Yesterday's FT editorial was important. In it they said:
The liberation of finance is one of the most significant transformations brought about by today's era of globalisation.
But then they noted:
Yet the survival of unchained financial capitalism cannot be taken for granted. It will endure only if a sizable portion of humanity decides that it serves their interests. That is far from certain, as the current backlash against private equity, on both sides of the Atlantic, demonstrates.
They went on to list the conditions for survival, amongst which were:
Democracy rests on the perception of fair treatment of its citizens. Most people accept the wealth earned by successful business activity. Far less acceptable, however, is the ability of the rich to avoid almost all taxation. The case for a neutral tax system, with few loopholes, is stronger than ever.
If by 'neutral' they mean 'flat' I'm not with them. If they mean enforceable, I am. And I'm unambiguously with them on this:
Regulation must be global. Moreover, such regulation must include taxation. As finance goes global, so must the depth of co-operation among fiscal authorities. A world in which a global plutocratic class pays little or no tax, while benefiting from the stability generated by taxes imposed on the "little people", will prove unsustainable.
It was unimaginable that such an editorial would have been written five years ago. The Tax Justice Network can't claim all the credit for the change, and we won't. But we'll claim a bit, and fairly so. Because frankly I could have (but did not) write the comments noted above.
What incidentally I would not have written is what Polly Toynbee called for in the Guardian this morning, which is higher tax rates for the rich. That's gesture politics. I want them to pay that tax that is due on their income from all sources at the rates set in the right place at the right time. That will do.