Just wait until he gets to the part about short sellers.
Guardian: It is a message sent from on high to the world’s financial and political elite. The Roman Catholic Church is calling for the effective closure of secretive tax havens as a ‘necessary first step’ to restore the global economy to health.
In a policy paper from the Holy See, Pope Benedict pins the blame for the international financial crisis largely on ‘offshore centres’, many of which, such as the Channel Islands, are British dependencies.
‘They have given support to imprudent economic and financial practices and have also played a significant role in the imbalances of development, allowing a gigantic flight of capital linked to tax evasion,’ says the report. ‘Offshore markets could also be linked to the recycling of profits from illegal activities.’
The Pope points to estimates that the global fiscal deficit caused by offshore activities could amount to a staggering $255bn (£175bn) which is ‘more than three times the entire sum of [global] development aid’.
The papal intervention comes as a growing and powerful coalition of civil society, unions and multi-faith groups, frustrated by the limited response to the economic crisis by western governments, are starting to construct a radical framework to rebuild the global financial system after the most calamitous destruction of value seen for 80 years.
In language that barely conceals the Vatican’s anger at the effect of the credit crunch on the world’s poorest people, the reflection paper argues that tax havens, which banks use to escape the gaze of international financial watchdogs, facilitate the transfer of wealth from poverty-stricken nations to the rich world.
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