Uber Wins Dubious Honor Of Being First Big Tech Company To Bully A Small Nation Using Corporate Sovereignty

from the welcome-to-the-ISDS-club dept

Six years ago, when Techdirt first started writing about the investor-state dispute system (ISDS) -- or corporate sovereignty as we prefer to call it -- it was largely unknown outside specialist circles. Since then, more people have woken up to the power of this apparently obscure element of international trade and investment deals. It essentially gives a foreign company the ability to threaten to sue a nation for millions -- even billions -- of dollars if the latter brings in new laws or regulations that might adversely affect an investment. The majority of corporate sovereignty cases have been brought by the extractive industries -- mining and oil. That's not least because many of the laws and regulations they object to concern environmental and health issues, which have come to the fore in recent years. New legislation designed to protect local communities might mean lower profits for investors, who then often threaten to use ISDS if they are not offered compensation for this "loss".

Big tech companies, for all their real or supposed faults, have not turned to corporate sovereignty as a way of bullying small countries -- until now. En24 News reports that Uber is threatening to invoke corporate sovereignty in a dispute with Colombia. According to Uber:

a series of recent measures by the Republic have had a serious adverse impact on Uber's investments in Colombia and the viability of its operations in the country. On December 20, 2019, for example, through the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce ("SIC"), the Republic ordered Uber, Uber Colombia, and another Uber subsidiary that will virtually cease to make the Uber Platform available of Associated Drivers and passengers in Colombia.

Uber points out:

other companies in Colombia and third countries that offer similar forms in Colombia have not undergone the same treatment and continue to operate in Colombia without similar interference from the Republic.

The company claims a wide range of harms:

The illegal order of the Republic to block the Uber Platform in Colombia also constitutes an act of censorship in contravention of international human rights instruments that protect net neutrality, freedom of expression on the internet and freedom of use of the internet.

At the moment, this is all just saber-rattling, designed to encourage the Colombian government to unblock Uber in the country. If it doesn't, the company says, it will invoke the ISDS Articles (pdf) of the 2012 United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, and ask a tribunal to award compensation. Even if the current threat to use corporate sovereignty is not followed through, it is surely only a matter of time before another big tech company joins the ISDS club.

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Filed Under: colombia, corporate sovereignty, free trade agreement, isds, trade agreements, trade promotion agreement
Companies: uber


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  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 16 Jan 2020 @ 8:24pm

    Kinda like a Bill of Rights

    "It essentially gives an individual the ability to threaten to sue a nation for millions -- even billions -- of dollars if the latter brings in new laws or regulations that might adversely affect fundamental rights."

    I mean - the very idea - one tiny peon standing up for their rights against the State! How DARE they!

    Horrifying, if you're a majoritarian who thinks 51%+1 of any population are entitled to enslave, torture, and murder the minority.

    Not so horrifying,if you think people (and firms) have rights which States and majorities need to respect.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2020 @ 9:18pm

      Tell me, exactly which one of Uber’s fundamental rights did Colombia infringe upon?

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      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 16 Jan 2020 @ 10:29pm

        Re:

        The one to not be arbitrarily discriminated against. According to the complaint, Uber is being burdened with requirements and limitations other similar businesses are not.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 2:03am

          And that should give Uber the right to essentially rewrite another country’s laws…why, exactly?

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          • icon
            Craig Welch (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 6:06am

            Re:

            ISDS does not give anyone the right to "essentially rewrite another country's law".

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            • icon
              Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:29am

              Re: Re:

              If you're afraid to enact or enforce a law for fear of being sued, Craig, that's exactly what it is -- the right to rewrite the law. You can argue that the rewriting is by proxy but the law is either being effectively rewritten at the behest of a foreign corporation or it ain't.

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              • icon
                OldMugwump (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 5:18pm

                Re: Re: Re: the right to rewrite the law

                Yes, it is more or less a right to rewrite the law.

                Just as the Bill of Rights allows someone to "rewrite the law" when the law violates protected rights.

                That's the whole point of rights - they are limits on what majorities, and legislatures, and governments, may do - there is a protected area that even a majority may not infringe on.

                I like the idea of human rights. They are the difference between mob rule of liberal democracy.

                And rights don't disappear the moment two people join together in a common purpose (as in a corporation).

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 2:58am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: the right to rewrite the law

                  "I like the idea of human rights. They are the difference between mob rule of liberal democracy."

                  Let me know when US law decides to allow a foreign national to call in a foreign court to arbitrate a US dispute and then we'll talk.

                  Because until that happens you don't really have a good analogy about allowing corporations that same privilege.

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                  • icon
                    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 5:21am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: the right to rewrite the law

                    The idea of rights is that they're for everyone. So why do human rights take a back seat to corporate rights when they are not obliged to take responsibility for their actions and go unpunished for crimes such as pollution and making us ill by selling us poison?

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                  • icon
                    Craig Welch (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 6:26am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: the right to rewrite the law

                    Let me know when US law decides to allow a foreign national to call in a foreign court to arbitrate a US dispute and then we'll talk.

                    Let's fix the terminology first. An ISDS tribunal is not a "foreign court". But US law right now allows a foreign investor to initiate a dispute against the United States and initiate an arbitration tribunal.

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                    • icon
                      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 7:05am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: the right to rewrite the law

                      But US law right now allows a foreign investor to initiate a dispute against the United States and initiate an arbitration tribunal.

                      Which is settled where, exactly, and by whom? How are they held accountable for the decisions made?

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 5:14am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: the right to rewrite the law

                      "Let's fix the terminology first. An ISDS tribunal is not a "foreign court"."

                      By all means, let's fix the definition. Here's what I find on wikipedia about ISDS tribunals;

                      "While ISDS is often associated with international arbitration under the rules of ICSID (the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes of the World Bank), it often takes place under the auspices of international arbitral tribunals governed by different rules or institutions, such as the London Court of International Arbitration, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre or the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. "

                      Looking at the keywords there I find that none of the above are considered law courts at all. I thus amend my statement as such;

                      "Let me know when US law decides to allow a foreign national to call in a foreign kangaroo "court" without legal status to arbitrate a US dispute and then we'll talk."

                      "But US law right now allows a foreign investor to initiate a dispute against the United States and initiate an arbitration tribunal."

                      So it does, but I'll wager it takes place under US law, and at the end of the day the court is staffed by judges who are accredited under the US legal system.

                      I think we should start from the most obvious elephant in the room. Why do you think the European Court of Justice decided to argue and judge that arbitration under ISDS is fundamentally incompatible under the EU legal system?

                      I can not for the life of me think of a principled reason as to why anyone would argue in favor of corporations undercutting some of the most basic of legal processes, but I can easily imagine more money being pushed in favor of such a proposal than Big Tobacco had riding on not losing their first landmark case.

                      Preponderance of the evidence strongly implies that the only ones in favor of that sort of suggestion would be those with a vested interest in being able to pressure governments. The foremost of which would be companies with a historical record of tangling with government over citizen protection - Big Pharma, for instance, or Sony.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 6:14am

            Re:

            "Should" has nothing to do with it. Columbia agreed to give American companies that right. They shouldn't have, but they did.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:08am

              Re: Re:

              ""Should" has nothing to do with it. Columbia agreed to give American companies that right. They shouldn't have, but they did."

              I still think any statesman signing the ISDS needs to go on a treason trial. What kind of politician deliberately undermines the power of the elected representatives in their own nation in favor of a foreign entity?

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              • icon
                Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:33am

                Re: Re: Re:

                They get conned into signing these deals, which are often written in English and densely packed with legalese. Imagine English is not your first language and you're under pressure to get a deal done by pro-trade types who don't like to delve into the details.

                This kind of thing isn't printed front and centre, it's hidden deep in the weeds and worded such that it doesn't specifically state that companies can sue you for, let's say, raising the minimum wage (Veolia V Egypt). The average government official doesn't even get to see the text because the agreement is negotiated by lobbyists in secret. Therefore, when they enact laws to protect the public, they have no idea which clause of the FTA they're violating and the legal action comes as a shock. Ignorance of the law is not a defence, so they get screwed. ISDS should be illegal. It's nothing but a con.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 10:36am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Legal complexity is a whole problem by itself. You shouldn't need thousands of pages of regulations for anything, and it should be easy to know which regulations apply to an entity.

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                • icon
                  Craig Welch (profile), 19 Jan 2020 @ 5:55am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Where appropriate, trade and investment agreements are written in a variety of languages. The TPP, for example, was simultaneously published in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Japanese and French.

                  Oh no, you used Veolia as an example. Veolia did not complain about Alexandria raising the minimum wage, and they did not raise a dispute because of it. This was an unusual case in that Veolia had a contract with Alexandria that stating that should certain expenses go up, wages being one of a number, payments to Veolia would go up commensurably. Alexandria reneged on their contract, Veolia was unsuccessful in seeking redress in domestic courts, and raised an ISDS dispute.

                  Broken contract - tell me why they should not dispute it?

                  You forgot to mention that Veolia lost the dispute.

                  The average government official doesn't even get to see the text because the agreement is negotiated by lobbyists in secret

                  Then published in full. Available to all.

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:00am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "Then published in full. Available to all."

                    Like the ACTA treaty which after full drafting and negotiation wasn't available for perusal by US congressmen and EU PM's except under national security regulation?

                    And which both were meant to sign without full knowledge of what was in the treaty?

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                    • icon
                      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 5:31am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      This was an unusual case in that Veolia had a contract with Alexandria that stating that should certain expenses go up, wages being one of a number, payments to Veolia would go up commensurably*. Alexandria reneged on their contract, Veolia was unsuccessful in seeking redress in domestic courts, and raised an ISDS dispute.

                      That is an example of chilling legislation in the public interest. As I said, the small print isn't readily available to legislators and public interest groups prior to the agreements being signed off. To say they are is disingenuous.

                      *Commensurately. You're welcome.

                      Broken contract - tell me why they should not dispute it?

                      I'm not going to say they shouldn't dispute it but that clause should not have been in there. Proper scrutiny would have chucked it out.

                      You forgot to mention that Veolia lost the dispute.

                      Fending off such disputes is costly. It took six years to shut it down.

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              • icon
                OldMugwump (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 5:21pm

                Re: Re: Re: What kind of politician

                The kind that that compromises on on thing to get something else.

                Politics is all about compromise. The alternative is to fight to the death.

                It's not treason to cut the best deal you can get.

                And there's nothing wrong with undermining "he power of the elected representatives" - that's what rights are all about - limiting the power of majorities and legislatures and governments.

                Do you support the right to free speech? To a fair trial? Those are limitations on the power of elected representatives. THAT"S THEIR POINT.

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                • icon
                  Toom1275 (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 10:31pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: What kind of politician

                  Since when were

                  • selling cigarettes
                  • causing environmental disasters and not cleaning
                  • Selling ineffective pharmaceutical products

                  "rights" that needed to be protected by corruptly undermining soverign consumer and environmental protections?

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                  • icon
                    Craig Welch (profile), 19 Jan 2020 @ 6:00am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What kind of politician

                    I'll just take the first one. Selling cigarettes is a "right" as it's legal in most countries.

                    But the two ISDS tobacco cases failed. In one, that with Australia, the tribunal dismissed Philip Morris' corporate shenanigans trying to re-position itself as a subsidiary of a different entity in another country, purely to take advantage of a particular investment agreement.

                    In the other the tribunal determined that Uruguay had the right to legislate on tobacco packaging for the sake of the health of its citizens. Philip Morris lost.

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                    • icon
                      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 5:35am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What kind of politician

                      Yes, and Philip Morris threatened Ireland with a lawsuit if it dared to enact anti-smoking legislation. They didn't, in the end, and Ireland went ahead. Now imagine what might have happened if we hadn't had the weight of the EU behind us. Our economy is too small to fend off constant litigation by the likes of Philip Morris. https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/philip-morris-fight-irish-government-cigarette-display-ban/94 3122

                      Due to the cost of defence, even the threat of litigation can and does have a chilling effect on legislation in the public interest.

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                      • icon
                        Craig Welch (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 6:19am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What kind of politician

                        Yes, and Philip Morris threatened Ireland with a lawsuit if it dared to enact anti-smoking legislation

                        Which has nothing to do with ISDS ...

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                        • icon
                          Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 7:09am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What kind of politician

                          Which has nothing to do with ISDS

                          Okay, you get that one; suit was filed in domestic courts.

                          The point is, the threat of litigation can have a chilling effect on legislation in the public interest. ISDS isn't held in domestic courts.

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:01am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: What kind of politician

                  "Do you support the right to free speech? To a fair trial? Those are limitations on the power of elected representatives. THAT"S THEIR POINT."

                  So you believe that a US individual, charged with a crime under US law, on US soil, should be able to call in a foreign court for his trial?

                  That's your argument here.

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                  • icon
                    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 5:36am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What kind of politician

                    Yes it is. ISDS cases are contested in supra-national tribunals and are not open to the public. Did you see the link I posted earlier? We can't see the full details of Veolia V Egypt because it's not open to the public. That's the problem with these things; there's no transparency or accountability.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 5:08am

          Re: Re:

          Huawei can make the same complaint about its treatment by the US government.

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          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 2:23pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            Thanks for aiding the enemy.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 3:10pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Ac#1: Makes an accurate point that gives context, using an example that an American user would understand.

              Ac#2: Personal attack and accusation of treason against someone who may not even be American... blatantly ignoring the point, because the point is not that Huawei is good, the point is that the ISDS is bad. And we don't want people thinking our corporate overlords are bad, do we now?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 8:32pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You miss the point of ac2. If stating that Huawei can go after the US government and Huawei Corporate leadership perhaps has not realized that yet, then posting as if by a fact that has not yet been established, ac1 gives up the idea for all the world to see, ac1 does in fact aid the corporation Huawei.

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            • icon
              Craig Welch (profile), 19 Jan 2020 @ 5:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Thanks for aiding the enemy.

              China is not an enemy of the United States

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 9:37am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Well, what do you call a nationalised company that spies on the communications of another company?

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 9:38am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I meant to say, another country.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 9:40am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Also China undermining the US economy doesn't exactly make them friendlies.

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 12:47am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      That's somewhat ironic, given that so much of their activity is expressly to manufacture things at the behest of US-based corporations.

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                      • icon
                        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 1:43am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "That's somewhat ironic, given that so much of their activity is expressly to manufacture things at the behest of US-based corporations."

                        Well, it's a problematic issue from a US point of view. China offered first cheap and abundant labor and after a while damn skilled and abundant labor. A progress driven by US corporations.

                        From the point of view of the US government China is decidedly hostile since its business practice is undercutting jobs and expertise at home.
                        From the point of view of US corporations China is that promised land which allows them to outsource every manufacturing issue without having to tolerate the overhead of setting up and running a plant of their own.

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 4:05am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "A progress driven by US corporations."

                          Yes, but not solely by them. It was also driven by consumers (demand for cheap goods outweighing the quality or ethical sourcing of the product) and politics (the US really wanted to export capitalism to those damn commies).

                          Corporations wanting access to cheap labour without having to worry about little things like employee welfare, environmental and safety regulation, etc., was certainly a major driver but they were far from the only major factor. Plenty of the people currently attacking China as the enemy were the driving forces behind the current situation.

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                          • icon
                            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Jan 2020 @ 2:27am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            "Yes, but not solely by them. It was also driven by consumers (demand for cheap goods outweighing the quality or ethical sourcing of the product) and politics (the US really wanted to export capitalism to those damn commies)."

                            I'm not sure what's worse. that you are implying that for most of three decades absolutely everyone involved has been shooting themselves in the feet with careful and deliberate aim...
                            ...or that I must conclude your implications are probably right on the money.

                            "Plenty of the people currently attacking China as the enemy were the driving forces behind the current situation."

                            The US interests realigned themselves every four years, preventing ANY sort of consistent policy or evaluation of that trend. Meanwhile China formulated it's "Become the manufacturing center of the world"-policy in the 50's and have to stuck with it ever since.

                            The chinese must have been lauging in disbelief at the scatterbrained western barbarians for over two generations by now.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 1:16pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Y’know, there are options besides “friends” and “enemies”.

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          • icon
            Craig Welch (profile), 19 Jan 2020 @ 5:28am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Huawei can make the same complaint about its treatment by the US government.

            Under which investment agreement ?

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 1:19am

      Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

      "I mean - the very idea - one tiny peon standing up for their rights against the State!"

      Except, that's not what's happening here. This is a major foreign-based multinational corporation trying to write the laws in a country that it feels isn't doing what they want, and wish to bypass the country's internal methods for dealing with grivances.

      "Horrifying, if you're a majoritarian who thinks 51%+1 of any population are entitled to enslave, torture, and murder the minority."

      That would be bad. Now, how would you feel if despite the fact that those 51+% people agreed to laws that protect human rights, a foreign corporation felt that those protections were affecting its profits so sued to get them removed?

      "Not so horrifying,if you think people (and firms) have rights which States and majorities need to respect."

      What if those states do respect those rights, but foreign corporations who do not are able to force them not to?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 10:08am

        Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

        Corporations, all of them should have to bend to the will of the majority casted in moratorium vote.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 10:11am

          Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

          The fact that they are not is telltale that there is a Grand Conspiracy taking place somewhere in this chainlink fence.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 4:50am

      Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

      "Horrifying, if you're a majoritarian who thinks 51%+1 of any population are entitled to enslave, torture, and murder the minority. Not so horrifying,if you think people (and firms) have rights which States and majorities need to respect."

      Oh, well done, a complete reversal of factual truth.

      In reality "corporate sovereignty" means that a government represented by the people of a given nation should not be allowed to legislate if said legislation threatens the business model of a foreign corporation.

      I personally think it's rather horrifying that a democracy should be overridden by a foreign private entity based on how much money they have, because the last time we saw that happening in practice we coined the word "Fascism" to describe it.

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      • icon
        Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

        ^This. Old Mugwump, in no way is Uber either a peon of any kind or an individual. It's a powerful multinational corporation throwing its weight around.

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        • icon
          OldMugwump (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 5:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

          So, just because they're a "powerful multinational corporation" they don't enjoy the same rights as everyone else?

          The fact that you don't like someone is not a valid reason to take away their rights.

          I'm defending the idea of rights - of limits on the power of governments, elected or otherwise, to do injustice to people (and groups of people in corporations).

          There may well be reason to complain about the particular rights granted to Uber or others under ISDS agreements.

          That's entirely separate from the principle involved - that rights exist, that there are limits on what majorities may legitimately do to minorities (even if the minority is a wealthy corporation that you don't like).

          Seems like a lot of people (not you, I hope, Wendy) really think that "elected representatives" ought to be entitled to do ANYTHING they want to ANYBODY for ANY reason or NO reason. Without limit or rules to restrain them.

          I don't think so. That's mob rule, not liberal democracy. I like rights.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 9:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

            No, i don't think that is what they think about elected or unelected officials. They clearky do not think that about corporations.

            If Uber wants or deserves recourse to the law, they should seek it in the law, not in some made-up kangaroo court of corporations.

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            • icon
              Craig Welch (profile), 19 Jan 2020 @ 6:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

              If Uber wants or deserves recourse to the law, they should seek it in the law, not in some made-up kangaroo court of corporations.

              ISDS tribunals are lawfully constitutions. Why do you refer to them as "kangaroo courts", and why do you refer to them as "courts of corporations" ?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 10:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

                These intermediary tribunals take place in the US between companies and employees where almost 100% of the time the company wins over the employee or ex-employee. It is so laughable.

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:40am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

                "ISDS tribunals are lawfully constitutions. Why do you refer to them as "kangaroo courts", and why do you refer to them as "courts of corporations" ?"

                Let me refer you to;

                "...the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union that investor-State dispute settlement provisions in intra-EU bilateral investment treaties are incompatible with EU law."

                This would make the ISDS tribunal a "court" decisively without the backing of law.

                the dictionary-definition of which would be a "kangaroo court".

                So pray tell, Mr. Welch...in what part of the world does a legal expert come out swinging in favor of treaty provisions which courts by and large have condemned as unlawful?

                Might I recommend that you polish up on recent legal precedent because as things stand right now you are risking falling into either the category of "ignorance" or "vested interest".

                Neither of which is a good place for someone who intends to make his knowledge of law determine the dignitas of his CV.

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                • icon
                  Craig Welch (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 6:31am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

                  Here is but on dictionary definition of kangaroo court:

                  an unofficial court held by a group of people in order to try someone regarded, especially without good evidence, as guilty of a crime or misdemeanour.

                  An ISDS tribunal is not a court; it's not unofficial; it doesn't try anyone for a crime or misdemeanour; it depends on good evidence.

                  ... courts by and large have condemned as unlawful?

                  Huh? The CJEU has described one type of ISDS dispute as incompatible with EU law. The doesn't affect NAFT, for example, or the potential Uber case at all.

                  You want me to polish up on recent legal precedent? I don't particularly feel the need, but why don't you spell out for me what recent legal precedent has passed me by?

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 5:34am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

                    "An ISDS tribunal is not a court; it's not unofficial; it doesn't try anyone for a crime or misdemeanour; it depends on good evidence."

                    So it doesn't have the weight of law, has no transparency, isn't open to the public, and isn't seating any form of actual judges...was that it?

                    "...an unofficial court held by a group of people in order to try someone regarded, especially without good evidence, as guilty of a crime or misdemeanour."

                    Sounds like an ISDS tribunal to me. It puts a nation-state on trial for the misdemeanor of changing a law, then determines the outcome of "evidence" which does not fulfil the criteria of such - because there's no insight or overview, and the conclusion of the tribunal is not subject to any judiciary process within the country which is impacted.

                    "Huh? The CJEU has described one type of ISDS dispute as incompatible with EU law. The doesn't affect NAFT, for example, or the potential Uber case at all. "

                    Naturally the CJEU ruling wouldn't affect the Uber case - unless Colombia joined the EU while we weren't watching?

                    However, this may describe it better;

                    "The CJEU’s conclusion will have a wide ranging impact. There are over 190 intra‑ EU BITs — EU investors will no longer be able to exercise rights granted to them under those treaties to bring proceedings against infringing EU Member States."

                    Added to this;

                    "According to ICSID’s 2017 EU Caseload Report, the most common grounds for establishing jurisdiction were BITs (56 percent) and the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) (43 percent)."

                    Your statement that it's "one type of ISDS dispute" may be correct - but it happens to be well over 50% of the cases where ISDS is invoked, which makes your rebuttal sound a bit like it came from Monty Python's black knight.

                    "...why don't you spell out for me what recent legal precedent has passed me by?"

                    The one where well over half of the ISDS disputes were just declared fundamentally incompatible with EU law by the highest court in the EU?

                    I still fail to see - completely - how a trade agreement which forces democratic processes of legislation to include decidedly undemocratic elements in the decisionmaking process in a way we haven't seen in europe since the east-indian company and the hansa.

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 5:37am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

                      Addendum, truncated last sentence;

                      "I still fail to see - completely - how a trade agreement which forces democratic processes of legislation to include decidedly undemocratic elements in the decisionmaking process in a way we haven't seen in europe since the east-indian company and the hansa, would be of any use to anybody within the signatory nations."

                      Hence my view that an elected politician signing to ISDS would, if not dictionary-definition treason, still fall under some breach of faith clause or other.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 7:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

            They do enjoy the same rights as everyone else?

            What ISDS gives them, is special rights that no one else has.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

            "So, just because they're a "powerful multinational corporation" they don't enjoy the same rights as everyone else?"

            You mean when "everyone else" gets to call in a foreign court to arbitrate a US dispute, on US soil?

            "I'm defending the idea of rights - of limits on the power of governments, elected or otherwise, to do injustice to people (and groups of people in corporations)."

            No, you are defending the idea that a corporation, unlike an individual, should be able to turn to an outside court to arbitrate a case, rather than having to rely on a court established under the law of the land.

            Let's get back to this when you extend your argument to allow ISDS to include individual citizens. Until then your argument is just that much garbage.

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          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 5:46am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

            So, just because they're a "powerful multinational corporation" they don't enjoy the same rights as everyone else?**

            They don't face the same penalties as everyone else for violating our rights. You're comparing them to people when you should be comparing them to governments. Some international corporations have more power than democratically elected governments and can affect their ability to legislate in the public interest. They emphatically DON'T give a rat's about your rights.

            The fact that you don't like someone is not a valid reason to take away their rights.**

            Put the straw away, please, it's a fire hazard.

            I'm defending the idea of rights - of limits on the power of governments, elected or otherwise, to do injustice to people (and groups of people in corporations).

            I wish you'd defend the ides of rights - of limits on the power of corporations, which are completely unelected, to do injustice to people (and groups of people in other countries).

            There may well be reason to complain about the particular rights granted to Uber or others under ISDS agreements.

            There is when their "rights" supercede ours.

            That's entirely separate from the principle involved - that rights exist, that there are limits on what majorities may legitimately do to minorities (even if the minority is a wealthy corporation that you don't like).

            I don't have a problem at all with wealthy corporations. I've been working for them for years. I do, however, have a problem with them throwing their weight around so they can screw We the People.

            Seems like a lot of people (not you, I hope, Wendy) really think that "elected representatives" ought to be entitled to do ANYTHING they want to ANYBODY for ANY reason or NO reason. Without limit or rules to restrain them.

            NOBODY on this planet ought to be entitled to do ANYTHING they want to ANYBODY for ANY reason or NO reason. Without limit or rules to restrain them. Not governments, which we do have a say in, or corporations, which we don't have a say in.

            I don't think so. That's mob rule, not liberal democracy. I like rights.

            Mob rule means all rights for everyone are suspended pending consensus. When corporations run riot, my rights to clean air, a decent wage, and things like that are suspended until they reach an agreement with the powers that be. Sometimes they effectively ARE the powers that be. I'm not okay with that. The lens through which you ought to be viewing this is, "Who has the power?" The people with less power are the goodies. The people with more power and who are actively harming people either directly or indirectly are the baddies. Why is this hard to understand?

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          • icon
            bhull242 (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 1:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

            I seem to recall that when we mere individuals try to sue over a law we don’t like that doesn’t infringe on basic human rights, we are barred by a thing called “sovereign immunity”. We also, on the same principle, cannot sue a foreign country in a US court except under very limited circumstances. And even when we can sue a government, the suit still follows the same rule of law as any other kind of lawsuit. ISDS courts allow multinational corporations—and only multinational corporations—to sue a foreign government in a court not governed by that country’s laws for essentially not letting them make enough money. IOW, ISDS tribunals grant multinational corporations special rights that no one else has.

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            • icon
              Craig Welch (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 3:17am

              Investors can raise ISDS disputes

              ISDS courts allow multinational corporations—and only multinational corporations—to sue a foreign government in a court not governed by that country’s laws for essentially not letting them make enough money

              No, ISDS tribunals (they're not courts) allow foreign investors to raise disputes, be they individuals or multinational corporations.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 3:55am

                Re: Investors can raise ISDS disputes

                ...and reality dictates that multinational corporations will be making more use of this stuff than your typical individual investor.

                It's perhaps wrong to imply that these rights are only available to the corporations, but there's no reason to believe that these won't ultimately give them even more power over ordinary citizens than they already do.

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              • icon
                bhull242 (profile), 26 Jan 2020 @ 9:00pm

                Re: Investors can raise ISDS disputes

                Okay, but given that investors control corporations, I’m not sure the difference is that material.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 1:58pm

      Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

      Horrifying, if you're a majoritarian who thinks 51%+1 of any population are entitled to enslave, torture, and murder the minority.

      Ah yes, the old "democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner" line.

      In any real ecosystem, that's exactly backwards; prey always outnumbers predators by a pretty significant margin. And personally, I'm just fine with ten sheep and one wolf voting on what's for dinner. The people who aren't tend to be the proverbial wolves in sheep's clothing, or a few particularly dim sheep who find the crypto-lupine arguments persuasive.

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      • icon
        OldMugwump (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 5:29pm

        Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

        Sounds like you have a problem with the idea of rights, AC.

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        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 10:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

          No, it's just you being a disingenuous twat.

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          • icon
            OldMugwump (profile), 18 Jan 2020 @ 8:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

            Calling me a twat isn't an effective way to convince me (or anyone) of the correctness of your argument. I didn't call you any names.

            Perhaps you simply don't have an answer to my arguments.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:14am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

              "Perhaps you simply don't have an answer to my arguments."

              Or he thinks that anyone calling it "principle" to uphold the concept that there should be a separate legal system and process for a wealthy foreign corporation is just too bullshit to merit words.

              Because I have to say that anyone who tries to portray himself as an "idealist" when what they call for is for a foreign court to arbitrate disputes when no one else gets anything other than a local one, MUST be described as a disingenuous twat.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 10:14am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

            Tomb1275, don't start being a douche bag by calling people names. Its so untechdirty.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

          "Sounds like you have a problem with the idea of rights, AC."

          The idea which in this case allows a corporation to call in a foreign court to arbitrate a dispute which takes place on national soil and should be under national rule?

          Try to get back to this when your idea covers every other "individual entity" which would then include individual citizens.

          Because until you do all you're in fact doing is to proclaim that you're a fan of the concept that there are two systems of justice, only one of which should apply for foreign corporations.

          Your game's up, "OldMugwump". Just drop the rhetoric around "principles" because in reality all you're advocating is that we should just drop those principles.

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          • icon
            OldMugwump (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 8:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

            Please don't tell me what I'm advocating for, Mr. Monastery.

            I think the same rules should apply to everyone, including big scary multinational corporations that everyone hates. And to you, Scary.

            If elected representatives of democracies decide that it's in their common interest to limit their power to extort and defraud investors (any investor of any size) and to have a court (situated anywhere) to resolve such claims, I'm OK with that.

            More than OK. I think governments have too much arbitrary power. And that majorities (those who elect representatives to parliaments, for example) ought not to have the power to abuse minorities (like me or you).

            Governments have many necessary functions in society. But those functions are limited and don't extend to arbitrary abuse of people minding their own business. As a civilization, the only effective limits we've yet found to the power of majorities has been the idea of "rights".

            I like "rights". I support them. I think we ought to have more of them, and ISDS is one type of right that I support. (I think there should be many others as well.)

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Jan 2020 @ 2:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

              "I think the same rules should apply to everyone, including big scary multinational corporations that everyone hates. And to you, Scary."

              The same rights DO apply to everyone. Except under the ISDS when those corporations suddenly get MORE rights than everyone else gets.

              That's why we keep referring to you as a disingenious twat because, frankly speaking. You really aren't advocating identical rights. You are advocating that corporations need MORE such rights than others do.

              "More than OK. I think governments have too much arbitrary power. And that majorities (those who elect representatives to parliaments, for example) ought not to have the power to abuse minorities (like me or you)."

              Except that what you describe doesn't limit the power of government so much as you remove mine and your power to determine what our rights are. If the citizenry votes not to allow strip-mining because that has severe effects on both environment and individual then no one gets to strip-mine. Fair enough.

              Except under the ISDS when the strip-mining corporation hauls the nation into court and has us taxpayers pay massive fines for daring to block their strip-mining operation.

              "Governments have many necessary functions in society. But those functions are limited and don't extend to arbitrary abuse of people minding their own business."

              And a corporation violating the law of the land shouold have the exact same rights a citizen does. no more, no less.
              In other words if it feels a piece of legislation is disadvantageous it can take the matter to the constitutional courts and have it examined visavi the rights set down in the national charter.
              Not examined by a foreign tribunal which removes rights and privileges alike completely from the citizenry of the nation.

              "I like "rights". I support them. I think we ought to have more of them, and ISDS is one type of right that I support. (I think there should be many others as well.)"

              No you don't. ISDS is the "right" of a foreign corporation to take away the right a nation's citizenry has to determine laws.

              You are, essentially, being a disingenious twat who argues that corporations should have one set of rights which trump those the rest of the citizenry has, to the active detriment of said citizenry.

              So you are arguing against the rights of the citizenry while pretending you're in favor of "rights".

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Jan 2020 @ 2:39am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

                Oh, and to end it;

                "Please don't tell me what I'm advocating for, Mr. Monastery."

                I've read what you wrote three times by now. And if you really can't see what you've advocated for then you need to go back and learn basic english reading comprehension anew.

                for the rest of us who DO understand english it's pretty damn obvious what you're advocating - and that you then try to argue that you're in favor of the exact opposite.

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                • icon
                  OldMugwump (profile), 24 Jan 2020 @ 7:26am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kinda like a Bill of Rights

                  You're welcome to disagree with me, or argue that the consequences of my position will be bad. Clearly, we disagree.

                  Calling me "a disingenious (sic) twat" isn't going to convince me, or anyone else, that you're right. It just makes you sound angry, incoherent, and unable to come up with good arguments of your own.

                  And telling me that I don't like rights, when I just told you that I do, isn't an argument - it's just argumentative (not the same thing).

                  Are you aware that anybody - even you - can form a corporation for $100 or so? Corporations are just groups of people who come together for a common purpose. They aren't inherently monsters, or monstrous. (Yes, there can be principal-agent problems and issues with corporate officers not bearing full responsibility for their actions - the form is not perfect.) As such, "corporations" and individuals can and should have the same rights, as rights shouldn't disappear simply because multiple people (with rights) join together in a common purpose. If you really think that corporations have more rights than others (I do not, and am not advocating that - please don't tell me again that I am), you are free to form one of your own and enjoy those imaginary "extra" rights.

                  Finally, you write:

                  Except that what you describe doesn't limit the power of government so
                  much as you remove mine and your power to determine what our rights are.

                  This is my point - thanks for making it for me.

                  If you and I can determine what the rights of other people are, then we can take away those rights. Which means they aren't "rights" at all, but privileges that we decide to let them have - for now.

                  The entire idea of "rights" is that they can't be taken away - not by governments, not by majorities, not by parliaments.

                  That is why they constrain the power of government, and limit the rule of the mob.

                  And it's why I like them.

                  Have a great day, Mr. Scary Devil.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2020 @ 8:50pm

    I don't see why they're the first one. There have been other cases this seems pretty tame for the practice.

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  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 2:05am

    Corporations are people too, my friends, people who don't have to respect the laws of countries they operate in, pay taxes or worry about being prosecuted for bribery or any wrongdoing on their part... Okay, they're not people, they're like people but better, often functioning without any of the obligations or anything stopping them being amoral.

    What a wonderful time to be alive.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 5:44am

      Re:

      and it is always the fault of others when their business model collapses.

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    • icon
      Craig Welch (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 6:09am

      Re:

      Corporations are required to respect the laws of a host country.

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      • icon
        Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:37am

        Re: Re:

        Per ISDS, no they're not. And if they don't like the laws of their host country they can sue for lost profits, forcing the host country to either keep paying out or change their laws till the multinationals stop suing.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 10:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          These corporations could absolutely be shut down by the corresponding government if they are trying to blackmail the government and people of that nation. Don't be fooled.

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          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 5:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            How? When Iran tried that the Americans dismantled the government, installed the Shah, and provoked the revolution that gave us the Ayatollahs. The corporations are even now pushing for a piece of the Iranian oil pie. Again.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, I didn't say there would not be a backlash for doing it!

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              • icon
                Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 2:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Mate, they weren't shut down, they were sent away, where they consolidated their power, then proceeded to work behind the scenes to foment the wars we're still embroiled in today. That whole mess in the Middle East is of their making.

                Why the hell do you think nobody invaded Saudi Arabia over 9/11 even though most of the hijackers were Saudi?

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2020 @ 5:14pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Zapata Oil is why we didn't invade Saudi Arabia. The Bush family was in business with the family of Bin Ladens. They were flown out of the US immediately following 9-11 when no one else was in the air.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 5:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "How? When Iran tried that the Americans dismantled the government, installed the Shah, and provoked the revolution that gave us the Ayatollahs."

              ...and let's not even mention the blind larceny which was the bidding war between which US companies would carve up Iraq. Or, well, let's mention it, by all means...

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              • icon
                Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 7:07am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I nearly vomited up my dinner while watching this unfold in the Nineties. I will never forget it. Every time some numbnut tries to justify the Middle Eastern mess, I bring it up because I can. Infuriating!

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:59am

        Re: Re:

        "Corporations are required to respect the laws of a host country."

        The CJEU appears to disagree with you on that analysis. I think I'll take the deliberations of the EU court of justice in a real case over those of a researcher so dismissive of the hazards of the ISDS he saw fit to present a thesis called "Fact or Folklore, Mythbusting Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)".

        ISDS ensures that if a corporation is impacted by a change in government policy then the corporation can take their complaint to a tribunal completely outside of the judicial administration of the affected country.

        In other words, if the corporation is unhappy with the law of the land and the rulings of national courts they can take it to a court outside of the law of the land and get a binding verdict there instead.

        There are plenty of reasons to scrap the ISDS outright and the only positives to be found is in cases where major corporations stand to gain by intimidating the host country into refraining from, for example, phasing out nuclear energy, or putting restrictions around shale gas extraction.

        As fallible as democracy inherently is, it's ability to wield power is a utopian ideal measured against the power wielded by a corporation which is never obligated to cater to any other concern in the end than that of their shareholders.

        That being the case no corporation should ever have the recourse to take a suit against a national government outside of that nations legal system.

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        • icon
          Craig Welch (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 6:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Thank you for the plug for my paper. Your mention will help my author rankings, Note, it wasn't a thesis, it was a peer-reviewed Law Review article. But to better help my rankings, we should cite it in full. Welch C, ‘Fact or Folklore? Mythbusting Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)’ (2016) 27 International Company and Commercial Law Review 411.

          The CJEU appears to disagree with you on that analysis

          Just to be clear, are you referring to the Achmea decision? If you would clear that up, I'll respond.

          ISDS ensures that if a corporation is impacted by a change in government policy then the corporation can take their complaint to a tribunal completely outside of the judicial administration of the affected country.

          No it doesn't. ISDS is to address complaints that a state has breached the treaty. But the rest of your sentence is correct. That is how it's meant to work.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 5:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Just to be clear, are you referring to the Achmea decision? If you would clear that up, I'll respond."

            That is so;
            "the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Opinion C284‑16 (Slovak Republic v Achmea BV) has held that ISDS provisions in bilateral investment treaties (BITs) between EU Member States (intra‑EU BITs) are incompatible with EU law."

            That takes about half of the ISDS disputes into the territory of "condemned" for the reason that an actual constitutional court has made a ruling. Which sort of goes against a number of your arguments in this thread.

            " ISDS is to address complaints that a state has breached the treaty."

            ...by taking that complaint outside of any court with actual legal weight within the nation in question.
            Your argumental logic has gone the full circle, kind sir.

            We're still looking at where the european court of justice has just dropped the hammer, in a major way, on some 56% of the cases usually disputed within the ISDS and declared that particular mechanism fundamentally in conflict with basic european law.

            Your arguments, then and now, give the impression that you consider the fears over ISDS are overblown and the court is talking out of it's ass. I maintain that there are plenty of very sound reasons as to NOT allow nation-corporate arbitration to take place in a dictionary-definition kangaroo court located in another nation and staffed primarily by private counselors outside of any actually legitimate jurisdiction.

            For any other form of tort or contract violation review between individuals it's fairly clear that there will be a government-sanctioned judge arbitrating to keep corruption and bribery outside.
            Corporations have fought for their right to be considered individuals under law for a long time and I, for one, see no reason why we should have two different types of justice simply because one individual happens to be bigger and stronger than the other type.

            No reason other than "It's easier to get the verdict we want if we get to staff the court...err, tribunal", of course.

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      • identicon
        Wyatt Derp, 17 Jan 2020 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re:

        The words corporation and respect in one sentence - lol

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 3:41am

    Re: behavier

    Definitely a spam account.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 5:39am

    So, what prevents Colombia from giving Uber the middle finger even if they go for the ISDS thing and win?

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 5:51am

      Re:

      "So, what prevents Colombia from giving Uber the middle finger even if they go for the ISDS thing and win?"

      Basically they'll have defaulted to the agreement they signed with the US. Which in turn invites the World Trade Organization to penalize Columbia.

      The ISDS is a terrifying paragraph which allows any given corporate entity to override the law of the nation it's acting in.

      Or bluntly put, since corporations are legally speaking, individuals, it gives a foreign individual a veto right in the the legislative process of a sovereign, democratic nation.

      Any nation willing to sign themselves onto a "trade agreement" such as that needs to hold a treason trial for the statesmen signing it.

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      • icon
        Craig Welch (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 6:12am

        Re: Re:

        Basically they'll have defaulted to the agreement they signed with the US. Which in turn invites the World Trade Organization to penalize Columbia.

        The WTO has nothing at all to do with these cases.

        The ISDS is a terrifying paragraph which allows any given corporate entity to override the law of the nation it's acting in.

        No it doesn't.

        Or bluntly put, since corporations are legally speaking, individuals, it gives a foreign individual a veto right in the the legislative process of a sovereign, democratic nation.

        No it doesn't.

        Any nation willing to sign themselves onto a "trade agreement" such as that needs to hold a treason trial for the statesmen signing it.

        You need to check what "treason" actually means. Clearly it does not mean what you think it does.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The WTO has nothing at all to do with these cases."

          The WTO is the guarantor of the international trade treaties. When a signing nation defaults to a trade treaty, they are the ones who call the shots.

          They aren't the court the ISDS dispute is handled in, but that's another kettle of fish altogether, as the individual trade agreements also stipulate the court of dispute.

          "No it doesn't."

          Yes, it does. It allows a foreign entity which is operating in country X to penalize country X if country X's laws interfere with the business model of the foreign entity.

          So yes, it allows a corporation to override the legislative efforts of a signing nation and thus acts as a veto right which, if violated, results in punishment.

          I'll grant you that this is not the verbatim writing of the ISDS but that is the effective result it provides.

          "You need to check what "treason" actually means. Clearly it does not mean what you think it does."

          Operating and/or conspiring with a foreign power to the detriment of your own country's government and/or national security?
          Apparently it DOES say what I think it does.

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          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Gentlemen, allow Wikipedia to arbitrate:

            ISDS cannot overturn local laws (unlike the World Trade Organization) which violate trade agreements, but can grant monetary damages to investors adversely affected by such laws. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, ISDS requires specific treaty violations, and does not allow corporations to sue solely over "lost profits". However, such violations may be difficult to foresee, and the threat of exorbitant fines may cause a chilling effect which halts regulation or legislation in the public interest (e.g. human health and environmental protection). Critics also state that treaties are written so that any legislation causing lost profits is by definition a treaty violation, rendering the argument null that only treaty violations are subject to ISDS.

            Therefore, while technically ISDS doesn't rewrite laws per its specific wording, the actual, proven effect is that countries wishing to avoid being sued (even if they win, cases are expensive to defend) have to think twice about enacting laws in the public interest. That is how ISDS actually rewrites other countries' laws; via the chilling effect of the threat of litigation.

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            • icon
              Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              SDM, RE: treason; while you may be technically right, the laws in other countries differ from the dictionary definition of treason.

              And remember, the government officials who sign off on the treaties don't always know what is in them since they're usually negotiated in secret and only lobbyists tend to have a say in what goes in there.

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 8:02am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "...the government officials who sign off on the treaties don't always know what is in them since they're usually negotiated in secret and only lobbyists tend to have a say in what goes in there."

                Al too true. I still remember when the EU parliament was supposed to sign to the ACTA treaty without ever being allowed to read what it was about, unless they signed an NDA with actual treason charges placed against a violation. Something which was in direct violation of the EU charter which specifically states no one may ask a PM not to share information with his constituents.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 11:20am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  They should have immediately declared war against that corporation.

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                • icon
                  urza9814 (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 1:44pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  If the elected officials are so eager to screw over their constituents that they'll actually agree to something like that, then do the specific details of the implementation really matter all that much?

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:18am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "If the elected officials are so eager to screw over their constituents that they'll actually agree to something like that, then do the specific details of the implementation really matter all that much?"

                    They didn't agree. So ACTA died.

                    After the commission had attempted to have it signed by any number of obvious and less obvious maneuvers, the most embarrassing of which may have been when they tried getting the signing event pushed in under a plenary session about the cod-fishing north sea quota.

                    The shadow rapporteur overseeing ACTA resigned from that position with an open letter stating that in his twenty years in high-power politics he had never seen such a blatantly dishonest shit show as that which surrounded ACTA.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 9:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It does, indirectly, allow rewriting law as the options are to: Change the law, Pay up, or Ignore the ISDS and WTO and face whatever consequences aris from that.

              Of course, if no one is willing to enforce those consequences ...

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2020 @ 6:16am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I would tell uber to go fuck themselves at any rate. That company started by sneaking in the back door to begin with. All the established cab companies had a real problem with the way this company started up.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2020 @ 7:11am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Beyond that, these leaders were forced to sign these ISDS clauses under extreme duress in that they were not able to view what had been very deceptively drawn up behind closed doors.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 3:57am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Existing taxi companies could have had an App long before Uber appeared on the scene making their use much more convenient for customers, and making it harder for Uber to compete. However rather than change their business model to deal with the new competition, they resort to politics to try and drive the competition out of business.

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          • icon
            Craig Welch (profile), 19 Jan 2020 @ 5:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If you're from the USA, this is what treason is:

            Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
            18 U.S.C. § 2381

            Note the use of the word "enemy". Columbia is not an enemy of the United States. Even Iran is not an enemy of the United States.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 10:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Iran is barely balancing with one foot on a 4# monofilament fishing line from becoming US enemy.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Note the use of the word "enemy". Columbia is not an enemy of the United States. Even Iran is not an enemy of the United States."

              The US definition of "treason" is indeed far more liberal than what is observed elsewhere.

              But it's a rather weaksauce argument "that signing a country's national sovereignty away to a foreign court can not, strictly speaking, be considered actual Treason."

              Why the hell should a corporation be given the right to call in a foreign court to arbitrate a dispute? Should citizens have that right as well? If not, then why would anyone wish to advocate for implementing two different standards of justice?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I think, and correct me if I'm wrong 👂(((we will))) but if a government adopts a law and a corporation already doing busy in that nation finds that the new law interferes with its projected profits, it can go after the government for damages. But, a corporation who has not set up shop in a country but plans to cannot go after a nation for laws it deems will interfere with their bottom line. Right?

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 6:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "But, a corporation who has not set up shop in a country but plans to cannot go after a nation for laws it deems will interfere with their bottom line. Right?"

              Correct. However, that only scrapes the surface.

              Consider that Germany, to name one example, tried to phase out nuclear energy - and was promptly sued for a few billion USD as a result.
              Canada set a moritorium on fracking (shale oil gas extraction, environmentally unfriendly in extremis) and was promptly sued.

              If a nation sits under the ISDS then whenever it starts calculating whether a legislation is good for the citizenry and the country it now also has to take into consideration that it may be blackmailed into NOT carrying out it's democratic mandate.

              And that is the dictionary-definition of classical corporatism as it was practiced in fascist italy. Logically so since in order for corporatism to succeed it absolutely needs to be able to tell the national courts to fuck off. And that again brings us to the ISDS...

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2020 @ 5:23pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Governments set the laws for incorporation. Why can't they change those laws to restrict what a corporation can and can't do? Its ludicrous to let these corporations run amock.

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 1:56am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Governments set the laws for incorporation."

                  Government sets law, full stop.

                  Basically it's the cornerstone of democracy that we the citizenry elect politicians, politicians promulgate laws. Infringement of law allows the government to use the monopoly of violence to enforce those laws.

                  What ISDS does is to monkeywrench that process and say that if a legally elected government decides to, oh, render destructive strip mining illegal, that government has to take into consideration that the foreign corporation strip mining the nations land could take that government to court in a kangaroo tribunal staffed by people aligned with corporate interests rather than any impartial legislation and blackmail said government into backing off from serving their own citizenry and the national interest.

                  So yes, ISDS is ridiculous. As ridiculous as the idea that a passing tourist should be able to assault or rob someone and then insist on the actual "court" hosting his case be in another country and staffed by people without any actual legal obligation to the laws of the country in question - and who might in fact be on the payroll of a fund which the tourist in question is paying into.

                  But for some reason numerous people online are keen to point out that the ISDS must be the best thing since the invention of sliced bread because think of the poor corporations who until now actually have to take the risk of a sensible national law getting into the way of them maximizing their profits...

                  At which point I'm wondering whether these stalwart advocates are being paid by Big Pharma, sony, or half a dozen mining companies, or whether they are just honestly so deeply into the rabbit hole of corporate evangelism that they believe democracy is truly a taint upon this world.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2020 @ 4:59pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Why don't these governments go after companies that pollute the water tables and deep aquifers with heavy metals used fracking for natural gas? Why don't these governments go after these companies that pollute the air while they fill their safes with billions of dollars open air filling tankers with crude oil? Why don't these governments make sure the people in my country who are hurt through the exploitation by these greedy corporations fully compensated?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 6:13am

        Re: Re:

        Of course the WTO is a joke in itself as the US has spent years refusing to acknowledge because they didn't like a fair ruling against them they would rather undermine the global economic stability of said functionary whose purpose was to prevent Smoot-Hawley tarrif dispute cascades which lead to /the Great Depression/ over petty gains. The whole thing is fucking stupid because of how trivially it is ignored.

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 6:14am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah but, considering most of these trade deals are garbage (specially when they come with these ISDS clauses) and usually the poorer country is in the losing end of the deal, wouldn't it be better if they just gave the middle finger and made the deal void? Much like defaulting isn't always the worst path (ie: Greece wouldn't have suffered so much if they defaulted their debt and all).

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 7:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Much like defaulting isn't always the worst path (ie: Greece wouldn't have suffered so much if they defaulted their debt and all)."

          That's completely different. Greece has a long history of overspending and when they joined the EU and the Euro they were effectively given a German credit card - without their tried-and-true historical ability to tank their currency and subsist as an export/tourism paradise for a few years.

          The reason Greece could threaten to default at all is because every last one of the greek loans had become the european equivalent of the US bad mortgage situation of 2008 - every european bank had money held against a greek loan or derivative thereof so if Greece defaulted the entire house of card would collapse, pulling much of european banking and trust funds with it.

          That, incidentally, is why the Greece minister of finance, when he was going to brussels to negotiate a solution, was wearing such a broad shit-eating grin. He knew any threat to default on the loans would have the EU agreeing to anything.

          So we paid the greeks off and although greece is going through harsh times today it's pretty interesting to note that their debt repayments got covered by EU bailouts and decades-long extensions of their loans.

          Whereas if you default on an international trade treaty odds are it won't directly threaten most of european banking so penalties are sure to follow. The WTO administers such penalties, even if the possibility to execute said sanctions can often be considered weaksauce.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 8:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Greece, example of how austerity does not work.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 9:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It is an example of what happens when no one pays taxes, though.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Greece, example of how austerity does not work."

              Actually it's the best example of why the Euro is such a shit-show and why european unification has always failed, despite no shortage of attempts to do just that.

              Greece isn't Germany, Italy isn't Poland, France isn't Sweden.

              Brexit is and was a disaster but I'm more than a little convinced that twenty years down the line the rest of us will all be envious about them getting out early.

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              • identicon
                Talmyr, 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:40am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Brexit is, but I don't think the EU is in that much trouble. It is a good idea, it just needs to re-balance itself and decide what its priorities are. Meantime, it is doing its job which is improving conditions, trade and cultural exchanges on the continent that spawned two world wars.

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 6:36am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "...but I don't think the EU is in that much trouble. It is a good idea, it just needs to re-balance itself and decide what its priorities are."

                  It really is in that much trouble.

                  Using Greece as the example and the continuation of that iliad of woes;

                  In order to bail Greece out the european central bank needed to have state actors buying up the greek debts - making them worth more than the paper they were written on.

                  The EU member states were less than pleased and no one's budget had spare cash for the greek loans, so what was to be done?

                  Why, the solution which served Germany so well in 1930. /s

                  The ECB went on a money-printing spree of trillions to cover shortfalls in the eurozone and mitigated the hyperinflationary effects by running them in complex logistical circles of lending and spending. The result of which was that right now the entire eurozone rests on a massive bubble of hyperinflation which, when it collapses, will make the 2009 mortgage crash look as harmless as a dropped teacup in comparison.
                  Needless to say the EU has means to stave off such a collapse for a good, long while, but at significant expense, the least of which is that once that bubble bursts anyway, no mitigation of the effects will be possible any longer.

                  Secondly the EU politics. Looking at ACTA, the data retention directive, and the copyright directive as prime examples it's fairly obvious that the EU political bureaucracy which holds the majority of the practical power, does not give a shit about the interests of the citizenry or it's wishes. And it's only getting worse with less transparency and open contempt visavi the unwashed masses more visible by the day.

                  Third, the casual corruption; Auditors have never been able to close the books on how the EU is spending its money. Again, it's getting worse.

                  Indeed the only good thing to ever come out of the EU is the constitutional court and the court on human rights. But it's pretty cold comfort that we have a leadership willing to screw every citizen to the point where a court regularly has to tell them no.

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  • icon
    Ed (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 8:12am

    Uber is evil

    There is absolutely nothing good about Uber. They've been shady from the beginning and continue to be so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 8:45am

    🎵 Why don't we rewrite the laws?
    🎵 That money's meant to be mine!
    🎵 Nothing can keep us apart!
    🎵 Just look in the treaty, and see what you find!
    🎵 It's not up to you! It's all up to me!
    🎵 You don't get to say I can't screw your country!
    🎵 So why don't we rewrite the laws?
    🎵 Let in our drivers and cars... today!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 11:18am

    If a business can reserve the right to refuse service to anyone they want, then a government can surely reserve the right to refuse to allow any business they want for any or no reason at all to operate inside their borders.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 11:21am

      Re:

      Why?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Craig Welch (profile), 18 Jan 2020 @ 3:57am

      Re:

      If a business can reserve the right to refuse service to anyone they want, then a government can surely reserve the right to refuse to allow any business they want for any or no reason at all to operate inside their borders.

      It absolutely can.

      Unless, of course, it has signed a treaty that says it will not.

      Which is the case in this situation.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 9:47am

        Re: Re:

        These treaties are of a hostile nature from the gitgo. The countries signing lose economically the trade between countries they enjoyed before other countries were coerced to signing. The strongarm tactics are to begin with in bad faith in the very least.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 9:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That is to say they lose the ability to enjoy trade if they don't sign. That puts them in a hard position protecting their citizens and economy. The concentration of wealth and power these corporations having acquired by terrible practices in controlling economies of countries they are banking on to grab the world by its left testicle.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 3:30am

        Re: Re:

        "It absolutely can. Unless, of course, it has signed a treaty that says it will not. Which is the case in this situation."

        ...at which point you have the awkward situation where there are two processes of justice. The individual citizen and the tourist have to accept arbitration from a court of law within the national boundaries, subject to the law of the land.

        The corporation, legally speaking just a more monetized foreigner, gets to call in arbitration from outside.

        I'm not surprised that the european court of justice condemns the ISDS over it's ability to remove arbitration from EU jurisdiction.

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        • icon
          Craig Welch (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 6:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You seem to think that ISDS is available only to corporations, and not to individuals.

          That is not the case. It is available, in certain circumstances (existence of a treaty, qualified investor and investment), to investors, be they individuals or corporations.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 6:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            " It is available, in certain circumstances (existence of a treaty, qualified investor and investment), to investors, be they individuals or corporations."

            Yet, in the real world, who is more likely to take advantage of (or abuse) this system? Individual investors who have been wronged, or multinational corporations unhappy that a country's attempt to protect its citizens interferes with profits?

            You can argue the intent, but most people are going to argue its actual real world applications, and it's doubtful that the individual investor will be the one to benefit overall.

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            • icon
              Craig Welch (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 6:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yet, in the real world, who is more likely to take advantage of (or abuse) this system? Individual investors who have been wronged, or multinational corporations unhappy that a country's attempt to protect its citizens interferes with profits?

              My point was that ISDS is not limited to corporations. It's also available to foreign investors. Individuals do from time to time raise ISDS claims.

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              • icon
                Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 7:16am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Can you imagine the cost of bringing a case?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 7:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The question isn't really whether it can or will be used by individuals. The question is how it will be used in the majority of cases. The feeling is that it will generally be used more by multinationals to override local governments attempts at protecting their citizens than it will be to protect genuine concerns by individuals.

                Time will tell who is correct here, but if this turns out to be an example of a supposedly well-intentioned piece of legislation being abused for corporate profit, it will hardly be the first.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 6:41am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "It's also available to foreign investors. Individuals do from time to time raise ISDS claims."

                I can similarly, in theory, purchase every square foot of land in, say, stockholm.

                In practice, however...

                "My point was that ISDS is not limited to corporations. It's also available to foreign investors."

                So we're right back to where we have two different systems of arbitrations, one of which is available only if you have a LOT of money.
                ...which, again, sounds like crap for anyone even casually in favor of ludicium severum non iudicans sine simulatione.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Craig Welch (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 8:11am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  So we're right back to where we have two different systems of arbitrations, one of which is available only if you have a LOT of money.

                  No, the ISDS mechanism provides one system of arbitration for investors.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 2:04am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "No, the ISDS mechanism provides one system of arbitration for investors."

                    Which happens to be outside of the legal system of arbitration.

                    I think we're at the point where I have to ask how whether any of your salary comes out of a think-tank trust fund tasked with defending the ISDS.

                    You aren't delivering any single reason as to why the ISDS needs to exist but have been quite persistent in trying to make it sound harmless where it's fairly obvious by now that it really isn't.
                    And making a number of hilariously infactual assertions in doing so.

                    Once again, the european court of justice has a smoking fresh precedent ruling which, in strong language, asserts that the mechanism called for by the ISDS renders the majority of the arbitration mechanism incompatible with EU law.

                    Your rebuttal...hum, no rebuttal at all. Just more assertions that the ISDS does not in fact do what it, in factual observable reality, does.

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 17 Jan 2020 @ 12:09pm

    Time to fix..

    The Stock exchange.
    It used to be the idea that Stocks would give people Part ownership into Companies and corps. But looking up this idea, it has gone away in most cases.
    It has become a Low cost. Low interest Loan that can take a Century or 2 to pay off, If ever. And they give No rights or abilities to the person buying the Stocks.

    If we added all this money up, How much debt would it represent? The Value of the Stocks Should only show a Minus impact on the corps, not a positive. In the USA its topped 100 trillion. and there are other numbers out there for the Total Value of the world monetary system, and if you use the 2...The corps are NEVER EVER going to pay the money back.
    And its all on Promises and Inflated evaluations.

    https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/how-much-money-is-there-in-the-world.html

    Money in the form of investments raises the above figure even higher. Derivatives hold large amounts of funds invested in them with the money exceeding $544 trillion; and estimation of $1.2 quadrillion on high-end. This amount is much more significant than the total amount of money in the stock markets which is mere $73 trillion.

    ====================
    we are back to the old game. Monopoly money.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 12:36pm

    The problem is governments allow these corporations to steal tax payer money all the time these days as the concentration of wealth and concentration of power vicious cycle is the dominant model.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 3:53pm

      Re:

      It's not theft, it is corporate welfare.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 4:17pm

        Re: Re:

        The solution to economic crises are written by those corporations who caused the crisis. What do you think would happen? They become even wealthier and more powerful with each cycle.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 10:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Some day this world is going to blow up and I have no doubt it we be corporations that cause it. One clue is their absolute disdain for the human race.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            ECA (profile), 20 Jan 2020 @ 12:14pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Something was said and passed in court..
            The comment that Corps are not responsible to anyone except those that invest into the corps.
            The problem tends to be that Stocks have little to no power, and they are getting away with Lying to the Stockholders.
            Wheres the enforcement from the SEC??

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2020 @ 12:40pm

    Some day soon a government will go to war against a corporation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bobob, 17 Jan 2020 @ 3:57pm

    I have never used uber and I would walk before considering uber as the alternative. You just added one more reason to not use them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 4:43am

    j

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    christy, 19 Jan 2020 @ 4:45am

    The corp us

    well, guess what. The good ole' US of A is a Corporation. Go back and read your history. This ISDS stuff is totally a tool for the oligarchs

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2020 @ 9:57am

      Re: The corp us

      Absolutely correct. It used to be said of the US of A, "It is the worst run company in the history of the world."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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