Fighting fund: Super-rich hide $21-$32 trillion dollars to dodge taxes

Issue 

The world's super-rich have hidden between US$21 trillion and US$32 trillion of their wealth in various tax havens around the world, according to a new study by the London-based Tax Justice Network (TJN), a collection of tax experts and economists advocating the end of secrecy and tax evasion.

“This is as much as the combined GDP of the US and Japan,” TJN director John Christensen told Radio Australia's July 23 Asia Pacific program. And this colossal figure includes only financial assets of the super-rich — not their luxury yachts, art or property.

This “huge black hole in the world economy” is not just tax dodging by the super-rich on a scale that “is actually threatening the viability of public finances in many countries around the world”. It is also a massive amount of socially produced capital that is being prevented from being invested in urgently needed infrastructure to address urgent social and environmental needs.

Christensen said this study also means the gap between rich and poor has been grossly underestimated. The studies that show the richest 10% own 83% of the world's wealth while 50% share just 2% actually understate the gap.

The world simply cannot carry on like this.

This is why every demand the governments around the world make for sacrifice from ordinary working people, pensioners, students and the unemployed should be met with outrage.

The unbridled greed of the super-rich these governments serve has no limit and respects no morality or law. It is one law for the rich and another for the rest of us.

The latest opinion polls confirm that neither Labor nor Liberal-National have the confidence of a majority of people, and their support is falling.

Crikey.com's Pollbludger blog said the July 23 Newspoll showed Labor's primary votes dropping three points to 28% and the Coalition dropping two points to 46%. Morgan has the big parties' primary vote at 31.5% and 43%.

This was confirmed in the July 21 state by-election for Melbourne, where the Greens narrowly lost to Labor despite getting a higher primary vote.

Disillusion with the political parties that serve the super-rich grows by the day but the big challenge of our time is to build the real alternatives. This is a complicated struggle that involves building a whole range of new institutions of people’s power as well as building political parties and alliances to challenge the rule of the super-rich.

Green Left Weekly is part of this process and we need the help of our loyal readers to keep going. Our supporters have raised $105,244 of the $250,000 target for our 2012 Fighting Fund.

You can make a donation online at greenleft.org.au or make a direct deposit to: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992. Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or donate on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206.