With the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1958, Europe took its first steps towards creating a single common market.
Following the worst bloodbath in human history, the logic appeared simple enough: European nations were hoped to engage in trade together through this economic community, in order to avoid future conflict.
This was a noble concept at the time, however, the nature of this common market quickly changed.
In 1993, this economic community became the European Union (EU), which proceeded to dominate the economic and political order for countries that fell within its jurisdiction.
While the EU later continued to diminish the sovereignty of member states in a variety of ways, it is worth remembering the organisation’s key and underpinning feature: the single common market.
For as the largest free trade zone in human history has proved, free trade is a precursor to diminishing state sovereignty and overriding transnational government.
This is because for free trade to be ensured and upheld, a central government/ body is required to rise above to enforce the laws of these trade agreements over different nation states.
And once this preponderant body has been created, there is no established limit to the future growth and power of this central organisation.
Moreover, as the EU has proved, these transnational organisations are not necessarily fond of democratic norms, in a major departure from historic Western ideals about representative democracy.
Aside from the EU, there has been some momentum for arrangements to extend the North American Free Trade agreement into a North American Union, with open borders, transnational highways and laws all part of this potential future institution.
The Trans- Pacific Partnership, which appears doomed ahead of an incoming Trump Presidency, also contains somewhat comparable overriding provisions.
With Investor- State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) outlined in the TPP agreement, foreign corporations would be granted the right to sue governments if they can argue that a change in domestic law or policy would ‘harm’ their investment.
Although different from NAFTA and the EU, these provisions are merely another example of free trade agreements acting to diminish state sovereignty, which is what so called free trade is all about.
And further extensions of free trade agreements only give rise to further laws, regulations and details, that will require enforcement by additional foreign bodies.
Besides the EU, this role is also prescribed to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and will likely extend to other organisations should further free trade be pursued.
Considering this, it is important to recognize the direct relationship between enhanced free trade and transnational organisations which harm our national sovereignty.
As to support one while opposing the other, is an act of complicity in this era of increasing globalization.