Western hypocrisy

“European leaders and the West in general are criticising Greece for their failure to collect taxes. One of the points of our commission [Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation] is that the West has created a framework for global tax avoidance, but the US is opposing the creation of a UN framework and [even] discussions among all the countries to do something about it. Here you have advanced countries trying to undermine a global effort to stop tax avoidance. Can you have a better image of hypocrisy?”

Joseph Stiglitz, 13 July, 2015, Addis Ababa

emigrantu pienesums Latvijas ekonomikai

Pēdējo 10 gadu laikā ap 200,000 Latvijas iedzīvotāju ir emigrējuši, kas kopējo skaitu strauji pietuvina 400,000. Ļoti precīzi to noteikt nav iespējams, bet dazādi avoti lēš, ka tie ir ap 350 – 375 tūkstoši.

Ir ļoti populāri  runāt par aizbraucējiem kā aizbēdzējiem un ne-patriotiem, taču realitāte ir, ka šie aizbraucēji dod ļoti būtisku pienesumu Latvijas ekonomikai. Kā redzams, naudas pārvedumi ik gadu pieaug. Lai labāk saprastu šīs summas nozīmi, ir vērts pieminēt, ka 2014.gadā tie bija līdzvērtīgi 83% valsts veselības aprūpes budžetam vai 113% valsts sociālās aprūpes budžetam.

Un, es nemaz nerunāšu par uzņēmumu ienākumu nodokli, kas salīdzinājumā ar šo summu bija tikai divas trešdaļas (ap 400,000 EUR 2014.gadā).

Latvijas emigrantu naudas parvedumi

Greece – a victim of finance curse?

Those who have studied development economics will be familiar with the term ‘resource curse’ – a paradox of plenty, when countries or regions with abundance of natural resources tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes.

The recent developments in Greece reminded me of another phenomenon – finance curse – which is a story about ‘country capture’ where an oversized financial sector comes to control the politics of a finance-dependent country and to dominate and hollow out its economy.

One particular quote seems to be so timely to mention here: “Beyond a certain point, financial development is bad for an economy. Instead of supplying the oxygen that the real economy needs for healthy growth, it sucks the air out of the system and starts to slowly suffocate it.”

You can read more about finance curse here.

building societies = transparency + profit

This is what happens when you choose to cooperate with a building society, not a main-street bank: you have rights to elect the Board of your building society,  agree or disagree with their propose changes to the Rules and Memorandum as set by the AGM (Annual general meeting). Building society’s customers are also asked to approve its Annual report and accounts, director’s renumeration report and appoint its auditors. Photo0177

Nationwide, is the biggest building society in the UK, its profits last year increased by 54% to 1 billion GBP and it is not the sec on largest mortgage lender in the country.

The main difference between ‘normal’ banks and building societies is that building societies do not have shareholders therefore they are not pressurised to make massive profits. This means that essentially they are able to run on lower costs and therefore offer cheaper products to their clients. Moreover, they are mutual institutions meaning – their clients make decisions on how the building society operates. They exist in UK since the 18th century. Building societies are not companies and are not listed on the stock market.

When thinking about the financial market, banking sector and the recent crisis which is still overshadowing lives of many people, it’s worth remembering that there ARE alternative ways of doing things. And, sustainable, people-friendly, fair and transparent banking can be profitable too.

Walmart – master of tax avoidance

Walmart is the second biggest employer in the world (after army of China). Walmart is one of the most active multinational-companies lobbying for TTIP (EU-USA trade agreement) and TPP (Trans-Pasific partnership between USA and Pacific countries). And, Walmart, as the brand new, hot off the press research by Americans for Tax Fairness shows, it is also a very big and smart tax dodger. Make your own conclusions about Walmart, about how and why rich are rich, and who the real beneficiaries of TTIP/ TPP will be.

walmart