A British Virgin Islands license place

A British Virgin Islands license place (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greed is Good, said Gordon Geeko

Well there seem to be a lot of good people around these days. In fact the ICIJ (the International Concortium of Investigative Journalists) has just come out with a list of the Great (or perhaps the Greed) and the Good. No less than 36,000 of them by some reports. Squirrelling their stash away in Tax Shelters around the World.

What’s wonderful about this is it is beyond race and creed. No country or society seems to be spared. No breeding nor domicile seems to matter. No politics or position matter. We have African Dictators, philanthropic art collectors, a president of a nation, several budget ministers, a top class lawyer who used stuff travellers cheques into envelopes, Irish bankrupts…. And there’s more to come…. This is going to run and run, and anyone who is anybody will be on the list… By contrast you’ll be nobody if you’re not! These people are the true pan-nationalists. They are in their own Club. They have evolved beyond the hubris of the squalid societies they live in and have graduated to a type of ethereal plain that is not subjected to the boredom of taxes, obligation and communities. These people believe in the zen of the moment. They trust in yachts, fine fine wines, silk sheets and servants. They are the Gods in the centre of the karma wheel, ignoring the hungry devils!

It really is an “us and them” world.

Now there is a bit of me that thinks that the average Joe (myself excepted, of course, being made of more moral fibre!!) would be doing just the same if he got the chance to join this elite, so perhaps it is too tempting for any Joe to resist. The problem is not that people use these centres, but more that the centres are available in the first place, and under the protection of such august countries such as Britain and Holland. So why haven’t they been closed down. Well we’re back to who is calling the shots again, aren’t we? If David Cameron does respond to the outcry about the British Virgin Islands and closes the whole place down, then all that money which is probably physically in the City of London, will try and fly off to some more accommodating place such as Singapore, and what will that do for his balance of Trade. Not to mention how many cronies, donors and fellow parliamentarians actually have accounts there …..?

What ever happens, there has been a can of worms opened here and it’s going to be good sport seeing where it gets to!!!!! We’ll have a look at a few of the principles in subsequent posts!!

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The Last of Europe?

Are we witnessing the break-up of Europe? Is the Grand Dream over, and was it ever a reality? Has the initial vision of Adenauer and his co-founders come to its conclusion?

Europe - Satellite image - PlanetObserver

Europe – Satellite image – PlanetObserver (Photo credit: PlanetObserver)

Has the pendulum moved from progressive integration to the rise of nationalism?

Over the last five years the European Union, in the face of the world monetary crisis, has shown itself unwilling to act or incapable of acting in a cohesive way. While the economists struggle with the budgetary implications of the crisis, the politicians seem incapable of seeing anything of the original vision. The cost of everything is calculated except for the cost of chaotic disintigration.

There are no good countries or bad countries in this crisis, though there is endless evidence of appalling and contradictory decisions being made by management. Voters tire of austerity and will always revert to secular self interest when push comes to shove. Ther is no affinity between Larnaca and Leipzig.  The pity is that every country is now only looking after itself, and the very democracy that Europe so espouses is the mechanism for bringing the house of cards down.

Like an observer looking at a fire in a house, hoping it will somehow go out, or be tamed, I am watching incredibly from the periphery of the continent. I am aghast at what I have seen in my own country, Ireland, and throughout the continent. After Ireland was bullied into underwriting international speculators, in the name of European Solidarity, we now find that it wasn’t necessary after all, and that Cyprus can not only “burn the bondholders” but also the ordinary citizens. Cyprus has reached new bounds in so many ways, and it points to a sad vista that undermines the very fabric of the EU, and paves the way for resurgent nationalism with all its nastiness.

I am starting this blog to document the crisis that is unfolding. I want to have an “ordinary person’ perspective on what is going on. I have no training in economics, and I consider that an advantage. My heart will always be hoping for European Integration in the greater sense. I would not care for integration that is based on a monetarist view of Europe that is schewed towards the transfer of power and money to the politico-industrial powerbase, and ignores the contribution of the periphery. Such a Europe is an anathema to the dreams of Adeneaur and Co.

Are we witnessing the end of his dream – Hopefully not.

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