Offshore Tax Havens: The Borderlands of Global Capitalism
Tax havens (or offshore financial centers) are often cited as evidence of contemporary capitalism’s “borderless world” – where, for example, millions or even billions of dollars are transferred instantaneously from metropolitan states1 such as China to offshore tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean or Samoa in the Pacific. Yet tax havens and their usefulness for capital depend on their being able to pass laws and hold assets within the jurisdiction of their borders and their ability to defend these borders against taxation and regulation by metropolitan states. In this chapter the following major themes will be discussed: 1) The nature of offshore financial centers (OFCs) as borderlands 2) How onshore governments’ actions towards OFCs may be more expressive than instrumentally effective, and how onshore tax agencies’ aggressive rhetoric against tax havens in border skirmishes is often hypocritical and ignores class-based realities 3) How the transnational capitalist class (TCC) in the emerging Asia-Pacific, especially in China, has developed symbiotic relationships with tax haven borderlands, increasing their vitality 4) How the TCC’s factions diverge sharply in their approaches to tax havens and borders, producing relative incoherence in practical policies towards offshore borderlands Globalization transforms borders’ meanings by increasing transactions’ volume and speed across them. It also widens the range of choices over which sovereign states will provide the laws and regulatory systems that govern these transactions.
Globalization and Transnational Capitalism in Asia and Oceaia
Sociology not elsewhere classified