The bold assertion, in a nutshell, is that under TTIP the European economy will grow and that this growth will outweigh any economic negatives such as job losses and job displacement.
The shaky assumption is that, dazzled by the big numbers, ordinary citizens will care little for any further loss of democratic oversight of the way their economy is run and their services are delivered, prepared to trust, instead that their governments, the big multi-national institutions and big business, can be trusted with the world’s biggest ever trade deal.
And to be brutally honest, this has tended to be the way of things in the past. Major trade deals, changes to the international regulation of finance and treaties governing key issues such as environmental protection and labour standards have been agreed with nary a murmur of dissent. But the response to TTIP has been different both because its proponents have been singularly unable to demonstrate its economic benefits and because, post the 2008 financial crisis, they have seriously underestimated the public mood.
The old trick of holding up a large number and hoping it will silence all criticism does not seem to be working this time. The primary reason for this being that, in the context of the size of the European economy, £130 billion Euros of growth claimed is actually a very small number indeed. Spread over a twelve year period it amounts to additional annual GDP growth of little more than 0.03%. Just to be clear, this number is so small that, come 2027, the task of measuring whether additional growth had been achieved as a result of TTIP would be statistically impossible.
Against the general expectation that many standards would be harmonised through reduced protections, in one particular sector, the trend seems likely to be in the opposite direction. It is entirely predictable that the under TTIP the pharmaceutical giants will be lobbying intensively to make their patents longer, stronger and more far reaching, with the entirely predictable negative impact on the cost of prescription drugs.