BY JOSÉ CARLOS MARULANDA
The recently-leaked Paradise Papers and the parasites it exposes should come as no surprise to anyone given the nature of global capitalism.
What it does do, however, is help those of us struggling to dismantle the capitalist-imperialist system point to tangible ways in which the ruling class hoards wealth gained from exploiting workers and resources all over the world, especially in the Global South.
Today, when we speak up against the capitalist-imperialist system that engulfs the whole planet, most citizens of the West, which makes up a majority of the First World, would dismiss you as a conspiracy theorist. At best, some leftists in the West would admit to some multinationals that operate outside state boundaries and international law.
The Paradise Papers incident irrefutably demonstrates that monarchies, governments, individual politicians, national businesses, multinationals and even everyday citizens take part in exploiting the masses of the Global South.
That is, the global capitalist system has been designed to benefit the core nations, including their respective working classes, by leeching off of periphery nations.
Take, for example, the case of the British Queen’s estate who was exposed as having had invested in the BrightHouse retailer as part of an offshore portfolio. All liberal media outlets in the West cried this as unjust because the Queen and her estate avoided taxation in Great Britain, tax wealth that could potentially have gone to the government’s treasury for the benefit of the general public.
What all of these media outlets also failed to detail was the fact that BrightHouse’s profits come from the exploitation of workers and resources in the Third World. It is true their involvement in capitalist-imperialist practices are indirect as they are retailers of other brands. Nonetheless, their multibillion-dollar business undoubtedly helps oil the gears of this system.
Similarly, more obvious multinational companies such as Nike, Apple and Amazon were all also found to have made use of offshore accounts in order to avoid paying taxes. Focusing on the fact that they don’t pay their taxes helps to distract from the fact that their profits are made from the enslavement of workers, often children, in the Global South.
Ultimately, the West is not interested in this broad economic and geopolitical context. To the West and its media, what matters most is that those implicated share their capitalist loot in the form of “fair” tax contributions.
The problem is then painted as if it were isolated cases of “corruption” and “fraud,” rather than about a world system that oppresses and exploits billions of human lives.
The importance of leaking documents such as the Paradise Papers is not just the individual cases that are exposed but linking these cases to the broader problem of capitalism-imperialism.
If we trace the wealth of all those implicated in these documents we will undoubtedly arrive at the conclusion that capitalism as a whole is the problem. Not its deficient regulations and its defective laws, but the system in its entirety.