Playing in Vancouver as part of the VIFF, International Village #9, October 4 – 1:00 pm and October 5 – 8:45 pm.
Nobles did not pay taxes, and apparently some people would like to keep it that way! In his latest incendiary investigative documentary, Harold Crooks (Surviving Progress) examines the sordid history of offshore tax havens and the dire contemporary ramifications of such malfeasance. It’s not just oligarchs (our new ‘nobles’?) that are the problem, but our shiniest corporations (Apple, Google, Amazon, etc.). The dollars involved are staggering and could go a long way to solving the world’s problems.
Originally created by City of London bankers in the 1950s, the worldwide web of tax havens now puts over half the world’s stock of money beyond the reach of public treasuries. Nation states are being reshaped by this offshoring of the world’s wealth into “competition” zones that battle for investment and jobs. By shifting the tax burden from big corporations and the wealthy—citizens of nowhere for tax purposes—to the middle class and poor, they are paving the way to historic levels of inequality. This story is told by crusading journalists, tax-justice campaigners and former finance and technology industry insiders now free to speak frankly.
Remedies proposed in Harold Crook’s (Surviving Progress) documentary include adapting tax rules to the novel ways Internet companies create wealth by exploiting their users, and financial transaction (“Robin Hood”) taxes on the trillions of dollars churning through global financial markets—in what former Wall Street and UK financial insiders say is in large measure “socially useless” investment. The takeaway for viewers is this: in a world where corporate and financial wealth no longer has a fixed address, democracy can only be preserved by acting cooperatively beyond borders.
Variety review: Toronto Film Review: ‘The Price We Pay’