Ker sem v gužvi, spodaj prikazujem zgolj nekaj slik o dramatični prerazdelitvi premoženja v zadnjih dveh desetletjih, ki jih prinaša nova študija Oxfam. Tole je sumarna slika sprememb, ki ne potrebuje komentarja:
Vir slik: Oxfam
In kam gre vso to silno povečanje premoženja zgormjega 1%? Odgovor je preprost: tako z “davčnimi optimizacijami” podjetij kot z davčnimi utajami najpremožnejših se premoženje pretaka v davčne oaze. S tem premoženjem v davčnih oazah pa za podjetja in najpremožnejše posameznike upravlja 50 največjih bank:
It is the wealthiest individuals and companies – those who should be paying the most tax – who can afford to use these services and this global architecture to avoid paying what they owe. It also indirectly leads to governments outside tax havens lowering taxes on businesses and on the rich themselves in a relentless ‘race to the bottom’.
As taxes go unpaid due to widespread avoidance, government budgets feel the pinch, which in turn leads to cuts in vital public services. It also means governments increasingly rely on indirect taxation, like VAT, which falls disproportionately on the poorest people. Tax avoidance is a problem that is rapidly getting worse.
- Oxfam analysed 200 companies, including the world’s biggest and the World Economic Forum’s strategic partners, and has found that 9 out of 10 companies analysed have a presence in at least one tax haven.
- In 2014, corporate investment in these tax havens was almost four times bigger than it was in 2001.
This global system of tax avoidance is sucking the life out of welfare states in the rich world. It also denies poor countries the resources they need to tackle poverty, put children in school and prevent their citizens dying from easily curable diseases.
Almost a third (30%) of rich Africans’ wealth – a total of $500bn – is held offshore in tax havens. It is estimated that this costs African countries $14bn a year in lost tax revenues. This is enough money to pay for healthcare that could save the lives of 4 million children and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school.
Tax avoidance has rightly been described by the International Bar Association as an abuse of human rights9 and by the President of the World Bank as ‘a form of corruption that hurts the poor’. There will be no end to the inequality crisis until world leaders end the era of tax havens once and for all.
Companies working in oil, gas and other extractive industries are using their economic power in many different ways to secure their dominant position. This has a huge cost to the economy, and secures them profits far higher than the value they add to the economy. They lobby to secure government subsidies – tax breaks – to prevent the emergence of green alternatives. In Brazil and Mexico, indigenous peoples are disproportionately affected by the destruction of their traditional lands when forests are eroded for mining or intensive large-scale farming. When privatized – as happened in Russia after the fall of communism for example – huge fortunes are generated overnight for a small group of individuals.
The financial sector has grown most rapidly in recent decades, and now accounts for one in five billionaires. In this sector, the gap between salaries and rewards, and actual value added to the economy is larger than in any other. A recent study by the OECD10 showed that countries with oversized financial sectors suffer from greater economic instability and higher inequality. Certainly, the public debt crisis caused by the financial crisis, bank bailouts and subsequent austerity policies has hurt the poorest people the most. The banking sector remains at the heart of the tax haven system; the majority of offshore wealth is managed by just 50 big banks.