|Picture credit: flickr.com/400(k)2013|
Offshore banking, secret financial havens, money laundering and corruption steadily corrode the foundations of the nation-state. Offshore tax havens, spread by new computing and telecommunications, provide an unprecedented tax shelter, enabling rich citizens and corporations to escape the national tax system - eroding the tax base, weakening state finance and undermining the legitimacy of the tax system in the eyes of ordinary citizens. Offshore havens also promote money laundering, aiding criminal anti-social activities of all kinds, beyond the detection of national authorities. Corruption of public officials flourishes under such conditions, in the North as in the South, further eroding the capacity of the state to operate "legally" and to command the loyalty of its ordinary citizens.