Tax Justice Blog

Ten years on, dodgy debt continues to threaten global chaos

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In early September 2017, ten years after the collapse of UK bank Northern Rock, TJN will be publishing a special edition of Tax Justice Focus, guest edited by Professor Daniel Mügge (University of Amsterdam) which draws on fresh research from the EU-funded Enlighten programme.  In this article Professor Mugge argues that faced with intractable problems of rising debt, and the obvious limitations to what financial regulators can achieve in the face of a hugely oversized financial sector, debt forgiveness must be added to the policy list if we are to avoid chaos in the global economy. 

Our March 2017 podcast: staggering numbers on the high cost of our finance sectors, plus more

March 23, 2017   Blog, Finance Curse, Regular Features

In our March 2017 Taxcast: the high price we’re paying for our finance sectors – we look at staggering statistics showing how the US finance sector is a net drag on their economy.

Also, as the British government initiates Brexit divorce negotiations to leave the EU, we discuss something they ought to know, but obviously don’t – they’re actually in a very weak position. Could it mean the beginning of the end of the finance curse gripping the UK economy?

Featuring: John Christensen and Alex Cobham of the Tax Justice Network, and Professor of Economics Gerald Epstein of the University of Masachusetts Amhurst, author of Overcharged: The High Cost of High Finance. Produced and presented by Naomi Fowler for the Tax Justice Network.

Download the mp3 to listen offline anytime on your computer, mobile/cell phone or handheld device by right clicking here and selecting ‘save link as’.

“If you look at particular finance centres, say London and New York, the problem is that the net cost of this system is quite significant, it imposes a cost not only on people who use finance but for the whole economy. So, what we need to think about is what are the more productive activities that ought to be substituted for these excessive aspects of finance?”

Professor Gerald Epstein

“We might be seeing the start of the end of Britain’s grip by the Finance Curse”

John Christensen, Tax Justice Network on Britain’s weak position in Brexit negotiations

Want more Taxcasts? The full playlist is here.

Want to subscribe? Subscribe via email by contacting the Taxcast producer on naomi [at] taxjustice.net OR subscribe to the Taxcast RSS feed here OR subscribe to our youtube channel, Tax Justice TV OR find us on iTunes

Call for papers (one week to go), plus studentship and job

March 23, 2017   Blog, Events
Three pieces of news for tax justice researchers:
  1. Just one week left for abstract submission for our annual conference in July  – last chance to get yours in for consideration!
  2. There’s a fantastic research post being advertised, to work with Prof. Dariusz Wojcik on global financial networks at Oxford; and
  3. An exciting studentship with Dr Kristian Laslett at Ulster University, on grand corruption, asset recovery and transformative justice.

Estimating tax avoidance: New findings, new questions

Estimating tax avoidance: New findings, new questions

There are now a range of estimates of the global scale of tax avoidance. These include:

  • the $600 billion annual tax loss estimated by IMF researchers Crivelli et al. (2015; 2016), which divides roughly into $400 billion of OECD losses and $200 billion elsewhere;
  • the $100 billion annual tax losses that UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2015 estimated for developing countries due only to conduit FDI investment through ‘tax havens’;
  • the $100 billion to $240 billion globally that OECD researchers estimate;
  • the $130 billion globally that we have estimated as annual losses due to avoidance by US multinationals only; and so on.

New estimates reveal the extent of tax avoidance by multinationals

New figures published today by the Tax Justice Network provide a country-level breakdown of the estimated tax losses to profit shifting by multinational companies. Applying a methodology developed by researchers at the International Monetary Fund to an improved dataset, the results indicate global losses of around $500 billion a year. The figures appear in a study published today by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER, in Helsinki).

Our March 2017 Spanish language Podcast: Justicia ImPositiva, nuestro podcast de marzo 2017

Welcome to this month’s podcast and radio programme in Spanish with Marcelo Justo and Marta Nuñez, downloaded and broadcast on radio networks across Latin America and Spain. ¡Bienvenidos y bienvenidas a nuestro podcast y programa radiofónica! (abajo en castellano).

In this month’s programme:

  • The Odebrecht corruption scandal and how tax havens are key to corruption.
  • The tax haven referendum in Ecuador
  • Barcelona’s tax haven-free procurement policy
  • The European Union’s new tax haven blacklist provokes a confrontation with Tax Haven USA.

Links Mar 17

The problems with measuring tax systems SPERI
‘In debates about tax policy we need to de-emphasise the role of economics and measurement and rekindle the politics’. Blog by TJN’s Nicholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World.

Re-framing tax spillover SPERI
By Andrew Baker and Richard Murphy.

The Despot’s Guide to Wealth Management – On the International Campaign against Grand Corruption
New book by Jason Sharman

How human rights law has been used to guarantee corporations a ‘right to profit The Conversation
Read about Tax Justice and Human Rights here.

#LuxLeaks appeal verdict: tax justice heroes convicted again

March 15, 2017   Blog, Secrecy

The #LuxLeaks whistleblowers appeal verdict is in and once again it demonstrates what an upside down world we’re living in, when whistleblowers on the frontline of tax justice find themselves convicted for a second time for exposing information that was so clearly in the public interest. Disclosure of such information can be decisive for driving political change, and this is exactly why tax deals in Luxembourg were brokered behind closed doors. Now it’s time to swing the spotlight onto accountancy firm PwC not only for the disgraceful way they treated these whistleblowers, but to hold them to account for their role the whistleblowers exposed in siphoning off tax revenue from so many EU member states. You can read about the less known but truly shocking treatment of whistleblower Raphael Halet in detail here.

The Tax Justice Network’s John Christensen says today,

“This is a disgraceful verdict when you consider that the real villains are accountancy firm PwC and the Luxembourg tax authorities who should never have negotiated these secret tax deals which go against the grain of free trade and all of which will almost certainly be found to constitute illegal state aid.”LuxLeaks

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