Noah denkt™  -
    Project for Philosophical Evaluations of the Economy
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Citizens of the international community
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on corporate tax policies, first drafted on May 22, published on May 23, 2013
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Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): Back in 2008,
you indicated that corporate attempts to minimize a
company’s tax burden by relocating their international headquarters to fiscal havens would ultimately create more
harm than benefit for the tax avoiding company. It seems that your prediction is now coming to haunt multinational
enterprises like Apple and Google. Just look at the harsh grilling that Apple CEO Tim Cook received on May 21 at
the hands of US Senators who are currently looking into this matter. Does Noah denkt™ feel vindicated by this
change of public opinion?
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): It is true that a couple of years ago we were quite weary of the hard knuckled
financial engineering that multinationals employ to reduce their tax burden. But meanwhile, we do not see this as
negative anymore as we used to.

AE: Why is that?
Nd: Because we have come to realize that our general perception of home has significantly changed since then.
After all, we no longer are the erstwhile cautious travellers who, for the first time in their lives, set foot into a
different culture. Instead we have now become international creatures whose allegiances transcend the traditional
limits of patriotism. Just look at the number of times that even national governments invoke the supremacy of the
“international community” to explain their foreign policy goals. Does it not follow from this that it has become unfair
to expect non-governmental entities to subject themselves to an old style tax patriotism when even the
governments themselves no longer defend their views from a nation-state point of view?

AE: But isn’t it still the erstwhile parochialism who has nurtured you to become what you are? And isn’t it the old
nation-state that you will continue to turn to once the cookies go to crumble elsewhere? In other words, should
you, not sense a moral obligation to pay up for the internal and external protection that your home country
ultimately is providing you with?
Nd: Well, Apple and Co. are paying a significant amount of taxes in the US. They are just not paying as much as
the traditional notion of homeland would ask them to do.

AE: It cannot possibly be legitimate and healthy to pretend that sales have been generated in Ireland, when they
in reality happened in Spain or elsewhere! There can be no doubt that something is profoundly mistaken if a
company presents its salespeople as being ascribed to the Irish subsidiary when in truth said employees spend
most of their time, even their lives elsewhere in the world!
Nd: Perhaps, all this wouldn’t happen
if the countries that feel betrayed by multinational tax management would
take their tax code cues from places like Ireland.

AE: In other words, you are suggesting that countries should enter into a global competition for the lowest
corporate and personal tax levels?
Nd: Look, there is a global competition for investment going on as we speak. And countries are very aware and
very active in this.

AE: But not every culture may be interested to embrace the mercantile mentality of neo-liberalism (
see Victor Hugo)?
Nd: Everyone can do as he or she wishes, can’t they?

AE: No, they cannot. The fact of the matter simply is that the power of markets and/or multinational companies is
so strong that entire countries have no other choice but to accept
the logic of neo-liberalism if they don’t want to
perish into poverty.
Nd:  Well, apparently people in the end prefer to live in prosperity rather than in romantic community.

AE: Don’t be cynical here, please! This is serious stuff. After all, we are talking about the concept of national
sovereignty here.
Nd: So do we. And that is why we encourage everyone to prepare for the reality as it is instead of yearning for
a
fantasy land that isn't.
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Keywords:

corporate tax evasion, fiscal safe haven, tax havens, financial engineering, tax patriotism,
the notion of patriotism and international community, the perception of home, the notion of
patriotism under collective security systems, nation-state and globalization