Global taxing of multinationals
Bill Gates was once asked whether he thought it was immoral to base his operations in low tax countries with little nexus to his business interests, just so that he could minimise his tax payable on profits. His answer was pretty simple: 'Because I can' he said. 'If people don't like it, they can vote in governments that will change the laws'. (or words to that effect (this was an interview in Australia maybe 7 years ago)). The Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD) , a permanent multinational forum for economic development based in France (OECD), has recently announced a 'treaty' of sorts whereby virtually all of its 136 member countries have agreed to a 15% minimum tax rate on multinational corporations. This is slated to commence in 2023 and be gradually introduced over 10 years. As I understand it, however, all countries still need to ratify the decision; there are carve-outs all over the place; and there will inevitable restructuring, eg, to beat $20 billion minimum turnover threshold for affected companies; and in any event, the rate is only just above the 12.5% which is what Microsoft is paying in Ireland, anyway. (As I understand). Happy to be corrected if I am wrong on any of the above. But if all that is true, would we not be better served by a more organized global governance structure, rather than a global voluntary forum structure, to deal with these things? We live in a small world that needs a lot of action done fast to fix things up. And yet our machinery of global governance is steam when it should be electric, analogue when it needs to be digital. My idea is when it comes to everything global, lets look at governance structures as well as policies. Including when we talk about taxing of multinationals. We don't need to accept the coal fired steam engine model of global governance . As Bill Gates says, its our choice. The trolls are out there satanising new world order talk, no doubt about it. But are we really going to oil only the squeaky wheels, and bow only to the (probably) twenty per cent, the uneducated minority, on these biggest of all issues? The silent majority need to talk about not just policies, but how we can improve and strengthen institutions for global governance.