The Panama Papers confirm that the world’s elite cheat, lie, and steal. Will the masses finally do something about it?
Perhaps the simplest thing to say about the “Panama Papers” is something most of us already know: The rich are not like you and me.
The deepening scandal, born from the leak of a vast trove of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, has inspired a curious mixture of shock and apathy.
The documents, which show the extraordinary lengths the global elite have gone to in order to shield their wealth from taxation, are at once big news and old hat.
The documents, which show the extraordinary lengths the global elite have gone to in order to shield their wealth from taxation, are at once big news and old hat. They provide the nasty details of the kind of business most savvy people assume goes on all the time. You and I pay our taxes; the wealthy find ways to avoid them. For some, reading about the Panama Papers will feel like being told by your parents that Santa isn’t real: merely the final confirmation of a suspicion that you have harbored for a very long time. The game is rigged, and unless you are part of the global one percent, it isn’t rigged to help you.
Were our system healthier, our governments and institutions more responsive to public demand, our people more convinced that the system worked the way it’s intended, our courts and legislative bodies more conducive to securing justice at the expense of the moneyed and the connected, we could expect mass indictments, reform of tax and trade law, and a wide-scale rethinking of what, exactly, we’re globalizing in the age of globalization. A healthy social system would mark this moment as a historical turning point. But this is not a healthy social system, and most of the people living within it know that, and so few of us can muster much in the way of righteous indignation. This is depressing; it is also rational.
This article was originally published by the Foreign Policy Magazine. The Dissent Post extends the courtesy gratitude to the original source.