March 3, 2009

Gordon Brown calls on Obama to join a global crack down on tax havens

Once again Gordon Brown is calling for synchronised action by governments to address a global problem, this time on tax havens.

According to a report in The Guardian today, he is seeking support from the US and other G20 countries and suggesting that countries that do not cooperate should be sanctioned:

Gordon Brown has said he hopes the G20 summit in London will agree to name and shame those countries that refuse to end banking secrecy, warning that their behaviour endangers the stability of the world economy.

The suggestion is countries will be put on a blacklist: "Countries on the list are put at a disadvantage in terms of mutual cooperation and recognition of jurisdictions."

There could be a stronger enforcement regime. In my proposal for a World Transnational Corporation Regulatory Authority, I propose that governments that seek to gain competitive advantage by allowing their corporations to abuse human rights and the environment anywhere in the world could have punitive sanctions levied upon them. Such an approach has worked to enforce World Trade Organisation agreements. See:

With the Simultaneous Policy process, proposals are developed transparently and democratically, unlike the way global policies are usually developed. Back room (or Green room) deals, economic blackmail and other forms of threats are used by the powerful to force through their agenda.

No proposals on tax havens have been put forward for inclusion in the Simultaneous Policy as yet. Whether those of Gordon Brown are the best on offer is debatable, and should be debated. Other proposals are being put forward by the Tax Justice network. See:

Anyone who has signed up as an Simultaneous Policy Adopter can put forward proposals. Simply go to the 'policy' section of:

Adopters call on politicians to pledge to implement the Simultaneous Policy alongside other governments when all, or sufficient, have made the same pledge. Adopters call on their preferred party to sign the pledge, or if they do not have one, all parties to do so, giving a preference to any (within reason) that does so.

Gordon Brown is right to say that global problems need global solutions. But in a globalised world, democratic involvement in developing those global solutions is required. That is what the Simultaneous Policy aims to provide.

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