Category Archives: Harm through the market

Oligopolies and monopolies are very important ways of obtaining income without providing a productive service. They produce goods, a productive service. However, they receive additional income by raising prices, and their oligopoly/monopoly profits are distinguished by economists from normal profits and other expenses, which are the returns to productive activity. There are other harmful aspects to concentration and large firms as well, including restriction of innovation, using patents to defend market position, non-compete requirements for their employees, and substantial political power.  Also see Obtaining income from the government as both are often involved. Tax havens are another way in which taxes can be minimized and income from corruption can be laundered.

Oppression and Exploitation News February 13 – 19

Struggle for control – staying in power 2020

Trump seeks to bend the executive branch as part of impeachment vendetta Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey Washington Post February 12, 2020

Harm through the market 2020

Global financial giants swear off funding an especially dirty fuel Christopher Flavelle New York Times February 12, 2020

T-Mobile and Sprint are set to merge as the big get bigger Edmund Lee New York Times February 11, 2020

Harm through the market 2020

Global financial giants swear off funding an especially dirty fuel Christopher Flavelle New York Times February 12, 2020

T-Mobile and Sprint are set to merge as the big get bigger Edmund Lee New York Times February 11, 2020

How U.S. firms helped Africa’s richest women exploit her country’s wealth Michael Forsythe, Kyra Gurney, Scilla Alecci and Ben Hallman New York Times January 19, 2020

Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn are the authors of “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope,” from which this essay is adapted.

Who killed the Knapp family? Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn New York Times January 9, 2020
Across America, working-class people — including many of our friends — are dying of despair. And we’re still blaming the wrong people.

More than a third of U.S. healthcare costs go to bureaucracy Linda Carroll Reuters January 6, 2020
U.S. insurers and providers spent more than $800 billion in 2017 on administration, or nearly $2,500 per person – more than four times the per-capita administrative costs in Canada’s single-payer system, a new study finds. The original journal article may be viewed at Health Care Administrative Costs in the United States and Canada, 2017

Oppression and Exploitation News December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020

Opposing oppression, injustice 2019

All the political revolts America ignored in 2019 Juan Cole Truthdig December 26, 2019

25 journalists killed in 2019 64 journalists missing in 2019 Committee to Protect Journalists December 2019

Special Report: Iran’s leader ordered crackdown on unrest – ‘Do whatever it takes to end it’ – about 1,500 killled Reuters December 23, 2019

A year of protests sparked change around the globe Alan Crawford Bloomberg News December 6, 2019

Harm through the market 2019

Prime power: How Amazon squeezes the businesses behind its store Karen Weise New York Times December 19, 2019
Twenty years ago, Amazon opened its storefront to anyone who wanted to sell something. Then it began demanding more out of them.

Prime leverage: How Amazon wields power in the technology world Daisuke Wakabayashi New York Times December 15, 2019
Software start-ups have a phrase for what Amazon is doing to them: ‘strip-mining’ them of their innovations.

Discrimination 2019

We are witnessing a rediscovery of India’s Republic Rohit De and Surabhi Ranganathan New York Times December 27, 2019
Indians protesting against a discriminatory citizenship law are using the Constitution as a rallying cry.

Indian parliament passes divisive citizenship bill, moving It closer to law Jeffrey Gettleman and Sushasini Raj New York Times December 11, 2019 Updated December 16, 2019

Obtaining income through the government 2019

How big companies won new tax breaks from the Trump administration Jesse Drucker and Jim Tankersley New York Times December 30, 2019
As the Treasury Department prepared to enact the 2017 Republican tax overhaul, corporate lobbyists swarmed — and won big.

Corporate tax avoidance in the first year of the Trump tax law Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy December 16, 2019
When drafting the tax law, lawmakers could have eliminated special breaks and loopholes in the corporate tax to offset the cost of reducing the statutory rate. Instead, the new law introduced many new breaks and loopholes, though it eliminated some old ones. The unsurprising result: Profitable American corporations in 2018 collectively paid an average effective federal income tax rate of 11.3 percent on their 2018 income, barely more than half the 21 percent statutory tax rate.

Tax havens

How U.S. firms helped Africa’s richest women exploit her country’s wealth Michael Forsythe, Kyra Gurney, Scilla Alecci and Ben Hallman New York Times January 19, 2020

Tech giants shift profits to avoid paying taxes. There is a plan to stop them. Jim Tankersley New York Times October 9, 2019

Tackling tax havens Nicholas Shaxson Finance and Development September 2019
Tax havens collectively cost governments between $500 billion and $600 billion a year in lost corporate tax revenue … through legal and not-so-legal means. Of that lost revenue, low-income economies account for some $200 billion—a larger hit as a percentage of GDP than advanced economies and more than the $150 billion or so they receive each year in foreign development assistance. American Fortune 500 companies alone held an estimated $2.6 trillion offshore in 2017, though a small portion of that has been repatriated following US tax reforms in 2018. And individuals have stashed $8.7 trillion in tax havens.

 In less than a decade, phantom FDI has climbed from about 30 percent to almost 40 percent of global FDI. Credit: IMF
In less than a decade, phantom FDI has climbed from about 30 percent to almost 40 percent of global FDI. Credit: IMF

The rise of phantom investments Jannick Damgaard, Thomas Elkjaer, and Niels Johannesen International Monetary Fund September 2019 Some worthwhile and interesting (even astounding) points in this article including:

  • Luxembourg has as much Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as the United States, and more than China.
  • In practice, FDI is defined as cross-border financial investments between firms belonging to the same multinational group, and much of it is phantom in nature—investments that pass through empty corporate shells.
  • Total world FDI is $40 trillion. Phantom investments are $15 trillion or 30 percent of FDI, a percentage which has increased in recent years in spite of efforts to crack down on tax avoidance.
  • A few well-known tax havens host the vast majority of the world’s phantom FDI. Luxembourg and the Netherlands host nearly half. And adding Hong Kong SAR, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Singapore, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Ireland, and Mauritius to the list, these 10 economies host more than 85 percent of all phantom investments.
  • The firms, individuals and others who set up these empty corporate shells abroad receive substantial investments from such entities, with averages across all income groups exceeding 25 percent of total FDI.

Corporate Tax Haven Index 2019 Tax Justice Network May 28, 2019
The Corporate Tax Haven Index ranks the world’s most important tax havens for multinational corporations, according to how aggressively and how extensively each jurisdiction contributes to helping the world’s multinational enterprises escape paying tax, and erodes the tax revenues of other countries around the world. It also indicates how much each place contributes to a global ”race to the bottom” on corporate taxes. The top three tax havens were the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, which are either a British overseas territory or crown dependency. If Britain’s network were assessed together, it would be at the top. 

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