Monday, May 27, 2019

Moneyland (Oliver Bullough)

Oliver Bullough’s Moneyland is a journey into a place that exists not on a map, nor in an app, nor in some virtual reality scene. This book is about the inside story of the highest of high net worth individuals who conceal large chunks of their wealth to avoid taxes or to hide their criminal affairs.

Bullough takes readers on a jet-set trip across the world to the Caribbean, London, the Channel Islands, the Sahel, the Ukraine, Russia, and the United States. Each of these locations is a willing or unknowing participant in setting up financial shelters for the super rich. Some of those super rich earned their money through completely legal manners and are looking for the best return on their assets at the lowest tax rate. Others obtained their money through illegal means. Bullough’s Moneyland is a place without borders and reflects the flow of money around the world, seeking out the best and easiest way to protect its value and those who have a lot of wealth.

The author goes through a detailed review of how the so-described “Moneyland” came to be, between loopholes in global financial arrangements, to various nations selling their citizenship for a price, to the development of layered corporations as tax shelters. All of this occurs to hide and make it near impossible to figure out just who owns that expensive condo or that business venture. Of course, given modern events, current political players and their surrogates take a willful role in the “Moneyland” stage.

Bullough’s book is a great read if you are interested in finance and curious to know how some of the one-tenth of one percent flaunt law, taxation, and decency all in order to hoard more of their wealth. Bullough offers pointed suggestions to bring about Moneyland’s demise, including better vigilance from politicians and voters alike.