The people’s favorite companies do this all the time. The people pay taxes like there is no tomorrow while the companies sell them overpriced services or goods and hardly pay any taxes on their royal markups. Hurrah capitalism1! Meanwhile these companies get subsidized and bailed out with whatever bit of money was collected in the tax pot; that very same tax pot that the companies actively tried to keep their money from.
They fooled tricked us again.
Lately we’ve been talking about the Panama Papers, like the phenomenon is anything new.
The thing that bugs me out is how we talk about corruption and seemingly unethical behavior in developing countries (like the one where I’m from). In these countries the people seem to have the bravado to be somewhat transparent about their dealings, whether you’d call their dealings corrupt or not. Perhaps the lack of resources to aid in being more deceptive and less elaborate legal/taxation frameworks to provide sufficient incentive for large scale deception, has better transparency as a side effect.
Point is: Seemingly corrupt or unethical dealings spread the gamut in terms of class.
I believe corruption may be the wrong word. Maybe they’re just heartlessly clever – the tricksters of modern society.
I grew up on tales of Anansi who was always praised as the wise one, despite of once tricking his own children into giving him significant portions of their food. If a father does that nowadays, the neighbors would probably call social security services to take control; social security being another one of the nonsolutions to our problems but alas, I digress. In The Netherlands I’ve heard a tale or two about Reinaard de Vos, a cunning fox and undiscriminating trickster. In the United States I recall Jerry often being the triumphant one, even when he was obviously at fault for provoking Tom. Sometimes Tom just didn’t deserve that treatment.
Sometimes we just reward trickery with gifts or praise, I guess.
Whatever we do in the developed parts of the world is deceptive, sly and probably more dangerous because many citizens of developed countries themselves seem to have a lot to say about the sad state of corruption in the developing world while completely oblivious to the fecal matter brewing in their own homes :home:.
New legislation is constantly forced down our throats (although we, muggles, are not always aware of it), new treaties are constantly closed (I wonder if TTIP will happen ), the regulating commissions serve the industries they regulate… Since we wear suits, push laws and perform proceeding after proceeding it’s all legit? The people hardly know what’s happening anymore because there’s always something more entertaining to discuss. Our tricksters are just that damn clever!
The following episode of Tegenlight (Backlight in Dutch) is rather old, but in light of the recent fuss about the Panama Papers I felt it served as a good tool to aid in putting things into perspective. I know I’m ranting about this, but I guess a rant or two a year is permitted, right?!?
Just remember… trickery is everywhere and there is no better flavor of it. It all stinks just as much in the developing world as it does in the developed world, whatever the hell that distinction really means2.
Sometimes the low play is the smart play. What if more of us would play that game? Move money to offshore accounts, park intellectual property in the Netherlands where it’s taxed a bit lower, take advantage of convenient constructs wherever it leads to a economic benefit. In a globalizing world, it shouldn’t make too much heads turn if you shuffle some money around, right?!? The big dogs do it because apparently it makes sense. But if you do, however; play the game with dignity. Don’t evade taxes in The United States and then rely on subsidies and other tax-facilitated benefits from the same piggy bank that you shorted. That’s seems dishonorable.
But… what am I even talking about? It’s money! We will not think of the common good … or will we?
If this is how things are done nowadays, you should at least enjoy some convenient tax rates, right?!? Get your kids in a good school, retire in comfort, support the organizations you care about… I bet you could put some extra money to good use.
Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich on a Tropical Island it is, then. Cheers!
I’m a fan of the mix of capitalism and socialism that we serve in the Netherlands. It strikes me as a healthy balance of two systems that both offer sufficient pros and cons. However, I attribute the tax evasion problem to the capitalistic ideals that some swear by which seem to be focused on profit, whatever that may mean. This attribution may be wrong, but it’s just a product of my limited view and understanding of the world and its driving factors. ↩
I’ve been to plenty of developed countries and portions of such countries still remind me of whatever some would have labeled developing. It’s an awful distinction, but I do use it because we are somewhat familiar with that backwards pattern. A pattern I help to uphold because I’d rather say developing or developed than first-world, second-world or third-world. Yeah… shame on me. ↩