Offshore Finance

Authored by: Rodrigo Fernandez , Reijer Hendrikse

The Routledge International Handbook of Financialization

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138308213
eBook ISBN: 9781315142876
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315142876-19

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Abstract

Despite increased scrutiny following a streak of data leaks, writing about offshore finance remains a daunting task. Besides the legal complexities that surround offshore finance, powerful interests are dedicated to obscure the workings of tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions, resulting in enduring definitional and statistical limitations, feeding the blatant denial of their very existence. The workings of offshore finance, however, are indispensable to any understanding of financialization, which might be aptly defined as the growing dominance of finance over society at large. Far from being a fringe phenomenon, offshore finance constitutes the nerve center of contemporary capitalism, as the world’s dominant capital stocks and flows are today habitually routed and deposited offshore, with global corporations and elite wealth thoroughly interlaced with the offshore world – for reasons of secrecy, tax and related aims to boost asset protection and financial returns. Amongst others, offshore finance is a key driver of mounting inequality, the breakup of social contracts underlying welfare states, ecological disaster, financial crises and rising authoritarianism.

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