Thursday, September 09, 2010

My private Delaware - in LRB

Khadija Sharife has another short, but succinct, article about Delaware, in the London Review of Books blog, here.

"Last year, 200,000 companies, including Fox, Universal and Warner Bros, as well as Coca-Cola, Ford, Kentucky Fried Chicken and two-thirds of the Fortune 500, were registered at the same single-storey address: 1209 North Orange Street, Wilmington."

This blogger was there last year, and the building in the photo is even seedier than this photo suggests - it faces an ugly concrete multi-storey car park and the walls of its reception area were covered with grease smears; the scruffy carpet wasn't much better.)

We have written a lot about Delaware in the past, although it isn't the ugliest U.S. state in terms of sheer, naked secrecy (we might pick Wyoming or Nevada on that score.) Delaware is, effectively, a tiny state captured by financial interests, which makes a living out of undermining and undercutting the rules, laws and regulations of other nation states. In other words, a secrecy jurisdiction, or tax haven.

To get a sense of the Delaware mentality, which underpins its status as a secrecy jurisdiction, one very good article (which does not focus on tax havenry at all) is Jonathan Chait's August 2002 piece Rogue State: The Case Against Delaware, in The New Republic. It captures the essence of an attitude that pervades the offshore world, and is well worth a read.

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