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Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World Paperback – 6 Jan 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847921108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847921109
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 205,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

`This unlikely page-turner slots neatly into a new genre that has emerged since the credit crunch' --Sunday Times: Culture

`an absolutely riveting book.' --The Herald, January 11, 2011

`The excellent Treasure Islands . . . Shaxson comes as close to anyone ever has in getting to the crux of the tax haven conundrum, which is to attempt to answer the question: why are they tolerated?' --Evening Standard, January 18, 2011

'Shaxson does an outstanding and socially valuable job in penetrating the impenetrable and finds a deeply shocking world.' --Nicholas Stern

'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

'Treasure Islands is the best book on tax havens, ever. It shines a light in some very dark places. It reads like a thriller. The shocking thing is, it's all true. The world's suppliers of corruption services - the bankers, lawyers and accountants working from tax havens - won't want you to read this book. Which is exactly why you should' --Richard Murphy, Director of Tax Research UK

'The struggle against money power is a struggle for human freedom, and Nicholas Shaxson's investigation is a timely exposé of where the plunder is buried' --John Pilger, broadcaster and author of Heroes

'Far more than an exposé, 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, co-editor of New Left Project

'They who sold us globalisation as a way of the whole world getting richer with fair rules, cheated us by letting the rich and powerful go "offshore". This gripping exposé should help end the scandal' --Anthony Barnett, founder of openDemocracy

'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

'Shaxson combines meticulous research with amusing anecdotes, resulting in a very readable account of the murky world of offshore and a strong moral message that the system needs to be changed' --Financial Times

'Perhaps the most important book published in the UK so far this year' --George Mombiot, Guardian

'He has prised the lid off an important and terrifying can of worms'
--Martin Vander Weyer, Literary Review

'lively and well-written book' --Daily Mail

I am sure everybody knows it but the book by Nick Shaxson, Treasure Islands, is really an utterly superb book. --Jeffrey Sachs

"Shaxson delves into capitalism's secret nooks and tells us about how a culture of secrecy can perpetuate itself. Very interesting." --The Evening Standard, William Leith, January 2012

"A compelling read [...] an important and very much alive topic, it'll take you a few hours to read the book but it will be a worthwhile investment of time."
--The Bookbag, Peter McGee, January 2012

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

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Phil O'Sofa on 7 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
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 By C. Miller on 10 April 2012
Format: Paperback
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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Help on 16 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
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?

A.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michaeloso on 2 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Shawn A. Vader on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. K. Lowell on 4 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have you ever wondered how just after the 2nd World War when Britain was almost bankrupted by the War effort government could afford to set up the NHS, have a massive house-building programme, hugely expand education (unbelievable as it may seem to young people today when I went to University there were no Tuition fees or loans and students were paid a grant to cover living costs.)Today we live in a much richer society yet we're told every element of public spending is "unaffordable".
This book explains how the rich stopped paying their share. How huge amounts of money avoids tax by being routed through the likes of the Cayman Islands or Jersey. How large countries like Britain and the USA have virtually given up attempting to stop tax evasion and instead become tax havens themselves.
If you want to understand how we've created a society where a few people are incredibly rich and getting richer at an ever increasing rate while real incomes after inflation have been falling for everyone else for over thirty years this book explains the huge role tax havens have played in creating it. If you read this book the next time a politician boasts about "deregulation" you'll understand that it doesn't just mean horse-meat in burgers. it's also the reason Warren Buffet pays a lower proportion of his income in tax that his receptionist and the reason there's no money to run the local library or fix potholes in the street.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mr. L. C. Edwards on 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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