There appear to be more loopholes than grains of sand on a tax haven beach, which one might think it was not beyond the intelligence of governments to close
The only thing wrong with the Paradise Papers – the pongy revelations of (quelle surprise) nauseating greed by some morally bankrupt, tax-dodging mega-mega rich – is the name.
Paradise, fundamentally, has nothing whatsoever to do with the Dollar, Pound, Euro, Ruble or Yuan. It is in some religions “heaven”, the ultimate abode of the righteous, a wonderful place they go to after they die …. If… if they have led good lives. Not being particularly religious, I prefer to think of it as a definition of a walk in the Priorat mountains, and what comes with it, perspective and peace of mind.
Oh, I’m no saint. But I do heed my conscience because like you I not only find the alternative unbearable but have worked out that trying to do the right thing usually brings good things. We are all blessed, are we not, with an invaluable sense of what is fair and right? And we have eyes to see, ears to hear, souls to search.
UHNWI is not a place in Wales, though it could be. No. It stands for Ultra High Net Worth Individuals. They are as rare as hen’s teeth down here in the Priorat, but come to think of it they are thin on the ground everywhere except perhaps at roulette tables, the wheels of gold-plated supercars, or sleeping off a Beluga caviar and lobster lunch on the swan-down sofa of a £100 million super-yacht. They make up 1 per cent of the global population, yet collectively own 50 per cent of everything. I can’t be sure of this, but I also have a sneaky suspicion that the vast majority of them are male.
All completely legal, of course. None of that criminal squirrelling of back-handers by politicians here. Oh no. In fact some of them might well be fabulous, fun and even kindly.
Yet, such is the way of our warped world, it is somehow quite alright for those that own a staggering proportion of the world to add to their coffers by avoiding tax - to such an extent that they have managed to make giant strides in this regard during the past ten years. Yes, that decade just gone, when the global economy was so sick that the vast majority of us were told that austerity - having less - was imperative if we were to avoid catastrophe.
How on Earth is that possible? This is how.
The mind-boggling sums of money they, the UHNWIs, are accumulating every second can come in very handy - not to fund core services and contribute to the public purse, but to line the pockets of the political parties that will keep this lucrative status quo. There appear to be more loopholes than grains of sand on a tax haven beach, which one might think it was not beyond the intelligence of governments to close.
Which means, of course, that to a shocking degree the planet is being run by a cartel of self-serving “elite” who protect themselves and those around them. It is all rather beyond belief, and yet we already had a shrewd idea, didn’t we?
The thing is, while I truly welcome the blinds being pulled up on morally-impoverished individuals who feel entitled to opt out and cash in, I sense things are all coming to an ugly head. Reflecting on the gluttony, disdain and madness that proceeded the bitter end of past dynasties, things are becoming increasingly edgy.
Hang on a minute. Having just raised the temperature I need to pull on my boots and coat and tell myself what my friends and community keep reminding me about the quality of our life here in rural Catalonia, in a strong, supportive, positive, trusting, family-orientated, nature-centric, sustaining, independent-minded society. We are rich. Keep this in perspective Martin.
Visca Catalonia . Today.