The Santa Clause: Lying is OK, so long as everyone else is doing it. The “Santa Claus Syndrome” is the effect of societal complicity in, and/or complacency to, lies and the belief that’s ok. Take a moment to imagine yourself an outsider and visitor to a new culture. Imagine if you will an annual global […]
On hearing the term ‘tax haven,’ many will picture idyllic locales with long beaches, palm trees and yachts belonging to multi-millionaires like the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean Sea. The more mundane reality, however, is laid out in the ‘financial secrecy index’ compiled by the Tax Justice Network in 2013.
Unimaginably vast sums of financial wealth sit in the 82 jurisdictions listed. European countries like Greece, Italy and Portugal have been brought to their knees by decades of secrecy and tax evasion.
A global industry has developed involving the world’s biggest banks, law practices and accounting firms which not only provide secretive offshore structures to their tax- and law-dodging clients, but aggressively market them. ‘Competition’ between jurisdictions to provide secrecy facilities has, particularly since the era of financial globalisation took off in the 1980s, become a central feature of global financial markets.
We are now in the midst of commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, which was followed in short order by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its entire international system.
I say “commemorate,” but when it comes to the collapse of the wall and enormous Soviet system, the word most people use is “celebrate.” But here I would interject an ancient Spanish folk proverb which goes, “when you see your neighbor’s beard on fire, put your beard to soak;” or the not so ancient but equally valid American saying, “what goes around, comes around.”
In my opinion the most unbiased, irrefutable, undeniable take-away from the collapse of the USSR and its entire ideological superstructure is that huge, powerful, complex and historically successful systems, which have embodied the hopes and dreams of several generations of people all around the world, can just up and die with little or no warning … Soon to be playing in theaters near you.