We are in the Anthropocene. Humanity has to rise to the challenge and take responsibility so that we can return to a position within the safe Planetary Boundaries, so ably described by Mark Lynas in his ‘The God Species: How Humans Really Can Save The Planet’ (see last blog) In a blog last November I proposed a global wish list outlining some of the steps we might take to a better future. I suggested raising a large sum, perhaps between 10 to 20 trillion pounds or dollars annually and some ways of doing this.
Recently the Tax Justice Network commissioned the economist James Henry to write a report on tax evasion and avoidance. His conclusion is that there is at least $21 trillion sitting in offshore accounts, and that as a result the rest of us are left to pay for the essential services of a civilized state, while these morally bankrupt and excessively rich individuals shirk their responsibilities. It’s time to make them pay. James Henry suggests a globally administered system is the only way to make it work, and he suggests that a 0.5% tax would raise 100 billion annually, and I might argue why not levy a 5% tax on these accounts and raise one trillion dollars. If as seems likely much of this money has come from illegal activities then better still to simply freeze the accounts and investigate which are legitimate and which illegal.
On 8th July I posted a blog advocating transferring our money out of the morally bankrupt banks and into real sustainability and social justice enhancing projects and into the more ethical banking sector. This report from the Tax Justice Network amplifies these arguments. Globally the worst aspects are to be seen in the poorest countries where kleptomaniac despots squirrel away the people’s money into their private offshore accounts, aided and abetted by this morally bankrupt industry. It’s time to change all this. I can certainly think of plenty of projects that would really help both global social justice and ecological sustainability, that would genuinely increase human wellbeing and that could put these trillions to good use! (For a few suggestions see forthcoming blogs!)