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The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens (Hardback)
  • The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens (Hardback)
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The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens (Hardback)

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£15.00
Hardback 208 Pages / Published: 29/09/2015
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We are well aware of the rise and dominance of the one percent as the rapid growth of economic inequality has seen the majority of the world's wealth held in the pockets of fewer and fewer. One much-discussed solution to this imbalance is to significantly increase the rate at which we are taxing the wealthy. However, an enormous amount of the world's wealth is hidden in tax havens, in countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands, so it can't be fully accounted for and taxed fairly. To complicate it further, no one, from economists to bankers to politicians, has been able to quantify exactly how much of the world's assets are currently being hidden-until now. Gabriel Zucman is the first economist to offer reliable insight into the actual extent of the world's money held in tax havens. And it's staggering. In The Hidden Wealth of Nations, Zucman offers an inventive and rigorous approach to quantifying how big the problem is, how tax havens work and are organized, and how we can begin to approach a solution. His research reveals that tax havens are a quickly growing danger to the world economy. In the past five years, the amount of wealth in tax havens has increased over twenty-five percent-there has never been as much money held offshore as there is today. This hidden wealth accounts for a least eight percent of the global financial assets, equivalent to $7.6 trillion. Fighting the notion that any attempts to solve the tax haven problem are futile, since some countries will always offer more advantageous tax rates than others, as well the counter-argument that after the financial crisis many countries have successfully fought tax evasion, Zucman shows how both sides are actually very wrong. In The Hidden Wealth of Nations he offers an ambitious agenda for reform, focused on ways in which countries can change the incentives of tax havens. Only by first understanding the extent of the wealth being secretly held can we begin to estimate the kind of actions that would force tax havens to give up their practices. Zucman's work has quickly become the gold standard for quantifying the amount of the world's assets held in havens, and in this concise book, he lays out in approachable language how the international banking system works and the dangerous extent to which the large-scale evasion of taxes is undermining the global market as a whole. The Hidden Wealth of Nations is essential reading if we are to find a way to solve the problem of increasing inequality.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226245423
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 386 g
Dimensions: 231 x 150 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"With his book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations, Zucman is positioning himself as this year's Piketty, whose opus renewed a debate about inequality last year. . . . There has never been as much wealth sitting in tax havens as there is today, Zucman says, whether it's Apple Inc. funneling billions in profits through a tiny Irish unit or a French cabinet minister using secret accounts to cheat on his taxes. . . . What is to be done? Zucman said there needs to be a central global register of the owners of the world's wealth, similar to various registries for real estate holdings. Such a database doesn't have to be public, but it must be available to regulators."--Bloomberg Business News
"Zucman is a sometime co-author with Thomas Piketty and his new book The Hidden Wealth of Nations is set to do for tax havens what his colleague's did for wealth inequality: define and popularize the problem."--Guardian
"A short, pioneering guide to estimating the trillions of dollars moved to tax havens to evade or avoid paying taxes to the nations from which this expanding mountain of money was made. Zucman proposes measures to end the party of these giant tax escapes and make tax avoiders and evaders pay their fair share."
--Ralph Nader
"It is because Zucman takes the courageous step of moving beyond academia to being an activist committed to promoting a new and radical solution that he has unambiguously (even if cautiously) identified, that I welcome this book. Far too few academics are willing to take on the role of the public intellectual who steps up and demands action to address a problem that they have identified. Zucman deserves full marks for doing so."
--Times Higher Education
"Zucman's main achievement in this slim volume is to have quantified these thefts: $200 billion in state revenues lost through private individuals' use of tax havens, plus another $130 billion in losses created by U.S. firms booking their profits offshore. . . . Zucman showcases this remarkable feat in unusually lucid and elegant prose--particularly for an economist--complemented by an admirable grasp of history. His review of the ways that efforts to combat tax evasion have stalled for the past century makes the book a worthwhile read in and of itself. But perhaps the most ambitious aspect of Zucman's work is his claim that, despite the immense scale of the problem, there are ways to solve it and thereby put a stop to the recurrent economic and political crises triggered by the use of offshore finance. . . . Zucman is still at the beginning of what promises to be a brilliant career."
--Atlantic
"Zucman, a young French economist now at the London School of Economics and the University of California at Berkeley, has written a masterful survey of the origins, importance, and dangers of tax havens. The Hidden Wealth of Nations is a tremendously important contribution to the current discussion of how to adjust the world's income-tax systems, which are over a century old, to the realities of the 21st century."
--American Prospect
"reads like Capital in the Twenty-First Century's lost chapter."--Nation
"Gabriel Zucman has two goals in his new book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations to specify the costs of tax havens, and to figure out how to reduce those costs. He writes with moral passion, even outrage; he sees tax havens as a 'scourge.'"

"Zucman has produced an important book, above all because of his effort to calculate the magnitude of the world's hidden wealth. . . . A strong virtue of Zucman's book is that it puts a bright spotlight on an area in which significant reforms might appeal to people who otherwise disagree on a great deal. You might believe that the tax system should be made more progressive, or you might believe that it should be made less so. But whatever you think, you are unlikely to support a situation in which trillions of dollars are hardly taxed at all."--Cass Sunstein "New York Review of Books "
"Zucman seems to have little ambivalence about how to interpret the data, as his book is subtitled The Scourge of Tax Havens. He acknowledges that some view tax havens as perfectly legal and legitimate. But whatever the politics, for anyone who cares about understanding the economy, it's clear a dramatic shift is under way."--Wall Street Journal
"A short and lively investigation into the global effects of tax avoidance. . . . As Zucman argues, 'Financial secrecy--like greenhouse gas emissions--has a costly impact on the entire world, which tax havens choose to ignore."--The Week
"Tax havens are by design secretive and opaque. The entire point of their existence is to conceal the wealth hidden within them. And a new book by Zucman, The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens, reveals, as never before, the extent of their role in the global economy. . . . If we are ever to combat inequality effectively, truly progressive taxation will have to be a part of the policy mix. But unless we eliminate tax havens now, we are likely to find that we lack the ability to implement it."--Project Syndicate
"Zucman writes crisply and is forthright in his scorn for tax fraud. He also briefly addresses solutions to corporate tax manipulation, whereby multinationals shift income to tax havens. . . . Zucman's eye-opening study will be of interest to all readers concerned about growing wealth disparity and is a fitting supplement to Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty."--Library Journal, starred review

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