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on 4 April 2013
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.
24 people found this helpful
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on 28 August 2017
If anyone ever wanted a starting point about the ills of the world today, this would be it. Nicholas Shaxson lays out in easy language all the main players in the structure of Tax Havens worldwide, and backs up everything with well-researched facts to allow the reader to explore further with confidence from those starting points... and they ARE only starting points because this problem is so deep that it needs digging to find out about the protagonists and their part in this heist of the ordinary man's money.
2 people found this helpful
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on 24 August 2013
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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on 8 April 2018
Really interesting look at how the masses are being ripped off by the 1%. Corporation, wealthy individuals, corrupt officials.... under our noses for year we have austerity they are living it up by hiding their assets....about time this party came to an end. As individuals there is a lot we can do ...do not buy products from companies that do not pay their share of taxes. Switch to banks on mass ... then maybe we will see change,
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on 16 June 2013
If you have not read anything about tax havens and their role in the global economy this is the book to read. Yuou will soon realize that the political talk of controlling the tax havens is only talk: they are already so powerful and central that there is nothing to be done. Tax havens are actually the real name of globalization: uncontrolled secret places, as sort of the Tor network in the internet. You put your money there and it cannot be traced any more. The only complaint I have is that Shaxon gets from time to time mired in the details so you lose the big picture but otherwise this book contains everything you need to know about tax havens in the early 2000's (the system changes all the time so we will soon need a new book). And the crazy thing is that they could be put out of business rather easily, but this will not happen.
2 people found this helpful
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on 16 September 2014
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. I think I read it early 2011 since when the pressure seems to haverelented somewhat. Has informed much of the debate since then, though, it seems to me, not all that much has changed.

Subsequent to this I read Progress and Poverty (Henry George) and Debunking Economics (Steve Keen).Between them I think those books address the issues that concern Shaxson and offer some answers. Little sign of anything much changing yet - though maybe if the Scots do go we may be in for a period of real change over the next decade or two.
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on 7 August 2017
Given the level of public trust in the financial sector nowadays I suspect that most people would think a great deal more goes on than the author has detailed. This book is useful and interesting but don't be fooled by the focus on tax havens. Dirty business goes on everywhere. "Where there's much there's brass" could be turned round to "where's theres brass there's muck".
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on 27 April 2018
Just confirms what I've always suspected, the bankers in collusion with big business are running the world! Democracy my ar......... our elected politicians are all subservient to them - don't get me started now............ Good read if you can keep awake!!
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on 28 October 2014
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 criminal-psychopathic sib-world that simply shouldn't exist, and which probably wouldn't, in the absence of the world's stupidly greedy and rapacious tax systems. Reading it will explain exactly why the world seems to be such a screwy place; and in the process, it will irreversibly change the readers' perception of everything they see going on all around them. Fascinating.
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on 18 May 2016
Fascinating, easy read. I am even reading the appendix at the back! A real eye-opener. As someone interested in the situation with conflict minerals, it's important the understand the devastating consequences of the global financial industry not just on countries with valuable minerals but on all of us.
One person found this helpful
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