Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Peter Goodman examines how a basic income could relieve against some of the most harmful effects of capitalist economics. And Sarah O'Connor discusses the plight of towns which have been left behind by economic change.

- Meanwhile, Matt Bruenig offers a reminder that most extreme high incomes are the result of capital ownership rather than labour.

- Alex Hemingway points out that a more progressive tax system is a key element of the fight against inequality. James Wilt looks into the use of tax havens by Canada's fossil fuel sector as yet another means by which public wealth has been hijacked for private profit. And Roberto Saviano notes that the techniques now used to withhold corporate wealth from public revenues were developed first to protect criminal enterprises:
The mechanisms are the same. Only the consulting firms involved and the islands where the news originated have changed. In the Paradise Papers there’s a bit of everything: from the legitimate—though ethically questionable—creation of offshore companies to lower tax liabilities to shell companies that could hide assets of a criminal origin.

Tax havens are where criminal capitalism and legal capitalism meet and merge. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. So is the fact that mafia organizations were the first to create and facilitate money-laundering mechanisms through tax havens.
I am convinced that the Panama and Paradise Papers represent only the tip of the iceberg and that we have no idea of the true shape or size of this problem. What has come to light in both the Panama and Paradise Papers leak proves that in tax havens, cocaine money, money from tax evasion, and legal money all live together, legitimizing one another.

Legal capitalism has learned from criminal capitalism that in the world of money, only rule-breakers survive. Drug traffickers were the pioneers of a free market model that has been slowly adopted by the legal economy.

Cocaine combined all of the pillars of contemporary capitalism: speed, globalization and economic power. Nowhere is this synthesis better in display than in offshore tax havens
- Gordon Hoekstra reports on the hundreds of millions of dollars in fines administered by the B.C. Securities Commission which have thus far gone unpaid, as fraudsters have been able to retain the fruits of their wrongdoing. 

- Finally, Jill Treanor reports on new research showing that the UK consumers who can least afford additional debt are disproportionately likely to have their credit limits increased without requesting it.

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