Christian Chavagneux and Ronen Palan’s Les Paradis Fiscaux is a great (and mercifully short) introduction to tax heavens, banking secrecy and the offshore financial world. And it’s in French. For my non-French readers, not to worry, hopefully, my review will give enough substantial information… or, y’all could learn French! However, I have preserved what I think are the best quotes in the original language so as to preserve their value.
The book’s central thesis is that the development of offshore financial centers since the 1960s is an integral part of the dynamics of contemporary globalization, both in the financial and productive sectors. Tax heavens are now a pillar without which contemporary economic globalization could not function.
And surprisingly, they have not been studied to the extent that they should have been. For orthodox economic literature, tax heavens are a product of overtaxation in industrialized countries or a simple manifestation of informal economies. Both views are faulty according to Chavagneux and Palan.