the price we pay

Hundreds of billions of dollars every year governments around the world are losing. How? The answer is – tax havens. The Price We Pay – this is probably the newest documentary on modern capitalism’s one of the cornerstones – tax havens, through which multinational companies can dodge or avoid paying tax. No one likes paying tax, one could argue, but equally, tax is one of the cornerstones of the social contract between the state and its citizens.

Moreover, as in this recent interview the director of this documentary Harold Crook puts it, tax havens contribute to increasing inequality, social unrest and disconnection of politics from the society which it is supposed to serve.

 

Inequality for all

To recognize the World Day of Social Justice which was on 20 February, I watched this great documentary produced by Robert Reich, renowned US economist who has advised several US presidents and governments. Though this documentary is focusing on USA, it brings into light the danger of inequality anywhere; danger to people, to living standards, to democracy. In the film Mr Reich suggests to address the challenges of inequality through:

  • middle-out economy (opposed to trickle-down economy which is a pure myth),
  • investment in education (if anything, education can be a Troyan horse to reduce inequality);
  • putting the people first;
  • strict policy on tax justice and stopping tax breaks to ensure fair contribution by the rich to the society (higher concentration of money in fewer hands creates power and ability to influence politics and democratic processes).

He is calling for bigger social change which should should be triggered by society. Complacency won’t work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NdDupITDv8

all you need to know about super-rich

This BBC documentary The Super-rich and Us (demonstrated in early January 2015) is probably the best film so far to shed some light on the ill-famous ‘1%’ and their lives. That 1% who caused global financial crisis in 2008 and who are living better than ever. UK has the highest number of millionaires per capita, yet it is also one of the most unequal developed countries, therefore this film asks – how come?

This film is about the myth of trickle-down effect, pro-rich tax regime (UK as the most important tax haven in the world and opportunities for innovative tax avoidance), corruption (HMRC helping companies to avoid or reduce tax), inequality, Thatcher’s ideological heritage, justice, and last but not least – democracy.

Watch it.

 

who is listening to the left-behind?

“Worse still is the fact that no one is really speaking up for those who are left behind. Conventional parties of the so-called left are barely audible in France, Britain and the U.S. Leaders like Obama are too afraid to “challenge elite priorities, in particular the obsession with budget deficits, for fear of being considered irresponsible,” Krugman writes. “And that leaves the field open for unconventional leaders — some of them seriously scary — who are willing to address the anger and despair of ordinary citizens.”

Of course. To talk about social issues and poverty, to acknowledge that these are serious issues and to define them as a political priority is considered to be populism. In many countries. But then we are wondering about the rising popularity of UKIP in England and similar movements elsewhere. However, the more conventional politicians will get obsessed with the rat-race and ambitious growth projects and the more they will treat corporations not the citizens as their main electorate, the more these conventional politicians will have to fear the up and coming extremism in various forms. 

 

krīzes sociālā cena: 40% bērnu dzīvo nabadzībā

Šonedēļ visai skaļu rezonansi izraisīja britu nevalstiskās organizācijas Oxfam klajā nākušais pētījums par globālo nevienlīdzību, kurā tika atkāts, ka laikā no 2008. – 2011. gadam, kad pasaule bija ieslīgusi finanšu krīzes skavās, pasaules miljardieru skaits ir dubultojies.

Vēlvairāk, šonedēļ arī UNICEF publicēja jauno pētījumu “Recesijas bērni”, kurā tiek secināts, ka finanšu krīzes rezultātā laikā no 2008. – 2012. gadam bērnu skaits attīstītajās valstīs (ES un OECD dalībvalstis), kuru apstākļi ir zem nabadzības sliekšņa, ir palielinājies par 2.6 mijoniem. Tā ir vesela Latvija un Islande kopā.

Visnepatīkamākais, protams, ir fakts, ka Latvija atkal izceļas uz pārējo Eiropas valstu fona un ir viena no 5 valstīm (kopā ar Grieķiju, Horvātiju, Īriju un Islandi), kur nabadzībā dzīvojošo bērnu skaits pa šiem krīzes gadiem ir palielinājies par vairāk nekā 50%. Turklāt, Latvijā procentuāli gandrīz 40% bērnu dzīvo zem nabadzības līmeņa, kas ir otrs sliktākais rādītājs Eiropā (2008.gadā tie bija 23%).

Kas nekaiš Dombrovskim tagad sēdēt mīkstajos Briseles krēslos, bet šādi dati ir skandāla vērti. Ir jau labi, ka ‘s dokumentami nam vsjo porjadki’ kā Mirtas tante teiktu un budžeta deficīts ir nomazināts līdz minimumam un eiro ieviešanas ambīcija ir īstenota, taču šo ambīciju sociālā cena ir milzīga.

Varbūt tā entuziastu grupa, kura skaitļo okupācijas zaudējumus, varētu paskaitļot kaut ko mazliet aktuālāku – sociālo cenu, glābjot Parex un īstenojot Dombrovska &IMF/ES austerity programmu. No šiem vaininiekiem varētu vismaz mēģināt piedzīt kādu sāpju naudu vai pakaunināt ar kādu izmeklēšanu (es nejokoju; iedvesmai var te palasīt par Starptautisko pilsoņu parādu audita tīklu – International Citizen Debt Audit Network).

Var jau iebilst un teikt, ka šī nav tendence raksturīga tikai Latvijai. Protams, miljardieru skaita dubultošanās lieliski pierāda augstos tempos pieaugošo nevienlīdzību un noslāņošanos ne tikai valstu iekšienē, bet arī starp-valstiski. Elite ar politisko un sociālo kapitālu un tai pietuvinātais vidusslānis spēj vai nu izvairīties no tiešām sekām vai pat nopelnīt, taču vairākums, kuru vienīgais resurss ir algots darbs, nabadzība bieži vien ir rokas stiepienā.

Bet.

Kāds par to nes atbildību. Kāds par to saņem atalgojumu.