The origin: a better solution for Greece


The second 'rescue' of Greece in 2011 was the final trigger and the origin to start the Human Progress and associated websites, to consciously and actively add a grain of sand to the process toward a better society for ALL in substitution of the now dominating profit-obsessed overindustrialized model that only benefits a few. 
Democracy was invented by the Greek thousands of years ago. How do some recent countries and institutions, that wouldn't even have existed if it weren't for democracy - including the current globally dominant but profoundly corrupt financial system, now dare to be so forcefully demanding? 

With Greece possbily on the edge of bankruptcy again, due to ongoing corruption and speculation by several of the mentioned countries and institutions, the videos of this old article are still valid.

Making money of the back of the Greeks...

Eurodeputy Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Greens/EFA) challenges the European Commission and Parliament about their stance on financial support for Greece.

Grecian Burn (01) - throwing yogurt

Young people and the elderly throw incendiary devices and yogurt to protest Greece's proposed austerity measures.

Grecian Burn (02) - Horsesh** and Credit Default Swaps

Aasif Mandvi explains how Goldman Sachs helped Greek people to continue retiring a few years after puberty.


Grecian Burn - Goldman Sachs - Currency swap - Horsesh** 

(august 2011) Personally, I have already made the step from indignant (indignado) to inspired (inspirado). As I see it the greek problem would actually have an easy solution (additional to what Daniel Cohn-Bendit very well exposes in the video above). At the same time it would also be valid for  Portugal, Ireland or Iceland and, as a matter of fact, most countries if not all:

Abolish tax paradises for once and for all!

With the abolishment of tax paradises (tax havens, off shore banking) a substantial capital, which is hidden at present, would return to society. My conviction is that the average world citizen (98%?) will agree on this. At the same time I know that the official institutions and specialists (the same who did not see the crisis coming and have been unable to solve it up till now) will consider it a too simple point of view and not realistic.  Their reaction is likely to be something like: "Sure, easier said than done!". It seems they have been trying to fight tax havens for decades. Could it be that they have not achieved it yet has to do with the huge amounts of money and the enormous interests involved? ...but what money? And whose interests (and of how many)? The general thought is that those secret paradise bank accounts only contain black money of corrupt politicians, terrorists, organized crime and the weapon industry. However, people forget that also many of the big international corporations with well-known names try very hard to get their money there as well under the eufemistic term of "off-shore banking", which is mainly the same. By doing so the big corporations achieve to greatly avoid taxes, amongs other, gaining an (other) important advantage regarding smaller companies.


Financial piracy

Tax paradises is financial piracy

Even if the multinationals have the capacity and ability to do this through the meshes of national laws in an apparently legal way, in the end the only aim is to evade taxes, take money out of the official stream and possibly to do some obscure business  (see: Frontline documentary). If this still can be considered legal is  reduced to only a question of interpretation. It's capital drained from the official financial streams through financial juggling and hidden from society, as did the pirates with their loots in ancient times. Consequently, the question arises if they actually are still entitled to that money. In reality it is money that actually belongs to the public treasury and partially in your pocket! So why do these tax paradises actually exist and why are they so flabbily tolerated? Again, because such huge amounts of money and such enormous interests are involved, specifically of these (few) large corporations (including banks themselves).  Not even our national governments are strong (or willing...) enough to engage enough pressure.


Social pressure against the dictatorship of the big money

However... if the collective movements in the northern African countries have managed to overthrow decades of dictatorial domination in a peaceful way, why shouldn't the citizens of the world be able to overthrow some centuries of dictatorship by the "big money" and get it out of our system for once and for all? In a peaceful way as well, through collective pressure. In this case not just on a national scale, but on an international level. The latter has always been the stumbling stone to close the tax paradises. There has never been enough international pressure by the different (all) governments, because they still thought and acted too much only on a national scale. Like organised crime, terrorism and arms trade, the multinational corporations have the advantage of being internationally flexible which makes them stronger than national governments. But it seems this advantage can now finally be overcome, because not only crime and industry has globalized, ethic awareness has too, as have the social movements.

International stimulus to abolish tax paradises

To achieve total abolishment of tax paradises a strong and worldwide stimulus is needed and it occurred to me that a very simple formula might just be motivating enough both for the states as for individual people:

The hidden money that is freed from the secret bankaccounts gets divided over the countries according to the owners. In other words the money is given (back) to the country where the owner (person or entity) normally pays his taxes or has his main residence, office or nationality.

Subsequently, 50% of this money goes to the state's Treasury and 50% is equally divided over the population of between 18 and 65 year, that part of the population which traditionally was the work force of a country.

It is impossible to determine the exact amount of hidden/black money in the world (obviously). Estimations run from half to several times the amount of white money. As such, and as long as no-one can contradict it with tangible proof, one has total freedom to simply 'state' that there is twice as much black money in the world than in the official anual stream. In other words, per country simply twice the Gross National Income (GNI).


Greece in one step from bankruptcy to prosperity

GRECIA: La realidad de estos días...Greek bankers using Euro to hit protestors and police[/caption] Getting back to the situation of Greece, which triggered my thoughts in the first place, an easy calculation can now be made. The greek GNI (2007) was estimated $ 314 Billions. This means Greece would get (back) an ample $600 Billion, or $600,000 million. This would mean 300.000 million for the public treasury and the same amount for the people. In other words the greek state would be able to pay back the total credit of €110.000 million that they needed to avoid bankruptcy. And they still would keep almost double that amount. Regarding the distribution over the people; the population of Greece (2010) was an estimated 10,760,136 with about 66 % of people between 15 and 64 years. Bringing it back to the group from 18 - 64 and wrapping it up makes some 7 million. Distributing $300.000 million over 7 million people = $42.857 each.  That is almost four times the average anual salary in Greece ($11,342). Resuming, a country that has been on the brink of bankruptcy suddenly turns prosperous just by bringing hidden money from the tax paradises back into the legal and transparent financial stream. Isn't that just a lot better than the dramatic cuts in retirements, education, health care or infrastructure on one hand and on the other selling a country by pieces (called privatization) to aggressive speculators who were the ones that led Greece to this situation in the first place and who again would earn a lot of money that then again would be partially stashed away on off shore bank accounts. And yes, we're back where we started!


The essence

May it be clear that this calculation is purely hypothetical, based on non verifiable estimations. And the distribution cuotes might vary. But that is irrelevant. I dare to think that the governments and the people of the different countries would not mind if the real outcome would be "only" half or even just a tenth of the above calculation. The essential point is the fact that there a substantial capital hidden "out there" that would instantly solve the critical situation of many countries and inhabitants or at least ease the situation considerably. As clear and recent examples the several Billions on hidden bank accounts of the several north african dictators, which are now going to be "freed" to reconstruct the countries.


Isn't it just the right time to definitely abolish tax paradises?

To start taking action you can sign the petition and/or express your opinion! If you feel more activist you might be interested in attending the protests planned for September 17 In the make:

  • Additional (colateral) advantages of getting tax paradises out of our system!
  • Non violent actions that can be taken to pressure governments, the large corporations and specially banks
  • Introduce and prepare new transparant public financial institutions for substitution.

Further reading:

  • Offshore Banking and Tax Havens Have Become Heart of Global Economy There are anywhere between $10 and $20 trillion sitting offshore at the moment. Half of world trade is processed in one way or another through tax havens.
  • Where the money is there is $15 trillion to $20 trillion in private wealth sitting offshore. Nearly half of it is owned by 91,000 people–0.001% of the world’s population.
  • Tax havens cause povery - We estimate that the amount of funds held offshore by individuals is about $11.5 trillion – with a resulting annual loss of tax revenue on the income from these assets of about 250 billion dollars. This is five times what the World Bank estimated in 2002 was needed to address the UN Millenium Development Goal of halving world poverty by 2015. This much money could also pay to transform the world’s energy infrastructure to tackle climate change.
  • A fair world is a world without tax havens There is nothing wrong in trying to minimise one’s tax burden, but avoidance altogether is immoral.
  • Tax dodging - who pays? Tax is a key weapon in the fight against poverty. Taxes paid by companies and individuals enable governments to fund vital public services such as health care, education, clean water and electricity, and to finance anti-poverty programmes throughout the world. So when multinational corporations and wealthy individuals fail to pay the tax they owe, it's the poor who pick up the bill.
Just a frase I liked, but very applicable:
You can ignore reality... but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality!