How Buddhist Tax Accountants and Whistle Blowers can change the world

June 10, 2016
Max Lawson is back again (he seems to have more time to write now he’s Oxfam International’s policy guy on inequality) to discuss tax morality and a bizarre encounter with a Buddhist accountant A few years ago I went on a hiking holiday with a number of people I didn’t know, and ended up befriending a tax accountant.  He was a very

The Global Beneficial Ownership Register: a new approach to fighting corruption by combining political advocacy with technology

May 11, 2016
A second post on corruption ahead of tomorrow’s summit. Activists are often more concerned with how they see the world than with understanding how others see it, but understanding what motivates and incentivises others is crucial to building coalitions for change. Transparency campaigner David McNair describes one such example, a wonky-but-important demand for a Global Beneficial Ownership Register to curb

How do we make sure the Panama Papers lead to lasting reforms on tax evasion?

April 7, 2016
Scandals like the Panama Papers are a massive potential driver of policy change. In normal times, the sources of inertia are great and politicians wishing to make change happen face an array of vested interests and fixed ideas telling them what they want is either insane or impossible. It takes a scandal to shake things up, delegitimize the status quo,

My Friend Died Last Week – Tax Could Have Saved His Life

February 26, 2015
My colleague Max Lawson (@maxlawsontin ), Oxfam’s head of global policy and campaigns, lost a friend to illness recently, and wrote this fine, angry polemic in response (it appeared earlier this week in Huffpo): My friend died last week. Mr Kumambala was a great man, who had taught mathematics to Malawi’s children for more than forty years. His huge smile and

Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries now around $1 trillion a year

January 14, 2009
According to a new paper from the Global Financial Integrity watchdog. The paper defines illicit financial flows as ‘the proceeds from both illicit activities such as corruption (bribery and embezzlement of national wealth), criminal activity, and the proceeds of licit business that become illicit when transported across borders in contravention of applicable laws and regulatory frameworks (most commonly in order to evade