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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Treasure Islands: Offshore Banking and Tax Havens

Treasure Islands Nicholas Shaxson has published Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens (Palgrave Macmillan, April 12, 2011):

While the United States experiences recession and economic stagnation and European countries face bankruptcy, experts struggle to make sense of the crisis. Nicholas Shaxson, a former correspondent for the Financial Times and The Economist, argues that tax havens are a central cause of all these disasters.

In this hard hitting investigation he uncovers how offshore tax evasion, which has cost the U.S. 100 billion dollars in lost revenue each year, is just one item on a long rap sheet outlining the damage that offshoring wreaks on our societies. In a riveting journey from Moscow to London to Switzerland to Delaware, Shaxson dives deep into a vast and secret playground where bankers and multinational corporations operate side by side with nefarious tax evaders, organized criminals and the world’s wealthiest citizens. Tax havens are where all these players get to maximize their own rewards and leave the middle class to pick up the bill.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2011/04/treasure-islands.html

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Comments

Nick Shaxson's book falls into the trap of only presenting one side of the argument. And the good points he does make suffer as a result. The role of offshore financial centres, and the pluses and minuses they present, are far more complex and nuanced than Nick would have the reader believe. For instance, there is a growing body of informed academic study that shows the critically beneficial role these centres play in allocating global capital in the most efficient way.

Nick would have done far better to analyse the real reason why the US and many European countries face such huge and growing fiscal problems. And why the face of corruption is so rampant in many parts of the world. The reasons rest firmly rooted in domestic politics and policies, and not in OFC's. The real enemy is within, not without.

Posted by: tim ridley | Apr 16, 2011 7:55:27 AM