The whistleblower behind the Panama Papers has released a manifesto under “John Doe.” It’s powerful. Read the whole thing, here’s the conclusion:
The collective impact of these failures has been a complete erosion of ethical standards, ultimately leading to a novel system we still call Capitalism, but which is tantamount to economic slavery. In this system—our system—the slaves are unaware both of their status and of their masters, who exist in a world apart where the intangible shackles are carefully hidden amongst reams of unreachable legalese. The horrific magnitude of detriment to the world should shock us all awake. But when it takes a whistleblower to sound the alarm, it is cause for even greater concern. It signals that democracy’s checks and balances have all failed, that the breakdown is systemic, and that severe instability could be just around the corner. So now is the time for real action, and that starts with asking questions.
Historians can easily recount how issues involving taxation and imbalances of power have led to revolutions in ages past. Then, military might was necessary to subjugate peoples, whereas now, curtailing information access is just as effective or more so, since the act is often invisible. Yet we live in a time of inexpensive, limitless digital storage and fast internet connections that transcend national boundaries. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots: from start to finish, inception to global media distribution, the next revolution will be digitized.
Or perhaps it has already begun.
British MPs have passed a law exempting them from being scrutinized by banks for associations with money launderers, terrorists, and corruption. I’m simply astounded by their shamelessness, some claiming that this was to protect their “grannies” banks. From Guido Fawkes:
George Osborne this afternoon accepted an amendment to the Financial Services Bill which will see some Politically Exposed Persons and their families exempted from these anti-money laundering rules. Ministers will now “exclude… specified categories of persons” from the list of so-called PEPs, as Osborne says it is “disproportionate”for banks to include MPs and relatives on the watch list.
And if this doesn’t just reek of colonialism, classism, and exceptionalism, here’s a line from the Mirror reporting on this:
[Charles Walker] sniffed at the “small amount of money” Mr Cameron had made out of the deal, saying it was only “enough to buy a Skoda Octavia.”
Of course, only little people drive those, it’s easy to afford an Aston Martin when you’re above the law.
I suspect one of the reasons we cannot “afford” universal healthcare, living wages, or paid family leave in the richest country on Earth is that multinationals dodge their taxes. So I’m sad to learn that the EU has failed to create adequate regulations for public country-by-country reporting of income tax. Panama and states like it are tax havens for massive amounts of money, but there’s sufficient multinational tax dodging in the EU and the US we should focus on first.
Corporate greed needs to end. They’re taking advantage of the benefits of America, yet refuse to accept their responsibilities as Americans.
– Bernie Sanders
This is why I’m upset that Bernie Sanders was trounced in the New York democratic primary. I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton can accept Big Money’s paychecks for speeches and still fight for the interests of the People, they’re going to want their return on investment.