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A Staggering $12Tn In Assets Has Been Lost To Global Offshore Industry

A Staggering $12 Trillion In Assets Has Been Lost To Global Offshore Industry by Tax Justice Network


The definition of victory for this paper is to review and improve upon existing estimates of the size, growth and distribution of untaxed private wealth protected and serviced by the global offshore industry.

This is necessarily an exercise in night vision. The subterranean system that we are trying to measure is the economic equivalent of an astrophysical black hole.

Like those black holes, this one is virtually invisible and can be somewhat perilous to observers who venture too close. So, like astronomers, researchers on this topic have necessarily used indirect methods to do their estimates, conducting their measurements from a respectful distance. This indirect approach is painstaking, and has many inherent limitations, as we’ll see.

Unlike in the field of astrophysics, however, the invisibility here is fundamentally man-made. Private sector secrecy and the official government policies that protect it have placed most of the data that we need directly off limits - even though it is, in principle, readily available.

In many ways, the crucial policy question is - what are the costs and benefits of all this secrecy?

Another key theme that emerges from this paper is that there is an urgent need for tax justice advocates and their allies in governments and in the public, especially in ”source” countries where the wealth is coming from, to press the relevant authorities for this...