Surprise, surprise: the rich hide their wealth from view

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Bloomberg has reported this morning that:

Research conducted separately by European Central Bank economist Philip Vermeulen and London School of Economics’ Gabriel Zucman show the wealth of the super-affluent -- hidden by tax shelters and nonresponse to questionnaires -- is undercounted. Correcting for similar lapses in income data almost erases progress made from 1988 to 2008 in narrowing the gap between the world’s rich and poor, World Bank research found.

I have to say that there is no surprise in this, at all. It has been my contention, and that of the Tax Justice Network, for years that one of the main purposes of so called tax havens has been to provide secrecy. That's why I call them secrecy jurisdictions. I define them as 'places that intentionally create regulation for the primary benefit and use of those not resident in their geographical domain with that regulation being designed to undermine the legislation or regulation of another jurisdiction and with those secrecy jurisdictions also creating a deliberate, legally backed veil of secrecy that ensures that those from outside the jurisdiction making use of its regulation cannot be identified to be doing so'.

Secrecy jurisdiction's secrecy has worked. That is not by chance. It has been by design. That is why the above definition has changed perception on this issue, I think. As a result the full extent of the wealth of the 1% has been hidden from view.

It is good to note that academics are now catching up with our arguments.

It will be better when something is done about it.