The Panama Papers Don’t Depict a System That’s “Rigged,” But One That’s Incomplete
THE REVELATIONS OF THE PANAMA PAPERS ARE LESS AMAZING IN WHAT THEY UNCOVER THAN THE FACT THAT THEY BECAME PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE, THANKS TO THE ORIGINAL WHISTLE-BLOWER AND THE FOLLOW-ON EFFORTS BY A CONSORTIUM OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS. There's nothing new in tax evasion through parking one's financial assets "offshore." That's been around for a very long time. Instead, what's truly stunning here is the routinization and systematizing of these nefarious practices. It reminds me of the leap from a pogrom to the Holocaust: a massacre you can attempt to blame on particular circumstances, timing, leaders, etc., but a genuine effort at genocide is something operating on an entirely different level. The former, because it's short-lived, can be sustained by emotion, but the latter, because it takes years of consistent effort, requires something far worse - a truly deformed sense of morality.
That's the sort of sick feeling I get from the Panama Papers: that realization that so many bought into these schemes for so long. I'm not naive. The "bad actors" (criminal, dictators, super-rich) trying to hide their stolen or otherwise ill-gotten wealth - them, I get. They've been around forever. It's all the facilitating organizations and their employees whom I find truly disturbing. Sure, the majority could have simply been "following orders," but no one operating in these complex working environments can plead any genuine ignorance of what was going on. They were all - on a truly grand scale - facilitating the further impoverishment of the the poor and the hollowing out of the middle class so as to make the already filthy rich that much more filthy.
Like virtually every globe-spanning scandal to date in this era of globalization, we find clever types aggressively arbitraging between different "markets," sometimes playing on looser rules in certain locations and other times exploiting newcomers to the global economy (their inexperience, lack of understanding, etc.) But understand: that doesn't mean the global economy is "rigged" and thus needs to be dismantled, walled-off, etc. That would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
What the Panama Papers tell us is that there exist far too many regulatory loopholes in the system, or far too many instances where significant harmonization of policies, laws, oversight has not yet happened. So long as they exist, globalization will suffer its dark-side doppelgänger.
The answer remains the one many of us have been preaching for a while now: the world needs a progressive era on par with America's own roughly a century ago, when it radically shifted from a sectional to a truly continental economy, presaging the sort of rapid spreading of networks witnessed in this, the current global variant of that vast integration dynamic. That's why we're currently living through globalization's era of muckraking and whistle-blowers and Wikileaks and Edward Snowdens.
And there is so much more to come.
Resilient Corporation welcomes all such scrutiny and tumult and controversy and debate, because it's what we sell in our Resilient Scores and Index: an end to the excuses and a roadmap toward comprehensive organizational transparency on a global scale. We know full well what it takes to build-out the rest of globalization's landscape of rules, and we intend to do our part by shining our light upon those dark recesses where enterprise resilience is lacking - and, yes, sometimes criminally so.