Nov 16, 2023

How plutocrats opt out of democracy

In a review of Crack-Up Capitalism by Quinn Slobodian, Daniel Immerwahr highlights the political consequences of tax havens and other capital-friendly enclaves – or loopholes – in the world economy:

For market radicals, it’s been a liberation. Although traditionally they’ve dreamed of a borderless world, now they’re seeking an intricately bordered one. “If we want to increase freedom,” the billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel has advised, “we want to increase the number of countries.” The more jurisdictions there are, the thought goes, the easier it is to go sovereignty shopping.

For Slobodian, however, this isn’t liberation but “secession.” Corporations and the rich, by channeling their activities into small, exceptional spaces, have escaped the reach of states. The result is a “radical form of capitalism” that evades public accountability—or even scrutiny. An economy of zones, islands, and enclaves also means, Slobodian contends, a “world without democracy.”

Read more here.