David Runciman examines Nicholas Shaxson’s Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World in the London Review of Books.

“Shaxson’s book explains how and why London became the centre of what he calls a ‘spider’s web’ of offshore activities (and in the process such a comfortable home for the likes of Saif Gaddafi). It is because offshore is the offshoot of an empire in decline. It perfectly suited a country with the appearance of grandeur and traditionally high standards, but underneath it all a reek of desperation and the pressing need for more cash…”

“…the rise of the City [of London] as the favourite place for foreigners to park their money, no matter who they were or where it came from, is related to imperial decline. After the Second World War, sterling still financed much of global trade, but the British economy was no longer able to sustain the value of the pound against the dollar. In the aftermath of Suez, which caused a run on the pound, the government attempted to impose curbs on the overseas lending of London’s merchant banks. The response of the banks, with the connivance of the Bank of England, was to shift their international lending into dollars. The result was the creation of the so-called ‘Eurodollar market’ – which was effectively an offshore haven. Because the trade was happening in dollars, the British saw no need to tax or regulate it; because it was happening in London, the Americans had no means to tax or regulate it.”

See here for the full article.


A new report by Spinwatch, titled ‘How Goldman Sachs Rigs the Game’, has been published. Revealing multiple links between the investment bank and the Conservative Party, the report exposes how the extensive lobbying activities of Goldman Sachs both in the UK and at the EU has allowed it to capture politicians and political processes to its own destructive advantage.

Interesting Daily Mirror investigation, added to by Ann Pettifor’s investigation of the ‘bank-owned-state’, details the banking and finance backgrounds, and continuing employment, of Tory MPs and peers.

“Altogether there are more Tory MPs who have been on the banks’ payroll than the total number of Lib Dem politicians.” 134 of the 498 Tory MPs and peers “have been or are employed in the financial sector”.

And we are supposed to be surprised that the government fails to restrict bankers bonuses? Or indeed takes any longer-term, substantial, effective, world-changing action to reign in the destructive power of the banking and finance sector…?