incomprehensible: “Long after the details of this negotiation like tons of butter have been regarded as a footnote in history, the bigger picture of what we have achieved today remains.” But I give him credit because I believe a TPP negotiated by Phil Goff would not have been decisively different. 

The twelve countries have an agreement only because they’re equally unhappy. Even so, we should give the deal our conditional support. 

The devil’s in the detail of course, and that could change my view, but the two questions  you have to ask yourself are: 'Does TPP solve the problems that are holding back the New Zealand economy?' and ‘Are there any benefits to NOT being part of the deal?’

Now that other countries are signing the deal, walking away would be unthinkable. As Helen Clark pointed out, New Zealand can’t afford to be locked out of a trade bloc involving the Asia Pacific.

Our main trading issue is that we are stuck selling ingredients to the world. We’re a global fed-ex for milk powder, the peasants at the bottom of the global value chain. Unless we want cows half way up Mt Cook, we have to sell better stuff, not just more stuff. We should aim to sell cheese to Americans, not milk powder; to own the world’s biggest food company, not just its biggest exporter of ingredients that other companies capture value from.

For years we have talked about added value, but it’s much more than that. We need to own food companies that make money when an American at breakfast pours milk from Idaho onto cornflakes from Mexico, just as Heineken clips the ticket when hops grown in Nelson are served in an Auckland bar.

Left and right agree on the need to grow our share of the global economy, but we differ on how to achieve it. The right believes removing tariffs and regulations is enough. The left has long realised that alone doesn’t guarantee increased incomes for New Zealanders unless we do much more.

We’re going to need access to more capital, develop more high value ideas and commercialise more science, better connections to TPP markets, and we will need more highly skilled migrants. (In the words of Shamubeel Eaqub, the likes of Winston Peters are going to have get $^@! real about that). Value chains require highly skilled people, and the more you have, the more value you can create. 

So although TPP improves access to market for more of our products - the government claims that 93% of exports to TPP countries will now be tariff free - tariffs are less important than what we do to take advantage of the opportunity. Our percentage share of trade in the TPP region could even decline if other countries step up their activity and we sit back and assume that tariff reductions are enough.

So where is the plan to create higher value exports, own more of the value chain in TPP economies and bring those benefits home to increase the incomes of New Zealanders, and specifically the wages of working New Zealanders? Where is the transformative investment in R&D and science to make cheese and neutroceuticals instead of just bagging more milk powder. Where is the plan to develop world class skills in science, creativity, and international business? Where is the plan to create much deeper capital markets, for example by encouraging New Zealanders to save and to invest in productive enterprise, not just renovate and rent houses in Auckland?

No-one in Atlanta or Doha is going to do that job for us.

Comments (23)

by Petone on October 06, 2015
Petone

I wouldn't say equally unhappy. But you have put me off Heineken, even though it is from a non-TPP country.

by Murray Grimwood on October 06, 2015
Murray Grimwood

Josie, do you do anything besides pimp for a Party? Do you think originally, or investigate originally, ever?

Global interest-rates are at unprecedented lows, even trending negative. When did you last hear of Quantitive Easing - before the recent obviously-addictive round?

We are approaching the Limits to Growth, Josie, yet you are absent without engagement when challenged, but repeat the mantras like: 'Left and right agree on the need to grow our share of the global economy'.

Or do you mean 'at the expense of others, somewhere else'? Because under the sinking resource/energy lid, displacement is the only option left outside of reducing/sharing YOUR consumption.

 

by Brendon Mills on October 06, 2015
Brendon Mills

So where is the plan to create higher value exports, own more of the value chain in TPP economies and bring those benefits home to increase the incomes of New Zealanders, and specifically the wages of working New Zealanders? Where is the transformative investment in R&D and science to make cheese and neutroceuticals instead of just bagging more milk powder. Where is the plan to develop world class skills in science, creativity, and international business? Where is the plan to create much deeper capital markets, for example by encouraging New Zealanders to save and to invest in productive enterprise, not just renovate and rent houses in Auckland?


The trouble is, the TPPA may have banned the sort of active statism/dirigisme (sp) required to "do all that".

That kinda sucks. More so than anything else really.

And it is Darth Vader, not Vadar

 

by David Crosswell on October 07, 2015
David Crosswell

There's a lot of codswallop being written about this 'agreement'. We have a healthy dose of it right here. Why the assumption that we have no alternative but to be part of this deal? Just for starters?

There's only one aspect that's holding back the New Zealand economy, and that's the ham-fisted clods in charge of it, and the ones that keep voting them back in. With all the base level, primary production assets New Zealand has, how is it possible for kids to be going hungry? It's beyond any definition of incompetence: the level of sheer stupid burns.

Obama said: 'If America doesn't create the rules for international trade, China will', and everybody fell in line, moronically behind him. Quite frankly, I'd be heading toward BRICS bloc, or SCO membership before tying myself into resurrecting the economy of a national context that is well over $US18 trillion in debt and climbing fast.

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

And we base the value of our dollar on that?

Why do you think the U.S. needs to tie everybody into this deal? And the TTIP? It's because it literally can't afford to exist within its own national boundaries any more. This is why the rabid, international expansionist programme. These 'trade agreements' (and out of the 29 chapters of this 'agreement', only 5 relate to trade) are no more than the fiscal aspect of that.

If anybody thinks there's anything in this for anybody but the U.S., check back in a year when just some of the worms have worked their way out of the woodwork. When the national post and other communication networks have all been privatised out to some multinational, and small/medium business is taking a dive, because they can't compete on price, and if they so much as bleat, the multinational concerned in that context, will sue the government in order to protect its 'rights'.

New Zealand is a unique case. When we take a good look at these large, international corporations, and read their annual reports, we find that a lot of them operate on annual budgets that dwarf that of New Zealand's. What happens if two or three sue over different issues at once?

As far as strategy goes, I've never seen such a stupid move. Couldn't conceive of it in my wildest nightmares.

by John Allen on October 07, 2015
John Allen

Success?  I think not, but the devil will be in the detail. 

For corporates, yes, some successes. Our wine, beef and manufacturing exporters will benefit. For people like me, it does not appear so.

For the US, Japan and Aus, yes, successes.  For NZ, the unquantifiable cost accruing from the loss of democratic process over our social and environmental law making will likely negate the gains from the drop in tariffs ($259 million/year once the TPPA is fully implemented).  This gain is reduced by losses from eliminated import tariffs ($20 million per year) and forgone savings from extending copyright on books, music and videos ($55 million per year average over 20 years).  Then there are the increased costs of pharmaceuticals the patent period for which will extend from the present 5 years to 8 years once the corporates force the data protection rules on us.  That cost has not been estimated because it negates the political message that the patent protection period is not changing.

As for the much touted gains in increased trade (around $2.5 billion/year in 15 years), that's counting chickens before they hatch.  And in any case, at a worth of less than 1% of GDP (in 15 years), those gains are dwarfed by compounded GDP growth from business-as-usual activities (estimated at a 6.2% gain in 15 years assuming last year's GDP growth of 0.4% continues).

Interesting it is, that the costs of this agreement fall on the consumer and taxpayer, whilst the benefits accrue to businesses and their shareholders.

by Murray Grimwood on October 07, 2015
Murray Grimwood

Two good comments, couldn't agree more.

Under the sinking lid, there is now a scrabble to 'own'. That always favours the currently-rich; they can pay for more lawyers and this time they can pay for more lawyer travel too. The US is an Empire and what Empires do is suck resources from elsewhere.

It's got a little convoluted in that corporates are now the dominant players, rather than Govts, but they are still parasitic - they need Govt to regulate, to enforce, to incarcerate, essentially to defent the property-rights of the rich.

Labour make the mistake of thinking in 1930's manner that they can be part of 'the rich'. That door closed with Peak Oil in 2005, or maybe even with Peak Resources per head in 1980. Now it is a case of what  what Michael Klare called 'the Race for what's left' and Kunstler calls 'the Long Emergency'.

Pity we seem not to have commentators who can investigate, think, or work from first principles, because without them we get the nonsense that was Morning Report - all about money but failing at the first hurdle: What is money, and what underwrites it?

Fred Hoyle was right to ask the question.

by Nick Gibbs on October 07, 2015
Nick Gibbs

"What is money, and what underwrites it?"

Your talent is wasted at this blog. Keep these gems coming.


by Ross on October 07, 2015
Ross

As Helen Clark pointed out, New Zealand can’t afford to be locked out of a trade bloc involving the Asia Pacific.

Except we already trade with the countries involved in the TPPA. You wouldn't think that by reading your piece.

by Wayne Mapp on October 07, 2015
Wayne Mapp

Twelve countries equally unhappy? I think not.

They will all, at least at the official level, be very happy. They have gone to the trouble of doing the TPP, because they all think they will gain something important. Not just the particular accounting of trade gains and losses, but because the TPP ties them together for economic and strategic benefit. Something in the nature of a community of interests focused on the Asia Pacific.

This is the first big multi-lateral deal for at least a decade. Comparable to Eastern Europe joining the EU. In fact, because the nexus of power is shifting to the Asia Pacific, perhaps more significant. So it is much more than simply a trade deal, it could be the start of an economic community. But it won't be designed as a copy of the EU. 

Those opposed rather ignored the implications of what Helen Clark said. She knows that it would be unthinkable (read "completely stupid") for New Zealand to stand outside such a development. But I am not sure that too many people over on "The Standard" really get this, or perhaps they do, but would prefer New Zealand to be a self sufficient Pacific Paradise. Has not really worked for Cuba.

Bu on your last point about Fonterra going up the value chain, I totally agree. Rather than whinge about lost opportunities in milk-powder, Fonterra should move into those areas which have been liberalised by TPP, and which in any event have greater added value. Maybe this time they will get it. They will need more capital. Splitting off an added value products company and listing on NZX could be a start.

by Josie Pagani on October 08, 2015
Josie Pagani

I agree with some of the comments here - we need to see the details to work out the benefits/costs. What's clear already is that the benefits are going to be limited, unless we do more to upgrade the kinds of products we sell. TPP or no TPP, we can't keep selling ingredients to the world. We need to get higher up the value chain, maybe by splitting off Fonterra, as you say Wayne.

by Josie Pagani on October 08, 2015
Josie Pagani

To Murray, David and others who comment on my blogs regularly. I genuinely don't see any point in engaging with your arguments when you don't even accept that growth is a good thing (because it creates jobs and higher wages). That puts you on the fringes of the debate - a place I'm not interested in being (although I respect your decision to have those discussions.) My focus is on getting a modern and progressive party on the left into government where it can make a difference. We're polls apart and nothing I say will ever convince you, so agree to disagree and move on.

BTW - statements like this don’t add to any debate;

’Josie, do you do anything besides pimp for a Party? Do you think originally, or investigate originally, ever?'

by Murray Grimwood on October 08, 2015
Murray Grimwood

That is one of the most ignorant replies I've ever read, Josie.

The planet is finite - a fact.

Resources - including the use of renewables at more than the renewal rate - are being depleted at exponentially-increasing rates. Pollution increased ditto - this is the Anthropocene.

Money only buys processed parts of the planet - there is no other source of anything. We are right up against the Limits to Growth, in real terms.

Avoiding debate because those who warn are 'on the fringe of the debate', or because they point out that growth has to cease and that it is better done earlier than later - is no excuse at all.

And it won't change what actually happens.

A parallel is when Magellans' crew - remnants thereof - arrived home with a calendar one day out. Everyone in the debate thought the world was flat, maybe even some of th crew did. They were ALL wrong. Facts cannot be outgunned by voting nor by collective emotions.

The simple question YOU must ask yourself is this: What do those 'higher wages' buy? You appear to have to avoid that - and it's the common approach. Dr  Harre may be able to explain the 'why' of this mass avoidance. I just shake my head.

I means we won't transition, even though it's the better option. We will go full-tilt into collapse, and at your age you'll see it all, right through the bottleneck, however it pans out.

Altruism - the elimination of the 1% holding most of the proxy - is part of what is required for a sustainable society; dog-eat-dog neoliberalism is a Tragedy of the Commons scenario which must lead to either war(s) or collapse.

But altruism isn't enough to stave off ultimate scarcity, overshoot, feed-bacvk mechanisms and lag-times.

The old Values Party came closest to what would work; collective selfishness killed it. Tells us where it will go; some of us have spent a good deal of time working out when, and what then?

Leadership is about the future, always. If things were always like the past, we wouldn't need it.

by Katharine Moody on October 08, 2015
Katharine Moody

growth is a good thing (because it creates jobs and higher wages).

China grew by leaps and bounds recently;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollution_in_China

This is essential watching, Josie, it will completely challenge your present worldview;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5iFESMAU58

 

 

 

by Ross on October 09, 2015
Ross

don't even accept that growth is a good thing (because it creates jobs and higher wages).

Well, certainly that is the mantra that we hear from the Right with little or no evidence to support it. If you're not a cheerleader for the Right, please explain how growth creates jobs and higher wages.

by Murray Grimwood on October 09, 2015
Murray Grimwood

Pagani - like the majority of punters - doesn't think things through. I've given up wondering why.

She says 'creates jobs and higher wages' in the same breath.

Let's examine both separately, dispassionately and disbelievingly.

Higher wages means more proxy in the hand, more proxy means the presumed ability to acquire more 'stuff'. Food, whatever. Stuff. That could equally be done by buying an Auckland house five years ago and riding the bubble. More proxy in the hand - same thing. Proxy comes irrespective of origin, that was why it was invented.

The supply of 'stuff' is entirely controlled (and therefore curtailed; ultimately totally) by its physical availability on our finite planet. Piling up proxy can't stave off ultimate scarcity, which - mathematically and therefore factually - must increase exponentially from the peak of the Hubbert/Gaussian/Bell curve, on. (Unless you force the issue, distorting the Hubbert into a Seneca event; a cliff-iike drop-off).

Jobs were - until 1800 - 'work'. The energy that got that work done was food enery via muscles (animal and human) which made slavery understandably popular. We displaced food/muscles with coal, oil, gas. One-off finite resources all, regardless of scale, so it had to be a temporary arrangement.

It stands to reason there will be 'jobs' aplenty in a post-peak fossil-fuels era; renewables don't pack the punch (it's why we haven't gone there, the global fiscal/societal system can't do it on renewables, not at this level of work per time) so we will see more labour in the mix as time goes by.More 'jobs' then - Josie will be pleased.

But

Don't assume they will be 'well paid' though, or even 'paid' at all. All cultures need food, water and shelter, many do without 'being paid'.Studythem and the reason is always a lack of 'stuff'.

The prima facie mistake was to assume that a pile of proxy would always represent the ability to acquire.

Unfortunate spin-offs from that failure, are those 'champions of the poor' who swallow any part of neoliberalism - and the TPP is just that - thinking it will help their cause. The smart ones - Chavez, Castro, when you cut away the intense propaganda - actually fight back. It's a harder road, but the only one with a chance of success. Labour and the TPP remind me of a flock of chickens; chop the head off one today but they'll all still flock around you to be fed tomorrow.

 

Jobs

by David Crosswell on October 09, 2015
David Crosswell

To Murray, David and others who comment on my blogs regularly. I genuinely don't see any point in engaging with your arguments when you don't even accept that growth is a good thing (because it creates jobs and higher wages).


Que?


by Murray Grimwood on October 10, 2015
Murray Grimwood


That kind of avoidance is what religions tapped into; still do.

I call it 'chosen ignorance'.

We all start out being ignorant of everything; fair enough.

What is not fair enough is when folk are given every chance to become informed, but then choose to stay ignorant. One of the standard mechanisms seems to be to relegate inconvenient facts - truths which can be arrived at through first-principles and investigation if they bothered - to the status of 'opinions'. Even better, to the status of minority-held ones.

Something in the brains witred that way, must then decide - believe - that because it's a minority, it must be outvoted, therefore untrue. It's so mangled I have trouble understanding how you can do it - but many, indeed the majority, do.

Fred Hoyle put it well:

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Fred_Hoyle

It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on the Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing intelligence this is not correct. We have or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned.

by Wayne Mapp on October 10, 2015
Wayne Mapp

Murray,

Your posts are always intriguing, but are unduly negative about our future options.  

Of course the earth, in the sense of physical resources (but not energy, or off world mineral sources) is a closed system. But we are not going to run out of minerals. For instance the price of copper is low because new mines are continually being developed, and of course copper is recycled.

Using New Zealand as an example, in the future we could feed 200 million people, we already feed 100 million. And we could also improve our environment at the same time. To take the US and Europe, they have more forested area, better water and air quality than they used to have in the 20th century, but also more food production.

Arguably there may be energy limits for a sustainable earth. Not in the sense that there are not enough fossil fuels, but that the products of their combustion, mostly CO2 will be too great for the environment, as we know it, to bear. But there are high density energy alternatives, mostly solar, nuclear fusion when it arrives, hydrogen to replace liquid fuels. Mostly it is a shift to an electrical future, with hydrogen for aircraft engines (splitting water using electricity). Will this be easy or quick, no. But will it happen in the course of the next 50 to 100 years, yes.

The world is not condemned to a future that resembles the pre-indutrial age. So therefore TPP is relevant. Large scale trade and investment will still occur into our futures.

by Katharine Moody on October 10, 2015
Katharine Moody

And we could also improve our environment at the same time.

So the Manawatu is the exception?

http://m.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426...

 

by Murray Grimwood on October 11, 2015
Murray Grimwood

Wayne M.

Wrong - factually wrong - on many counts.

Let's start with Copper. You mix your metaphors there. Copper is a finite resource - this is irrespective of price. If you ramp into a finite resource at a growing rate - exponential growth always 'doubles', time is the only variable - you peak at some point. 'Running out' isn't the problem, peaking is. Typically 50% of the way through volumetrically, but we cherry-pick the best first, so the quality is sequentially worsening, concurrently. Recycling requires energy.

In NZ, we turn fossil fuels into food (27 calories of oil to one of meat/dairy, 10 calories of oil to one of veggie/grain) and also draw-down rain-forest (palm kernel) and phosphate (Chatham Rise, anyone? Then?)

Unsustainable, then, in present form. The Maori stocking-rate suggests what NZ is capable of feeding ex-fossil fuels. Europe is the same re FF use.

Solar is not a high-density alternative - who told you that? Swot up on EROEI. (Energy Return on Energy Invested)

Fusion is still '30 years away - as it was when I was young. It's hard to bottle the sun, tad hot....

Hydrogen is not an energy source, merely a vector. ie a battery. You have to make it - separate it, more accurately - using other energy. Not efficient enough.

Your current 'economies' are struggling with zero interest-rates and - when you factor in deterioration of infrastructure properly - already going backwards in terms of real growth. (GDP is a fudge, increasingly having added fudges).

Investment requires a return. That's in the future, so investment has to make the case for MORE future work done, which in turn requires MORE energy expended, Oh, and More of the likes of copper available. All exponentially increasing, forever.

Can't happen.

Yes, we will end up with renewables, whether we scare ourselves into it or via depletion. No, without them we won't run - or maintain - our current fiscal system. Most future debt and expectations depend on it surviving; I can't see how they survive it's failure.

Yes, there will be winners and losers, as always, even in an energy-descent scenario. I think that sums up the TPP perfectly; a small group attempting to 'win'. As with banking, the vast majority are uncomprehending cannon-fodder.

by Wayne Mapp on October 11, 2015
Wayne Mapp

Murray,

I was summarizing somewhat. So when I followed the comment about hydrogen with having an electrical future I was meaning that hydrogen is a vector. 

So an electric future from solar (which effectively concentrates the sunlight from a large number of cells or mirrors depending on the technology), wind, tidal, hydro, and nuclear(fission now and fusion in the future). Oil for plastics.

So therefore New Zealand is not destined to have only 250,000 people living in a pre-industrial state. We have learnt too much. And with energy we can make plastics from a variety of sources. After all plastics are simply carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and other relatively common elements combined into various complex molecules.

Coming back to copper. Of course i realize there is a fixed amount. But we have yet to discover all there is, even in relatively high concentrations in the top 3000 ft of continental plates. And in time (though not yours or my lifetime) we won't be limited to the upper levels of the continental plates.

by Murray Grimwood on October 11, 2015
Murray Grimwood

You are thinking - which puts you ahead of 95%    :)

Yes, I came to those conclusions - along with many others - a long time ago. Jommy Carter was 'there' by 1980 - but he could see we couldn't go on and lost his way a bit. Probably the most clinical, intelligent President they ever had, though.

Here you have to look to Jeanette Fitzsimmons, and I'm not sure the list of politicos is much longer. Perhaps the Green contender who just missed out.

I co-chailed Solar Action for a while, and run a house on 200 watts of solar (in our 12th year off-grid). Solar is where we will end up and where it is going, and local is the word I'd add. I also think solar/thermal/boiler/turbine is the best low-tech existing/tech for generation.

But we won't run a society as we know it, on solar. We'll collapse during the morph - too many other unsustainable balls in the air; deforestation, desertification, aquifer draw-down, other finite resource-depletions. Too many concurrent probs at too much pace, too big. And notice nobody is actually adressing them, at any level of affluence.They all think a handful of artificial proxy will solve a physical problem.

Copper like all finites, conforms to the Hubbert posit:

http://www.hubbertpeak.com/bartlett/

That applies to all finites. It takes more energy than we can afford, to drill as deep as we are now for oil - and you expect us to go deeper for copper? Molten or just hot?

I sent a post to this site (uwanted, of course) pointing out that when you run exponential growth (doubling-times) at finite resources, you deplete very quickly. At 3% growth, for instance, the Avatar movie can be argued to be set in a mere 12-year period. Can you back-work that one? It's tongue-in-cheek, but worth thinking through.

Go well - while you still can   :) Good that someone is thinking

by Peggy Klimenko on October 14, 2015
Peggy Klimenko

Brendon Mills: " the TPPA may have banned the sort of active statism/dirigisme (sp) required to "do all that"."

Indeed (I'm sure your spelling is correct). This is a small polity; our experience of neoliberalism over the past 30-ish years is evidence that "the market" can't or won't do most of what Josie thinks should happen. So the state would need to actively involve itself, to an extent that neoliberalism considers anathema, and which is likely impossible now, given the structural and political changes in NZ society since the advent of Rogernomics.

Josie: "To Murray, David and others who comment on my blogs regularly. I genuinely don't see any point in engaging with your arguments when you don't even accept that growth is a good thing (because it creates jobs and higher wages)."

Setting aside anything which you might interpret as being ad hominem, Murray, David and others raise issues with which you need to engage. Your view of the TPP is unwarrantedly Panglossian; their view may be Hobbesian, but it's supported by a good deal of evidence. Of which we all need to take notice.

Wayne Mapp: "Has not really worked for Cuba."

Do you know anything about Cuba? That comment suggests not.

"Using New Zealand as an example, in the future we could feed 200 million people, we already feed 100 million. And we could also improve our environment at the same time. To take the US and Europe, they have more forested area, better water and air quality than they used to have in the 20th century, but also more food production."

Speaking of Panglossian..... The situations of NZ and the US/Europe aren't analogous with regard to environmental issues. I recommend Jared Diamond's work on land damage in various parts of the US. But the US in particular is huge and under-populated, such that much of it is unaffected by the human-caused pollution and degradation of which Diamond writes. And even so, climate change is wreaking catastrophe on south-west US, as we see in California.

NZ, on the other hand, is a very small, hilly country with a high rainfall and a lot of dairy cows. In addition, we haven't as a society been good at cleaning up after ourselves in our settlements. The resulting pollution of our lowland lakes and rivers is undeniable and unavoidable. It may be possible to do better, but that would require huge amounts of money to be spent in towns and cities, along with changes in the farming industry - dairy in particular - which said industry will likely find unpalatable. I'll believe that there'll be substantive change when I see it happening.

"But there are high density energy alternatives, mostly solar, nuclear fusion when it arrives, hydrogen to replace liquid fuels. Mostly it is a shift to an electrical future, with hydrogen for aircraft engines (splitting water using electricity)."

I've heard optimistic predictions of this sort many times over the years. Forty-odd years ago, when a relative was working in research overseas, it was anti-gravity that was going to give us cheap, or even free, transport. Nothing came of that.

Likewise nuclear fusion: as Murray has pointed out, confident predictions about its imminent arrival have been made almost since the days of anti-grav research.

As with remediation of our polluted land and waterways, I'll believe this stuff when it actually comes knocking on the door.

In any event, the limitations of the finite planet, together with the fact that nothing proposed looks like coming anywhere near to replacing fossil fuels, suggests that the human future will be more Hobbes than Pangloss. In the face of that, the TPP looks awfully like the band settling in to play on the deck of the Titanic.

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