62 capitalists have as much money as 3.5 billion living in socialism



Oxfam has issued a disturbing report indicating 62 people have at least as much money as 3.5 billion others. It immediately started salivating on prospects to grab this money and redistribute it in the way that Oxfam deems best:

About $7.6 trillion US of individuals' wealth sits in offshore tax havens, and if tax were paid on the income that this wealth generates, an extra $190 billion US would be available to governments every year, Gabriel Zucman, assistant professor at University of California, Berkeley, has estimated.

As much as 30 per cent of all African financial wealth is held offshore, costing about $14 billion US in lost tax revenues every year, Oxfam said, referring to Zucman's work. This is enough money to pay for healthcare that could save 4 million children's lives a year, and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school, Oxfam said in its report.

What's only hinted at in this report are who these 62 people are and who the 3.5 billion are. Guess what? The vast majority of the 62 are from capitalist countries--America, Europe, or Japan (and Saudi Arabia). The article said that many of the poorest are in India, and my own research shows that many more of the poorest are in Africa.

What do we know about India and Africa? They are socialist economies. They have rigid work rules and protectionism for industries. They do not have laws that sufficiently protect private property.

No wonder 3.5 billion in these countries have nothing!

Oxfam's solution is redistribution.

I have a different solution: capitalism. If these countries opened up their markets to competition, both within and without, and passed laws respecting private property and enforced them, and had low rates of taxation, they would solve their poverty problems without much help from Oxfam. A lot of those "offshare tax havens" would disappear if corporate tax rates were not so confiscatory and money would return to their native countries.

Oxfam's take on this:

"The figures suggest that the biggest causes of poverty are ... political, economic and social marginalization of particular groups in countries that are otherwise doing quite well," development economist Owen Barder is quoted as saying in the OECD report. Barder is director for Europe at the Center for Global Development.

I don't even know what "social marginalization" is. Not being asked to dance at a high school prom?

I would say instead the real problem is "free market marginalization."
But don't expect to see that in an Oxfam report.

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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