Jan 07 2011

Treasure Islands – the great untold story of globalisation

Posted by: Nicholas Shaxson in: The Book

Photo: Outside the Smuggler’s Inn. That’s me in the middle, with John Heys in the suit and Maurice Merhet wearing the cap. You will find them on page 235. Note the pirate in the background.

Treasure Islands is published at the start of a seismic shift in thinking about a scandal and a system that has gone almost unnoticed for decades. This is not a book about a few crooks, spivs and celebrity tax exiles and Caribbean Islands. It is about one of the central features of the global economy today. The offshore system has become so pervasive that it is now all around us.

The book will help create a global shift in attitudes that will prompt large numbers of people to start asking how this system could have spread so extensively through the global economy, with so little attention, for so long.

A major documentary thriller is being made alongside Treasure Islands and is due for release next year. “Cashback” is being made by the acclaimed filmmakers Nick and Marc Francis, the team behind the award-winning film Black Gold which was released in over 30 countries. For more details, click here.

Treasure Islands has an opinion: tax havens are bad for the ordinary citizens of the world. These are some of the world’s most powerful people and corporations that I am confonting here, and I’m expecting a lot of pushback from the tax havens and, at least for the UK edition, from the City of London. Given what I’ve seen happen to others who have stood up to challenge the offshore system, I’m guessing that some of it probably won’t be very nice. So I’ve created a section here called “The Arguments” which looks critically at the many intellectual arguments that tax haven operators make in their defence. This section should cover quite a lot of the flak that I expect to receive. I will deal with specific criticisms, as they come in, in the blog text on this page. Over the coming weeks and months, I will fill it with news, opinions, facts, and general hubbub from the offshore world.

Even before the official press launch, the book is gaining a lot of attention. We have so far signed deals with eight publishers around the world, with more to come. A huge thanks to Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown and to Dan Hind and the staff at Random House, all of whom have done a fantastic job. And if there’s a single individual I need to thank above all others, it is John Christensen. You’ll read all about him in Treasure Islands. You’ll find several others to thank at the end of the book.

This is the great untold story of globalisation. Please read the book, and join the debate.

The guardian is carrying a first extract here.

2 comments so far

Ruth 1th January, 2011 11.41 pm

Bravo for standing up to the rancid offshore system and to the morally bankrupt leeches (my apologies to leeches for that slander) at every level who benefit from, protect and defend it. I don’t have a credit card, but I’ll buy the book when I get paid this month and hope many others will do the same.

If I had a hat, I’d take it off to you for exposing the grotesque designer spivs and politicians – often the same people – whose infinite and shameless greed and mendacity has dragged the world down. I read the article in the Guardian and hope those who dared to call you traitors for doing the right thing are, if not ashamed (since that would require the possession of a conscience), at least forced to acknowledge that it’s they who are the traitors – to honesty, decency, integrity and every other noble value.

I look forward immensely to seeing the film too. People like you give the rest of us a rare feeling of hope that this one rotten part of a corrupt system at least may be exposed for what it is. Sunlight truly is the best disinfectant. Thank you again.

Damien 1th January, 2011 3.57 pm

I’ll second that. Halfway through at the moment. Got to thinking(dangerous hobby)seeing as they have it all corralled in cyberspace, could we set up a Bank of Mars(seems appropriate, god of war and market)and recycle OUR wealth back to the people who create it by productive work, such as this badly needed book??Thanks again.

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