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Treasure Islands: Dirty Money, Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole Your Cash (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 6. Februar 2012


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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 352 Seiten
  • Verlag: Vintage Books (6. Februar 2012)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0099541726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099541721
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13 x 2,2 x 19,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 12.698 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"Perhaps the most important book published in the UK so far this year" (George Monbiot Guardian)

"

Trade and investments can play a profoundly productive role on the world economy. But so much of the capital flows that we see are associated with money laundering, tax evasion, and the wholesale larceny of assets often of very poor countries. These thefts are greatly facilitated by special tax and accounting rules or designed to "attract capital" and embodying obscure and opaque mechanisms. Shaxson does an outstanding and socially valuable job in penetrating the impenetrable and finds a deeply shocking world

" (Nicholas Stern)

"At last, a readable - indeed gripping - book which explains the nuts and bolts of tax havens. More importantly, it lays bare the mechanism that financial capital has been using to stay in charge: capturing government policy-making around the world, shaking off such irritants as democracy and the rule of law, and making sure that suckers like you and me pay for its operators' opulent lifestyles" (Misha Glenny, author of McMafia)

"The struggle against money power is a struggle for human freedom, and Nicholas Shaxson's investigation is a timely exposé of where the plunder is buried" (John Pilger, broadcaster and author of Heroes)

"A gripping read... an account illuminated by anecdotes that are often more James Bond than eurobond... Shaxson shows us that the global financial machine is broken and that very few of us have noticed" (New Statesman)

Werbetext

This is the ugliest chapter in global economic affairs since slavery - and secretive offshore tax havens are at the heart of the trouble.

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Von Carlo LF am 13. April 2014
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Wer hätte gedacht, dass diese "Schatzinseln" mitten unter uns existieren - in London, Zürich, Frankfurt uws. -, und nicht nur auf den Kanal-Inseln oder in der Karibik. Umfassende Dokumentation der weltweit agierenden Konzerne und Reichen und Mafiosen, die unsere Staatem um ihren gerechten Anteil am Gemeinwohl berauben. Leider - ohne dies wäre das gar nicht möglich! - durch die Willfährigkeit unserer "demokratischen" Regierungen!
Hier liegt ein Teil der Geschichte vergraben, warum wir nach 30 Jahren Neoliberalismus öffentliche Armut, massiven privaten Reichtum und Niedrigstlöhne haben.
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0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von gundulusgauculus am 28. November 2012
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Pflicht Lektüre für reife Leser, mit dem englischen muß man eben ein wenig mal im Wöterbuch nachschlagen, so kommt man nicht aus der Übung.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 67 Rezensionen
106 von 112 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Brilliant exposition of an arcane topic 24. April 2011
Von Z. Cohen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Before I get into my review, I wanted to point out that for someone without a lot of financial knowledge, this could be a very difficult book to read. I have a college degree in accounting, did some graduate work in tax, and worked for one of the big four accounting firms for a year in their international tax consulting department. I quit working for them and left the field entirely after I realized in vague generalities what they were doing, which was one of the reasons I was so interested in this book. The international system Shaxson describes coincides perfectly with what I saw in the accounting firm I worked for, and some of the specific techniques he describes correspond exactly to the tax structures I used to see discussed in trainings and other meetings. Given that background, I found this book incredibly engrossing and informative, but if you have low financial literacy, you may have a tough time with it. However, it is incredibly well written, uses a minimum of jargon, and tries its hardest to break down complex tax and financial concepts into lay terms.

Treasure Islands does a really incredible job in shedding light on an arcane, complex international financial system that has evolved mainly over the past 100 years. Like most people, when I heard the term tax haven, I would think of a few rogue Caribbean islands who helped a few rich people and crime lords launder money or hide it from taxation. Shaxson turns that conception on its head. While the term tax haven sounds like it specifically refers to taxes, Shaxon defines it more broadly: "Tax havens can be loosely described as a jurisdiction that seeks to attract money by offering politically stable facilities to help people or business entities get around the laws, rules, and regulations of jurisdictions elsewhere."

Using that definition, Shaxson aggregates the international network of such jurisdictions under the label "the offshore system". In this book, he investigates the three main components of the offshore system, which may surprise you. While the small island states are integral fortifications of the offshore system, the main poles are actually the United States, London, and a grouping of states in continental Europe (mainly Luxembourg, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and the Netherlands). Considering that about one half of world trade passes through tax havens, they are integral to the current global system. Also, while terrorists and crime lords are significant users of the offshore system, the primary beneficiary and architect is the financial services industry. The bankers on Wall Street and in London have constructed a system to help them undermine democracy, drastically boost profits, destabilize the global markets, shape international regulation to their liking, and evade taxes, and this very same infrastructure enables the financing of international terrorism, corrupt third world rulers, and greatly facilitates the illegal drug trade. One key takeaway from the book is that all of these phenomena have their roots in the same underlying financial network, and none of them can be addressed without confronting the offshore system.

The main services that tax havens provides are secrecy, tax evasion, and freedom from unwanted regulation. A very important consequence of such a system is the creation of a race to the bottom in terms of regulatory environments. Shaxson examines this process both in the United States and internationally. While the US is an international tax haven (offering secrecy to foreign donors, allowing banks to accept proceeds from criminal activities as long as they were committed abroad, offering tax breaks to foreign investors), there is also a tax haven network at the state level. States such as South Dakota and Delaware, in an effort to attract corporations to incorporate in their states, abolished interest rate caps, giving birth to the credit card industry in the 80s. Delaware also has a long history of offering the most permissive rules of corporate governance, giving maximum power to corporate managers. Barack Obama criticized the Caymans, where he alleged that there was a building where 12,000 corporations supposedly had business offices. Well, there is an office building in Delaware with about 219,000.

Internationally, the offshore system allows banks to exercise this deregulatory leverage at the national level. The city of London, which has long maintained an extremely lax regulatory environment for fascinating historical reasons detailed in the book, began attracting massive amounts of business from US banks chafing under the Bretton Woods system of capital controls and Glass Steagall regulations separating commercial and investment banking. London had no such controls, so US banks were able to begin doing business there and use the threat to relocate to London to eventually force the US to deregulate in the late 90s and 2000s. As we know, this was a crucial development in setting the stage for the financial crisis of 2008. In addition, the unregulated markets that were based in London allowed banks to set up investment vehicles that were free of reserve requirements, allowing them to issue massive amounts of debt.

A final theme discussed in the book is the devastating effects of the offshore system on poor countries. For every one dollar of foreign aid that has flowed into developing countries over the past 30 or so years, TEN dollars have left the country and into the offshore system, building the portfolios and secret accounts of corrupt ruling elites. The offshore system creates a neocolonial dynamic where western countries back corrupt leaders and their allies, and provide the international financial infrastructure for these corrupt elites to steal their country's wealth and hide it abroad, free of tax. As pernicious as that is, the real consequence to that is that poor populations are saddled with the debt (the proceeds of which the rulers stole), which then of course requires the IMF to come in and radically undermine democracy by imposing harsh structual adjustment programs that mainly benefit rich investor countries and cause great pain to average people.

In summary, this book details the most important aspect of the global economy that you probably never knew existed. If you are interested in understanding poverty, inequality, development economics, international terrorism and the drug trade, and how corporations have amassed such great political power, you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle if you don't read Shaxson's epic work.
28 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Sturdy and Brave Journalism 20. Februar 2011
Von conjunction - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Shocking, a word that many reviewers have used, is a good one for this book. Terrifying might be another.

I am not an economist by a long shot but am lately reading books like this to understand what is going on.

Shaxson's book is basically about the modern structure of finance capitalism, and he suggests that the foundation stone of the edifice is the offshore system.

The basis of offshore banking is that a global corporation sidles up to some tiny country and offers it some nice little kickbacks in return for an agreement that they will have to pay little or no tax.

The corporation then presents its accounts in such a way as to make it look that all its profits are generated in Jersey, or the Cayman Islands or wherever it may be.

Hence we get headlines like the one the other day where Barclays Bank declared 11.6 billion pounds in profits and paid 113 million in tax.

According to Shaxson this would not be in the least out of the ordinary, more like normal for any really large company.

Because of this these companies grow like Topsy, and generate staggering wealth.

Additionally they venerate at the shrine of banking secrecy which means no-one can ever find out what is really going on with these guys.

Offshore banking started to mushroom around 1960 and although Shaxson doesn't quite say this, it sounds like when the Brits lost their empire they started to look for other ways of making a nuisance of themselves.

Under the influence of these companies, in the last thirty years many large countries especially Britain and the US have effectively deregulated their internal financial systems so that it is much easier for these large corporations to find more and more ways of dodging tax.

So what we have is money laundering on a massive scale, where `legitimate' businesses are cheek by jowl with international criminal syndicates.

The recent financial crash is just a blip, and so far has only had a minimal effect on the way things operate.

The most amazing thing is that there is very little awareness of all this, and that most politicians - especially in this country - of all parties are in it up to their necks.

Check it out.
22 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Most illuminating book I have ever read! 29. März 2011
Von Sascha - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book is so good that in the more than 10 years I have been using Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, this is the first time I've ever written a review for anything!

Nicholas Shaxson has written a very compelling and well-written book exploring almost every aspect of the impact of tax havens and their grossly disproportionate influence on the world's capital, economics and Dutch Disease (more like "British Disease") capture of entire regulatory and political systems. It was quite a revelation even for someone who has worked for several years in finance. It makes the occasional whispered sentences about "regulatory arbitrage" in tedious heavy finance books look like references to Medieval practices.

This book pretty much sums up why the world's economic system has been rotten to the core since the 1970s (actually the issues began 20+ years earlier, but their impact was not felt until later for several reasons). This is something that anyone who has ever been employed or created a business or even just watched the un-improving constant horrors in the developing world probably instinctively felt but could not understand why.

Even if you are a "libertarian", in the full maximum capital flight and economic sense, or a financier, this book will fully illustrate the very formidable arguments against why such a world view is incompatible with mankind's progress and ultimately unsustainable, but currently (very) lucrative if you believe change will be slow and there are still *huge* regulatory opportunities to exploit for personal gain.

[opinion]
Unfortunately, I believe it may take another depression (prolonged period of long term mass unemployment and low growth) in the West, particularly UK and the US, to effect change rapidly. There will come a point when this may happen since the current system, like all bad systems, contains the seeds of its own failure. In this case, it is enabling precisely a depression scenario to occur by effectively choking off future sources of real growth. So, expect things to get much worse before there is even a chance to get better ... Lesser probability scenarios include the US, as the world's most democratic and unforgiving legal and competitive business environment as well as possessing a very diverse economy, decides to progressively clampdown on the worst excesses of regulatory abuse and to stem the constant leeching of capital+talent from non-financial sectors. Alternatively, China may grow even faster than anticipated without allowing even close to full movement of capital so the world starts to play by its rules or inspired by other non-financial examples.
[/opinion]

Also, I just wish to counter one small point made by The Guardian UK newspaper review from which I got the recommendation to read this book: that the book offers no clear ways to counter the many problems. Believe me, as you read the book, you'll begin to wonder what on Earth can be done to stop the incredible abuses... In the final "Conclusion" chapter, Shaxson offers nine very specific ways and a tenth inspirational way in which change can be facilitated.

If even a fraction of the world's citizens, especially in the UK and US, and regulatory bodies read and understood this book, regardless of their prior opinions, they would be forced into action just due to the incredibly diverse impact touching every aspect of people's lives that the system has now grown into. From reading the book, every day henceforth you will see obvious evidence of political and regulatory capture. Good current examples are UK's recent announcements on scrapping the current top rate of income tax, the huge dramatic irrevocable changes to "Americanize" their health system - the very successful 60+ year-old NHS - and the enormous pressure being exerted on the US public-body SEC regulator to implement (or even effectively handover to) accounting standards of the IASB, a private body mostly funded by banks, in the UK.

Read this book and pass it on to others. You'll never look at the world again in the same way.
16 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Important and Disturbing 10. August 2011
Von Justmine - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is both important and disturbing. Important because it clearly and frankly describes the reality of "offshore" banking and it's effect on society at large. Disturbing because of the dimensions of the system revealed and the unbridled greed of the economic elite that exploits it. Destroys the myth that tax havens are simply wealth protection for the few and reveals them as a massive drain on the economies of nations large and small, rich and poor.

A must read for anyone interested in social justice or, for that matter, their own future welfare.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Exposing the secrets of finance 20. August 2011
Von John Snow - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book fills a big gap left by the mainstream media in the understanding of world economics and finance and how it has come to be more and more concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of people. The resulting system is to a significant extent lawless and corrupt, and addicted to greed.

Offshore tax havens, serving both legal corporations and organised crime, have been a powerful instrument in the corruption of business, politics, government and the media, spreading misery for the many while creating untold wealth for the few.

This book explains how huge businesses, including some very well know names, can pay virtually no tax and avoid laws and regulations. It explains why many top executives are now receiving astronomical incomes. It explodes the myth that this system is somehow efficient and good for society.

This current control of the world by big finance has captured political parties, so that the actions of politicians bear little or no relationship to the traditional policies and philosophies of their parties. In practice, supposedly opposing political parties in the wealthy nations of the world act more like opposing factions of the one party, a party whose unwritten but central policy is to serve the rich and powerful. The result is that more and more wealth is diverted from serving the common good and transferred to the rich. The result is a widening gap between them and the rest, and a growing social dislocation.

This is not a book of the left or the right, but a dispassionate revelation of facts that have been hidden from most of the population. I cannot recommend it too highly. If you value justice and refuse to equate good and right with money and power, you will greatly appreciate the author's achievement.
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