The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens

We are well aware of the rise of the 1% as the rapid growth of economic inequality has put the majority of the world’s wealth in the pockets of fewer and fewer. One much-discussed solution to this imbalance is to significantly increase the rate at which we tax the wealthy. But with an enormous amount

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We are well aware of the rise of the 1% as the rapid growth of economic inequality has put the majority of the world’s wealth in the pockets of fewer and fewer. One much-discussed solution to this imbalance is to significantly increase the rate at which we tax the wealthy. But with an enormous amount of the world’s wealth hidden in tax havens—in countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands—this wealth cannot be fully accounted for and taxed fairly. No one, from economists to bankers to politicians, has been able to quantify exactly how much of the world’s assets are currently hidden—until now. Gabriel Zucman is the first economist to offer reliable insight into the actual extent of the world’s money held in tax havens. And it’s staggering.

In The Hidden Wealth of Nations, Zucman offers an inventive and sophisticated approach to quantifying how big the problem is, how tax havens work and are organized, and how we can begin to approach a solution. His research reveals that tax havens are a quickly growing danger to the world economy. In the past five years, the amount of wealth in tax havens has increased over 25%—there has never been as much money held offshore as there is today. This hidden wealth accounts for at least $7.6 trillion, equivalent to 8% of the global financial assets of households. Fighting the notion that any attempts to vanquish tax havens are futile, since some countries will always offer more advantageous tax rates than others, as well the counter-argument that since the financial crisis tax havens have disappeared, Zucman shows how both sides are actually very wrong. In The Hidden Wealth of Nations he offers an ambitious agenda for reform, focused on ways in which countries can change the incentives of tax havens. Only by first understanding the enormity of the secret wealth can we begin to estimate the kind of actions that would force tax havens to give up their practices.

Zucman’s work has quickly become the gold standard for quantifying the amount of the world’s assets held in havens. In this concise book, he lays out in approachable language how the international banking system works and the dangerous extent to which the large-scale evasion of taxes is undermining the global market as a whole. If we are to find a way to solve the problem of increasing inequality, The Hidden Wealth of Nations is essential reading.
 
 

Product Features

  • University of Chicago Press

Comments

Apolo says:

A good book to start in the topic of tax havens – Don’t expect much depth This easy to read, short and concise book takes a simple approach addressing the analysis of thax havens. If you have absolutely no idea of what or how a tax haven works, this book provides a simple yet precise explanation. The author suggests a few methods to measure the hidden wealth and solve the taxing issues, sacrificing depth probably to target at a broader audience, beyond economists and policy-makers. It’s a good work to start a discussion on this topics.

Gordon Silverman says:

Taxing the thieves An excellent discussion of how the U.S. Is being deprived of taxes which must be made up by its citizens. To extract the full measure of its significance it must be read carefully. Important aids to understanding are the figures that summarize models in the narrative. Moreover, it provides a very practical method towards achieving the goal of taxing wealth that has been proposed in Piketty’s “Wealth in the 21st Century”.

John A. Leraas says:

Excellent discussion of “offshore” tax dodges This is a great little book that clears mud from the river of money flowing to tax shelter accounts overseas and how the loss of revenue from these accounts diminishes our treasury and worse weakens our ability as a nation to act in appropriate ways toward a host of growing problems.As you will see, we are not all in this together. We may be together physically but fiscally we are literally worlds apart.Highly recommended.

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