The history of all previous societies has been the history of class struggles – Karl Marx
That is the size of the money laundering business in this world. No. Not created by thugs, mafias and their ilk. It is a world that has put together by well-educated lawyers, bankers and financers working in blue chip organizations with an elaborate code of ethics charter listed on their site and filed with regulatory authorities.
Post demonitisation, stories are being filed of Jan Dhan accounts being topped up with cash, post office officials changing the color of money from black to white, bankers helping people get new notes for old for a consideration and many more. If you believe that if it is an ingenuity that we Indians came up with in a few days to beat the demon in demonitisation, you are mistaken. It is a regular and vibrant business across the world. More sophisticated than the software in your iPhone.
Cook Island, Panama, St.Kitts, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Switzerland, Jersey, Isle of Man, Ireland, Monaco, Mauritius etc are places that are coveted by the rich and famous. No, not for their great beaches, picturesque mountains, and lovely sunsets. They are the places where they hide their wealth. Not in cash, not in gold bars like in a pirate story but in shell companies and trusts that are so complicated in structure, probably even the owner does not really understand where his money is!
Reading one such structure of holding for a rich individual is no less than a Hitchcock plot. Fake (shell) companies are created in the investments are held from which payments are made on which loans are given for which insurance is paid while losses are booked on profits that are earned while the individual is a resident of 3 different countries but lives in a yacht so that no law can reach him. It is a sample of the ways of the rich, who infamously hide their wealth.
These men (and women) are not drug lords or criminals. They are well-respected entrepreneurs, champions of capitalism, politicians, movie stars etc. These and likes of those who are admired, followed and aspired by many trying to make it big in their world.
If you think that only the rich individuals who indulge in this tax tripping, think again. Corporates are not far behind. Where do you think 98% of Apple’s its profit is taxed? USA. No. It is somewhere in the middle of Atlantic Ocean! Such is the structure that Apple created with Ireland that Apple pays just 50 euros for every million euros profit it earns in Europe! To quote the European Commission, “the arrangements enabled Apple to funnel profit from two Irish subsidiaries to a “head office” with “no employees, no premises and no real activities”
Karl Marx propounded the Conflict Theory in which he stated that society is in a perpetual state of conflict due to competition for limited resources. The biggest resource is money. Thanks to these unscrupulous but intelligent professionals, haves escape tax and there is no money for to be shared with the have-nots. Rich remain a minority that is shrinking while the poor grow in majority. To add insult to injury, these very rich get bailouts from governments, which surprisingly do not have money to fund healthcare or education for the needy! Read “A Good Book in Theory” by Alan Shears and James Cairns for entertaining version of the grim way conflict theory plays out in real life.
If you are struggling to get 10,000 from your account while someone is getting crores and are you are upset, note that it’s just not the banks, the entire system is rigged against you. Remember Trump said he avoided taxes in a smart way and he won as President! It is a system of the haves, by the haves, for the haves. There is a class conflict even among the rich. The foolish rich and the smart rich. If some rich are feeling the pinch of demonitisation as they are stuck with trunk loads of old cash, it is not their failure as they are the foolish rich. It is the failure of the sales men of those banks and legal firms who failed to reach them and sell their wares to hide their wealth.
PS: The above number is $21 trillion.