December 10, 2016

Hiding money in a neo-feudal world of concentrated wealth

The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money

There is a fight between State and wealthy people, and the outcome depends on the threshold of the cost-benefit of tax evasion. The Panama papers show that by now this threshold is quite low, benefits are higher than costs. My impression is that lobbys are successful in their effort to suggest rules that allow hiding money with a relatively low cost. After reading the book you'll be convinced about that. Therefore, it's a success of wealthy and a failure of the State. Is there are any alternative?
The more than 2.6 terabytes of data from the servers of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca provide an insight into the offshore world that is more detailed, immediate and up to date than anyone could have previously imagined. Over the course of many months we have seen with our own eyes how Mossack Fonseca has a tailor-made solution for virtually anyone with something to hide. The right loophole can always be found in one or other of the tax havens: if the company in the Seychelles can’t do it, then the Panamanian trust or the foundation in Bermuda probably can – or alternatively a combination of two, three or four of these elements. In our globalized world it seems there is hardly a single law that cannot be circumvented or have its impact lessened with the help of a few shell companies.
My impression is that Panama papers have increased the tax evading cost, but I'm not sure that this will be enough in our neo-feudal world of concentrated wealth.