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Essential reading for anyone who has the slightest interest in what is happening in the world!
on 4 July 2014
Offshoring is the science, the art, the scams practised by rich corporations and wealthy individuals of stashing away their capital, their turnover, their profits in off shore fiscal paradises where national governments cannot follow. The main and basically only reason for this is to avoid paying taxes in the country this wealth was generated in or any other country if it comes to it. A report by Action/Aid published in May 2013 (and not contested) tells us that 98 of the hundred largest, publicly listed UK corporations (FTSE 100) own subsidiaries, or joint ventures offshore in what can politely be described as tax havens! In fact, these huge corporations do not just own one or two offshore ventures - RBS is reported as holding 393, Lloyds 259, HSBC 496, Barclays 471, Royal Dutch Shell 473 and well out in front, advertising giant WPP is reported as holding a massive 618 offshore accounts. Treasure Islands indeed!
So the rich and powerful stash their cash and profits away from the prying eyes of the taxman whilst the rest of us poor muppets on PAYE are told we have to forgo wage rises, suffer drastic cuts to public services, healthcare, social services, mental health care, pay more taxes. cut drastically the pittance paid to the weak and vulnerable in society, slog away on zero hour contracts for a paltry minimum wage whilst these jokers laugh all the way to the offshore bank, Offshore? Should be known as Offstate because that is what it really is!
The big problem is that it is all legal and successive governments only pay lip service to doing anything about it, in fact
tax changes introduced by the Cameron government seem to endorse it and even simplify it - all under the banner of "attracting inbound investment". More like paying off all the lobbyists and big business/big banking political donations that only an idiot would believe are made for anything else other than influencing government fiscal policy. Some boss of a Hedge Fund does not bung the Tory Party a £420 million "donation" unless he wants something? In this country it is known as "lobbying" - in many others it is known simply as corruption. Remember "Lobbying" ? The second great evil after dodgy expenses that Cameron was going to sort? Yeah!
John Urry's book from Cambridge based publishers Polity lays bare capitalism's expanding code of secrecy, what can be described as an economic and social disaster waiting to happen. The wealth gap widens as more and more companies and individuals withdraw from their social and moral responsibilities, this leads to violations of human rights, more hunger, more oppression as democratic governments are undermined, the individual is left to the mercy of zero hour contracts, low wages, rising food and energy prices as domestic tax receipts fall drastically and governmental "austerity" becomes a way of life for the 99% - so that the 1% can sit and boast to each other how much they have ripped their national taxman off for.
Some one on the back cover of this fascinating book has suggested it become "required" reading for all undergraduates.
I would go further and suggest it become "required" reading for every person with an average IQ> To be studied in secondary schools, be serialised into TV programs so that all the outsourced 99% can see exactly how they are getting screwed, shafted, robbed, victimised and ripped off by this unholy system. However, no matter how much I wish, we know that is not going to happen! We will have to wait until capitalist greed finally oversteps the mark and forces the outsourced and the dispossessed to take matters into their own hands and start to push back.
This fine book opens up the whole offshoring exercise to public view, hopefully it will kick off a major public debate about the concealment of capital wealth, income and profits. Trouble is that it is now so rife that it is becoming common place as even comedians, footballers and anybody else with an above average income seems to want to hide it away and not contribute his or her fair share to the services that glue what is supposed to be a civilised society together.
'Offshoring' documents the whole gamut of hiding wealth and profit - the dark, dark side of globalisation, smoke and mirrors, a financial world increasingly dependant on secrecy, deceit and outright untruths. You do not have to be an economist, financial wizard or a lawyer to understand this, it is written in plain English and is a problem much bigger than i certainly had imagined.
The question is - can we turn it around, bring it back? The answer is I don't know and the laissez fe attitude shown by those who should know better, the politicians and lawmakers, does nothing to encourage the idea that this can be sorted. But I suppose at the end of the day most of them are benefitting from offshoring one way or another. Prof. Urry has his own ideas but I think even he thinks it is going to be a long, hard slog.
As Warren Buffet said not so long ago - class war still exists and the ruling class is winning hands down. I also believe in class war, been fighting it most of my life one way or another as an active trade unionist in the 60's & 70's and later in other ways. I still have some faith in what old Karl said about a hundred and fifty years ago that capitalism will one day run out of steam and implode and then it will be up to the rest of us to create a better and fairer world to live in. The ruling class maybe winning a few battles, Cameron undoing the welfare state in the UK, slowly ending the NHS, things the British working class fought long and hard to achieve. The ruling class are having a good run at the moment, keep us quiet with our i pads, phones and social media but I really believe that we will win the war.
This book is worth every penny of it's cover price, buy it, read it, get angry and start to do something even if only sending it to your MP to read - then write them and ask what they intend to do about it? Get involved, talk to your neighbours, workmates, even discuss it with the wife. A very important book about something that affects us all, like it or not!