Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Economic, Social, and Environmental: Catching Capital: The Ethics of Tax Competition

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Economic, Social, and Environmental: Catching Capital: The Ethics of Tax Competition

Article excerpt

Catching Capital: The Ethics of Tax Competition BY PETER DIETSCH. Oxford University Press, 2015, 280 pp.

The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens BY GABRIEL ZUCMAN. TRANSLATED BY TERESA LAVENDER FAGAN. University of Chicago Press, 2015, 200 pp.

Tax avoidance (which is legal) and tax evasion (which is not) have been around ever since authorities began to levy taxes, as have attempts to influence the rules of taxation. But in the current era, these activities have become increasingly global in character and scope, significantly eroding the taxation of income and capital gains in a race to the bottom accelerated by the rise of tax havens and by countries that arrange their tax rules to make themselves attractive to internationally mobile capital, a phenomenon known as tax competition. Dietsch's book sets forth a good overview of this troubling state of affairs and makes a carefully argued philosophical case for restoring fiscal autonomy to national governments. Dietsch proposes going far beyond the current efforts of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the eu to limit tax competition between countries. He advocates the creation of common rules for corporate taxation that would be administered by a new international tax organization. …

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