Jan 28 2014

Smaug’s gold and the payment protection scandal

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: Thoughts

John Lanchester in the London Review of Books, not so long ago:

“If there hadn’t been so much other lurid wrongdoing in the world of finance, and if mis-sold payment protection insurance had a sexier name, PPI would stand out as the biggest scandal in the history of British banking.”

Which is, of course, a big claim. Lanchester has…

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Jan 28 2014

Show trial of Swiss whistleblower Elmer now in 9th year

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: Thoughts

I’ve been in touch with the Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer in the last few days, and have written this up. This is cross-posted with the Tax Justice Network’s new blog.

This month a Swiss court fought back against efforts by the United States to tackle criminal activity and tax its wealthy citizens properly. As Worldwide Tax Daily reports:

“A

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Jan 22 2014

The $100 billion question: Why is Davos held in the world’s top illicit money centre?

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: Thoughts

Cross-posted from the new Tax Justice Blog:

From the Davos OpenForum 2014:

“Switzerland is known for its chocolate, watches and banking sector. But today, with traditional banking secrecy gone, the country has to reinvent itself to retain its competitive advantage.”

Our emphasis added. That’s news to us. If it were remotely true, a lot of Swiss bankers would…

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Jan 17 2014

Big Newsweek exposé on human rights abuses in tax haven Jersey

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: Thoughts

I’ve just had an email from Stuart Syvret, a dissident former health minister in the British tax haven of Jersey, who has just got out of prison after challenging the island’s financially-dominated oligarchy. The email was in his characteristically forthright style:

“I and many of my former constituents have had our human rights monstrously abused in Jersey by corrupt Crown

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Jan 10 2014

Do tax cuts promote growth? Part MCXIV

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: Thoughts

Cross-posted from the Tax Justice Network.

The world’s economists have been arguing over this question for decades. Which is odd, because the evidence is rather clear on this point. Corporate tax cuts, or overall tax cuts (or hikes) just seem to have a neutral effect on economic growth.

Which is quite unsurprising, given that (as we never tire…

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Jan 08 2014

If Ireland is not a tax haven, what is it? A bagel?

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: Thoughts

Ireland continues to annoy me. Not Ireland the country, of course: it’s just the tax haven industry that has grown up there. It annoys me because there are so many influential voices there that deny Ireland is a tax haven. All tax havens deny being tax havens, but Ireland seems to have taken it to extremes of huffing and…

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Jan 07 2014

The campaign to abolish the corporation tax

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: Thoughts

Read about the latest phase of this long-running campaign, here and here.

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Dec 13 2013

The Policy Network: how the UK left is captured, episode CVXII

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: Thoughts

A couple of years ago I pointed to a Naked Capitalism article unpacking a “monstrosity” of a pamphlet issued by Demos, a think tank going under the banner of “Open Left . . . giving a voice to people and communities.” Among many other unashamed apologies for a largely unreformed UK financial sector, the pamphlet mentioned:

“I am

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Dec 12 2013

Britain’s banks in the Second World War

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: Thoughts

Well, this little story is interesting. I briefly touched on this issue in the Swiss chapter of Treasure Islands (not, sadly, available in the U.S. edition), but I didn’t have access to a lot of this information.

Take a look.

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Dec 01 2013

Renegade Economist on tax havens

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: Thoughts

Renegade Economist has a conversation with my favourite author.

Here.

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