Agree with you in a sense John, and your analysis is essentially surface level.
If you look deeper, at the systemic incentives at work, then the picture is quite startling.
Calling this a “free trade” agreement is one of the finest examples of Orwellian Newspeak I have ever seen.
Rather than freedom, the agreement is a set of restrictions on freedom that are used as legal tools to create and or maintain scarcity that technology would otherwise remove.
That scarcity, by definition, is the absence of goods and services that could otherwise be freely enjoyed by a large fraction of society that will be deprived of that enjoyment by this agreement.
What is at root cause?
At the root of this issue is a fundamental conflict with the exponentially expanding capacity of technology and automation to deliver universal abundance of a growing set of goods and services, existing against our dominant social organising paradigm of markets and money – which are based in scarcity.
Anything which is universally abundant has no value in a market (doubt that, consider oxygen in the air – arguably the single most valuable commodity to any individual human, yet of no market value due to its universal abundance).
The biggest issue of social justice for our age is the conflict that now exists between the ability of technology to deliver an ever expanding set of goods and services at zero marginal cost of production (universal abundance), placed against our dominant measure of value (money) which is based in scarcity (and by definition values any universal abundance at zero).
The TPP is a set of agreements to prevent the delivery of universal abundance by creating a set of artificial barriers to the delivery of that abundance, mainly under the guise of intellectual property laws, copyright, patent and various other related realms.
Throughout most of human history, when we really did have genuine scarcity of most goods and services, markets and money were genuinely beneficial to most people.
Now that we have the technical capacity to automate any process, and to capture solar energy for human use far more efficiently than going through biological systems, we have the technical ability to deliver universal abundance of a large and growing set of goods and services. But delivering universal abundance of anything drives the price to zero and thence the profit to zero – so makes no sense from a financial perspective, however much sense it makes from a humanitarian and justice perspective.
In this sense, the TPP is just a natural response from the perspective of money, from those who view everything about our existence in terms of money – as if it had any real value in today’s world.
Technology is delivering tools faster than our social and conceptual systems can keep up (on average over the population).
The TPP makes sense from a corporate view of the world – in terms of money.
From the perspective of those at the bottom of the distribution curve, it is simply a tool of domination and dis-empowerment.
You have my great respect, as one of the few economists who actively thinks beyond the dogma (up there with Milton Friedman).
On the medical side – high dose vitamin C can assist the body’s own immune system to cure most things most of the time, but no profit in that for big pharama, so they bury it. Robert Cathcart (Medical Hypotheses, 18:61-77, 1985) publish some very interesting data a long time ago. The greatest chemist ever (as measured by other chemists – Linus Pauling) spent the latter years of his life investigating the many roles of Vitamin C.
I have used it to cure myself of “incurable cancer” – and collected my life insurance along the way (I was that “terminal” – now 5 years on – see https://tedhowardnz.wordpress.com/cancer-treatment/).