I’ve been reflecting recently on the issue of big corporations and high net worth people avoiding tax. If we look at the countries that seem to have less inequality and healthier, happier populations, they have high tax and high government spending. A lot of the sexy tech based solutions that Silicon Philanthropists get excited about and back are simply reacting to the symptoms of entrenched systemic issues. Better state provided education and health would lay the foundation for less inequality and less poverty. But the state is struggling to provide basic crisis management services, let alone preventative services. How do we get people and companies to pay the tax they owe? Consumer power? Why don’t companies and rich people pay tax? Their philanthropic activity feels shallow and pointless when it is simply responding to deep systemic problems that their business activity and tax avoidance perpetuates.

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