It’s odd how much happens in a week when you just don’t feel up to writing.
Some are big, but many are small and yet deeply symbolic. Take the appointment of a new head of transfer pricing at the OECD as an example. It is not mainstream news stuff — but in a world where tax abuse by multinational companies is rampant and the demand that they be brought to book dominated many political agendas throughout 2013 this is important.
And that new head of transfer pricing at the body that is meant to set the rules to eliminate abuse is Andrew Hickman. No, I’d never heard of him either until now. But all you need to know is that he was a tax partner at KPMG in London. And that he replaces someone who was formerly a tax partner at PWC.
The Big 4 accountants continue to capture the world’s tax authorities so that they can continue to play their games of abuse — abuse they permit by being in all the world’s major tax havens, for a start. Now we have a head of OECD transfer pricing from KPMG and a chair of HMRC from KPMG, and something pretty similar is going on in Australia, if I recall correctly.
These people are not there to reform the system. These people are there to ensure the system is maintained as it is because those who profit most from it are, almost certainly, the Big 4 who have a monopoly in providing advice on how it, supposedly, works (even though, very obviously, it does not work at all — except for their benefit).
I’d like to say you could not make this stuff up, but you can. This is what neoliberalism delivers — the corporate state, run by business for the benefit of a few in business. In that case is it any surprise that right now it appears that the OECD is not making any real progress at all on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting? All that politics is now being shredded by those inside the system to ensure that the burden of tax continues to be shifted from capital onto labour — which is you.
Now you know why the fight for tax justice has to go on. It’s core to our freedom. We thought we saw some progress last year. Right now 2014 looks to be the year when business is fighting back hard - and so far, it's winning.