April 30, 2013

The only acceptable antidote against tax-havens should be tax-heavens

Sir, Jeffrey Sachs’ unrestrained attack on tax-havens, shows there are many ways of exploiting tax havens. “Austerity exposes the global threat from tax havens” April 30.

As a citizen, I have for a long time held that the best enemy of tax havens is the existence of tax heavens, by which I mean countries in which a government respectfully earns its fiscal revenues by delivering good government. 

I come from a country, Venezuela, which in the 80s I saw rescued after its governments, after being excessively financed by foreign banks, had submerged into a total crisis, precisely because its citizens had saved abroad, and were able to return resources to their nation when they felt conditions so merited, instead of allowing these resources also to get wasted.

And I sure pray that for instance in Greece’s case, there is also a lot of Greek private capital in safe havens, ready to return to their country. And so, in this respect Sachs should start by making sure we have good and worthy politicians, before closing the escape doors on desperate citizens, which can otherwise most probably lead to having even worse politicians.

Also, over and over again in these debates about tax-havens we read about immense amounts tucked away, implying that if only governments could lay their hand on it, the world would be saved. In this case “Recent estimates by the Tax Justice Network suggest that deposits are in the range of $21tn.” Deposits… what deposits? All that money is placed somewhere and so if it was recovered by governments in its entirety it might very well just mean that $21tn was taken out of private management, like the stock markets, and handed over to perhaps inept and corrupt governments. Would that save the world? Forget it.

Finally, I would wish to remind Professor Sachs that public greed can easily be even much more destabilizing than private greed.