Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn – BBC News

A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study.

The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.

The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network.

Tax expert and UK government adviser John Whiting said he was sceptical that the amount hidden was so large.

Mr Whiting, tax policy director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said: “There clearly are some significant amounts hidden away, but if it really is that size what is being done with it all?”

Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn. A trillion is 1,000 billion.

via Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn – BBC News.

Chris Hedges: We Are All Greeks Now – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

The poor and the working class in the United States know what it is to be Greek. They know underemployment and unemployment. They know life without a pension. They know existence on a few dollars a day. They know gas and electricity being turned off because of unpaid bills. They know the crippling weight of debt. They know being sick and unable to afford medical care. They know the state seizing their meager assets, a process known in the United States as “civil asset forfeiture,” which has permitted American police agencies to confiscate more than $3 billion in cash and property. They know the profound despair and abandonment that come when schools, libraries, neighborhood health clinics, day care services, roads, bridges, public buildings and assistance programs are neglected or closed. They know the financial elites’ hijacking of democratic institutions to impose widespread misery in the name of austerity. They, like the Greeks, know what it is to be abandoned.

via Chris Hedges: We Are All Greeks Now – Chris Hedges – Truthdig.

The Greek Deal Is a Disaster for Greece, and Maybe for Europe – NYTimes.com

For years, Greece’s negotiations with its European creditors have featured moments in which all parties stare into the abyss, fear what they see, and step back to reach a deal.

On Monday, there was yet another deal. But this time it is one that pushes Greece into the abyss, even if financial markets don’t acknowledge it just yet and even if what happens next is deeply uncertain.

Greece already has 26 percent unemployment, a tourism industry that is suffering as would-be visitors stay away, and banks and a stock market that have been closed going on three weeks. Just a week ago, its voters overwhelmingly rejected a bailout offer that was less punitive than the one its leaders just accepted.

via The Greek Deal Is a Disaster for Greece, and Maybe for Europe – NYTimes.com.

Super rich hold $32 trillion in offshore havens | Reuters

Rich individuals and their families have as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues, according to research published on Sunday.

The study estimating the extent of global private financial wealth held in offshore accounts – excluding non-financial assets such as real estate, gold, yachts and racehorses – puts the sum at between $21 and $32 trillion.

The research was carried out for pressure group Tax Justice Network, which campaigns against tax havens, by James Henry, former chief economist at consultants McKinsey & Co.

via Super rich hold $32 trillion in offshore havens | Reuters.

Greeks heading to Brussels for crucial talks – World – The Boston Globe

BRUSSELS — A meeting of European finance ministers broke up late Saturday with no agreement on whether Greece should be granted its third bailout since 2010, reflecting deep divides over whether the Athens government can be trusted to repay huge new loans and leaving the Continent hours from what could be a historic rupture.

The finance ministers planned to reconvene Sunday, just before European national leaders were scheduled to meet in Brussels for what they said would be a final decision on whether Greece should qualify for a new aid package, a step aimed at determining whether the country can remain in the euro currency union.

via Greeks heading to Brussels for crucial talks – World – The Boston Globe.

Wondering What ‘Privilege’ Is? This Video Has Some Answers For You

What is privilege? Is there any way to describe it?

In a recent video posted by Buzzfeed, several people are asked a series of questions and then told to either step forward or backward if the question applies to them. The questions were based on an exercise created by social activists Margo Adair and Sharon Howell.

Each question asks the participants whether or not they enjoy certain privileges or endure different disadvantages.

via Wondering What ‘Privilege’ Is? This Video Has Some Answers For You.

How the Greek and Chinese Crises Are Linked | Mohamed A. El-Erian

At first sight, there is little to connect the ugliness in China and Greece. The former reflects the unwinding of a market bubble; and the latter is driven by weak and deteriorating economic and financial fundamentals. Yet both share a common element, and they are not the only ones: They have benefited from the ultra-loose experimental policies that have been pursued by major central banks around the world.

Global equity markets have not been doing well lately, and understandably so. With the Chinese stock markets crashing and Greece risking a disorderly exit from the eurozone, a growing number of investors have decided to take some chips off the table — and this despite frantic efforts by government, both in China and in Europe, to stabilize things. Some investors are even worried that this may be the moment in which asset prices, having been inflated by experimental central bank policy, revert back to the lower levels warranted by the more sluggish fundamentals (such as economic growth rate, inflation rate and unemployment rate).

via How the Greek and Chinese Crises Are Linked | Mohamed A. El-Erian.