Stiglitz on Kuroda, on TPP



I've known him for a very long time, since I was chief economist at the World Bank. I'm very very impressed. I think he has the understanding of economics, the commitment to try to make Japan grow faster. One of the things of course, I'm particularly favorably impressed with is at the Asian Development Bank, he showed a real concern for inequality, for the poor. That of course is part of the mission of the Asian Development Bank, but he really pursued that with vigor.

There have been a number of Japanese officials like Mr. Sakikibara that are well known, but Mr. Kuroda is one of the best-known economists, Japanese economists around the world.


What he*3 said is that he wants to enter the negotiations. So the question is, there's a big difference between entering negotiations and signing a deal. But one has to be careful, because there is a lot of arm-twisting that goes on in these trade negotiations, and a lot of pressure once you enter, to sign the agreement. Now, I have very strong reservations over TPP.

The first is that, from the point of view of global policy, multilateral trade agreements are much better than bilateral or regional trade agreements. When you split the world up into various groups, you really undermine the multilateral trade regime which we've worked so hard to create over the span of a half-century. So what the United States and Europe have been doing by, with a whole series of bilateral trade agreements, partnership agreements, is really undermining the very multilateral system that they helped create. So I've been very critical from a philosophical point of view, of this kind of initiative.

I particularly am concerned, you know, one of my main concerns has been developing countries. There was an agreement in 2001, to have a development round, at Doha in November 2001. And unfortunately, the advanced industrial countries, the United States in particular, reneged on the promises they made to the developing countries. And for me, this is a very big concern – that we should've honored those agreements, we should've created a multilateral trade regime that was fair for developing countries. The third concern I have is that most of these agreements are not only, not free trade agreements, that's a misnomer, they're managed trade agreements. They're managed for special interests, and the special interests, especially in the United States. And they go well beyond trade, to intellectual property, to bilateral investment agreements, and those provisions tend to be, not even in the interest of the United States. They're in the interest of some special interests in the United States.

But there is a broad sense, that for instance, the direction of intellectual property is undermining science, the advancement of science more broadly, and particularly, something that again, I care a lot about – access to healthcare for all individuals. That we have these amazing advances in science, largely supported by government spending. The basic research is government spending, and then the drug companies bring it to market, but we have to understand the basic research is done by government, and then, they, many of the pharmaceuticals raise the prices to the point where ordinary citizens can't get access. Or, the drug companies charge such a high price that when governments buy the drugs, they use money that could be used to help poor people or to restructure the economy. So these are not in the interest of either the United States or the other countries. And the same thing, very strong concern about the investment provisions that are typically buried in these, and there are a lot of initiatives, a lot of, the concern is that they will also be included in the TPP. Final concern, TPP is being negotiated, not in a transparent way. Corporations have access to the USTR, corporations get to know what's going on into the TPP, but a lot of civil society does not have the same access. And so the worry is that this will be another trade agreement shaped more by corporate interest than by the interest of the broader society. And that is a concern, should be a concern both here in Japan, is a concern in the United States, I know a lot of civil society groups in the United States are very concerned.











*1:See also

*2:See also


*4:See also

*5:See also



*8: 社民党はもっと酷いらしい。

*9:See eg.