Sunday Thoughts XI (July 2-8)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video. 

I. Brexit Batshittery

There are only nine months left until Brexit, and yet, as the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel puts it, “the feeling that dominates is the impression that the British continue to negotiate with the British and not with the EU” (Bloomberg). Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts XI (July 2-8)”

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Sunday Thoughts II (April 30-May 6)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. New News

John Micklethwait, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, writes about the transformation of journalism in the digital age. He stresses the importance of the subscription business model and the automation and personalisation of news. His views are of course biased towards optimism, but are readworthy nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Robert Shrimsley laments in the Financial Times the erosion of an outside mentality among journalists which makes the media complaisant and untrustworthy for the people it is supposed to keep informed. Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts II (April 30-May 6)”

Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance – A Multi-Trillion-Dollar Business

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The topic of income and wealth inequality is closely linked to the practice of tax avoidance and evasion, both by international corporations and by wealthy individuals. For example, it is often argued that an increase in top-income taxes and capital taxes intended to mitigate economic inequality will only end up scaring off investors and high-skilled workers or encouraging them to circumvent the law and ultimately hurting national prosperity. The related difficulties of implementing national policies in a globalised world have been highlighted by the recent disclosures of the Panama Papers and the European Comission’s decision to hit Apple with a tax bill of €13 billion after years of paying an effective corporate tax below one percent due to a deal with the Irish government. Unfortunately, any discussion about tax avoidance and evasion is seriously constrained by the opacity of tax havens and the global financial system and its laws and the lack of robust data. Recent research may help to shed some light on the issue at hand. But while there has been made some progress on the international level recently, it remains highly doubtful whether the gigantic globalised financial shadow economy can be tamed. Continue reading “Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance – A Multi-Trillion-Dollar Business”