There are many serious issues raised by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but the one that may have the greatest long-term impact is its provisions on drug patents. The explicit purpose is to make patent protection stronger and longer. While these provisions are likely to lead to higher drug prices in the United States, they will have their greatest impact in the developing world. In most developing countries, drugs are far cheaper than in the United States. This is especially the case in India. The country has a world-class generic industry that produces high-quality drugs that typically sell for a small fraction of the price in the United States. The U.S. drug industry desperately wants to eliminate this sort of price gap, which can exceed a ratio of one hundred to one. This should have everyone very worried.
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Some say the left should tout the merits of "government." That is a great idea, if the point is to advance the conservatives' agenda. It is astounding how happy liberals are to work for the right by implying that conservatives somehow just want to leave markets to themselves whereas the liberals want to bring in the pointy-headed bureaucrats to tell people what they should do. This view is, of course, nonsense. Pick an issue, any issue, and you will almost invariably find the right actively pushing for a big role for government. However, for conservatives the goal is not ensuring a decent standard of living for the bulk of the population. Rather the goal is ensuring that money is redistributed upward. And, of course, the conservatives are smart enough not to own up to their use of the government.