Yes, guess who?
Rod Stewart buggering off to America to dodge 83% income tax was an abuse of the human right of the government to tax him.
Yes, guess who?
Rod Stewart buggering off to America to dodge 83% income tax was an abuse of the human right of the government to tax him.
I had a discussion yesterday afternoon with a friend on where we saw capitalism going. The answer was neither of us saw it going very far at all. maybe we’re getting older, and maybe we’re just wrong, but we could not see what it was that capitalism could currently invest in that would create better outcomes for humankind than we could imagine might be available from public use of the same funds.
Everything’s already been invented so we should just close the patent office, eh?
And this at a time when we’re going through the fastest technological revolution ever. The smartphone is indeed the fastest adopted technology ever. From a standing start to a billion pieces a year in under a decade. But this is even better:
Martin Wolf ….. But most of all he says, by implication, that in the future we must tax rents, and of all these rents he suggests that intellectual property rights might be the one that will require most attention.
This is fascinating, because this is at the forefront of the current battle on international taxation. Google shifts the ‘rent’ it can earn from its (state funded) technology from the states where it should be taxed through Ireland into Bermuda. We all know other technology, pharmaceutical and similar rent earning companies (and most multinational corporations are now of this sort, for varying reasons) do similar things. And they are fighting very hard to defend their right to do so at the OECD, which has already backed off from making changes to tackle tax abuse in the digital economy.
So, the argument appears to be that because Google’s technology was state funded then the state should have some of that cash. Very similar to Mazzucato’s argument.
But, erm, it was the US government that funded Google’s technology, if any funding there was. So it should obviously be the US govt that gets to tax that cash: not the governments of Europe which is what Ritchie is arguing for.
In that case cash is needed. This is not the moment to suggest a detailed programme for raising that moeny, but one idea I put forward to the meeting I was at on health and tax justice yesterday was simple. We could charge VAT on private health care. If we did HMRC says we’d raise just over £2 billion in extra funding.
I call that a no brainer. It’s affordable by those who would pay. It’s an exemption that is not needed. It’s a tax that could redirect resources to meet need. Let’s start debate there.
Blimey. We’re going to increase demand for NHS services by making the private sector alternative more expensive.
And this is how we’re going to deal with a shortage of money for the NHS?
More than five centuries after Spain’s Jews were forced to flee, convert to Catholicism or face execution without trial, their descendants are being invited to return and take up dual citizenship.
Spain’s government has approved a draft bill that will allow descendants of those Sephardic Jews who were expelled in 1492, under the crusading Catholic rule of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, to seek dual citizenship.
An estimated 300,000 Jews resided in Spain before the infamous Spanish Inquisition of the 15th Century, when the “Reyes Catolicos” reconquered Spain from its Arab rulers and ordered Jews and Muslims to convert to the Catholic faith or leave the country.
So where’s the racism?
Spanish Muslim groups have long been campaigning for the Spanish state to grant nationality rights for the descendants of Muslims who were expelled or forced to convert during the same period as the Sephardic Jews but no legislation has yet been proposed to award them the same rights.
“It seems unfair that one thing is being offered to the Jews but will not be considered for the Muslims who suffered the same fate,” said a spokesman from the Junta Islamica de Espana.
Maybe religionism is the right word here, not racism. But it does appear odd…..
I see that, among other things, she was Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. 1989 to 1992.
Erm, all the way through the whole Velvet Revolution thing. And she was appointed to that as a “political” ambassador, not a diplomatic service one. The Americans do this: ambassadors are often chosen from those who support the party of the President, handed out as baubles in fact to campaign sponsors. It tends to be the less important posts, true.
The thing is, I wonder how well she did? Anyone know?
A gene which may make people more intelligent has been discovered by scientists.
Researchers have found that teenagers who had a highly functioning NPTN gene performed better in intelligence tests.
It is thought the NPTN gene indirectly affects how the brain cells communicate and may control the formation of the cerebral cortex, the outermost layer of the human brain, also known as ‘grey matter.’
It’s probably true. For even a mild bout of pondering the emergence of intelligence is going to conclude that it is genetically based. And if it is then some people are going to end up with a healthier dollop of it than others. And it will obviously also be inheritable.
However, this isn’t politically acceptable to a certain section of the commentariat. I’ve seen, for example, in Danny Dorling’s writings a flat out statement that all babies are equal and that any differences are entirely due to nurture and environment. Anyone could, in his phrase, grow up to be a Professor of Social Geography at Sheffield.
A statement so barking as to make one conclude that anyone has. For we can clearly see that genes exist for unintelligence: how else are we to explain Down’s Syndrome? My lament here though is that the more people do identify the genetic base3 of intelligence the more that certain section are going to stick fingers in their ears and shout lalala. And unfortunately, they’re the people who control much of the education system, certainly the part that educates the educators.
At the ASI.
No, we really cannot plan the economy
Ian B gives us this interesting number in the comments:
It might be due to a lack of world wars (it took until 1960 for world economic output to return to 1914 levels),
It’s a fun number but sadly it’s wrong.
The Maddison Project numbers are chained (ie, inflation adjusted) and per capita, and in 1913 world GDP per capita was $1,543.
In 1960 it was $2,764. In 1940 it was $2,181. In 1950 it was $2,104, and in 1951 it had reached above that 1940 number at $2,191.
Sadly, we don’t have the world number calculated for every year….in fact we’ve only got it for 1914, 1940 and then 1950 onwards.
We do have fuller figures for smaller areas: Latin and North America both grew during WWI. Western Europe was back up to pre WWI numbers by 1924. Even the Soviet Union recovered from the Civil War shite by 1930.
I just cannot see anything at all that could possibly support the initial claim.
And further, do note that these are GDP per capita numbers.
If we add in the number of humans then in 1914 it was some 1.75 billion, in 1927 some 2 billion and in 1960 3 billion. So gross economic output was obviously higher if there were more people with a higher GDP per capita.
And note an implication of IanB’s claim. If gross output in 1960 was the same as that in 1914, but we have 50% more people, then each of those people must be, on average, 33% poorer. Which isn’t, I think, a claim that we’d really want to make.
It’s a fun number alright, just don’t think it’s accurate.
Ritchie’s all excited over the polling result that 59% of CEOs asked supported country by country reporting.
There was another question asked:
“Government tax policy and the competitiveness of local tax regimes are key factors in any organisation’s decisions about where to operate.”
This was supported by some 62% of those CEOs polled.
Something of a problem for Ritchie as he vehemently denies that corporate taxation makes any difference at all to where companies do their business. So, either the CEOs are sadly deluded on such matters because they disagree with the Lord High Tax Denouncer or they’re remarkably perceptive types because they support Ritchie’s pet project.
Tough question really. I suspect that the solution that will be found is that Ritchie will clip this little image so that the dissonance isn’t quite so noticeable.
Britons are too ignorant about Europe to vote in a referendum on the subject, a top Brussels official claimed last night.
Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission, said the British debate about Europe was so ‘distorted’ that people could not make an ‘informed decision’ about whether or not to stay in the EU.
Mrs Reding – who boasted that 70 per cent of the UK’s laws are now made in Brussels – also rubbished David Cameron’s bid to curb immigration from Europe, saying it was incompatible with membership of the EU.
Err, yes, those are two of the things that actually drive various eurosceptics. Immigration and the fact that 70% of our laws are now made in Brussels.
So we seem to be rather well informed about the matter so can we leave yet?
A giant sucking sound can be heard in the UK today: the sound of public money and private wealth being sucked down south to London. The result is the emasculation not just of Scotland, but of Newcastle, Oldham, the Midlands, and countless other places not featured on the Circle line.
The Kelvin MacKenzies of this world would have you believe that the rest of the country is subsidised by the capital. It’s quite the opposite. Stroll around the centre of London: the place is a building site, full of public works. The Thames Tideway. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Crossrail, set to be the biggest construction project in Europe. All this building and jobs are being bankrolled by the rest of the country, yet the benefits go to London businesses. At the end of 2011, the IPPR North thinktank totted up all the government’s spending on transport projects up till 2015. Londoners enjoyed public investment of £2,731 per head, far outstripping any other region. The north-east received a measly £5 per head.
Err, yes. That’s because it’s London that has the density of population that makes public transport (especially rail) a useful method of moving people about. The NE not so much: bus is fine for the population densities there. And the “investment” in that turns up, obviously, in the roads budget, not the rail one.
An al-Qaeda instructor killed himself and 20 of his pupils when he accidentally set off a car bomb during a bungled training session in Iraq.
Reminds me of the Irish lad who set off his bomb on his lap while in a bus…..
The whole thing can be summed up in this:
Although the poorest population groups in the poorest countries are left with the heaviest burden of health risks and disease, the fact that people’s life chances differ so widely is not simply a problem of poverty, but one of socioeconomic inequality.
It’s the inequality that makes people ill, see?
So we can guess what their global governance for health will be all about.
However, it’s not actually inequality that is the problem. It’s poverty. Absolute, destitution type, poverty.
As ever, if you diagnose the problem wrongly then your solutions will also be wrong. The tactics required to reduce inequality….or perhaps those that are likely to be offered here….are to tax the snot out of the rich in order to reduce said inequality. The policies required to reduce absolute poverty might be rather different. In fact, we’ve just been carrying out an experiment in this these past few decades. The imposition of that neoliberal world order, the Washington Consensus and all, has led to the largest reduction in absolute poverty in the history of our species. This is not, you might note, the same policy as taxing the snot out of the rich.
It’s therefore extremely important for us to determine whether it is indeed inequality or absolute poverty that is the cause of the ill health of those poor. And whatever the Lancet says I’m sticking with the idea that trying to live on a $1 a day is a cause of ill health rather more than the idea that living on $2 a day while someone else has $20 a day does. That is, it isn’t inequality we need to worry about it’s absolute poverty.
The policy conclusion is therefore not more tax it’s more globalisation and economic freedom.
At the ASI.
Going to the Moon to mine rare earths just isn’t a sensible idea.
The chairman of the Environment Agency risked further criticism on Monday night when he suggested that flooded residents were partly to blame for their problems by choosing to live in high-risk regions.
Lord Smith said people who bought homes in flood plains need to think about the “risk that that property faces”.
The remarks stoked the mounting anger towards Lord Smith’s agency, which has been criticised for its response to the floods.
However, not quite as right as he may think.
For example, people who bought in the Somerset Levels thinking that the centuries old system of drainage and pumping would be continued do indeed have a legitimate beef against the Agency which has stopped doing some of those things.
You know the one. Everyone’s pension should be put into nice safe bonds to build lovely green infrastructure n’stuff? After all, what could go wrong?
The fact that they weren’t successful is, according to Rodbertus, the fault of the company’s investors, who backed the firm to the tune of €1.4 billion ($1.9 billion). Currently, many of them are demanding the returns that they were once promised: at least 6 percent interest per year or a refund of their principle if they wished to back out. Last week, the mounting claims led Prokon to declare bankruptcy — 75,000 stakeholders could be left out in the cold.
Oh, you mean there is no such thing as a risk free return?
Much of the concern is focused on the large number of projects that are financed by the investment model known as closed-end funds. As a rule, they run for a 20-year period and are open to a limited number of investors. They promise annual dividend payments.
But newly released numbers, collected and analyzed over a several-year period, show what disappointed investors have long surmised: Around half of these commercial wind park enterprises are doing so poorly that investors can count themselves lucky if they even get their initial investment back after the 20 year duration.
Perhaps it will all work in the Curajus State though.
Or perhaps it won’t. There is, after all, a reason why we like to have a mix of equity and debt in a financing package.
Now I have nothing against participatory democracy. Or localisation. Or patient involvement. All can be of benefit. But this is a speech by a man who yearns for power and who thinks it is all that matters in life. And he’s wrong. My own experience tells me that most people are more than willing to forego decision making on many issues to others, most of whom they will consider to be experts on issues where they need advice. And others – very many others – simply don’t want power. …….It’s not just that not everyone wants power, but that some are wise enough to realise it is not for them to have. They don’t want to, and maybe can’t, make the decisions that power demands of them. Which is absolutely fine. They can manages the consequences of power, implement the decisions taken with considerable ability and prepare information that informs the decision making process. But to pretend all want power is absurd. Some (in fact, I’ll be candid, experience suggests that this is many) don’t want to be in charge on a whole wide range of issues. I think none the less of them for that. I just think it’s absurd to pretend they have a quality they don’t possess when they have plenty of others to celebrate instead.
One suspects that the conservatives of left and right don’t much like the “mass” and its badly informed preferences. Let us take care of you, they cry. Let tradition celebrated by wise elders, or planning implemented by wise experts, guide you, oh you sadly misled mass. (The ruling lords and the monopolists view the clerisy’s conservative theorizing with delight, resting assured that the elders and the planners will inadvertently shield their rents.)
So, which form of liberalism would you prefer?
But we are back, of course, to Google relying on a logic of tax that defies all common sense and very obvious factual accuracy to claim that despite the very clear substance of it earning in India the legal form of the structure it has constructed says that the income in question arises elsewhere.
The OECD has already said that the Base Erosion and Profits Shifting project, – launched with much huff and puff by the likes of David Cameron last year to deal with such obvious egregious tax abuse as that of Google – cannot address this high tech abuse.
Does that mean wealth will continue to be stripped from india with impunity? My suggestion is it will not.
Clearly Ritchie believes that taxes legally not paid are wealth stripped from a country and its people. When taxes not paid, or even taxes paid, are clearly and obviously the least important part of whatever wealth creation might be going on. And the most important part of the wealth creation that is going on is the consumer surplus.
Indians who use Google to search for things find being able to use Goggle to search for things of value. Otherwise they wouldn’t be using Google of course. So that’s one part of said consumer surplus. Now as regards the cash part. Those who advertise on Google from within India also obviously find it worth their while. By definition the value they gain from sending money to Google is greater than the money they send to Google. So there must also be a consumer surplus there.
We can go further too: tax, even the tax that Ritchie thinks should be paid, is only a percentage of profits made. And profits made are of course smaller than those total revenues. So tax paid will be a fraction of a fraction of the value that has been created for those commercial customers of Google in India. And that’s without even considering the value to those who use Google to search.
The tax paid or not paid is thus a near irrelevance in the context of the wealth created by Google in India. They have to be putting more wealth into India by offering their services there than any amount of tax that they might be dodging. In which case how can their activities be described as stripping wealth from India?
In a way this is all a rerun of the mercantilist argument. Look at the money, see where it’s piling up, without ever bothering to consider what of value is being created nor who gets it.
At the ASI.
These numbers about inequality of lifespan are all about where people die, not where they were born and or raised.