Overcoming the Shadow Economy

Authors: 
Josef E. Stiglitz, Mark Pieth
Publication year: 
2016
Publisher: 
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Berlin
Abstract: 

The Panama Papers provided proof to the world of something that had long been suspected: the secrecy havens— jurisdictions in which global financial flows were hidden in ways that not even those entrusted with enforcing the laws and regulations of countries around the world could detect—were being used by those engaged in a host of nefarious activities, from tax evasion to corruption and even to child pornography. In a real sense, the secrecy havens facilitate these activities, because if the money flows were exposed, it would be easier to identify and prosecute the perpetrators. Though typically the managers of the banks, the lawyers who put together the impenetrable web of corporations and the public officials who pass laws ensuring secrecy may think of themselves as just »doing business« and helping them, their employees, and their country prosper, more properly these secrecy havens could be viewed as co-conspirators in these crimes.