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Dirty Business....

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Leonie Humphreys

Joined: 23 Sep 2008
Posts: 223
Location: West Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:10 am    Post subject: Dirty Business.... Reply with quote

Dirty business....

“The chancellor says he wants Britain to be open for business. Fair enough, but we’re open for some very dirty business.”

Private Eye (17th May 2013) ‘Where there’s muck there’s brass plates’ – money-laundering specialist

You can always rely on the French to have the most poetic words for things – ‘paradis fiscal’ sounds lovely doesn’t it? You can imagine your money safe and secure in the bank whilst you sip pina coladas on a tropical beach, the sea lapping at your deck chair, the sun beating down on your tanned body....! But it’s not like that at all – ‘paradis fiscal’ is French for ‘tax haven’, and this kind of ‘paradise’ is about another thing beautifully put by the French – ‘saucissonage’ or in common old English, ‘laddering’, which means chopping up your assets and keeping them hidden from the tax man! This ‘financial paradise’ is not for ordinary folk, it is for an extremely wealthy and ruthless elite.

The ‘tax haven’ has become very popular and pervasive. The biggest tax havens aren’t some obscure island somewhere but right under our Western noses – here in the UK and the USA – London and Manhattan. But it’s not just about tax – avoidance and evasion – on a scale that beggars belief, it’s also about money laundering. ‘The drugs smugglers, terrorists and other criminals use exactly the same offshore mechanisms and subterfuges – shell banks, trusts, dummy corporations – that corporations use.’ The author goes on to say ‘We will never beat the terrorists or the heroin traffickers unless we confront the whole system – and that means tackling the tax evasion and avoidance and financial regulation and the whole paraphernalia of offshore.’ The Tax Justice Network estimated that in 2005 about one quarter of all global wealth (around $11.5 trillion) was held ‘offshore’, meaning that little or no tax has been paid anywhere in the world on this production. (‘Treasure I$lands’, page 26-27). And some of that ‘wealth’ is from dirty business, very dirty business as described above. A Private Eye investigation into Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP’s) discovered that ‘Epic levels of money laundering, illicit arms dealing, frauds, counterfeiting and government corruption.....[are] thriving on emasculated British company law and political indifference’.

This wealth simply sloshes around in the form of money, from place to place at the touch of a button, to keep it well out of the reach of any social conscience. No government will ever be either repaid for services rendered during the accumulation of these fiscal empires, nor will these elite corporations and individuals ever contribute in any real way to the societies in which they operate and live. This wealth is ‘dead’ in every sense of the word – more than likely it was produced through corrupt endeavour of one sort or another, never contributing but only abusing and taking from the communal pot of the natural environment and genuine endeavour.

Set apart for their own gain they live in their elitist world, sucking the life blood of more genuine production en route to the insular world of the ‘island’ life these abusers of tax regulation worldwide aspire to.

Elitist culture has been born into the world over the last century or so to such an extent that these people are so rich and powerful they no longer live by the same rules as everyone else. They live in their own world – making the rules as they go along – for them and theirs – for now and forever. Unless a stop is put to it all that is. But who will take them on? Who can cut the muster to beat them at their own game of ‘winner takes all’?

Leonie Humphreys, October 2013

I'm cross! I am currently reading 'Treasure I$lands' by Nicholas Shaxson (recommended by John Christensen who spoke at the Economics Colloquium in June at the SES in London), who also makes no apology for sounding 'angry' throughout his book! I have not finished it yet and will endeavour to write a proper review of the book in due course.

Comments welcome!

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Richard Glover

Joined: 29 Sep 2008
Posts: 185
Location: Ealing, London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Treasure Islands is an excellent read; I also felt "cross" after reading it.
The same feeling arose on seeing Food Inc for the first time last night.

Reappraisal of our sense of property rights (+ duties?) and the foundation on which they rest would be an excellent documentary for BBC or Channel 4. If not either of these, could a similar topic be included in schools?

Who would inspire and guide any such programme?
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