Nick Shaxson ■ Want to end corruption? Crack down on tax havens.
That headline comes from an opinion piece just in the Washington Post, written by Nicholas Shaxson, a TJN writer.
Among other things, it’s searching for deeper understandings of corruption that capture its systemic effects on rules, systems and institutions.
“Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe points toward a better, more systemic definition of corruption in his 1983 classic, “The Trouble with Nigeria”: “A normal sensible person will wait for his turn if he is sure that the shares will go round,” he wrote. “If not, he might start a scramble.”
Picture society as a queue. Disrupt a queue with, say, a fire hose, and after the spluttering has ceased, order should re-emerge – just as stable countries recover from earthquakes or economic shocks. Yet when the strongest push in at the front, that is more dangerous: People begin to lose faith in the queue, and in each other. They start to wonder: “Why should I pay my taxes if the rich go offshore and evade theirs?” Or “If I don’t snaffle that stream of oil revenue to feed my family, then that jerk in the next ministry will get it.”
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