International Man: Last year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and more than 130 countries agreed to set a minimum global corporate tax rate of 15%.
What’s your take on this push for global taxation?
Doug Casey: They say only two things in the world are inevitable: death and taxes. Both evils, to be avoided. With technology developing at its current pace, let’s discuss the inevitability of death another time. But, unlike death, taxes aren’t part of the cosmic firmament. They’re neither necessary nor desirable.
Let’s go back to the basics, define the word in question, and look at the moral concepts that surround the subject.
What is taxation? It’s actually theft. Why do I say that?
If you look up the dictionary definition of theft, it says, “the act of stealing, specifically the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.”
There is no clause that says, “unless you’re the government, then it’s taxation and not theft anymore.” Theft is theft, even if you and a few associates set yourselves up as the government and decide to call it something else. It’s still destructive, criminal, and immoral, even if you decide the theft is for a “good” purpose.
The ideal in a moral society is voluntarism. Coercion is kept to a minimum. It certainly isn’t institutionalized and made part of the cultural fabric. If funds are needed or wanted, no one has a right to hold a gun to someone else’s head and steal them.
How you think and feel about the subject of taxation is a reflection of your worldview, your ethical makeup, and your essential character. Do you prefer voluntary exchange or coercion? Of course, coercion is the essence of government. That’s why government should be limited to the greatest degree possible.
In that light, it’s very disturbing that 130 national governments have already endorsed the notion of a 15% minimum tax. Why aren’t they, instead, talking about a 15% maximum tax?
If this destructive idea is implemented, at best, we’re going to wind up another layer of bureaucracy to administer worldwide pork barrel spending. Those who are already rich, the politically connected, and the apparatchiks will be huge beneficiaries. Society at large will suffer a big drop in the standard of living.
This trend is evil, destructive, and unnecessary. It should be fought against, not just because it will slow, distort, or even destroy the world economy. Taxes degrade everything, as does any form of theft. But taxes shouldn’t be fought with practical or economic arguments; they should be fought primarily on an ethical and a moral basis.
International Man: So far, the US government hasn’t signed on to the OECD deal even though Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen has strongly supported the creation of a minimum global corporate tax rate.
Do you think American companies and citizens will eventually be under the yoke of a global taxation regime?
Doug Casey: Yes. There’s always been a move towards world government on the part of a certain type of person—the kind who thinks they know what’s best for everyone else. Busybodies who are willing to use force to ensure you do what they think is right. It’s a disastrous idea. These people are the enemies of individualism, liberty, free markets, and Western values in general. They’re actually antihuman.
The ideal isn’t one world government but the opposite. Something as close as we can get to seven billion individual governments where everyone is self-governing. Or at least a world with thousands of small and relatively powerless states—Monacos, Lichtensteins, Dubais, and Hong Kongs. The problem is that government is about coercion, and in a peaceful civil society, you want to limit coercion as much as possible. You don’t want to elevate a local bully’s coercion up to a national level and then, God forbid, a world level.
The people we now have in Washington, the Bidenistas, don’t want just a national stage; they want a world stage for themselves. People who want to control other people often start out as nobodies running for school council. Then they move up to becoming aldermen, then county commissioners, and state representatives. They’re little people with grandiose ambitions, interested in power and telling other people what to do.
It’s natural that the most power-grabbing and venal types are most supportive of international tax initiatives and world government. Janet Yellen? An incompetent nothing/nobody, living proof of the Peter principle and affirmative action. In a depoliticized world, she wouldn’t have risen beyond slicing mortadella behind a deli counter.
International Man: It may start as a global minimum corporate tax. However, what do you think the chances are that it will expand to a worldwide minimum income tax for individuals? Perhaps a global VAT (Value Added Tax) and wealth tax are in the cards too.
Doug Casey: We have to remember that, long ago, when the US was actually an exceptional country, it had no tax. There was no national tax of any type, only import duties, and some excise taxes. Then, as the US mutated into a multicultural domestic empire, hundreds of taxes were imposed to finance it. The income tax is the biggest, of course, followed by Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. With annual Federal deficits now over a trillion and going to two or three trillion as the Greater Depression deepens, you can count on both a national VAT and a wealth tax in the US.
The international agency that they’ll have to set up to monitor the proposed 15% minimum tax will be in a perfect position to push for an international income, VAT, and wealth taxes as well. The UN has been plumping for them for years.
As I’ve often said, there are two types of people in the world: People who like to control physical reality and build things. And people who like to control other people. They’re the kind who go into government and push these ideas.
International Man: Historically, certain jurisdictions have always been willing to accept people and companies looking to escape confiscatory taxation in their home countries.
With most of the world turning into a “tax hell,” what are your thoughts on the future of tax havens?
Doug Casey: It’s absolutely true that the whole world is going in the wrong direction from the point of view of individual liberty and personal freedom.
There are very few places where you can hide. All the great tax havens have rolled over. Although Switzerland withstood being surrounded by Nazi Germany, it’s now little better than any other country in the world when it comes to privacy or avoiding taxes. Europe has been totally conquered by socialist and fascist ideologies.
Uruguay has transformed from being the Switzerland of South America to just another little country bullied by globalists. That happened largely because of pressure from the US, Argentina, and supranational organizations like the OECD, the IMF, and the UN.
The Orient is probably the healthiest horse on the way to the fiscal slaughterhouse because people there have a long-standing cultural tradition of putting their families way before their governments and viewing their governments as dangerous predators.
The power grab that materialized with the COVID hysteria is very disturbing. It’s allowed the World Health Organization, the CDC, and similar bureaucracies to catapult themselves into prominence and power. There’s definitely a trend for NGOs—there are now hundreds of them—to be taken seriously and compete with governments in playing big shot.
At the moment, the US is the only country in the world that taxes its citizens based on nationality, not residence. Even if an American leaves the country and never comes back, he has to file and pay income tax. It’s a huge disadvantage to be a US citizen in today’s world. But other countries—like France, Germany, and Canada seem to be moving in the same direction. The trend is not good.
International Man: Ironically enough, even while the “elite” and top-level politicians promote a regime of global taxation for the plebs, they’re known to use offshore accounts to take advantage of tax havens.
What do you think about this?
Doug Casey: I think you’re referring to the Panama Papers scandal from about 2016. Officials from various countries were using what little remains of international privacy to shield themselves from their own governments.
A word on government employees and politicians—even if they’re charming and sometimes say things that you like. They’re people who like to control other people and, as such, they are basically criminal personalities. They’re not the best and the brightest, as they portray themselves and as their lapdog media show them. They’re simply parasites who would much rather tax other people than produce real wealth themselves. They’re not your friends.
We saw it most graphically in the Soviet Union. On top, you had what were known as the nomenklatura. They got all the privileges, lived in the mansions, and were, in effect, royalty. Surrounding and supporting them were the apparatchiks, who crunched the numbers, implemented the laws, and did what they were told. Nameless and soulless middle managers. In Nazi Germany, Adolf Eichmann is a perfect example—better known than a Soviet equivalent because Hannah Arendt used him to explain the banality of evil after he was hung by the Israelis. 95% of the people everywhere, however, just remain cogs in the wheel, what Marxist/Leninists like to call the “masses.”
The world is moving in the direction of the old Soviet Union, although the Soviet Union itself is dead.
Some of us are more independent than others, but the fact is that none of us can really survive on our own. We’re essentially herd animals, and there’s no way around it. And although technology has always been the friend of the individual in the long run—early on, any new technology tends to work against free agents. Why? Because the State gets hold of it and uses it first. Gunpowder eventually worked to liberate the individual—but not at first.
So far, the issue is in doubt with the computer. On the plus side, there are things like Bitcoin. On the minus side, the computer has enabled the social credit system in China. We’re likely to see a worldwide social credit system. Maybe there will be no place to hide.
On the other hand, the whole system worldwide is becoming unsustainable because of all the distortions, misallocations of capital, and antagonisms that these people and the system have created. Resentment is seething just under the surface with large numbers of people.
I don’t doubt that the world is heading to a Great Reset, as those horrible people at the WEF like to term it. Maybe Covid 2.0 will set it off. Maybe the Greater Depression will. Perhaps climate change hysteria will get out of control. Maybe something resembling World War III will. Maybe mass migrations will. Maybe some population control movement will. Perhaps all these things at once. But we’re likely to have a genuine global Great Reset.
Though, I don’t think the Great Reset will work out as neatly as Klaus Schwab and the Elite hope. Because if we keep moving in the current direction, civilization itself could collapse. Hopefully, it will just be a rough patch towards the continued Ascent of Man.
Reprinted with permission from International Man.