Nick Shaxson ■ 2009 – The Next Steps edition



From the Editors

January 2009

The Next Steps Edition – click here

This is a special edition of Tax Justice Focus looking at the tumultuous events of the last year, and looking forward to next steps in a fast-changing world and a deepening global economic crisis. It is edited by Nicholas Shaxson and John Christensen.

In the editorial on page four, What a Year, we look at the remarkable changes that have occurred in 2008, as our agenda has spread rapidly into new constituencies, as TJN focused especially on building up interest ahead of the Doha conference on Financing for Development, and alongside a growing global awakening around TJN’s issues of concern in the context of the global economic crisis. We also look at some of our projects for the year ahead.

In our lead article, Tax and Development Jeffrey Owens, head of tax at the OECD, looks at why tax, long neglected in the development debates, matters so much. He explores the constraints developing countries face with respect to tax, and offers pointers to non-governmental and other actors who want to work in this area. New efforts are needed, he says, to develop an internationally accepted methodology for measuring aspects of the problem.

In our second feature article, The Plato Index on page six, Professor Edmund Valpy Fitzgerald and John Roche lament the lack of good data on tax for developing countries, and explain their revolutionary work (in partnership with TJN) in developing a new tax data base and a new index to measure and compare tax justice, across and between countries. We hope that this index will eventually be included as one of the United Nations Human Development indicators.

John Christensen follows this up with his long feature article on page eight, Doha: A cup half full? (which follows our special Doha edition last April. Examining the moderate progress recorded at the conference on financing for development at Doha, Qatar from November 29-December 2. He came away feeling that tax matters have moved from the periphery to the core of the development debate. We know we have played an important part in this.

Other key articles:

* In Tax Systems for Poverty Reduction on page 10, we look at TJN’s new three-year programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (Dfid) providing education and training materials for NGOs and others working in developing countries.

* The article S4TP – a project for South-South Co-operation on the same page describes a new project in partnership with UN agencies and New Rules for Global Finance coalition, to foster the sharing of best tax practices among developing countries.

This is followed, on page 11, by two film presentations, on The End of Poverty and La Grande Évasion, both of which feature TJN and have had quite an impact.

This edition ends with two expert book reviews. The first is a review by INDIRA RAJARAMAN of the book Institutional Competition by Andreas Bergh and Rolf Hoijer; the second review, by ALESSANDRO SANTORO, looks at David Weisbach’s Economics of Tax Law.

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