Fine Words But No Action

The members of the G20 recently released a statement about their plans to prevent tax avoidance by multi-national companies. In reality what they mean is they will prevent tax avoidance by multi nationals in all jurisdictions except their own. I am reminded of people who have all agreed to swim in a very cold pool. They line up on the edge, wearing their swimming costumes. “After you” they say to each other, but no one jumps. No one wants to jump in first because he fears the others may not jump in after him. It is a case of deadlock by “after you” , rather than a case of politeness.

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