Posts Tagged ‘internet’

We need to take action on the tax shirking oligarchs of the internet

07/12/2012, 07:00:20 AM

by Dan McCurry

Rather like in ancient Rome or the end of the Soviet Union, the sudden expansion of the internet has produced a small number of oligarchs controlling a huge amount of industry.

It was only a matter of time before the moral and ethical questions began to pile up. Initially, they destroyed traditional industry with little or no objection from policy makers or the public, as this was a new and super-efficient way to market goods and services, and we must not stand in the way of progress.

But then the abuse allegations began to mount. Google is accused of using its search engine to guide traffic towards its own services rather than that of its rivals. Amazon is accused of using its dominance to bully publishers. Apple dominates downloads of music and other digital content, creating questions on the state of competition.

Then we discovered that Google and Amazon were using their ability to cross borders unchecked as a tool to avoid tax, and therefore have an unfair advantage over the existing competition.

In fairness, the multinationals invented the rules that the internet giants appear to be feasting on. Starbucks claims to make no profit due to the huge amounts of royalties it has to pay to its subsidiary in low-tax Luxembourg. The royalties are for the right to use its own logo.

Maybe Starbucks should drop serving coffees and stick to its core business of charging customers for a napkin with the logo on. The customer can sit down at a table, with their logo embossed napkin and stroke it for 20 minutes before leaving? Their position is so absurd it’s no wonder that after a modicum of public scrutiny they have volunteered to pay more tax.


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