- Published on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 07:17
The G8 appears to be serious about tackling tax avoidance and evasion. An article in the Register refers to an OECD plan to automate data exchange between international jurisdictions to crack down on people and companies evading or avoiding tax within their countries of residence or domicile.
OECD outlines plan for automatic exchange of data if IT can agree on formats, crypto
In a separate development, HMRC will be able to probe companies to identify the beneficial owners of UK registered companies, under government proposals. The NewScientist publication of a report into the ownership of 40,060 transnational corporations revealed that 40% of this network was controlled by 147 "super entities" but this study was limited to examining the public records of share ownership and common directorships. The underlying beneficiaries of holdings in trusts or private companies, weren't identified - if they were to be, global corporate ownership would likely be shown to be even more concentrated in few hands.
HMRC will be able to access details of firms' beneficial owners
The Independent Commission on Banking report is expected to be published today and, according to the BBC, is calling for senior bankers to be jailed if found guilty of reckless misconduct.
Senior bankers guilty of reckless misconduct should be jailed, a long-awaited report on banking commissioned by the government has recommended.
Hat tip to Tom for this
If the banks are left with the power to issue and control money, it is questionable as to how effective these measures will be or whether they will be implemented but things appear to be moving in the right direction.
- Published on Tuesday, 18 June 2013 09:50
Anger at the banks prompted the Move your Money campaign and other initiatives to reverse the hegemony of the Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks. The UK's Co-operative Bank with its people and environmentally friendly image was a beneficiary as depositors sought refuge from the TBTF banks. But it appears the Co-operative Bank's image was just that, style over substance.
It will have come as a surprise to many that the Co-operative Bank is not owned by its customers but is a PLC.
"There's a big hidden story here - at least, it's there in the financial pages but you have to dig pretty deep to find it.
The heart of it is really about Britannia Building Society, not the Co-op Bank at all. But first, remember that the Co-op Bank is not a cooperative or mutual at all and never has been. As the chairman of the Co-op Group pointed out on the radio this morning, the bank is already a PLC, fully owned by his organisation: it is in fact the bank of the Co-op movement, not a bank owned by the people who have accounts at it.
The rest of the story is best told in an article I have just found in the Daily Telegraph from last month. www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/10052605/How-Britannia-merger-sowed-seeds-of-Co-ops-woes.html." - Tom, Occupy London Economics Working Group
"At best sad. My dad worked for the co-op for 39 years & used to rant about their problem in reliably selecting good bosses. (Mind you RBS & HBOS were even worse lately.) My experience when I tried to move my account to the Co-op last year echoes Rada [another occupier] in that they showed a lack of front office flexibility due to over-rigid directives from on top.
Another angle, that Peston highlighted, was the sheer incompetence of the Treasury in taking so long to realise that there was anything wobbly as they attempted due diligence over the Lloyds merger . From acquaintances, I know that the maths test for Treasury graduate level entry is strikingly underwhelming & the internal atmosphere unsupportive (aka dog eat dog).
This stuff also illustrates how discretionary the audited bottom line of a bank can be for several years in a row & reemphasises Haldane's concern that we just don't know whether/ how far the/which banks are insolvent.
NEF have just released a new report Banking 2020 which looks relevant to our discussions, especially the later chapters; although I don't buy one author's line that Labour necessarily spent irresponsibly on welfare. But there's plenty of impending doom for you." - Dave, Occupy London Economics Working Group
- Published on Monday, 17 June 2013 09:44
Since Critical Thinking at the Free University began developing principles for a new economic model, the work has relied on input from many disparate groups and academics, both contemporary and historic. What has become noticeable in recent months is how the ideas are not only shared by a growing number of people but recognition that we need to do things differently is global. This global perspective resonates with Occupy's rapid development across the world, from the 15M and Indignados movements in Spain, to Occupy Wall Street and beyond.
When the Critical Thinking website was set up just over a year ago, the audience was predominantly UK based (91.5%) with 6% in the US and negligible traffic from elsewhere. Now the UK focus has reduced to 52% and the site receives significant interest from America, Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, Denmark, Netherlands and New Zealand. The Daily Pickings articles on Greece and Cyprus were picked up in those countries. The most popular Daily Pickings article is Who controls money controls the world and the New Economy section is the most popular module.
The traffic from New Zealand is a little surprising given its 4.5 million people (less than 0.001% of the global population). Dr Stuart Bramhall's endorsement of the presentation on Economics to Save Our Civilisation may be the reason. Dr Bramhall is an American expatriate academic, resident in New Zealand; she had to flee the US following harassment and death threats from the authorities for her political and social work. She gave Economics to Save Our Civilisation a glowing commendation.
She refers to Clive Menzies who gave the presentation but the ideas presented are those of the Critical Thinking group, relying on previous work of bold thinkers such as Henry George, Fred Harrison, Margrit Kennedy, Dr. Albert A. Bartlett, David Graeber, Ronald Wright, Jared Diamond, Naomi Klein, C H Douglas and of course, the Occupy movement. The ideas are not original, as of themselves, although the combination of the three principles may be:
- Sharing the surplus (free) bounty of land and resources
- Abolishing interest
- Citizens income
- Published on Sunday, 16 June 2013 10:32
We are prisoners of our own ignorance but escape to a bright future awaits, if only we can cast off the shackles of control imposed by our world view dictated by the ruling classes. They live in fear of the scales falling from our eyes and rely on fomenting division and creating distractions to ensure we remain in ignorance.
In this new millennium, we have a choice unavailable to previous generations who were hobbled by an historical narrative dictated by the few. Although media ownership was more diverse in the last century, there was less of it and it was organised as a left/right narrative. The dominant theme of political and economic texts was acceptance of the status quo in terms of the political and economic paradigm - a situation which persists even now.
Today, we have instant access to information much closer to the source and a much wider range of narratives and information. This is both an advantage and an obstacle to enlightenment. We need to separate facts from assertions and opinions - it is vital to adhere to the principles of critical thinking. There is much misinformation to cloud and obscure useful information.
But finding the time to explore is difficult as increasingly, we are burdened by the bureaucracy of living as every aspect of human activity is monetised, monitored and controlled. Learning, spontaneity and free creativity are suppressed by social norms, rules, regulations and monetary hurdles. We are inclined to retreat to our established world view because it is easier, allowing fear of the future and each other to be fostered to sustain control over our lives. Striving for material wealth enslaves us to the economic (debt) treadmill and we have little time to explore alternatives. The knowledge is there - we just need to tap into it.
We need to prioritise rational thinking and discussion over emotional appeals and instant gratification.
The first step is to choose freedom through education - not the standardised, goal orientated education espoused by the establishment. We all have the innate instinct to learn as evidenced by the work on self organised learning environments. Education is about drawing out not cramming in. Education is a lifelong process; when we stop learning, our useful, productive life is over. We need to prepare for the future.
Every time history repeats itself, the price goes up and when the next economic crisis hits (as it inevitably will) recovery is unlikely - we've used up all the ammunition in the current economic arsenal but we have the power to choose a different course.