Letter: Global tax for multinationals

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The Independent Online
From Mr Ronald Dore

Sir: Lord Desai (letter, 24 October) surely accepts the inevitability of our present-day international monetary system all too easily. Perhaps the removal of national capital controls was inevitable and irreversible, but does it have to be to unregulated markets that nation states surrender control?

What about the potential monitoring role of international organisation? Take those 200 global corporations. Everybody knows that they contrive to declare a good part of their profits not where they make them, but where they are least taxed. They can thus hold national states up to ransom. California tried taxing them on global, rather than local, profits, and came a bad cropper. Only a global taxing authority can tax globally.

Surely the 50th anniversary of the UN is a time to start thinking about how that might be done. It's not beyond the wit of man to devise an international agency that taxes the major multinationals on their global earnings and divides the proceeds on some kind of where-the-value-was-added basis - with a 5 per cent cut for UN peace-keeping.

It may not be beyond the wit of man, but it is well beyond political acceptability to the US and its faithful allies. Is it not time the smaller states started thinking of building a counter-force? We didn't make progress in Britain until the barons started ganging up on King John and gave us Magna Carta.

Yours etc,

Ronald Dore

London School of


London, WC2

24 October