It's not just the three North American governments and their agencies putting together the Security and Prosperity Partnership. Private corporations are also a strong force driving the policy. They are working together with the governments in what are commonly referred to as Public/Private Partnerships.
Libertarians and so-called Free Traders promote these partnerships as a means to incorporate free market solutions to government. In this manner, they claim that such "private enterprise" limits the size and power of government and reduces its cost.
In fact, a project as massive as the SPP would be nearly impossible to implement purely through government edict.
So Public/Private Partnerships are becoming the fastest growing process to impose such policy. In the US, state legislatures are passing laws which call for the implementation of PPPs. The Canadian Parliament is doing the same.
NAFTA, GATT, CAFTA and the SPP institutionalize PPPs as the accepted way to implement policy.
Beware. These bonds between government and private international corporations are a double-edged sword. They come armed with government's power to tax, the government's power to enforce policy and the government's power to enforce eminent domain.
At the same time, the private corporations use their wealth and extensive advertising budgets to entrench the policy into our national conscience. Further, participating corporations can control the types of products offered on the market.
For example, when the proponents of a political or economic agenda such as sustainable development seek to enforce their will on the market, they simply create PPPs with government and business to control things like development, food consumption or energy use. Banks and mortgage companies in the partnership can enforce policy by forcing borrowers to comply as a stipulation for the loan. Government grants can enrich private corporations as the companies produce mandated products - free of development risks. Private developers which have entered into a Public/Private Partnership with local government, for example, can now obtain the power of eminent domain to build on land not open to competitors.
The fact is, current use of eminent domain by local communities in partnership with private developers simply considers all property to be the common land of the State, to be used as it sees fit for some undefined community good. The government gains the higher taxes created by the new development. The developer gets the revenue from the work.
The immediate losers, of course, are the property owners. But other citizens are losers too. Communities give up control of their infrastructure. Voters lose control of their government.
Private companies are now systematically buying up water treatment plants in communities, in effect, gaining control of the water supply. And they are buying control of the U.S. highway systems through PPPs with state departments of transportation.
Because of a public/private partnership, one million Texans are about to lose their land for the Trans Texas Corridor, a highway that couldn't be built without the power of eminent domain. Foreign companies are being met with open arms by local, and federal officials who see a way to use private corporations and their massive bank accounts to fund projects.
As the Associated Press reported July 15, 2006, "On a single day in June (2006) an Australian-Spanish partnership paid $3.6 billion to lease the Indiana Toll Road. An Australian company bought a 99 year lease on Virginia's Pocahontas Parkway, and Texas officials decided to let a Spanish-American partnership build and run a toll road for 50 years."
In fact, that Spanish-American partnership in Texas and its lease with the Texas Department of Transportation to build and run the Trans Texas Corridor contains a "no-compete" clause which prohibits anyone, including the Texas government from building new highways or expanding exiting ones which might run in competition with the TCC.
With inside information from its own Public/Private Partnership, Kansas City Southern Railroad (KCSR) has been able to grow overnight from a two-bit belt around Kansas City to controlling a 2,600-mile artery from Lazaro Cardenas to Kansas City, straight up the Trans Texas Corridor. KCSR has obtained the rail rights up the corridor. It is now a government-sanctioned monopoly.
Protected from competition, the railroad will set the costs and the shipping rules. And it will get very rich, no matter the quality of service. All because of whom its owner knows. That is not free enterprise.
At an April, 2007 meeting in Calgary, Canada, as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, government officials, business leaders and academics met to discuss redistributing Canada's water to Mexico and the U.S. Southwest.
Canada has water, lots of it, and the public/private partnerships of the SPP are swarming on it like locusts as they seek to drain it out of Canada's rivers and lakes and ship it to potential profit centers south of the Canadian border.
NAFTA describes water as a "good" and stipulates that "No party may adopt or maintain any prohibition or restriction on the exportation or sale of exports or any good destined for the territory of any other party."
For that reason, it is understood that once Canada starts exporting fresh water to the U.S., it would be impossible to turn off the tap. Canadians are suddenly feeling the raw power of the lethal combination of government and private industry working in concert to dictate policy. The people of Canada will soon understand that they will have little say in the matter.
Private companies operating in the free market lack one thing government has - the power of coercion. The free market operates with you making the decisions based on personal choice. Under Public/Private Partnerships the choices are decided for you in meetings behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, private companies that are not part of a PPP are unable to compete with those who are. They are shut out of competition from the establishment of economic development zones which provide the chosen elite with reduced real estate taxes and financial aid.
Companies which find themselves outside of the elite status of the PPP suddenly run into regulatory difficulties to get their own projects completed. PPPs are one of the reasons many people find they can no longer fight city hall. The private companies gain the power of government to do as they please - and the governments earn the independence of the companies, no longer needing to answer to voters. It's the perfect partnership. But it's not freedom.
Such a process allows the private companies to be little more than government-sanctioned monopolies, answerable to no one. Their power is awesome and near absolute. Some call such policy corporatism. Another term would be corporate fascism.
Ultimately, corporatism does not trust the marketplace to do what the elites want.
Thus the alignment of corporations and government is done at the expense of ordinary people - the exact opposite of free markets controlled by consumers.
This then is the future offered by the Security and Prosperity Partnership - corporate fascism and all-powerful government. It's not prosperity. It's not security. And it's not freedom.