Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World

Nicholas Shaxson

Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World

Most people regard tax havens as being relevant only to celebrities, crooks and spivs, and mistakenly believe that the main offshore problems are money laundering and terrorist financing. These are only small parts of the whole picture. The offshore system has been (discreetly) responsible for the greatest ever shift of wealth from poor to rich. It also undermines our democracies by offering the wealthiest members of society escape routes from tax, financial regulation and other normal democratic controls. The anti-globalisation movement tapped into an uneasiness, felt by millions, that something was rotten in the world economy. Treasure Islands articulates the problem in a new way, and exposes the deep corruption that impacts on our daily lives. 2.9 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Business, Finance & Law
Format Paperback
Pages 336
RRP £14.99
Date of Publication January 2011
ISBN 978-1847921109
Publisher Bodley Head
 

Most people regard tax havens as being relevant only to celebrities, crooks and spivs, and mistakenly believe that the main offshore problems are money laundering and terrorist financing. These are only small parts of the whole picture. The offshore system has been (discreetly) responsible for the greatest ever shift of wealth from poor to rich. It also undermines our democracies by offering the wealthiest members of society escape routes from tax, financial regulation and other normal democratic controls. The anti-globalisation movement tapped into an uneasiness, felt by millions, that something was rotten in the world economy. Treasure Islands articulates the problem in a new way, and exposes the deep corruption that impacts on our daily lives.

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Chris Blackhurst

Excellent… Shaxson comes as close to anyone ever has in getting to the crux of the tax haven conundrum, which is to attempt to answer the question: why are they tolerated?

13/01/2011

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The Sunday Times

John Arlidge

[An] unlikely page-turner… What makes Treasure Islands such a good read for the layman is that Shaxson uses all his journalistic skill — he used to work for Reuters — to illustrate his arguments. He has a great eye for “fancy that” facts that leaven the prose.

02/01/2011

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The New Statesman

Alex Preston

Treasure Islands reminded me at times of a Michael Moore film: it is so caught up in raging against the system that it relies on the flow of invective to carry the audience along instead of stopping to analyse and dissect. But all this is part of the charm of Treasure Islands. The best books about finance (hell, the best books about anything) make us re-examine the set ideas we have about the world.

10/02/2011

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The Literary Review

Martin Vander Weyer

Treasure Islands is an odd combination of page-turning thriller and leftist rant, and not everything Shaxson throws into the mix is entirely convincing or germane ... But he has prised the lid off an important and terrifying can of worms.

01/02/2011

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The Financial Times

Alice Ross

...a very readable account of the murky world of offshore and a strong moral message that the system needs to be changed... But the drawback to the sledgehammer approach is that the reader is left with unanswered questions. Why do multinationals shift their profits into low-tax havens and costs into high-tax countries? The only motives Shaxson gives are sinister.

17/01/2011

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The Guardian

Peter Preston

Prepare to be just a little disappointed as well as outraged ... for ... Nicholas Shaxson has provided a slightly damp squib. He's lit his bonfire of the vanities and poured liquid anger on the blaze. Yet, as the flames roar higher, he doesn't quite know what to do next. The diagnosis is awful, the prognosis alarming: but his prescriptions won't keep you warm.

22/01/2011

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The Independent

Sean O'Grady

Where Shaxson suffers is in shading into a strange sort of resentful paranoia about these places, though some of it is justified … it is an ugly but unavoidable truth that if Jersey or the Caymans didn't do it, then someone else would. At least in "our" havens, we have a chance of keeping an eye on things.

18/02/2011

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The Daily Mail

Toby Young

The problem with Shaxson's all-encompassing moral rage is that he doesn't distinguish between tax avoidance and tax evasion. The latter is clearly wrong but the former is perfectly legitimate and, in any case, impossible to eliminate.

12/02/2011

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