Handbook of Critical Issues in Finance
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Handbook of Critical Issues in Finance

  • Elgar original reference

Edited by Jan Toporowski and Jo Michell

This vital new Handbook is an authoritative volume presenting key issues in finance that have been widely discussed in the financial markets but have been neglected in textbooks and the usual compilations of conventional academic wisdom.
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Chapter 41: Tax havens

Ronen Palan

Extract

Tax havens are normally treated as a peripheral phenomenon on the margins of legality. This brief chapter stresses, however, that tax havens have become an integral part of the way business and finance is conducted in the modern world. The financial service industry: the banks, the hedge funds, the mutual funds, the accounting firms, the legal firms, the insurance companies, and indeed, the entire corporate world, most probably down to small constructions and otherwise, local service industries, have incorporated tax havens into their daily routine to the extent that an attack on tax havens appears to them to be an attack on business, or at least, on business as they have known for the past four or five decades. Tax havens are at the very heart of globalization. The reasons are fairly obvious, although not, it appears, to economists working in academia. Economists habitually argue that capitalists are in the business of maximizing profits, but they neglect to ask whether businesses are seeking to maximize pre-tax or post-tax profits.

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