Tax Heaven-Why a hell for 99%?

Rakesh Manchanda

Heavens as we learn in religious teachings are known to provide unlimited luxury and rewards to angels. People on earth are assumed to qualify for a heaven by virtue of good deeds. “Tax Heaven” is a hush-hush “Th” term coined by competitor banking system in early globalisation era. It points out a far away foreign offshore land used as a shelter or a hideout of accumulated money. “Th”-code divides global citizens and stakeholders into “devils & angels”. Need and greed articulates a heaven for hiding money on this sole living planet. This magic term spells empowerment with protection to crony few by accumulation of hidden money siphoned from the “parent producer” country. This system which used to be a dream seller to 99% leaves the real producers of the hidden profit cheated. Majority are morally reduced as evil or lazy losers who are unable to covert the fast forward opportunity. Opportunity for selected few gets articulated by economic liberalisation. Hide and seek of this invisible money today in turbulent times is a global game in almost every part of the world. The bootypopularly known as black money in India is termed as dirty money in Europe or blood money in West. Politicians at large, pretending to be honest patriots, play the game often to keep the public engaged. People in a hell away from “tax heavens” remain patiently glued to their daily work with hope based on false spell of 1%.

Unlike feudal lords who used to identify a worship place used by people as a shelter or a hideout for the hard earned money, the modern industry uses offshore banks outside the country to park the loot. Such Banks are identified in countries like Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Bahamas, Bermuda and so on. This list of heavens continues to grow to compete with each other, to protect the money of investors in foreign lands. Corporates pay extra to CFOs to help them to hide money in Swarg called Th. In most of the popular Th, there is no capital gains’ tax, no corporate tax, no income tax for say 20 years, no gift tax and no withholding tax. The dirty game cannot remain hidden- if the bank, the booty and the sources of production are found in the same country. The trick here is customer loyalty. No one shall come to the foreign bank to park dirty money if this activity is not kept secret. Result; the bank and the host country flourishes by providing tourism incentives and luring hospitality to capitalists. The honest production driven country having no tax heavens; remains poor. However this myth gets broken when a superpower applies diplomatic pressure. According to global media the Swiss Bank agrees to help American Parliament fighting recession to know the names of secret account holders having American citizenship. This proves that getting the hidden money back for saving the crisis is possible.

Where does this hidden process starts?
Today, Production is a growth issue. When loans via Banks are awarded to the producers of mines & factories, the money is treated as private not as public or national. Present system is engaged in maximising personnel profit by individual heroism of few trusted managers. Small groups and lobbies of excellence, working in a business team, having no ownership mechanism helps that 1%.

So what goes wrong in a business of Hell-Heaven divide?
There is nothing wrong in collective hard work, national spirit and intentions of 99% to grow. Fault lies with the deliberate design and a disconnect between the wheel of production and the consumption controlled by that 1%.We must see the corporate modus operandi in this chain of survival of Heaven-Hell divide. Corporate in nexus with politicians fails to audit and gives no participatory role to workers. Handling of public sector business by government is so weak and corrupt that even pilots and hockey team are not paid in time and they go on strike. Laws get bend and twisted in favour of the corporate. In the wheel of production the industry produces goods using casual labour monitored by managers. Part time worker as real producer is sent off as soon as production is over. So there is no sense of belonging. If workers go on strike to increase their standard of living then the paid media, government and corporate management continues to paint them as lazy, unproductive and anti-nationals. Media understands this corporate design but ignores it in favour of corporate and government. At times, media showcases Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Television declaring India falling on 132 nd. position from 128th position as per the UNDP study of 200 countries. `Rewards & Punishment` as a check-balance stands teasing and unjustified. What stands good for 1% cannot help and support the rest.

CFOs assist industrialists to steal money from the production cycle and pump it in the market of speculation and gamble called share baazar. Consumption or Industrial sales “score board” is kept hidden from the stakeholders of production and from the public investors. Unlike the wheel of production, the cycle of consumption throws open-unequal sharing, unequal profit, unequal responsibility, unequal surplus control and its dissemination. Public, in most cases as investors feel cheated but get re-convinced by the so called share market experts & promoters to invest again and again. CFOs who are well versed with Banking Laws & its twisted version are hired in the country hosting production. Back in host country say in India, these financial managers advice the Capitalist not to re-invest in the parent country as the desi or indigenous policy analysed by them is comfortably declared as non-encouraging for faster jobless growth of money.

Competition in the industrial playing field is good only when the competition forces the whistle blowers to blow off the rival company. In-house competition in production and sales team helps but this competition fails to touch the issues of transfer of money to Th. For more details read my article: “Hidden lessons from Cricket for a corruption free society.”

So long we have failed to question the base of a business paradigm that we must not expect a breakthrough and miracles. In the conventional system top leaders are expected to showcase all answers and solutions. What if this does not work? We often fail to encourage change because it directly shakes our blind trust, faith, beliefs and prejudices. Right from our childhood, we are programmed to escape from participating in deep experiences. We feel threatened to use simple enquiring tools like How! When! Why! Where! and so on. The nuts and bolts at the site of production and consumption need to be identified. Indigenous fund recycling monitored with strict regulations with more jobs is the only ways out.Tax Heavens-Why should we accept them ? Helping less equals to transform into more equals can save the crisis. This is not a philanthropic business step but a long term human survival kit. It will ensure more productivity, sense of belonging, sharing, participation and `actual` consumption. If India is able to plug the weak production and sales format that allows such ongoing inhuman corruption how shall it honour the ink of its signature to UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)? UNCAC clause (Article 51 & 52) has provision to help countries for recovery of hidden money in foreign lands.

Solutions need to be rescued at gut level. If a child’s trousers get caught in the wheel, the bicycle chain is rotated back and not forward.