GUILLAUME LONG, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador, said the last decade of the citizen revolution in his country had shown that to achieve development it was necessary to do the opposite of the prescription of the neoliberal hegemony. Ecuador had been able to recover the faith and hope of a country that had been destroyed, and that could be reflected in tangible results for its people, notably in the reduction of extreme poverty and inequality. The Powers of hegemony had appropriated widely used words and given them meaning to impose a political and moral agenda on the planet. The word “development” was not just a technical issue, but a political one, especially when it came to the redistribution of wealth. “Human rights” included economic and social rights, not just political ones, and were violated not just by States but by multinational corporations as well.
Apparently, if you’ve seen the news, the leaked Panama Papers, from the “tight lipped” (Economist) Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co, are spilling the beans on the details of what the rich, powerful and greedy “beyond avarice” get up to with unseemly amounts of dosh, in 214,488 offshore tax havens. Mossack Fonseca & Co has been under investigation and intense scrutiny for some time. Ken Silverstein contributing editor for Vice who had cased the Mossack Fonseca & Co joint, two years before the Panama Papers disclosure, writing: “If shell companies are getaway cars for bank robbers, then Mossack Fonseca may be the world’s shadiest car dealership.” True but the Mossack Fonseca shenanigans are part of the problem but not the endemic problem. The endemic problem is American financial hegemony. Mossack Fonseca’s offices have just been raided almost certainly because Panamanian politicians and their dealers (they are all in need of a fix) will be implicated in all sorts of sordid stuff. And one expected that.
Exposing tax dodgers is a worthy endeavor, but the “limited hangout” of the Panama Papers may have less noble ends, dovetailing with the War on Cash and the imminent threat of massive bail-ins of depositor funds.
The Panama Papers is a global investigation into the sprawling, secretive industry of offshore that the world’s rich and powerful use to hide assets and skirt rules by setting up front companies in far-flung jurisdictions.
The financial inequality across the globe has reached new extremes. The international charity -Oxfam- in its latest report “An Economy for the 1%” has a shocking revelation: “Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population.” Imagine that. Only five years earlier it took 388 of the world’s richest to reach that mark. Extreme inequality: that is the topic for this edition of the debate.