Our friends at Righting Finance have released their fourth in a series of advocacy tools on tax policy and international cooperation for human rights. The aim of these advocacy tools is to assist education and dissemination of the standards on tax policy and human rights contained in a report produced by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights in 2014.
Update: see TJN writer in UK’s Prospect Magazine making this general point.
This deliberately provocative headline is of course not fully true: tax is clearly a tremendously important aspect of the Panama papers scandal, as it continues to roil governments and élites and their advisers, around the globe. But there are far too many commentators who seem to be putting this into a ‘tax’ pigeonhole. Many have dubbed this “the Panama tax avoidance scandal” (or variants of this) — which reflects a profound misunderstanding of what is going on.
First, as an aside, we should probably banish this word ‘avoidance’ from the tax lexicon, because it’s so widely misused and misunderstood (it helps use words like ‘tax cheating’ or ‘escape’ instead, to keep you out of the thorny thickets of what’s legal or not.) But more importantly for today’s blog, these commentators have erred when they put Panama into the ‘tax’ box. Tax is a subsidiary story.
You can register here to attend TJN’s annual discussion workshop, held in association with the Association for Accountancy & Business Affairs and City University, London, which will be held on 25th-26th June 2015.
The workshop theme is Should Nation States Compete? The outline programme is published below (it may be subject to alteration). A fuller programme including paper abstracts is available here.
DAY ONE – 25th June 2015
10h00 – 10h30 Registration and coffee
10h30 – 11h00 Welcome and introductions
11h00 – 12h30 Session One
Facilitator – David Quentin
Discussant – Anastasia Nesvetailova
Matthew Watson – Ricardian Myth-Making: Comparative Advantage Theory as Ideologically Selective Historical Reconstruction
Atul Shah – Systemic Regulatory Arbitrage: the Role of KPMG
Isabel Estevez – A Minimum Cooperation Consensus for a South American Fordian Pact
12h30 – 13h30 Lunch
13h30 – 15h00 Session Two
Facilitator – Naomi Fowler
Discussant – Duncan Wigan
Filomeno III Sta Ana – Questioning Fiscal Incentives as a Policy Instrument for Competitiveness: The Case of Southeast Asia
Darian Heim – Justice, Migration, and the Competition for Talent
Ali Saqer – International Competitiveness and Economic Resilience: from Social Welfare to Corporate Welfare
15h00 – 15h30 Tea break
15h30 – 17h00 Session Three
Facilitator – Krishen Mehta
Discussant – Jim Henry
Juliette Schwak – South Korean Nation Branding and the Building of a Competitiveness Society
Jakob Engel – Regulating the Commodity Trading Industry: Comparing firm strategies to evade stricter regulation at three levels of governance
Linda Arch – Competition amongst the London Clearing Banks, 1946 to 1979
17h30 – 20h00 Film Screening
Screening of Harold Crook’s award-winning film documentary The Price We Pay, followed by panel discussion with Nick Shaxson, Jim Henry, moderated by Ronen Palan
20h00 Dinner at BananaTree
DAY TWO – 26th June 2015
09h30 – 11h00 Session Four
Facilitator – Liz Nelson
Discussant – Prem Sikka
Michael Tyrala – The Changing Role of the USA in the Regulation of the Offshore Economy
Duncan Wigan – The Finance Curse and Competition through Finance
Anastasia Nesvetailova – The Offshore Nexus, Sanctions Busting and the Russian Crisis
11h00 – 11h30 Coffee / tea break
11h30 – 13h00 Session Five
Facilitator – Alex Cobham
Discussant – Richard Murphy
Hagai Kalai– Back to Source: From international corporate tax neutrality to efficient investment policy and its implication for a desirable international tax policy
Matti Ylönen – Politics of Intra-Firm Trade: Corporate Price Planning and the Double Role of the Arm’s Length Principle
Diarmid O’Sullivan – Curbing tax competition: how can we get to a global consensus?
13h00 – 14h00 Lunch
14h00 – 15h30 Panel Discussion – The ‘Competitiveness’ Conundrum
Moderator – Naomi Fowler
Discussants – Will Davies, Ronen Palan, Matthew Watson
15h30 Workshop ends
“Why is it so seemingly difficult for the uber-beneficiaries of the rule of law to reconcile their (mostly fiscal) responsibilities to the entente with The People which is the very fount that allows them, and increasingly one might argue, their less-deserving progeny, to maintain a position in the stratosphere of power and control, with a recognition that the very legitimacy of their reign is conferred by The People through the rule of law?