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Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World

Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World [Kindle Edition]

Nicholas Shaxson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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"This book is a vigorous and well researched polemic against financial deregulation..."--Richard Cooper, "Foreign Affairs""Shaxson's story of offshore banking is nothing short of Shakespearean, a drama full of secrecy, treachery and corruption in which wealthy countries, companies and individuals collude to horde wealth in a complex global network of largely unregulated tax havens. To realize this end, they install corrupt leaders, exploit indigenous populations and, ultimately, deny both developed and developing nations of vital tax dollars. There is much here that should generate outrage...An admirable job of both arguing the consequences of offshore banking and providing a succinct history of the practice."--"Kirkus""A blistering account of the role that tax havens play in international finance. . . brilliant."--"London Review of Books""Perhaps the most important book published in the UK so far this year."--George Monbiot, "The Guardian""Shaxson provides a fascinating narrative that is both analytically compelling and rich in institutional detail."--"New York Times" Economix blog"A useful critique."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution"Treasure Islands, Nicholas Shaxson's excellent book on the global offshore tax system."--FT Alphaville"Treasure Islands has prised the lid off an important and terrifying can of worms."--"Literary Review""Shaxson shows us that the global financial machine is broken and that very few of us have noticed."--"New Statesman""In this riveting, well-written expose, Shaxson goes deep into the largely unexamined realm of offshore money. In the process, he reveals that this shadow world is no mere sideshow, but is troublingly central to modern finance, with the US and the UK as leaders. The resulting abuses are widespread, ranging from tax revenue stripping from African nations to individuals and corporations escaping enforcement and accountability. A must read for anyone who wants to understand the hidden reasons why financial services firms have become so powerful and impossible to reform."--Yves Smith, creator of Naked Capitalism and author of "Econned"""Treasure Islands" shines the light on some very dark places. It reads like a thriller. The shocking thing is its all true."--Richard Murphy, co-author of "Tax Havens: How Globalization Really Works""At last, a readable - indeed gripping - book which explains the nuts and bolts of tax havens. More importantly, it lays bare the mechanism that financial capital has been using to stay in charge: capturing government policy-making around the world, shaking off such irritants as democracy and the rule of law, and making sure that suckers like you and me pay for its operators' opulent lifestyles."--Misha Glenny, author of "McMafia: A Journey through the Global Criminal Underworld""Trade and investments can play a profoundly productive role on the world economy. But so much of the capital flows that we see are associated with money laundering, tax evasion, and the wholesale larsony (sic) of assets often of very poor countries. These thefts are greatly facilitated by special tax and accounting rules or designed to "attract capital" and embodying obscure and opaque mechanisms. Shaxson does an outstanding and socially valuable job in penetrating the impenetrable and finds a deeply shocking world."--Nicholas Stern, former Chief Economist for The World Bank"The real challenge to America's economy comes not from China - but from the Caymans, the Bahamas, and a whole hot-money archipelago loosely under the control of the City of London. If only as a civics lesson, read this astonishing book to find out the true political constitution of the world."-- Thomas Geoghegan, author of "Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? ""Far more than an expose, "Treasure"" Islands" is a brilliantly illuminating, forensic analysis of where economic power really lies, and the shockingly corrupt way in which it behaves. If you're wondering how ordinary people ended up paying for a crisis caused by the reckless greed of the banking industry, this compellingly readable book provides the answers."--David Wearing, School of Public Policy, UCL, London's Global University"An absolute gem that deserves to be read by anyone interested in the way contemporary globalization is undermining social justice. Give it to your sons, daughters, families, favorite legislators and anyone else needing stimulation of their thought buds. This masterpiece illuminates the dark places and shows the visible hand of governments, corporations, banks, accountants, lawyers and other pirates in creating fictitious offshore transactions and structures and picking our pockets. This financial engineering has enabled companies and the wealthy elites to dodge taxes. The result is poverty, erosion of social infrastructure and hard won welfare rights and higher taxes for ordinary people. Tax will be the decisive battleground of the twenty-first century as no democracy can function without it, or provide people with adequate educations, healthcare, security, housing, transport or pensions. Nicholas Shaxson has done a wonderful job in lifting the lid off the inbuilt corruption that has become so naturalized in the western world."--Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting, University of Essex, UK"Over my holiday last week, I read Nick Shaxson's book - Treasure Islands. I would go as far as saying this book is the No Logo for a new century"--Sunny Hundal, Liberal Conspiracy"Shaxson has undertaken a big task with the book "Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World." But the task is well worthy of examination, as it is so vital to the shadowy infrastructure of the global financial system... provides an easily digestible overview of the labyrinthine nature of the world of offshore finance."--Seeking Alpha

Book Description

This is the ugliest chapter in global economic affairs since slavery - and secretive offshore tax havens are at the heart of the trouble.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off 7 Oct 2012
Despite the lurid cover and the tabloid-style blurbs written entirely in shouting upper-case text, this turns out to be a fascinating and important book, full of well-researched information, which for the most part the author presents in a straightforward style.

Occasionally he goes a bit overboard with dramatic effect, and inevitably with this kind of book there is a fair bit of repetition of points, but generally I found this well written and all too believable. The message, in a nutshell, is that the financial interests of a very rich, very small minority, mostly bankers based in the City and in Wall Street, have fixed things so they grab more and more of the world's wealth, while the rest of us get less and less.
They do this by putting their business and their money in offshore tax havens, sometimes legally and sometimes not, and often on some fuzzy ground in between. It is tolerated by governments because those governments are often the same people, or very close to them.

I know enough about the subject to know that, although some of it might seem hard to believe, the author is presenting us with facts that for the most part can't be disputed. This massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, or more accurately the middle classes to the very rich, is a global scandal, and has reached these proportions only because it all goes on outside the jurisdiction of true democracy. Everyone should read this book and at least see what is going on here, because it affects us all.
It's just a pity the publishers gave it such a dumb cover (TAX HAVENS AND THE MEN WHO STOLE THE WORLD!!!!). Just ignore the hype and get to the story.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book 10 April 2012
This is a well written and deeply informative book. the trouble is it will also upset you as you read it with an increasing sense of anger that this is allowed and encouraged. Of course Amazon is also a well known culprit of offshore practices (e.g. Luxembourg) so I will not be buying anything from them again. So please get this book, but not from Amazon unless you have a sense of irony.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must be read 2 Oct 2012
If anyone thought that the very rich had some semblance of altruism. Read this and be corrected. There is enough money stored in offshore locations to make the world a much better place but the money sits in secret accounts doing nothing and this book spells it out.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Home truths 16 Jan 2013
By Help
I guess Amazon themselves must have read this more as a guide to tax management rather than the brilliant critique of modern international taxation that it is.

As a reminder, Amazon, made sales of £2.9 billion in the UK last year. But because all Amazon UK book sales are routed through its Luxembourg subsidiary, it does not pay any UK corporation tax on the profits from those sales.

Buy this book. But from your local bookshop, eh?

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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's gone wrong..... 24 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nicholas Shaxon has written an excellent, well referenced , substantive book on how the money system works. Governments collude with financiers, and business interests, to make and take easy options for the benefit of the wealthy. The book is truly a revelation, and does much to explain how the sub prime crisis in the US morphed inexorably as institutions wrapped their packages in ever more complex instruments, built on an avalanche of cheap money. Shocking, un-putdownable, a brilliant piece of writing. Every Economics student should read this book. It should be mandatory for all Bankers and Financial Investment people to read and understand the immorality of their profession.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will love and hate it at the same time 24 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase
This has to probably be the best audio book I have ever listened to.
The narration is first class and should be used as a guide for other books on how to read a book.
Not only is it a good explanation of how offshore started and how it's got to where it is today but it tells it in a way which makes it easy to visualise and keeps you wanting to know more. I enjoyed getting all the historical background to how each of the countries fell into offshore and the players which made it happen. Fascinating.

One word of warning, I got halfway through reading the book and I had to put it down because I was getting so pissed off with the world and the way it works so expect to get a bit annoyed from time to time.
It didn't take long to pick it up again as its better to be informed than not.

My best audio book to date.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not fair 12 Jan 2011
By smudge
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Shocking (the subject matter not the book itself!). Page after page of information about people cheating the system (forget small-fry benefit fraudsters here). Well written and informative and a book to make your teeth gnash.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why we need to Eliminate Tax Havens 7 Oct 2012
A detailed but readable book on the shadowy world of tax havens. Very scary stuff! The chapter about the City of London is a big eye opener
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A cracking read although it will make your blood boil!
Published 8 days ago by MS
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As expected and advertised bought as a gift
Published 18 days ago by OLLIE
5.0 out of 5 stars A Look Under the Mattress
Joins the dots in a clear, well researched way. Not good for blood pressure though.
Published 1 month ago by P. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'must-read' to beat them all
This would be the best crime-fiction thriller I'd ever read, if it was fiction. Otherwise, it's a deeply disturbing - and yet somehow hugely amusing - account of a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Philip ANDREWS
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
A great book into how the world's wealth is streamed through a vast network of offshore tax havens. I never really knew the extent to which these havens were used and just how many... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Wakey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Mr A S Tierney
3.0 out of 5 stars Not balanced enough.
Too much of a political agenda and not enough abject research. always made you feel all business were out to swindle people and that nations could not chose to be a tax haven.
Published 2 months ago by Mr. T. P. Bedingfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Great expose, deserves to be in the news still, though has faded now -...
Fantastic, read it a few years ago now. I actually bought two copies and have lent them out and lost both that's how good it is. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars It does make your blood boil about the crookedness and corruption of...
I learned such a lot reading this book. I found some of the economics challenging, however I got there in the end. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Teresa
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, explains an important component of the British ...
Excellent book,explains an important component of the British state.
Published 4 months ago by M. W. Nimmo
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