The Tax Free Tour

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The Tax Free Tour

Where do multinationals pay taxes and how much? Gaining insight from international tax experts, Backlight director Marije Meerman (the maker of Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street and Money and Speed: Inside the Black Box), takes a look at tax havens, the people who live there and the routes along which tax is avoided globally.

Those routes go by resounding names like 'Cayman Special', 'Double Irish', and 'Dutch Sandwich'. A financial world operates in the shadows surrounded by a high level of secrecy. A place where sizable capital streams travel the world at the speed of light and avoid paying tax.

The Tax Free Tour is an economic thriller mapping the systemic risk for governments and citizens alike. Is this the price we have to pay for globalized capitalism?

At the same time, the free online game "Taxodus" by Femke Herregraven is launched. In the game, the player can select the profile of a multinational and look for the global route to pay as little tax as possible.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000188074244 John Murgaš

    What's the unquenchable thirst for wealth all about? Greed is a Psychological Disorder.

  • Paul MacLeod

    Indeed, or you could go as far as to say it's an obsessive compulsive disorder.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=611875596 Sam Haslam ?

    Multi-nationals DON'T PAY TAX. That's how they do it!!

  • saturn

    What a crooked world we are living in. There is no hope in this civilization and perhaps only an astroid the size of the Moon should collide the earth and end the situation, though good and bad all go together but at least good won't suffer any more.

  • wald0

    What, come on now- this is why things never change, because we lie to ourselves constantly. It isn't a disease to be greedy, it isn't a compulsive disorder, it is a normal response to the world we live in. Until we realize this, admit this, and change this, excessive greed is here to stay. Everything about our culture glorifies money and wealth while insulting and demeaning the poor and then we act as if we just can't understand why people strive for wealth above all else and at all costs? We have to start being honest with ourselves. I used to think this same way until i had a chance to make a few bucks myself and saw just how intoxicating wealth can be, how it opens every door and vastly expands one's possibilities, how it gives one peace of mind and comfort, how tempting power can be- expecting people to give it up out of some sense of morality or responsibility is not realistic unless we as society create a different definition of success, of personal worth, and act accordingly and consistently. Our definition of success, the people we hold up as icons, the message sent by pop culture, these things shape our youth- is it any wonder greed is an issue?

  • Pysmythe

    That's pretty much the way I feel about it most of the time.
    (Guess I'll go watch 'Melancholia' again.)

  • wald0

    I know how you feel, but consider this- there is less suffering, less violence less death, less war, less poverty, less hunger, than ever before in the history of the world. I know that doesn't seem possible but it is true if you check out the numbers and compare them to the population. So, if we feel this way, and many of us do not just yourself, how must those who lived say two hundred years ago felt. I would guess much the same, and what a shame it would've been if they had gotten their wish. Anyways, cheers mate- its not all bad.

  • Ilija Prentovski

    I mostly agree, but also disagree.

    Agree: I stopped lying to myself about what I wanted in life. You can only change yourself and act from there.

    Disagree: Wealth does open doors (not all though) and it does give comfort, but not peace of mind. On the contrary - one that invested much effort in acquiring it tends to worry about protecting it. I realized that soon enough and simply I gave up the rat race. I feel much better now :)

  • Jay Erjavec

    Great documentary! Would recommend it.

  • http://www.adrianmiu.ro/ Adrian Miu

    Kudos to Apple and the rest of "purpotraiters" for trying NOT to fund the military-industrial complex through their taxes and use THEIR money for research, partying or anything else than wars.
    We should all thrive to become tax free, not to make all as taxed as we are. People that promote the ideea that all should pay the maximum amount of taxes the law specifies are just plain evil.
    Until the states prove they are proficient at providing the services they were created for (ie: JUSTICE and PROTECTION), they are not entitled to manage more of our resources. Stealing 35% of what you produce is not justice.

  • wald0

    Well its really relative if you have grown up in a situation where the bills were not able to be paid consistently having wealth will give you the peace of knowing you don't have to stress over such things any longer. That is something I can relate to. And no, it doesn't open every door, just every door that ninety percent of us really care about. Oh, we try to pretend we care about other things more, things money can't buy- but that is mostly lies and smoke screens we throw up for ourselves so we can pretend to be somehow righteous, moral, deep, etc. The truth is, in my experience, that money will buy much more than most think and that what it will not buy most don't hold as that important any longer. If that isn't true ask yourself why so many are in love with and doing their best to imitate the pop culture image of excess and wealth that has nothing to do with spirituality, love, intellectual fulfillment, - you know, the things money can't buy. I'll tell you why, because it has become our definition of success, it is who gets the girl, the job, the attention and approval of society, etc.

  • michael golia

    seems like our tax dollors here inthe us more and more are for the military industrial complex , we should in this country want to sell peace more than guns but what makes more money .......war , man has not changed over thousands of years , power and greed , is what the human animal craves most , and it will in the end be our destruction.............

  • ZarathustraSpeaks

    We are what we are...human. Trying to pretend we are something else is self delusion. What is the point of trying to change our human nature? Money serves as a drug that we can use to 'block out" the reality of being human. But in the end we are all the same. People that take advantage of the "loopholes" with taxes or in life are just trying to get more of the drug that helps them forget. I dont have answers to these questions but I refuse to waste time agonizing over the fact that some people will always be in a better situation and/or a worse situation financially. I was never a Mitt Romney fan but trying to demonize him or others for using legal methods to maximize $$ is pointless. This kind of exercise only holds you down "in the muck" Target the laws if they are "unfair", all the rest is a waste of the life we have.

  • Paul Gloor

    For those that say money doesn't buy happiness. There's a formula to follow. For the common man, money = time = freedom = Happy. For the big business like apple, money = security, the ability to absorb setbacks.

  • Ilija Prentovski

    Birds have no money, yet they have all the time in the world, they are "free as a bird" and they seem to be quite happy, singing all they long :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mercenarry-ForHire/100000621480223 Mercenarry ForHire

    Great Documentary, feed me information! Raaw! :O

    It seems to me, if there is a problem its on how we think and can solve puzzles. Laws and taxes are based on requirements, so naturally just like a computer hack you can do almost anything you want if you know and understand how those requirements work.

  • Paul Gloor

    Birds have never required money to sustain their daily lives. Would you be singing for anything but your next meal if you had no money to speak of ? They live by nothing but the law of nature, pay no taxes, rent and/or food costs and thus, don't have to spend time to earn it. A person without money these days is a truly unhappy person unless they've found a niche somewhere that most others don't have the skill or desire to enter.

  • Paul Gloor

    It might be argued that by not paying their taxes where the profits are made, they are the very entities making war for oil and such a 'necessity' and the reason you pay 35% and not, say, 20% because they come up short and have to borrow from the federal reserve. Where does the money come from that pays for those services and who pays the operating costs if coca-cola builds a new school ?
    If you wish to protest high taxes, protest who pays the lions share and where they are spent, ie. military budget, vs science and education which, in the end, forge a richer nation which you can be proud of.

  • Ilija Prentovski

    See, I knew you'd understand! You're almost there. Just one small step to go.

  • wald0

    No one is worried about the fact that some are financially doing better than others, this has always been the case. This argument is simply a straw man thrown up by the right to distract and make those who object seem as if they are being jealous and petty and don't want a true meritocracy. I think anyone with half a brain knows that a meritocracy is what we want and that means some will do better than others, it is unavoidable. The problem is that those who are doing better need to shoulder their fair share of the burden instead of dodging it and intentionally letting it come to rest on the backs of the everyday, hard working, citizen who is struggling to survive. Now you can say that this is the definition of capitalism and they are only trying to run their businesses as they have been taught, and you may be right, but if that is the problem why hasn't it always been this way? At one time we had plenty of jobs here, people didn't take their business out of country to make more profits, they paid their fair share of taxes as well, and seemed to be proud of all this- they were American companies employing Americans to make American products and as a result we all did better, us, them, even people that lived in other countries.

    In my opinion this all changed with globalization. This made corporations feel safe to move their business out of country, it created infrastructure and bureaucracy aimed at doing just that in fact. It started global competition, not just competition with the other corporations in your field and in your country. In order for an American company to compete with a Japanese company that pays its employees so much less, doesn't have to meet environmental standards and so forth, pays less overhead in general- they must also find an environment were they can do the same. Because now that our markets are wide open, being flooded with these cheap, disposable goods from over seas, trying to be socially and environmentally responsible and create a durable, quality product will simply close you down. Only service based corporations are doing well, not manufacturers- and this will not change anytime soon. The problem is that service based companies either require higher education and employee very few (Investment corporations and so forth) or pay minimum wage and have no future (McDonald's or Starbucks). In my opinion we must rebuild the manufacturing sector, but how are we to do such a thing in the light of globalization?

  • Mick Fraser

    I agree with John Murgas.

    I'm often looked at by my associates and acquaintances when I say "there are many psychopaths in our world." My few very truly close friends understand what I mean.

    Just because greed and living the American Dream "is a normal response to the world we live in" as Wald0 suggests, doesn't make it the best way to resolve our world's problems.

    I've done well without losing sight of wrong or right from a Golden Rule perspective (not a biblical ref...it is a common tenet in most every religion). I have been lucky. Yet others I know have ruined their competitors lives by stealing their so-called friends businesses just because they could. The common refrain "Ah, it's just business."

    BS. IMHO we all need to work together to care for the have not ilk and teach the have not folks who have the intellectual capacity, to change their own fortunes and to watch out for the numerous indifferent, unfeeling or down right cruel people.

    Greedy people, most multinational corporations, most investment bankers, and even most national banks are psychopathic; are not that different from sociopaths who hate most things and don't mind killing, because they have the same level of caring for anyone else. Zero.

    Lastly, psychopaths are much more numerous than the predicted 2-4% of the population, and that's because there are a number of psychopathic psychologists who are evaluating them and don't see the problem.

  • http://twitter.com/StevenLJones3 Steven L. Jones

    The American Society of Civil Engineers issued an infrastructure report card Wednesday giving a bleak cumulative ranking of D. Roads got a D-, Drinking water D-, Inland waterways, D-, Wastewater systems, D- Levees, D-. Solid waste got the highest grade at C+, Bridges get a C.Rail gets a C-, public parks and recreation, C-, national power grid received a D+, aviation, dams, hazardous waste, schools and transit -- each received a D

  • wald0

    What, you are comparing the human experience to a birds? Birds can be content just sitting around singing, eating worms and bugs they find, and creating more birds. Luckily it takes a little more to fulfill a human. Not to mention a bird has no needs they cannot meet in the wild for free, while a human has a hierarchy of needs that must be met in a certain order for the person to reach higher level psychological growth. This isn't just my opinion, this is established psychology.

    Abraham Maslow in 1954 introduced what is called Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It is most often portrayed as a pyramid in which each set of needs is a layer starting from the bottom going up. The very first need we must meet as humans in order to ever have a chance of higher level psychological growth is- 1. Biological and physiological needs: Air, Food, Drink, Shelter, Warmth, etc. For the vast majority of us money is a prerequisite for getting these things, whether we like it or not;. Thus money does seem to be a prerequisite for human happiness in the world we have created. The hierarchy continues but, i wont bore you, or a least it is some what boring to me. But you can look it up if you like and you will see that every layer just about costs money to fulfill in the world we have created, unless you are in a unique circumstance that literally isn't possible for most of us.

    Now if we could create a world in which all these needs could be met without money, in my opinion you would have a valid, beautiful point. Then money would not be a prerequisite for happiness at all and we would be better off for it. For it isn't the money itself that we need but the basic staples it can provide that once met allow our mind to stop obsessing on them and move on to what seem lighter yet just as important concerns, such as being happy. Trust me, a cold, hungry, wet kid with no home has no chance of being happy, possessing any self esteem, being capable of higher learning or moving on to higher concerns. until this is rectified. And in this world that will not be rectified until he gets some money or someone with money provides these things for him.

  • Pysmythe

    Welp... time for the lower-classes to start shouldering the burden for all these fixes... Wall Street, corporations, and the wealthy all have much better things to do with their fair share.

    Solid waste got the highest grade, eh? Yeah... we're justifiably proud of "our ability to process sh-t" here in the U.S.

  • Ilija Prentovski

    Now we're talking! :)

  • TheDanishViking

    Ha!- Apple buys iphones in China for $50 and sells them for $500 in the West AND pays only 1.9% in tax. Still the crowds at the Apple store think that being an Apple consumer is somehow "creative". Man - what a world!

  • http://www.adrianmiu.ro/ Adrian Miu

    Rich nations (at least according to the present meaning of "rich") do not exist in the absense of theft (through war and taxation). Basically you are saying that as long as the nation is rich, theft is ok. Which is what Apple is saying by avoind taxes as much as possible. At least they don't claim to be morally superior... so kudos to them again...

    I know that the US is forced to steal from their people because other countries are doing it as well. It's nice to be a country that doesn't steal from their people until you find yourself attacked by a country that does. It's a pissing contest and we hope that the dog that is pissing on us will be the winner. That's all.

  • http://profiles.google.com/elitescripts2000 Matt Kukowski

    We are at a battle with each other... I like that opening phrase in this doc. Why? Because IT IS TRUE. We are in trouble folks. Time to think about the culture you live in. It is hard to see your culture, just as a fish is hard to take note of water. We are swimming in this SCAM, so we just accept it as good and your pains are YOUR problems and not paper pushing scams.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kwamla.hesse Kwamla Hesse

    Totally and utterly fascinating!!!

    If
    you believe in Equality and eradicating inequality then you don't
    understand how any of this can be achieved unless you know and
    understand how tax havens work.

    The trouble is this how the world is set up to work. So why deny it?

    Meanwhile those who would justify the actions and mentality of those who condone this gross insane and immoral behaviour are oblivious to how this is destroying the same environment and planet they enjoy life on?

    How ****** up is that???

    And how how ****** up is it to just morally turn a blind eye to the constant poverty, hunger and starvation of people when it doesn't have to be this way?

    The world doesn't have to be arranged this way with only a small percent benefiting enormously while the rest of us chase after them or make do with less or nothing at all?

    Surely this arrangement is CRAZY? And actually, in the end benefits no one? Not even that small percent if the world ceases to function?

    And yes it will cease to function if it carries on eating up the planets resources for more profits so a few people maintain their riches?

    We need an alternative people rather than profit orientated goal to chase after...

  • Paul Gloor

    Taxes aren't theft actually, they ideally go towards funding free public services like education, medical, police, fire and infrastructure. The reason things are going private and you end up paying through the nose for things like essential medical care is because the government cant afford them for you. Its similar to the permaculture thinking. If all you do is take take take from the land your crops will eventually fail you.

  • http://www.adrianmiu.ro/ Adrian Miu

    If taxes are not theft I should be able to opt-out of receiving medical care, for example. Which is not the case. BTW, if you pay for public services through taxes they are not FREE.

  • aam641

    This is a great documentary. It quite clearly differentiates between facts and opinions. I found it very educational.

    As to commenters who expressed their disapproval of multinationals: are you pissed off because what they do is unfair, or because they figured out a clever way around the tax man, a way you can't imitate? I am in the second group.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shirley.marsh.961 Shirley Marsh

    So, what's new?

  • Wayne Siemund

    Apparently not. Considering these corporations are loaning their tax haven money to countries to (in part) fund military activities, it would seem they have an 'interest' in the game.

  • Wayne Siemund

    It sounds like investing in these trust companies might be a good way to be part of the game and reduce the financial impact their activities have on the investing individual. Just as long as you get out of the investment before the world wises up.

  • http://twitter.com/PaulaTruyens Paula Truyens

    What it amounts to is bare-faced theft.

    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
    Aesop, Greek slave & fable author (620 BC - 560 BC)

  • http://twitter.com/fettemama fettemama

    Taxes are illegal and inhibit production!

  • ZarathustraSpeaks

    I agree Globalization has created a new "wild west" atmosphere in the marketplace as we are facing a whole new dynamic for how to make the world work for ourselves. Just getting a college degree or any of the methods of the past for making a "comfortable living" just dont apply now. Whatever the best direction now is I think we have to say "the cat is out of the bag" for our protected economy and Globalization is irreversible without a disasterous attempt to isolate ourselves from the world. I think we need to keep in mind the people who are blaming the "right" for the new world economy were not so indignant (or at least outspoken) when we could keep our wealth within our borders and didnt have to worry about what was going on in the rest of the world. If economic gain by the "masses" is the standard for moral accomplishment Globalization may be the best way to achieve that goal. There will always be winners and losers with change. Just as our own history of child labor abuses led to positive change comes when injustice is recognized and adopted by those that make the laws. As much a "world governing authority" scares us some version of it may be necessary to deal with both economic justice and nuclear armed dictators such as in the NKR.(Some other version of the U.N) Having said all that, the best micro-solution for the individual and the parent is to prepare yourself and your children to be self sufficient and adaptable to change. That would involve focusing on skill and education development in the areas that are most promising and translatable for the future. The "worst" thing to do is teach your children to blame all their problems on things they dont control and hate the world because some people are more successful at being greedy. If working towards laws and regulations for the world economy that create a more equitable "playing field" is the path taken dont expect any less "politics" and "gamesmanship" than we see in Washington now. The "cheap disposable good" that we are being "flooded with" are coming for one reason-because we buy them. Nothing more. Nothing less. We voted with our wallets when the the Mom and Pops stores were going down the tubes and kept right on marching to WalMart. The vast majoirty of Americans made these decisions right or wrong about what we wanted to buy and the American Manufacturers chose between going down the tubes(Or at least losing profits) or moving to where they could be viable. Thats the problem, we keep hearing people tell us how the world should be but the vast majority are not willing to make the personal sacrifices required to make it that way beyond our immediate family or community. So where does that leave us? You can stand back and point fingers at people and companies for chasing the dollar but thats the system we have and the nature of being human. We can try to change the system to gravitate to our own ethical code but trying to create a system of laws that will change our nature is not possible or advisable in my opinion.

  • Samuel Gallop

    I almost fell off my chair with laughter when I read your lame contention... "Taxes aren't theft actually, they ideally go towards funding free public services like education, medical, police, fire and infrastructure."

    Adrian already dispelled your errors. I just wanted to add that the reason you may perceive that all those "public services" are free is because... well, maybe for you they are.... as you might be a net tax receiver.

    If so, know that you are being unethical, as anybody who gets value from others without contributing value themselves is immoral. But you are OK with that, ain't you ? I thought so.

  • Samuel Gallop

    I haven't watched the doc yet, but judging from the synopsis it is about tax evasion and tax evaders.... all those greedy corporations which take the risk to command resources and create value in the not so free market, only to dodge their tax "responsibilities" when the benevolent State comes to stick their filthy hands in their pockets and take what they believe to be rightfully theirs. Ah, the greedy rich ! Shame on them for not sitting idle while they are being robbed.

    To me, the tax evader is not a criminal, but a saint. And all of you who believe to have the right to extort values you haven't earned are the true criminals. Enough said.

  • Samuel Gallop

    It doesn't matter where the thieves spend the loot. To be called theft, it only matters that the goods ( money in this case ) were extracted without the consent of the robbed. Now, the fact that you may have been so brainwashed as to be proud of been robbed is testimony to the thorough indoctrination the State has managed to put people through. Call the tax man one day and tell him that you are opting out, and behold how "voluntary" the system really is.

    As for your howstuffworks, what is your point apart from the lame defense of the current status quo ? The fact that taxes at gunpoint are the norm now, shouldn't mean that is the only way to do it or it's even the best way to do it. It should be pretty obvious to everyone that violence is never a good way to solve problems.

    In order to help you dispel the so many myths you seem to hold in your mind about the true nature of the State, I will take the liberty to recommend you read "The most dangerous superstition" by Larken Rose. Go do yourself a favor and read it.

  • WiseGapist

    That would be one of the dumbest responses I'd read on this site even if you'd typed it correctly.^^

  • WiseGapist

    Excellent doc, great content, well put together. Backlight is great series, I recommend checking the VPRO site out xD

  • WiseGapist

    Ahh you again, spouting your free market bullsh*t^^

    'extort values you haven't earned' = capitalism

    Enough said.

  • Samuel Gallop

    Few months after our latest exchange and you are still in darkness regarding very basic economics and philosophy in general. How on earth do you want to have a proper debate ?
    That which you equate with capitalism is a very popular but huge misconception that anyone can get rid of with a little reading and reflection. The fact that you keep spouting the same nonsense is evidence that you can not be bothered to get educated. Also it is testament to your intellectual dishonesty.
    There is nothing I can help you with. I make a pass.

  • WiseGapist

    I agree, there is nothing you can offer me, I wasn't reopening the debate because you are a waste of time, I just couldn't resist making a jab after seeing you repeat the same tired theoretical fantasy that you had been months ago.^^

    Also you didn't even watch the doc, so don't talk to me about not getting educated when you shouldn't even be bothering to comment your bs before seeing the material you should technically be commenting on.

  • KeepUinCheck

    Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a load of rubbish designed by a rich man for a rich mans world. I am sorry but you said it earlier, it is all relative, and if you still think a Fiat Currency will bring anything other than debt, it is not worth my time to have a conversation.

  • Andrei Cleland and Arpita Arie

    The only way out of this that I see is World Government. The only way to W.G. is a paradigm shift in global consciousness where morality becomes more powerful as a social currency than money. The only way to a shift in consciousness is to keep pinching and squeezing and exploiting humanity (ie the middle class) until there's an explosive reaction. Surely it can't be much longer!

  • shiftymedia

    keep dreaming son.

    a world with no money is not going to happen in your lifetime.

  • vangogo

    the inevitable outcome of capitalism

  • Alec Mowat

    When the recent rise of Conservative fails to improve the economy, the poor will turn on the rich and demand they pay their taxes.
    That won't fix the economy either.
    We hit peak oil in 2008.
    All our innovation and creation depended on cheap energy. Those days are over. It didn't really matter how the Government ran, so long as there was a massive supply of cheap energy to keep it running.
    They'll tax everything from the rich now, but nothing will come of it. You can print unlimited money, but when everyone has more money, the costs will go up faster when the demand exceeds the production limits of energy.
    And honestly; a bunch of capitalists hoarding Gold bars won't fix the economy or give you any real purchase power.
    Our time is ticking... There is no country safe from over population, energy demand and environmental damage.

  • Chris Rock

    You don't pay taxes - they take taxes

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzy.harrison.5 Suzy Harrison

    I suggest that everyone e-mail their elected officials this link. You can find web pages for them that will have a link to send them e-mail. While you are at it ask them why they think it is going to be fair to start charging us state taxes on Internet purchases because tax revenues are down due to the recession!

  • bringmeredwine

    I'm with Saturn.
    I don't tell people how I feel though, because they would be appalled.
    It's a very lonely feeling.

  • bringmeredwine

    I feel the same.

  • szymek

    It is obvious that the biggest corporations can afford the best accountants, layers etc and will find ways to avoid or significantly reduce tax paid to government. Small companies and ordinary tax payers don't have such a privilege so they will be paying higher rates - it is not really fair but in the same time corporations usually operate within the law finding loopholes in the law using their accountants' expertise.

    The world is changing so quickly that it is really hard to keep up with all these changes (derivatives, financial engineering, creative accounting, companies' structure and so on). As a result some very limited group of people who participate in governing and operating these fields can make lots of money at the expense of the poorer part of societies (eg. global financial crisis caused by bankers but taxpayer paying the price for it).

    It's really naive to think that some kind of equality exists because simply its only asymmetry of wealth's distribution.

    The basic goal in business is to maximize profits so if companies paid taxes that they can avoid it wouldn't be rational and in accordance with their goal to do it. Ethics is a nice thing to follow but in business I'm afraid there's no much room for it otherwise you can be the one that is kicked out of the business.

  • johnBas5

    Free as in they don't charge you for using it directly.

  • sliceAndDice

    I'm the son of a successful dairy farmer. We've used a tax loophole for years by prepaying our debts for the next year and thereby showing no taxable income. With these loopholes we've been able to expand our business and we pay our employees from $9.50 - $16/hour based on experience. We also provide insurance benefits. Paying somebody else's annual income is an expensive proposition and when you throw in labor unions and the forthcoming minimum wage hike, income providence gets even more expensive. We're grateful for these loopholes because without them we wouldn't be able to pay our employees as much as they need to support their families. We are responsible for generating the income that cares for over 60 people and 1700 animals. The opinion that these companies are doing it for greed and power, and that such is an immoral venture given the disparity of wealth that accompanies such tax-law manipulation, does not take into account the families that are dependent on these "immoral" practices for their subsistence. Every employer is wealthier than his employees. It has to be that way. This is way our country was built.

  • sliceAndDice

    Elected officials don't read their mail. Sorry to burst your bubbly of naivety.

  • Seaton McClellan

    There is a difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance.

  • dewflirt

    One is illegal, the other's immoral ;)

  • Dfergusson

    Moan Moan Moan

    People and companies stop avoiding taxes when the are reasonable . . ... In the UK, taxation is applied with such a grasping alacrity that it is no wonder people and companies are fleeing the jurisdiction.

    The maths is easy . . . government spending is 50% of GDP so the wealthy must pay 80%-odd percent so the poor can pay very little . . .

    BUT they feel 80% is too much . . . so off they go to sunnier and more welcoming countries . . . leaving the state to borrow to make up the shortfall . . .

    I am all for a progressive tax system, but something is wrong when it drives people out of the country . . .

    the only solution is to spend less . . . get spending down to 35%, say, and taxes at the high-end would only have to be around 55% . . . which is painful but tolerable.

  • ZeissIkon

    I'd say it is more a failing of the neoclassical economic model we're currently trapped in. Such a model makes no differentiation between land (including natural resources) and capital. This effectively means that we can see no difference between those companies and individuals who are in the country to conduct productive business and wealth creating activities and those who are here to merely speculate on land and extract economic rent from their monopolistic holdings. Something that is ostensibly parasitical in nature, has a negative effect on the economy and makes a mockery of any notion of a "trickle down" of wealth (the current Land Monopoly Black Hole at the heart of the UK economy is in excess of £150 billion).
    Of course many indulge in both practices, but my point being that, if we were instead to adopt a classical economic model that can crucially differentiate between these two forms of wealth, then we could reduce taxation of the former whilst shifting the burden onto the latter. We would then be able to easily cover the social bills without cutbacks and would have created an enormous incentive for real wealth creators to set up shop here.
    Furthermore, by shifting away from income tax, corporation tax, and just about every other current tax on productivity you can think of, and instead moving things towards a fairly apportioned Land Value Tax, aside from the significant boost to businesses in general, there would be an enormous reduction in tax evasion/avoidance and the appauling dead weight costs associated, since you can't hide land offshore, and Tolleys guide would go from 15,000 pages to 15!
    How's that for a progressive tax system?

  • BlueskyThis

    This seems not to make sense. I think if corps paid their share, say 35%, as in the US or 27% in my country.....we would all be better off. When you reference the UK, I think of Magie T...where everything has a price but nothing has value.....now look where the UK sits. British Tele is a good example, sold off at fraction of its value and made a few very rich.

  • ETNIKS

    DFERGUSSON - You're embarrassing yourself with your shallow comments.
    Your evidencing your thorough lack of understanding of what this film is telling us by you repeating the usual excuses given by the thieves who commit this money-laundering scam. There is a total disconnect between the true material needs of any individual to attain happiness, and the disease, fanatical unlimited accumulation of wealth in the current socio-economic system that is UNSUSTAINABLE. It is impossible to grow for ever in a finite world

    In the film they mentioned 3 groups enabling this: 1- the Banksters 2-Lawyers and 3- Accountants, but never mentioned THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS who are supposed to regulate trade and are in fact the facilitators of the criminal activity.
    In the film they also talk about the IMF and World Bank as if they were merely careless, and not in fact actively as part of the criminal scheme. These institutions are part and parcel of the mechanism to enslave the masses of people of the world into a permanent state of poverty and hopelessness, Ukraine being but the last victim.

    Tax avoidance is FRAUD and the way the most powerful corporations do it, is a good reason why there is austerity being forced on the backs of the majority who are the real producers of wealth in the planet.

  • ETNIKS

    To get the right answers, we have to formulate the right questions and conversely the opposite is true as well, if we ask the wrong questions we are led astray in the wrong direction.
    So when one of the investigators asks if we can enjoy all the things we're benefiting from like books delivered to our door by Amazon, a company immersed in doing all these shenanigans, what he's implying wrongly is that we wouldn't have these "goodies" in services if these corporations were not conducting these immoral, criminal activities.

    I think the assumption is totally wrong to think we couldn't get even better services if these corporations were paying their fair share of taxes, because for one thing, their own workers and the rest of consumers would have a lot more purchasing power to buy more products and incentivize more economic activity to generate even more wealth for everybody.
    The taxes that corporations don't pay are a direct hit to the pockets of salaried people and small and medium size businesses.

  • Dfergusson

    Yours is a fairly common and predictable view premised on the ignorant idea that the so-called wealthy are getting away with not paying their fair share.

    Last year I paid more tax in the UK than the average Brit pays in a lifetime. And I don't even live there.

    Did I pay my fair share?

    If I lived in the UK, I would have to pay more taxes in one year than about 10 families pay in a lifetime.

    Frankly, it does not make sense for me to be there. So me, my spending, my tax contributions, and the employment I create are elsewhere . . . where they are welcome.

    How does that work for you?

  • piqo

    Agreed. In another way you could say that you are paying more than you think for these service anyway because the companies are taking your money and our country's resources and giving nothing back. In the unlikely event that we lose any benefits/convenience that we have now because the companies are forced to abide by the laws, those things were unsustainable to begin with, so I would be glad.

  • mikey

    your family runs a dairy farm, not monsanto. the purpose of this documentary is to show how multinationals avoid taxes by loopholes across nations, not within them. to put it in other terms, your family farm tax loopholes contribute to employment and therefore the economy. multinationals do not help the american economy in any way when they avoid taxes by distributing assets abroad.

  • mikey

    your explosive reaction is likely to have the opposite effect any "shift in consciousness". if anything, modern society strongly supports the notion that morality and privacy are antiquated terms.

    welcome to the new age. do what thou wilt

  • mikey

    It doesn't work too well....

    1. "I paid more tax in the UK than the average Brit pays in a lifetime". Did I pay my fair share?
    - That depends Dfergusson, yours is the view that a fixed nominal tax value is a more just system than a % based tax. Quite frankly, this proposition is morally absurd and it is outrageous to compare your tax contribution across all members of society so broadly. An individual who earns $2 million a year should pay a higher tax than one who earns $20,000. Why? Because you should repay society in proportion to your benefit from it.....
    2. you're lucky that Great Britain allows foreigners to invest and trade with little restraints. as a condition to your entrance in their free market and your availment of their business, you should pay taxes at any rate Great Britain tells you. otherwise, you can continue living under a rock and stop crawling out to complain about taxes incurred in countries like G.B. which you actively seek out and depend on for your survival.

  • RationalMind

    Mikey,

    I must jump in here. Taking your example and that above.

    By your measure, I should not pay british taxes at all as I don't benefit at all from british society. And yet, I too pay a lot of taxes there, because I have capital invested in the economy (for the time being!). But frankly this will be withdrawn largely because I am tired of britain's preoccupation with taxation.

    But your numbers are interesting. Let's suppose I earnt 2m a year, and let's say I lived in the UK, I would pay about 1m in income tax and national insurance. I would pay a confusing array of wealth taxes too that would amount to around 500,000. This would leave me about 500,000 gross, or around 400,000 net of VAT.

    This 80% total tax levy is a bit much for me. If I were to pay around 40% say, or 800,000, I might consider it. After all that at least leaves me with the majority of my own money.

    But think about that if you can, mikey. 2m is absent from the UK economy. And you need 50 or so average britons to make up the tax shortfall of my absence. And that is before you consider the velocity of money aspect of my presence.

    On your second point. You have a strangely Little Britain view of the world. Britain is lucky that foreigners still wish to invest there at all. There is a big world out there, and Britain's share of inward investment is falling dramatically. Which is why Cameron et al. need to get on planes and beg businesses in India and China to invest in the UK. (Which they only do because they get tax breaks, btw)

    If Britain were to reconsider its tax philosophy, ending its envious and myopic stupidity, it might not be in such a state of disrepair / decline.

    As it happens, I suspect like dfergusson, I am happy were I am.

    Our economy is growing, we are wealthier each year, our state is not bankrupt and public services improve year on year. Can you say the same?

  • c. david i

    Why not go the route of a National Sales Tax? In this case, what you spend is what you pay taxes on, instead of having to pay a corporate tax, which even residents pay although they don't realize it, at an even higher rate. If the tax is paid at the point of sale, then there is no more need for any more taxes to be paid. This can apply to real estate tax, property tax, and other luxury type taxes.

    Governments, Bankers, and corporations would just have to buckle down and get their houses in order and learn to live within a tight strict budget. If they need to get a loan, then that is on them and not the rest of the people to pay it for them. Make those who spend, pay their own taxes on what they buy, including governments and corporations.

  • c. david i

    The rate of the tax could be along the line of 12% to 30% of the cost of the item bought and then added onto the amount of the item. That Tax would then go into the coffers of the government to pay the expenses they incur and then force that government to live within a budget that if there is no money there then they do not buy!

  • c. david i

    Of course the tax abatement of corporations and government would have to be eliminated at the point of sale. Here in the US, the courts have stated that corporations are persons, so if they are persons, wouldn't it seem more fair that those corporations not be able to use a tax free number for their purchases? This can be applied to the government too!

  • c. david i

    World Government is a cop out in my book. World Government just exploits the elitists to stay on top and put everyone else below them as a slave to them. W.G. does not benefit the people of the World, because of the Corruption already in place as it is. Anyone suggesting going to a W.G. is a lazy person not wanting to take responsibility of their own lives and allow someone else to dictate it for them. When you subject yourself to another person, then you have given up all of your Rights and now only have privileges permitted by whoever you put into place to govern you. AND you do not have a say when you can use those privileges, because you have now lost your voice by allowing that supreme Ruler over you to make your decisions for you!

    Grow up and act like an adult and make your own decisions, instead of acting like a child and having your appointed parent make those decisions for you.

  • c. david i

    Do you believe the private resident who does not pay income taxes is a tax evader too? Here in the US, that is the consensus, but if the people actually read the Tax Code, they would find they are not required to pay taxes out of their income in the first place, because taxes here are figured from Capital Gain, and "Gain" is the keyword here. Gain is when all of the expenses and necesitties have been met and what is left over is what is taxed. In all reality, if you are never paid what you are really worth, then you would "Never" have anything left over to be taxed, if that were the case. BUT the people have been lied to, coerced, and conditioned through force to pay income taxes, which are under false pretenses.

  • c. david i

    Illegal is interpreted and not what is actually written in the Law, so it is not unlawful in all actuality. Immoral to who? Do you DEPEND on those taxes to be paid by someone else, because you are ignorant enough to not do your research and find out the truth of the matter? Morality must start at home and morally taking care of my home is more moral than taking care of someone else's home that I do not live in.

  • c. david i

    Investing into any Corporation or company is playing in their game by their rules. So why not start your own game and play by your rules instead?

  • dewflirt

    Evening C, not actually sure what you mean, are you saying that tax evasion and avoidance are NOT naughty?
    Edit; What am I ignorant of?

  • c. david i

    Hehehehe evening dewflirt : well if you read the tax code, there is not a single item in it to require you to pay taxes as the code is for Commercial Business. Are you a commercial business? I would think not and besides do you work in one of the U.S. Possessions or outside the country and its borders? Working outside the Borders or in one of the U.S. possessions is the only place where U.S. Citizens are required to pay taxes. If you volunteer to pay taxes, then you are obligated to pay them. I, myself, do not volunteer to pay an income tax, as that is a direct tax, and that has to be proortionately divided amongst all of the citizens for it to be collected, (that has not ever been done) So how can you be an evader of paying taxes or be charged with avoiding to pay the taxes, if you are not required to pay it?

  • c. david i

    The definition of taxpayer or source is in section "N" of the IRS Code and it does not define you or I, since you or I do not work in the possessions, or outside the Country. The Sovereign States (or Republics as they should be called) are NOT possessions. They are independent Sovereigntys

  • dewflirt

    Oh, so you're going for that 'freeman on the land' stuff? :)

  • c. david i

    I guess you could define it that way if you would like, but I do not hold a license to interpret law. I read it exactly as it is written. When you interpret Law then you are literallly posing as a lawyer unlawfully and are trespassing on the ABA borders, that you are not allowed to cross until you are invited and hold the license required to practice Law. That is where a lot of people have gotten into trouble with the Law and in Court rooms. Those are in all essence ABA Board of Director meetings. You may be invited to those meetings with an RSVP (summons) but you do not have a voice in that meeting, especially once you admit to the name on the paperwork, that they hold and lay a claim to. Most people do not comprehend (notice I do not use the word understand?) that when you walk into that room, that is a meeting concerning a Trust that has a name similar to yours, but it is in ALL CAPITAL letters. They actually believe that name is you, once you admit to that, but it is not. Once you admit to that name, then you have given permission for them to give it life and be a person representing you, and you just lost your voice. The IRS, in their Tax Courts and their Audit Meetings with you, do the exact same thing. They get you to admit to your name, and that name on that paperwork they hold then takes a life of its own, and again you are left with no voice to protect yourself. So in order to be a "Freeman on the Land", you literally have to learn how not to become the "Slave", for which you really give them permission to place you in that position. Until you or anybody really learns all of that, then all of the consequences (the penalties of fines and imprisonment) that is suffered, comes from the ignorance of not learning the correct way to protect yourself from the deception that is pulled off. In all essence the IRS Code does not have a Number assigned to it by the Congress, so it is actually a regulation or rule of a Corporation. Are you an employee of that Corporation? If not, then why do you and everybody else follow their rules? It makes no sense to me.

  • dewflirt

    Surely just turning up when summonsed is admitting that you are the 'corporation known as.' Don't know why you would attend at all if you're not that person. Somehow I think that if you tried to make that fly in court, you'd end up prolonging the case and only postponing the inevitable. How would you go about refusing to pay tax if you're an employee? This must only be an option for the self employed. And if you are not your name, how do you make your mark when you need to? Would you be as happy to refuse state benefits as you are to withhold your taxes? Would you refuse the help of the police if you found yourself in a pickle? What if other freemen decided to pitch a tent on land that you own, would they have the right to NOT recognise your ownership, is it not just a name that owns the land? What about your bank account, your pension, your health insurance? They all belong to the name and not the body also? All sounds a bit 'cake and eat it' to me. Unless you are the result of a Free Birth, your are your paper trail. Anyway, I like the romance of outlaw living but I like my comforts more - good luck :)

    I fought the law and the law won ;))

  • c. david i

    I don't mean to be rude, but I just wonder if you are playing me, or if you really want to learn.

    "Surely just turning up when summonsed is admitting that you are the
    'corporation known as.' Don't know why you would attend at all if you're
    not that person. Somehow I think that if you tried to make that fly in
    court, you'd end up prolonging the case and only postponing the
    inevitable."

    First off when you receive a summons it is an invitation to that court to play a game. (I am not talking about a basketball or any other game here dealing in sports) That RSVP needs to be responded to within 10 days or you are expected to be there on the date of that RSVP. If you do not show up after not responding, you are showing dishonor and that brings damage to your case of which they can appropriate money for that damage. Now you can show up but it doesn't mean that you have to play their game and they know it, so they hope you do not show up. You will have to check in with the clerk so that you are recognized as being there. The problem comes up now if your case is called and you answer to that name, then they have you hooked, but you do not remain silent either. You really need to respond with the file or case number and ask if that is what the Judge is calling for. (you really need to learn the rules played in the game and play by those rules and know what those rules mean) You never enter into the arena, (cross through the gate in the fenced in area) and if the Judge tries to remove you from the gallery, remind him you have already checked in, and he is dishonoring you at that point. In the end run the case is never prolonged, but if it is, it costs the court more each time it is prolonged and not worth their time to prosecute. So time in this case is on your side.

  • c. david i

    This method is very effective and saved me $260 fine and 4 points off my license, and it works in all cases. But beware, you will be challenged as you stand outside the arena with a Contempt of Court, and you had better respond immediately to that challenge. That challenge can be effectively put down because it is a "Bluff" put out by the Judge. Nothing can happen to you as you stand outside the arena, because the Judge's authority only extends to the fence.

  • c. david i

    "How would you go about refusing to pay tax if you're an employee? This must only be an option for the self employed."

    Are you an employee of the IRS? If you do not work directly for them why do you permit them to take any taxes from you at all?

  • c. david i

    "And if you are not your name, how do you make your mark when you need
    to? Would you be as happy to refuse state benefits as you are to
    withhold your taxes? Would you refuse the help of the police if you
    found yourself in a pickle?"

    For one thing I would use only the name I am known by. Not everyone uses all three names at any time to talk to them. I never sign anything with any Capital Letters with the name I use, not as it is "REGISTERED". All of my signatures are in lower case. Why would I want State handouts? Taking any state handout is saying you are needy and indigent and not able to take care of yourself. The police are not paid by you or any other member of the society directly, so they will not come to help you when you really need it. They only arrive after the act occurs. If you and your neighbors paid them directly, they would come immediately on your call. The police only know that the City pays them out of the general funds that the City manages and so they know they are being paid by the City. Your name is not associated with their paychecks.

  • c. david i

    "What if other freemen decided to pitch a tent on land that you own,
    would they have the right to NOT recognise your ownership, is it not
    just a name that owns the land? What about your bank account, your
    pension, your health insurance? They all belong to the name and not the
    body also? All sounds a bit 'cake and eat it' to me."

    If a Freeman (as you call him) wants to camp on my lawfully owned land, then he personally knows all he has to do is come and ask if he can. A Criminal will never ask, so if they camp on my land without my express permission then they are "Trespassing" and that is a Felony Crime. So a criminal does not have the right to recognize my name at all, except for me collecting damages from him for the Trespass. Bank Accounts, pensions, and insurance are all Contracts of which you signed for and gave permission to be a part of. When a Breach of Contract occurs then the guilty parties of the Breach are responsible for that damage and must pay a remedy for that. You can have your Cake and Eat it too if you know how to do it.

  • c. david i

    "Unless you are the result of a Free Birth, your are your paper trail.
    Anyway, I like the romance of outlaw living but I like my comforts more -
    good luck :)"

    As long as you "REGISTER" anything (Birth Certificate, License, etc.) then you always leave a paper trail. It used to be that Births were not "Registered" over 100 years ago. They were "RECORDED" either in public record or the Family Bible. You can go on living your "outlaw life" and live it well and in total comfort, but you must accept all of the responsibility for that life as you live it. I, myself, live the REBEL LIFE and I do accept responsibility for my actions.

  • dewflirt

    Morning c, not playing you :) Like the lady said, "ain't nobody got time for that" Chat later, busy day :)

  • dewflirt

    Ok, forget the police - they are not my favourite institutional racists anyway ;) But I have to say it suits me to pay something towards the welfare of others. I've used the housing benefit, income support, tax credits, child benefit. I have family that have received disability living allowance, used social services (my other non favourites! ) We all use schools and colleges, in fact I'm going back to college in September (maths). I don't mind paying towards the emergency services or legal aid, pensions, public transport, social housing, libraries, sports centres, parks, environmental protection, the delicious NHS, waste disposal, disaster relief, overseas aid etc, etc, etc. I find a hundred ways to snipe at my government every day, for the most part because the current bunch of expletives are doing their best to pull these things apart. All of the above are dear to me, probably so to most people. If such things didn't exist, wouldn't we create them rather than see people suffer or go without? And then once we've done that, we'd have to find fair ways give that help, practical ways to deliver services... Maybe I lack imagination but I find it difficult to believe that things would be better if we all stopped paying in. I'm not knocking your ways, I like rebels, I like the freeman movement. It has a place, another voice calling for things to be better than they are, that is never a bad thing ;)

  • dewflirt

    Evening Blue, not at all sure what I think - maybe I just like the naughtiness ;)

  • c. david i

    I hear ya there dewflirt. We do have a problem with the educational system as itis designed right now and it really needs to be changed, from a training to be a follow procedures as they are given to ya (Bell Rings for one), don't ask questions, and the typical follow for the good of the Whole (hhhmmmm isn't that Communism?). Even the higher educational systems teach or lecture along the same lines. These minds that are so malleable at the young ages they are need to be trained on how to be leaders, instead of the followers they are trained to be now. People just do not know how to be a self sustainer in the long run. They tend to give up too easily. (When the tough get going, followers tend to run and hide) Or most of our kids are so hooked on the video games, that if the electronics were knocked out tomorrow, they would be lost not knowing what they really had to do to survive. They are not trained to be self sufficient and independent. Unfortunately that is what the social programs tend to teach also. (not to be independent but to depend on others) These kids, if they are trained correctly are our Geniuses for our society, and with their energy they could assume the position of providing for the elderly who really need the services. (i am getting into that category really fast and glad I got VA for my medical and could retire in a couple of months for that matter) That could go for anyone who is in school if they are trained in the correct manner, really. I may be in retraining even for being elderly but the opportunities are rare for those of us doing this. I have found that after age 60, these people are not needed near as much in the work force.

  • dewflirt

    I don't know that young children should be trained for anything, In my experience they do better for themselves if they are taught good manners and given a love of learning... and dinner :) Sixty is the new forty which is good because that means forty is the new twenty. One foot in front of the other C, and no stopping 'til you fall in a hole. That's my plan ;)

  • over the edge

    but what if i do not want to be twenty again :) does that mean twenty is the new infant?

  • c. david i

    Hey D. my granddaughter is an elementary student and I live right across the street from another elementary school. Those kids react to the Bell right when it rings, they line up when their teachers tell them to, some are not allowed to play and are made to stand against a wall while the rest of the kids play, my granddaughter's history books don't even teach the same history I had when I was in school. I have even looked through the High school books and they aren't the same either. As for the 60, I have worked all my life since I was 16 or even a bit younger (for pay mind you), I done my tour overseas during Viet Nam, I have been in every State in the Union including Canada, except Hawaii and Alaska. I lost my job 2 years ago and can't get back into the work force yet, although I have been trying. I am nearly wore out, especially having to fight to keep myself a Sovereign and it is not a very easy job to do. And I worry about those others I try to educate that just don't get it and that makes me older too. I think I have done my part and now it is time for others to carry on.

  • dewflirt

    Morning edge :) Twenty is definitely the new infant, my daughter has me convinced of it! You don't have to be twenty if you don't want to, just do like I do and forget how old you are. I was 29 for three years and 38 twice, I thought my last birthday was my 42nd but it turned out to be my 41st. So really I'm 21 again and my twenty years old daughter has just been born which explains a lot ;)

  • Jacek Walker

    From my observation the number of psychoptas are two- digit, anything from 10 % up.
    And yes, the lesser numer may be deliberetely given to the public to divert attention.
    Another thing is the term "psychopath" may be as well deliberately skewed to misrepresent the real image of a psychopath.

  • Jacek Walker

    It is an old trick especially beloved and succesfully implemented by organized religions. First persuade the masses that they are infected by dangerous viruses called "sins" and then offer the cure.
    Considering how many people are still unaware of this old con, no wonder the world is in a sorry state it is. The whole advertising machine fuels on it.

  • jillzzzz

    Excellent!
    All Humanity needs for survival is water, food, clothing and shelter. ALL those companies would go broke in a year if the people never walked through the door of Starbucks or Walmart or any of them ever again. We would fare much better in small communities growing food, sharing resources, reusing and teaching our kids how to create rather than becoming slaves to the money machine of more, more, more for such small rewards. Its all about how the individual spends money.

  • a_no_n

    unless you live in one of those communities that can't grow it's own food due to living on concrete, or in an apartment, or on sh1tty soil.

    but who gives a tuppeny toss about poor people eh?

  • a_no_n

    oh dear...the unbelievably rich person had to pay into the society that has allowed him to thrive...whatever will we do?

  • RationalMind

    You seem to misunderstand what he wrote . . . He said he did not live in the uk.

    And you seem to be happy that a potential wealthy contributor to society is not in britain making the country poorer as a result. This blind "soak the rich" attitude makes everyone poorer.

    This seems pretty thick. I for one would rather be richer.

  • RationalMind

    Land value tax. Do you mean Land expropriation tax?

    Your idea and that of Comrade Cable and the Libdems undermines freehold title which has been a basis for the British economy for 800 years.

    It is also a tax on London's middle class who already pay disproportionately for the rest of the country . . .

    I suggest people look to the tax alliance and their war on waste for solutions ....

  • a_no_n

    Didn't say i was happy...just saying that in a world where the disabled are having their lifelines cut so that he can pay the lowest rate of tax that people in his wage bracket have ever had to pay in modern history, i don't really care.

  • http://www.yppuk.org/ ZeissIkon

    Thank you for the reply, but I think you may have got the wrong idea from what I wrote.
    Firstly, I'd have to say that I don't think Mr Cable and his friends have the first idea about what Land Value Tax actually is (this is most certainly down to the neoclassical invertebrates who advise them) and yes their way of thinking is very much to the left wing of middle class liberal, but I personally wouldn't consider myself to be left wing. For one thing, I believe in a free market, small government, and the abolition of income tax, corporation tax, VAT, and just about every other tax we are currently being subjected to. Furthermore, I believe we should scrap most of the current benefits system, which also wouldn't seem to fit in with any kind of left wing agenda.
    However, in the light of that, you might be surprised to hear that I wouldn't consider myself to be right wing either. You see what I am actually proposing is a fundamental change of economic model to a system that pre-dates the age of left and right wing politics, so I can't apply those terms to myself.
    To really understand Land Value Tax, it is important to consider what land actually is. Land in this sense is the Earth and all its natural resources. Effectively all those things that existed before man walked, which, as such, are there for the benefit of all (common wealth), were it not for the fact that during the primitive and subsequent feudal periods of social development the tendency has been to misappropriate such things by force and concentrate them into the hands of the few. The real problem is, that by doing so, it effectively renders all those who are dependent upon that land and those resources little more than chattel slaves, seeing as the maximum economic rent can then be extracted from all their endeavours. That is the clear nature of a monopoly, and I can find no example of a monopoly being a good thing in an economic model, as it effectively stifles peoples economic activity and impoverishes them.
    It seems odd to me that, the western world, having seemingly made a huge step towards breaking free of its feudal past with the abolition of slavery (which was after all quite a landmark moment with a grass roots movement based on humanitarian principles triumphing against enormous moneyed/political interests), should somehow have wound up adopting an economic model that was little more than a crude licence to monopolise the world. I say this, as the neoclassical school have singularly failed to come up with a satisfactory reason for capitalising land in their model (their laughable best shot being that it simplifies economics, and if you believe that...), nor have they managed to pick a hole in the work of Henry George, yet they managed to overshadow him all the same. I guess it's all in the presentation or something, though the $35 million (and that's in 1890's money) that John D Rockefeller invested in them, when he founded the Chicago School, must have come in quite handy (of course there were no vested interests there, even if the celebrated philanthropist did go on record as saying it was "the best money I ever spent").
    Finally, as regards Land Value Tax punishing the beleagured middle class, I am afraid you couldn't be further from the truth there. In a Georgist tax system, the revenue collected from the monopolistic and non productive sector, after the social bill for key services etc has been covered, can be simply returned to the common wealth in the form of a citizens income (everyone getting their equal share down to the last penny), thereby replacing most of the current benefit system and all the associated dead weight costs of investigating benefit fraud. Furthermore, with no income tax to investigate, peoples private wealth would remain private, and I can't imagine a bigger boost to enterprise than that.
    It may interest some to know that the Young Peoples Party (look up YPP and Mark Wadsworth) are currently proposing a moderate tax reform based on Georgist principles that reduces current taxes and shifts just a part of the burden onto Land Value Tax (it's something I am supporting, as I think it is a sensible move in the right direction). I mention this, as they are currently developing a tax calculator app that you will be able to download and, by inputting anyone's details, you can get an exact figure for how much better or worse off they would be under the YPP tax manifesto (I'd like to see the major parties agree to provide a similarly revealing tool, but I am not holding my breath). I've tried out an early working version of the calculator and it's clear that over %99 of the population will be better off, and middle class homeowners will be surprised at just how much better off they would be (try £7,000 to £12,000 for size). The bottom line being that, unless you are a buy to let landlord with a sizeable portfolio, a major property speculator, or someone like the Duke of Westminster, you're going to be doing very well out of Land Value Tax, and that's without taking into account the enormous stimulus to the productive sector of the economy.
    The problem with the Tax Alliance is they are making the unfortunate compound error of still believing the tired old "trickle down" theory, whilst getting hopelessly distracted by the £4 billion wasted by benefit fraud, when they're seemingly happy to let the £150 billion that is lost to land monopoly slip quietly through their fingers, simply because their neoclassical model can't see it. As soon as you factor that in, then it's plain to see that it's not the idle poor in this country we need worry about so much as the idle rich.

  • White Tee

    what is it, exactly, about a medieval system in which massive common grounds (monastic land) are communally lived on and freely worked by the people, ("capital", per say, belongs to the people), in which healthcare and welfare is provided by the stewards of that land (the monks who think it'd be "sinful" to let a needy man die) and in which the king can be publicly flogged for mistreating those people, seems undesirable to you, Jacek? It's a better system than the entirely illusory one in which "corporations" (selfish men who can "sin" and still sleep at night) are expected to be good stewards of that same property, man.

  • fk_censors

    Mongolia is safe from overpopulation.