His influence extends everywhere

Or perhaps it\’s his influence doesn\’t extend far enough?

We\’ve a Grauniad piece about how appalling things are in Guatemala. This is feeding off the back of this country briefing.

Percentage of Children Who Die before Age Five
by Population Group, 1992–2002

This figure 4 shows that 44% of children die before their fifth birthday.

Err, no, that\’s the sort of death rate in the middle of a pandemic plague like the Black Death.

Child mortality rates are commonly expressed at the rate per 1000, not per 100. So the actual rate is a still shocking 4.4% (as, for example, compared with the UK one of 0.5% or thereabouts).

The thing is, this briefing is partly to do with the Tax Justice Network….and Our Ritchie is rather known to play fast and loose with statistics. Or get them wrong, not understand them and so on. Is this his miasmic influence extending afar?

The solution offered is interesting though:

In an effort to address these extreme inequalities, a Christian Aid-supported thinktank, the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi in Spanish), hosted an international symposium in Guatemala City last week. It was attended by Simon Pak, an internationally recognised tax expert, with a view to strengthening the Tax Justice Network in Latin America and tackling some of the more regressive policies in the region. Because Guatemala has one of the lowest tax burdens in Latin America, as well as one of the most generous regimes of tax breaks, Icefi chose to focus on the country as a case history for regressive tax policies in the region.

Yes, it\’s all to do with the tax system you see. It\’s a pity they didn\’t use Ritchie here really, for he argues that in poor countries there\’s no infrastructure capable of collecting complex taxes and thus the country, in order to get that revenue so desperately needed, must rely upon easy to collect taxes. Import duties for example, highly regressive though they are, should be applied because it\’s just not possible to monitor incomes and capital gains accurately enough to tax them.

So, too much influence or not enough?

As to the reality of the situation, yes, Guatemala is a grossly unequal place and a poor one. The gap between the Indios and the mestizos/Iberians is greater than almost anywhere else in Latin and Central America.

However, it might not really be the tax system that\’s to blame: could be something to do with the near 35 year war that those mestizo/Iberians (or vice versa dependent upon which propaganda you care to believe) have been waging against the Indios.

Ya think?

1 thought on “His influence extends everywhere”

  1. “It’s a pity they didn’t use Ritchie…”

    Pak is about as mad as Ritchie, though. He co-wrote a paper called “A Statistical Analysis of the U.S. Merchandise Trade Data Base And Its Uses in Transfer Pricing Compliance and Enforcement” which is widely used by the tax justice folk to dribble about transfer pricing and how it’s used to cheat the western tax system. So what if toilet paper from China costs $4,000? Doesn’t that mean more tax for the Chinese authorities? If they’re lying to one of the authorities, that would seem a good place to start cracking down…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *