Backsliding from Transparency International
Worse still, the accompanying press release appears to have lost touch with reality. Whereas at least the 2007 blurb accompaning the CPI's release recognised the centrality of these kinds of dirty money centres faciliting flows of dirty money, this one simply quotes a Professor, Johann Graf Lambsdorff of the University of Passau, who compiles the index, who says nothing that we didn't know already. In terms of the responsibility of western countries for corruption, the blurb then goes on to focus on bribery, which as Raymond Baker has shown, only accounts for an estimated three percent of the problem, in terms of cross-border financial flows.
Anyone involved in analysing corruption -- and that, we hear, includes many people inside TI (and, if you read German, see here), should be aware by now that there is a new game in town. It's been out there for some time now, and nobody has ever told us that (or how) we are wrong. It's called Phase Two in the corruption debate. Plenty of people inside Transparency International are with us. Switzerland and Singapore, along with all the others up there in this wrong-headed table, are simply not clean states. It is time for real change.
We will end with a quote from John Christensen's speech which he has just given in Norway.
We must reconsider what constitutes corruption. It is right to be concerned by bribery and embezzlement of public assets, but tax evasion is generally overlooked even though it represents theft of public assets and, in terms of orders of magnitude, has far greater impact on public revenues than bribery and embezzlement.
Tax evasion involves abusive behaviour at the intersection between private activity and the public interest. It involves minorities bypassing accepted social norms, and provides one set of rules for the rich and well-connected, and another set of rules for the poor and weak. More insidiously, it involves privileged elites, who use secrecy jurisdictions to undermine the will of elected parliaments. It is time that secrecy jurisdictions are recognised for what they really are: a full-on assault on the sovereignty of nation states, a direct attack on democracy, and a cancer running through the veins of contemporary capitalism.