A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study.
The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.
The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network.
Today’s first reading contained the much loved line by all social justice proponents…
and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6: 8)
To do justice requires that all of God’s people are cared for and allowed to live a life of dignity and peace. The above story from BBC shows how great is the financial injustice in the world. The reality that a mere handful of persons holds this amount of wealth is bad enough. The fact that such an unbelievable amount is stashed away in safe havens, evading the social responsibility of taxes is completely incomprehensible.
The money comes from both developed and under-developed countries. The payment of fair taxes on such massive amounts could help turn around some national economies. Taxes pay not only for health care, education and social services. They also allow countries to pay down national debts. Yet, the wealthy continue to lobby politicians for tax laws that benefit them. Or shield their funds in off shore accounts.
Tax evasion by the wealthy is not only despicable, it is truly sinful. Shame on all who have hoards of money hidden away. And shame on all the banks, lawyers, and accountants who make it possible.
On the plus side the article points out that there is a nice stash of money that, if used properly, has the potential to help the world’s failing economy. Here’s hoping some wise governmental leaders and economists go after it.
The four minute video of the BBC interview with James Henry, the author of the study, is worth listening to.