Latest Developments, May 10

In the latest news and analysis…

Bleeding a continent
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan argues that stopping the “plunder” of Africa by foreign investors will require multilateral efforts:

“The scale of the losses sustained by Africa is not widely recognized. Transfer pricing — the practice of shifting profits to lower tax jurisdictions — costs the continent $34 billion annually — more than the region receives in bilateral aid. Put differently, you could double aid by cutting this version of tax evasion. The extensive use made by foreign investors of offshore-registered companies operating from jurisdictions with minimal reporting requirements actively facilitates tax evasion. It is all but impossible for Africa’s understaffed and poorly resourced revenue authorities to track real profits through the maze of shell companies, holding companies and offshore entities used by investors.

It is time to draw back the veil of secrecy behind which too many companies operate. Every tax jurisdiction should be required to publicly disclose the full beneficial ownership structure of registered companies. Switzerland, Britain and the United States — all major conduits for offshore finance — should signal intent to clamp down on illicit financial flows.”

Orders to kill
The Guatemala Times reports that the security chief of a mine owned by Vancouver-based Tahoe Resources has been caught on tape demanding that protesters be killed:

“The information reveals Rotondo making several statements: ‘God dam dogs, they do not understand that the mine generates jobs’. ‘We must eliminate these animal pieces of shit’. ‘We can not allow people to establish resistance, another Puya no’. ‘Kill those sons of bitches’.

Rotondo was apprehended at the airport La Aurora, when he trying to flee the country. Wire tapping of conversations between him and his son reveal that he planned to leave Guatemala for a while, because ‘I ordered to kill some of these sons of Bitches.’ ”

Bad suits
Bloomberg reports on the boom in investor-state arbitration which one critic likens to a “a quiet, slow-moving coup d’état”:

“Arbitration clauses were originally included in treaties to deal with the nationalization or a company’s assets. Now arbitrators hear claims for lost business or costs stemming from public-health laws and environmental regulation and financial policies, with billions of dollars at stake.
In some instances, investors are even demanding that national laws or court judgments be overturned.

A record 62 treaty-based arbitration cases were filed last year, bringing the total to 480 since 2000, according to the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development. Before then, there were fewer than three a year dating to 1987, when a Hong Kong company brought the first known case over Sri Lanka’s destruction of a shrimp farm in a military operation against Tamil separatists.”

Court politics
The BBC reports that Kenya has asked the International Criminal Court to halt the trials of newly elected president Uhuru Kenyatta and deputy president William Ruto:

“The letter, sent last week, says the prosecutions are ‘neither impartial nor independent’ and could destabilise Kenya.
The UN Security Council is able to defer ICC cases for up to 12 months.
The deferral can be renewed indefinitely, but the Security Council cannot order the court to drop a case.”

Imperial crimes
Author Pankaj Mishra discusses Britain’s apparent “collective need to forget crimes and disasters” that occurred in the time of Empire:

“Astonishingly, British imperialism, seen for decades by western scholars and anticolonial leaders alike as a racist, illegitimate and often predatory despotism, came to be repackaged in our own time as a benediction that, in [Niall] Ferguson’s words, ‘undeniably pioneered free trade, free capital movements and, with the abolition of slavery, free labour’. Andrew Roberts, a leading mid-Atlanticist, also made the British empire seem like an American neocon wet dream in its alleged boosting of ‘free trade, free mobility of capital … low domestic taxation and spending and ‘gentlemanly’ capitalism’.
Never mind that free trade, introduced to Asia through gunboats, destroyed nascent industry in conquered countries, that ‘free’ capital mostly went to the white settler states of Australia and Canada, that indentured rather than ‘free’ labour replaced slavery, and that laissez faire capitalism, which condemned millions to early death in famines, was anything but gentlemanly.”

Toxic environments
Inter Press Service reports on new evidence suggesting the health impacts of toxic waste in poor countries are “on par” with those of malaria:

“Toxic waste sites in 31 countries are damaging the brains of nearly 800,000 children and impairing the health of millions of people in the developing world, two new studies have found.

Toxic sites ‘fly under the radar’ in terms of public health awareness and action. Little research has been done on the health impacts of chemical pollutants in developing countries.”

Syrian agenda
The National reports a Syrian rebel commander’s account of US attempts late last year to pit Syria’s insurgents against one another:

“The Americans began discussing the possibility of drone strikes on [Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat] Al Nusra camps inside Syria and tried to enlist the rebels to fight their fellow insurgents.

‘I’m not going to lie to you. We’d prefer you fight Al Nusra now, and then fight Assad’s army. You should kill these Nusra people. We’ll do it if you don’t,’ the rebel leader quoted the officer as saying.

‘They [foreign governments] are not fighting for the same things as us,’ [the rebel leader] said. ‘Syrians are fighting for our freedom, while they just want us to bleed to death fighting each other.’ ”

Toothless watchdog
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting argues that many mainstream US media outlets are failing once again “to treat [weapons of mass destruction] claims with the skepticism they deserve”:

“Seeing public reticence for another war as a ‘problem’ provides a revealing glimpse into the mindset of so many pundits, who are once again rallying in support of U.S. military action based on sketchy reports about weapons of mass destruction.”

Latest Developments, November 6

In the latest news and analysis…

Multinational taxes
Reuters reports that the British and German governments are pushing fellow G20 members to ensure multinational corporations pay their “fair share” of taxes:

“[British Finance Minister George Osborne and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble] said international tax standards have struggled to keep up with changes in global business practices and that some companies have been able to shift taxation of their profits away from where they are generated.

Opportunities abound for corporations to cut tax costs, usually in legal ways, through careful management of cross-border flows of goods, services and capital among subsidiaries in different countries. International standards urge multinationals to price such dealings at near market levels.
But by under-charging or over-charging one unit in a transaction with another unit, for instance, profits can be shifted from a high-tax jurisdiction to a low-tax one. This is especially true for companies with valuable intellectual capital that can easily be moved between jurisdictions.”

African unit
Defense News reports that a unit of the US Army, the first of its regionally aligned forces brigades, is scheduled to participate in 96 “activities” in 34 African countries over a six-month period next year:

“[Col. Kevin] Marcus said the program isn’t about how long a unit is in Africa, ‘it’s about the regularity of contact and then the ability to link events together over time, so that we’ve got that sustained engagement.’
He declined to go into specifics when asked about hot spots along the Mediterranean, the Sahel region, and places such as Mali.
‘It’s not about one country or region,’ Marcus said. ‘It’s about doing what we can do to protect U.S. interests in building the capacity for African militaries to protect their own interests, and in turn cooperate with ours. It’s not a function of geography, it’s a function of interests.’ ”

Business impacts
The UN News Centre reports that a body of experts has called on governments and corporations to do more to tackle the “adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activities”:

“The affected groups and communities referred to by the [UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises] include children, older persons, indigenous women and men, workers with precarious employment conditions, migrant workers, journalists, human rights defenders, community activists and leaders who protest against or raise allegations concerning the impact of business activities, and marginalized rural and urban communities, as well as minorities that are subject to discrimination and marginalization.”

Foxconn surge
Reuters reports that a controversial Apple supplier’s fortunes are looking up despite allegations of workers’ rights abuses:

“Shares of Foxconn International Holdings Ltd (FIH), the world’s biggest contract maker of cellphones, surged as much as 35 percent after Citigroup upgraded the stock to a ‘buy’ and said it expected the firm to start assembling iPhones this year.

‘Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Xiaomi, Baidu, Tencent are all trying to launch smartphones and none has in-house manufacturing,’ Citigroup said, raising its target price on FIH to HK$5.80 and its earnings estimate for 2013 by 134 percent.
Shares of FIH, which assembles handsets for the likes of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp, jumped as high as HK$3.69 in their biggest one-day gain ever.”

Imperial development
The University of London’s Simon Reid-Henry explores the “post-development thinking” of Colombian anthropologist Arturo Escobar:

“It was a critique of the whole rotten edifice of western ideas that supported development, which Escobar regarded as a contradiction in terms and a sham. For Escobar, development amounted to little more than the west’s convenient ‘discovery’ of poverty in the third world for the purposes of reasserting its moral and cultural superiority in supposedly post-colonial times.
Escobar felt development was, unavoidably, both an ideological export (something Walt Rostow would willingly have admitted) and a simultaneous act of cultural imperialism. With its highly technocratic language and forthright deployment of norms and value judgements, it was also a form of cultural imperialism that poor countries had little means of declining politely.

Through Foucault, Escobar came to the conclusion that development planning was not only a problem to the extent that it failed; it was a problem even when it succeeded, because it so strongly set the terms for how people in poor countries could live. Told how to behave, poor people were made subjects of development as much as they were subjects of their own government.”

British invasions
The Telegraph reports on a new book that claims Britain has, at one time or another, invaded all but 22 of the world’s countries:

“Only a comparatively small proportion of the total in [Stuart] Laycock’s list of invaded states actually formed an official part of the empire.
The remainder have been included because the British were found to have achieved some sort of military presence in the territory – however transitory – either through force, the threat of force, negotiation or payment.
Incursions by British pirates, privateers or armed explorers have also been included, provided they were operating with the approval of their government.”

Nuclear arms
The Toledo International Center for Peace’s Shlomo Ben-Ami argues that the precise number of nuclear weapons in the world is perhaps less significant than their distribution for global peace efforts:

“Although Russia and the US possess roughly 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads, their nuclear capabilities are less of a threat than is the danger of proliferation. It is this fear of a fast-growing number of nuclear-armed states, not the fine balancing of the US and Russian nuclear arsenals, that the case for Global Zero must address. Indeed, addressing the underlying security concerns that fuel nuclear competition in regional trouble spots is more important to the credibility of Global Zero’s goal of “a world without nuclear weapons” than is encouraging exemplary behavior by the two major nuclear powers.
After all, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Iran, and Israel might not be particularly impressed by a reduction in the US and Russian nuclear-weapons stockpiles from gross overkill to merely mild overkill.”

Blogging for change
Global Voices reports on a campaign by Mauritanian bloggers against foreign mining companies “accused of looting Mauritania’s mineral wealth”:

“The participating posts in the campaign focused on the detection of the foreign companies’ violations of environmental laws, and destruction of the surrounding areas.
Moreover, they unveiled the low percentage of profit given by these companies to Mauritania, that reach at the best 4 per cent of the price of mined gold and copper. They also highlighted the discrimination policies pursued by the foreign companies against their Mauritanian employees.”

Latest Developments, April 4

In the latest news and analysis…

Aid down
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development announced that 2011 marked the first time in 14 years that aid from its member countries had decreased.
“In 2011, members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD provided USD 133.5 billion of net official development assistance (ODA), representing 0.31 per cent of their combined gross national income (GNI). This was a -2.7 % drop in real terms compared to 2010, the year it reached its peak. This decrease reflects fiscal constraints in several DAC countries which have affected their ODA budgets.”

Transfer pricing
Reuters reports Brazilian tax authorities have announced new regulations regarding billions of dollars worth of intra-company trade by transnational corporations.
“Under new rules, the Brazilian units of companies such as Bunge, Cargill, Louis Dreyfus, Glencore and Noble must value transactions with overseas units of the same company using international price benchmarks, said Sandro Serpa, a top enforcement official at Brazil’s Federal tax authority.
The measures are aimed at ending “price manipulation” of inter-company imports and exports that allow multi-national companies to evade local taxes, he said.”

Landmine talk
Human Rights Watch points out that while the US has condemned Syria’s use of landmines, America has yet to join the ban on the weapons.
“The United States is not a party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which comprehensively prohibits antipersonnel landmines and requires their clearance and assistance to victims. Yet the US already follows most of the treaty’s key provisions and has condemned new use of landmines by others. On March 14, US Ambassador Susan Rice and the State Department both described reports of Syria’s use of antipersonnel mines on its borders with Lebanon and Turkey as ‘horrific.’

Until the current policy review is completed, the 2004 Bush policy remains in place, permitting the US to use self-destructing, self-deactivating antipersonnel mines anywhere in the world. In accordance with this policy, the US no longer uses antipersonnel mines that do not self-destruct – sometimes called ‘persistent’ or ‘dumb’ mines – anywhere in the world, including in Korea.”

Indigenous IP rights
The Washington Post reports that a DC-based law firm has launched a “first-of-its-kind practice” that combines intellectual property and human rights.
“Spearheaded by founding director and veteran attorney Jorge Goldstein, who specializes in health sciences, the pro bono practice aims to use patent and copyright laws to help indigenous groups in developing countries protect and leverage their right to native or regional intellectual property — such as medicinal plants, artwork and designs — that often get co-opted, patented and sold by multinational corporations, including pharmaceutical companies.”

Intervention doctrine
Manuela Picq, most recently a visiting professor and research fellow at Amherst College, draws a direct line between today’s political ethics and the 15th Century Vatican doctrine of discovery that called for enslavement of non-Christians and occupation of their lands.
“The discourse that rationalised the colonisation of the Americas in the sake of Christianity is the same that justifies protecting human rights in Iraq or privatising water supplies for the sake of development.

Dominant cultures continue to intervene in the autonomy of indigenous peoples. This continuum is proof that the doctrine of intervention did not die with formal processes of decolonisation, adapting to new zeitgeists like a chameleon.
The practice of conquest, more diverse than often assumed, needs to be reconceived as a global political challenge that concerns us all rather than as a mere cultural concern discussed in indigenous forums. It is the international system that is at stake. Universalism cannot be exported, much less imposed. It is a collective practice.”

White guilt
The Center for Global Development’s Charles Kenny writes that people in wealthy countries hold views that “would make [Rudyard] Kipling proud” and are “positively harmful” to both rich and poor countries.
“A recent study in Britain suggested that the dominant image of developing countries remains ‘malnutrition and pot-bellied young children desperate for help with flies on their faces.’ Perhaps that’s not surprising when a survey by journalist Marlon Miller looking at ten years of Africa coverage by major U.S. print media found the most common topic of articles was conflict, corruption, and crime. Or when well-intentioned efforts to mobilize support for famine relief or bringing war criminals to justice in Africa tend to emphasize the worst of the continent and play up the role of outsiders.”

The Overseas Development Institute’s Jonathan Glennie criticizes the “limited nature of development inquiry” that tends to focus on results and cost effectiveness to the virtual exclusion of other considerations.
“So while the Bank’s own evaluators (generally reckoned to be well-equipped and relatively independent) say that 59% of country assistance strategies are completed satisfactorily, the really interesting question is how many of those helped the country rather than hindered it. While Bank advice has helped some countries achieve development, there is no doubt it has done the opposite in others – the evidence is overwhelming. That makes the 59% number meaningless in terms of what it tells us about actual poverty reduction. But it fulfils the requirement of being a number, and will therefore be used in countless powerpoint presentations.”

IFI criticism
Inter Press Service reports on calls by NGOs for international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to practice what they preach when it comes to transparency and accountability, and to alter their traditional policy prescriptions which critics deem harmful to the world’s poor.
“Other groups, such as the Europe Corporate Observatory, raise similar complaints against the Bank and the IMF, for supporting free trade agreements (FTAs) with developing countries, which obviously damage local public health initiatives and food provision.
The most salient case is the European FTA with India, slated to come into force this year, which would force the Indian pharmaceutical industry to cease producing inexpensive generic medications to treat contagious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, which most of the developing world is dependent on as a cheap alternative to patented drugs.”

Latest Developments, December 15

In the latest news and analysis…

Park eviction
The Guardian reports on allegations that members of Kenya’s Samburu community have suffered violent abuse since being evicted from land sold to a pair of US-based charities.
“The London-based NGO Survival International said the Samburu were evicted following the purchase of the land by two American-based charities, the Nature Conservancy and the African Wildlife Foundation.
The groups subsequently gifted the land to Kenya for a national park, to be called Laikipia National Park.

A community leader, who did not wish to be named, described police harassment as enormous. He said police beat people, burned manyattas or traditional homesteads and carried out arbitrary arrests during the period leading up to and including the eviction last year. He said they also confiscated many animals and the intimidation has continued.”

State sues investor
Reuters reports that Brazilian prosecutors are suing Chevron and Transocean for $10.6 billion and are seeking to suspend their Brazilian operations over a November offshore oil spill.
“The case will add to already-large legal headaches for both companies. Chevron has already faced years of litigation over alleged pollution by Texaco, a company it bought, in Ecuador’s Amazon region decades ago.
Chevron was ordered by Ecuadorean courts in February to pay damages of $18 billion. The suit is now under appeal in Ecuador, and the dispute is also being reviewed by an international arbitration tribunal. Transocean was the rig operator in the giant four-billion-barrel Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.”

Investor sues state
The Inter Press Service reports on a protest outside a World Bank tribunal that is hearing a lawsuit brought by a Canadian mining company against the government of El Salvador for refusing to grant permits for a project along the country’s main water source.
“Pacific Rim, which has insisted long insisted that it would use the most up-to-date environmental technology and methods to ensure the integrity and health of the river, brought its suit under an “investor-state” provision of the 2005 Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA).
That provision allows corporations to sue governments over actions that allegedly reduce the value of their investments.

DR-CAFTA is an agreement strictly between the U.S. and Central American countries. Because Pacific Rim is based in Canada, which is not party to DR-CAFTA, it created a U.S. subsidiary in Nevada in 2009 to press its case before the tribunal, after it could not persuade the Salvadoran government to back the mining plan.”

Investment regulation
A new report released by the Bretton Woods Project warns of the dangers of international financial flow volatility and argues poor countries must take measures to guard against foreign investment surges and stops.
“Even more effective would be policies in rich countries to tackle the risks from capital flows at their source. This includes better overall financial regulation, but consideration should be given to specific capital flows policy in source country. More regional and international coordination on capital account regulation, particularly enforcement of rules, would help developing countries deal with financial flows more effectively. Ultimately, a more ambitious global framework agreement could reinforce mutually consistent management techniques across source and destination countries.”

Mining fraud
The Financial Times reports on resentment in Ghana resulting from the perception that foreign mining companies are getting rich off the country’s resources and giving little back in return.
“One lawyer employed by a gold miner in the 1990s told the FT that the company he worked for systematically falsified its accounts to underestimate profits, thereby depriving the state of millions of dollars in taxes.
There are growing suspicions in government circles that similar tax fraud, known as transfer pricing, has been exercised systematically by companies in the sector.”

Illicit financial flows
A new report released by Global Financial Integrity estimates “developing” countries lost $903 billion to illicit financial outflows in 2009 (which is actually lower than the 2008 figure), capping a decade in which they lost $8.44 trillion.
“It would be encouraging to find that the 2009 reduction in illicit outflows occurred because of stronger governance within countries and more transparent financial dealings between countries. There is little indication that this is yet the case. The need for combined global effort to curtail illicit financial flows is more urgent than ever. We are pleased to note that the G20, OECD, World Bank, and others are beginning to take this issue much more seriously.”

An important distinction
ECONorthwest’s Ann Hollingshead draws a distinction between the concepts of “ill-gotten money” and “illicit financial flows,” which have markedly different economic impacts on poor countries.
“The [World Bank] authors study what they term ‘ill-gotten money,’ which they define as ‘money derived (illegally acquired) from crime and tax evasion.’ This includes not only illicit cross-boarder transfers and assets held abroad, but also illicit transfers and assets held and transferred domestically. The difference between this concept and illicit financial flows is important. The economic effect of a criminal activity alone is quite different than the economic effect of a criminal activity with a corresponding transfer of cash internationally. Or the economic effect of an illicit cross-boarder transaction where the underlying activity itself was not illicit.”

Legal corruption
The New York Times reviews Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig’s new book, Republic, Lost, in which he explores the idea of legal corruption.
“There is, in his view, one thing holding back America, a legal but corrupt system of campaign finance. ‘Practically every important issue in American politics today is tied to this ‘one issue,’ ’ he writes. Mr. Lessig’s agenda (invoking Thoreau) is to attack ‘the root, the thing that feeds the other ills, and the thing that we must kill first.’
Existing campaign finance reforms, particularly donor disclosure and contribution limits, have done as much harm as good, leading to ‘a corruption practiced by decent people’ and legitimizing what Mr. Lessig calls ‘a gift economy.’ Disclosure of the identities of contributors has made the venal routine. The system ‘normalizes dependence,’ Mr. Lessig writes. ‘There’s is no shame in the dance.’ ”

Latest Developments, October 27

In the latest news and analysis…

French weapons
Jeune Afrique reports that the French defence ministry has released its annual report to parliament on arms exports and while undemocratic Morocco was the top African importer, Arab Spring heavyweights Libya and Egypt were second and fourth, respectively.
“Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi fought the rebels with new French weapons: 88.4 million euros worth of military equipment was shipped to Libya last year (the most in five years), according to a report to parliament for 2010 published on Oct. 26. While Paris insists arms exports are conditional on the “respect for human rights” of the buyers, that criterion was not applied to the Jamahiriya… But ministry of defence spokesman General Philippe Pontiès said “as soon as the Arab revolutions began, all authorizations were frozen.” (Translated from the French)

Corporate warlords
A Nigerian foreign affairs official has called for a crackdown on the illegal importation of small arms into West Africa by “corporate warlords” from rich countries, according to the Africa Report.
“[Lawrence Olefumi Obisakin] said small arms and light weapons were the “weapons of mass destruction” in West Africa, in view of the devastation witnessed from their misuse and the destabilising effects they had on the region’s socio-economic development, including the Niger Delta.
Nigeria had spent more than $10 billion in the last two decades to stem the tide of recurrent conflicts caused by the circulation of an estimated eight million small arms, he said.”

Canadian expropriation
A coalition of human rights and indigenous peoples’ groups has released a statement welcoming the start of an international hearing into land rights in Canada.
“The case before Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concerns the 1884 expropriation of over 237,000 hectares of resource-rich land from the traditional territories of the Hul’qumi’num peoples on Vancouver Island. The Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group (HTG) alleges that Canada has violated international human rights norms by refusing to negotiate for any form of redress for the expropriated lands, which are now mostly in the hands of large forestry companies, and by failing to protect Hul’qumi’num interests while the dispute remains unresolved.”

Consumers of war
In an interview with the Calgary Herald, physician and humanitarian Samantha Nutt discusses her new book Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid and the ways in which rich countries help perpetuate conflict around the world.
“We think these conflicts around the world have nothing to do with us,” she says, adding, “We are, literally, consumers of war,” through everything from our pension funds to the purchasing of cellphones, diamond rings and gasoline.
“The Canada Pension Plan has investments in arms manufacturers,” she says, noting in her book she provides advice to average Canadians on how to keep closer tabs on where their investments, and charity dollars, go.”

Tanzanian taxman
Reuters reports South African mining giant AngloGold Ashanti has started paying a 30 percent corporate tax rate to Tanzania after more than a decade of commercial production in the country.
“The government began negotiations with mining companies to pay the tax after drafting a new mining policy in 2009 and the subsequent passing of new mining legislation last year.
‘This is the first time that AngloGold will start paying corporate tax since it entered the Tanzanian market,’ said the presidency.
Australian gold miner Resolute Mining was the first mining company to start paying corporate tax in Tanzania, according to the African country’s minerals ministry.
Mining officials said the government was also in talks with African Barrick Gold , which has four gold mines in Tanzania, on payment of the tax.”

Social protection floor
A new UN report calls for the worldwide establishment of a “social protection floor” that would guarantee a basic, livable income for all through transfers in cash or in kind.
“This report…shows that the extension of social protection, drawing on social protection floors, can play a pivotal role in relieving people of poverty and deprivation. It can in addition help people adapt their skills to overcome the constraints that block their full participation in a changing economic and social environment, contributing to improved human capital development and stimulating greater productive activity. The report also shows how social protection has helped to stabilize aggregate demand in times of crisis and to increase resilience against economic shocks, contributing to accelerate recovery towards more inclusive and sustainable development paths.”

Mandatory harmonization
The European Network on Debt and Development’s Alex Marriage argues proposed EU corporate tax harmonization is a nice idea but may do more harm than good unless it establishes a compulsory minimum rate.
“The [European] Commission’s proposal is commendable for introducing a form of formulary apportionment which seeks to establish where real economic activity takes place by looking at staffing levels, sales, assets, etc. meaning that companies cannot simply cherry pick the location where rates are lowest. This would be a crucial step forward in the fight against transfer pricing abuse by companies that use subsidiaries in low tax jurisdictions in order to minimise their tax bills. Secondly this is a move towards increased tax cooperation.”

The failure fad
Bottom Up Thinking’s MJ argues that the development industry’s growing penchant for admitting failure is a good thing but is unconvinced that this newfound humility has so far actually led to any fundamental questioning of assumptions.
“It’s hard enough to admit failure in the first place. It’s even harder to admit that you might actually be the problem. And what matter most is what you do after you’ve admitted failure.”