Magic Money Trees

“There’s no magic money tree”

Tory general election campaign slogan.

Well there are lots of them, actually.

How about the ability of banks to create money out of thin air and charge interest on it, gaining profits in the process? Why do you think banks have the biggest buildings in towns and cities and reliably generate huge salaries, bonuses and profits? Central banks could take over all money creation, to the benefit of all. See discussion at Positive Money.Read More »

Hair of the Dog

Or should it be ‘Out of the Frying Pan…’.

Forty years of the great neoliberal globalisation project has taken its toll in terms of destroying jobs and communities across the West. Of course there have been winners and losers, and as ever the super winners are the rich and super rich.

As many commentators have observed, the resulting discontent has been a major cause of the phenomena of ‘Brexit’ in the UK and ‘Trump’ in the US.

Europe has been protected from some of the extremes of neoliberalism by its tradition of social democracy and looking after the people. The European Commission, for all its faults, has been a bulwark against some of the forces of free trade, not afraid to take on the biggest corporations.

What a paradox then, that Brexit appears to be leading the UK into the hands of a free market right wing. The UK parliament, lacking even any safeguarding constitution, will be the only defence against global forces driven by the rich and powerful. Trade will appear to be all that matters in the global race to the bottom – surely creating more of the problems that are so concerning to people who wish to rip up the European project.

More paradox in the US, where electors appear to have chosen a leader from that very super rich class that has caused the problems they are concerned about – moved jobs to China, kept their money out of the country rather than invest, fought against social and environmental changes, demanded tax reduction or simply avoided paying taxes… Of course, his chosen team is mostly also from that class.

Paradoxically, it is just possible that reality and the occasional influx of common sense will ensure that it turns out all right. Let’s hope so.

Featured image ‘Killer chihuahua’ by David Shankbone, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Ill gotten gains

Tax havens exist so that rich people, corporations, corrupt ruling cliques and criminals can avoid paying tax or launder/hide money.

Tax is of course what makes human societies work – the rich gain disproportionate benefit, so should pay the appropriate level of tax.

Governments fail to address tax havens in varying degrees because of the influence of those beneficiaries. They invent reasons to avoid solving the problem.

It is possible to close down tax havens and achieve the necessary transparency. See eg Richard Murphy’s excellent post re one of the biggest, controlled by the UK.

All it needs is the political will to do it.