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Paradise papers humbug

Over the past few days, The Guardian has been running a series of outraged articles about the so-called “Paradise Papers”, which are revelations about tax avoidance by the great and the good.

The outrage is humbug. It is significant that The Guardian has not opened any of its articles to comment.

If no laws have been broken, than the outrage must be backed by calls for changes in the law. But the entire concept of contemporary tax systems must then be questioned. People are mobile. Corporations are legal constructs. Attempts to tax either are doomed to failure.

The remedy is, or was, well-known – governments should draw the bulk of their revenue from a tax on the rental value of land. Land cannot be hidden, or removed to a tax haven. Its value can be established by market evidence, and an open system of valuation with published land value maps and a properly set up appeals procedure can guarantee justice in application.

One can understand that there is a powerful vested interest against such a reform, but when those who affect to be outraged by the “revelations” are silent on the subject, it looks like disingenuousness.