The Financial Times (October 2 – 2010) reports that one in four hedge funds have moved to offshore companies, and that just two moving to Switzerland will cost the Treasury Â£200m. Total loss Â£500m.
Although Britain has a structural deficit of Â£159.2bn which has a great deal more to do with public spending, and rise, and rise, and rise of the public sector under Labour, the entire financial framework of major economies indicates, that there is overwhelming unfairness in these economies. I think one could change the names of the people who have moved themselves and their money away from the UK and replace them with others, and if the system stays the same, one gets the same result.
Just to repeat, its a systemic problem. At the same time George Osborne on October 20th will announce cuts that are historically unprecedented. These will be far reaching, dramatic, even Shakespearian in their magnitude. Of course, it will not be the hedge fund managers or the merchant bankers that will feel the heat â€“ it will be those that need our help the most, it will be those that are the weakest that will suffer the most. Our world today asks us to question the ethics of the world we live in. Not that in many ways the world is meaner, but I think that through networked communication technologies, we have now the ability to respond to the design problems of the industrial age – that is every single one of us. This is not about protecting the past but about building the future.
The argument has to be for the re-engineering of a society that is more humane and more fair. Something that I outline in my forthcoming book No Straight Lines: how to live, trade, govern and learn in the networked society.