Tweet Follow @RPJblog
By Jason Michael
Every passing day more money is being taken out of the economy by the people who make all the rules. It has now reached the point where their greed is costing lives. Is it too late to do something about it?
Western society, politics, and the whole economic structure that governs our way of life in the twenty-first century are directed towards a single end, the transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top. Back in 2005 when I first suggested this it was a controversial “opinion.” Those of us suggesting the entire socio-political and economic edifice of western civilisation was calibrated by the wealthy for their own advantage were branded “anachronistic Marxists.” We were forced to argue our case zetetically to an audience that was either indifferent or on the other side of the class war barricades. We were the proverbial prophets calling out in the wilderness.
Over a decade later, after a global failure of the capitalist debt and market economic system, this once revolutionary opinion is all but universally accepted as an accurate description of the way the world works. This is now the stuff of common sense. Once upon a time those in the alternative media writing and broadcasting about the Carlisle and Bilderberg Groups were dismissed in the mainstream media as crackpot conspiracy theorists, but now we have hard and irrefutable evidence. Thanks to the journalist and blogger Daphne Galizia – recently murdered in Malta – we have the Panama Papers. Carole Cadwalladr, writing for The Observer, revealed the scale of US black money at play in the Leave campaign in the UK before the EU referendum. Now we have the “Paradise Papers.”
Every column in the establishment broadsheets includes the reminder that offshoring wealth for the purposes of avoiding tax is not illegal. None of this is against the law because the wealthy élite, busy robbing the state of the revenue due to it from their incomes, is responsible for writing the law. When they are not directly involved in writing the law or building loopholes into it they are using their vast wealth to employ wealth managers and PR firms to lobby – sometimes bribe, sometimes blackmail – lawmakers on their behalves, ensuring the super-rich always get what they want. Establishment journalists will invariably distort, discredit, or downplay these stories because their employers are the super-rich. Their careers depend on it.
The rich and powerful write the law. It should come as no surprise therefore that the rich and powerful are not bound by law.—
Garikai Chengu (@ChenguGold) October 05, 2012
Since the Wall Street Crash of 1929 the wealthiest single percentile of the human population has been clawing back the share of the world’s wealth it had before the Great Depression, widening the gap between the rich and the poor as it goes. It is not the case that the rich have merely gotten richer. This is a fiction often peddled by the right-wing media, but it is an absurdity and a mathematical impossibility. Money is a finite resource, meaning that as the rich get richer the poor must get poorer. The single greatest cause of poverty is wealth.
Just take a look at where the British monarch – one of the richest people in the United Kingdom – has been investing her six-hundred and eighteen year old Duchy of Lancaster trust fund money. In 2005 the royal estate invested what it describes as a “negligible” amount into BrightHouse, a highly exploitative hire-purchase high street retailer known for preying on poor and vulnerable people. What is “negligible” to Mrs Windsor with her estimated £340 million personal fortune might not be considered so worthless by the patrons of BrightHouse.
This frighteningly unscrupulous retailer offers rent-to-buy conditions on costly household, white, electrical, and technology goods to lower income workers and the unemployed, necessities they simply cannot afford to purchase outright. Often these goods are up to double the price of their recommended retail price, and the rates of interest – because this is the debt economy – are as high as 69.9 per cent. What this means is that something as necessary as a refrigerator retailing elsewhere for, say, £200 will cost in the region of £679 at BrightHouse – double plus exorbitant interest.
£1,000 for the cheapest washing machine over 3 years from BrightHouse. The Queen making profit from people's absolute misery. #Disgusting—
Louise McDaid (@LouiseMcDaid) November 05, 2017
It is not that people are stupid and do not understand they are being taking for a ride. They need a fridge but they don’t have £200 and they cannot obtain reasonable credit. Thus, for no other reason than that they do not have the money, these people – many of whom are dependent on benefits and foodbanks – are being preyed upon and bled legally by companies which amount to little more than loan sharks in suits.
Such predatory practices are now commonplace not just across the UK, but all over Europe and the United States, and everywhere where austerity has become the reigning economic paradigm. What is more, these companies – following the fundamental principles of capitalism – operate to the benefit of their shareholders. It is their legal – there’s that word again – duty to make money for their investors and, in the case of BrightHouse, this includes Mrs Windsor.
In a more equitable society those who are struggling can depend on state welfare and other social safety nets paid for by the taxpayer, but this of course depends on the taxpayers paying their taxes. Lower in and middle income workers always pay their “fair share.” They have to. Tax evasion is a sure fire way to prison. Yet the rich – especially the super-rich – have given themselves loopholes to avoid paying tax. Evasion gets you to prison. Avoidance is perfectly legal.
Remember Theresa May regularly saying they're getting tough on tax avoidance? I can confirm that is absolute bullshit. #ParadisePapers—
Rachael (@Rachael_Swindon) November 05, 2017
What Mrs Windsor and her pals haven’t been investing in retail fronts for class warfare on a high street near you they have been offshoring away from the revenue people in the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, and other paradise island tax havens. Truly vast sums of money are removed from the British economy – sums earned off the backs of ordinary working people – forcing the government to raise taxes to cover the basics of the safety net we all depend on from time to time. So the poorest and the hard working end up paying more – becoming poorer – as a direct result of the behaviour of the wealthy élite. With every cycle of the process more money is drawn up from the bottom and taken out of the economy, making the entire economy poorer every passing day.
We live in a society – endorsed by the monarchy and those in government – in which a financial mechanism is in operation designed to impoverish the many and enrich and empower the few. There is a demonstrable causal relationship between the awful catastrophe at Grenfell tower in London, the rising suicide rate across the UK, and malnutrition in cities like Glasgow and Manchester and what people like Mrs Windsor do with our wealth. People were saying all of this ten and twenty years ago and they were dismissed as lunatics. Now we all know what is going on, but I fear it might now be too late to do anything about it.
Paradise Papers: How tax havens work and why they are a problem