It’s an ironic day when you can celebrate (commemorate) the Russian Revolution and read the Paradise Papers on the same day. Redundant Man is no expert on revolutions, but it seems to him that at least one of the contributory factors was the vast inequality of wealth between serf and landowner, industrialist and worker at the time of the revolution. Everyone was “all in it together” and yet somehow the wealthy seemed to be getting the better of it. The 1st World War dragged on and on and yet somehow it was the poor who suffered the most.
Now if you are getting a feeling of deja vu, so much the better. Slip forward to today and what do you find. A growing gap between the poorest and richest, with the poor getting the blame for wasting tax, and cheating benefits and yet somehow it is ok for an already wealthy person to give themselves a loan from their own offshore account as a way of avoiding paying tax. The rich get richer and they deprive the services needed by everyone of the lifeblood of funds needed to keep them on their feet. Figures of trillions of dollars of offshore funds are listed. Presumably the people sitting in Monaco have never used the roads recently in the UK. Maybe they are too busy sitting on their yachts or flying in their helicopters.
The problem, you see, is not that they are just avoiding tax. It is that it is all completely legal. The loopholes suit someone. And in their own way they are as corrupting as the “dash” in an African Republic, the packs of cigarettes to get across borders, the 20% cut to the middlemen to deal in Arab countries, the second officer on an Indian vessel with a foreign captain. The legal avoidance of tax deprives others of what they deserve. It is like having a slacker in a team. Everyone else has to work that much harder to make sure the wheels keep turning.
In 1917, the result was a catastrophic revolution, which ended in tens of millions of dead to ensure that the Soviet Union kept up with the rest of the world. If Redundant Man was to raise the red flag today and start pumping out the anthem, where would we tear down the walls of the palace. It turns out it would be the Isle of Man, Jersey or the Bahamas. It seems that the greatest skill of the Capitalist is to survive, to continue to use anyone’s money but their own to shelter them from contributing to society fully. The worst of it is that the Government conspires to make it happen. It wont be long before the victims of the inequality get blamed for the fact that the rich can’t hang on to all their money.