Right now, the equivalent of ⅓ of the world’s annual income – $21 trillion – is being hidden through tax havens where the rules that apply to the rest of us – like paying taxes to build schools, hospitals and protect citizens – don’t apply to corporations and the super-rich (1). Governments that create tax havens are helping the top 0.02% at the expense of everyone else.
One of the biggest and most important tax havens for the entire global system is the City of London, a square-mile section of the UK's capital city that gets special treatment under the law—and hosts many of the world's largest financial institutions. Almost no one knows the City of London's special jurisdictional status because the City has lobbied hard to protect its secrecy and secure special exemptions from key national legislation like the Freedom of Information Act.
If we can expose the truth and make it a massive issue in the media, we can get UK Prime Minister David Cameron to take action in London that will send a powerful signal to other leaders to challenge tax havens around the world. Big corporations and the super-rich must not be allowed to live by different rules than the rest of us.
For every 20,000 people that sign the petition, /The Rules will put up a billboard in the City of London until the square mile is surrounded.
We aren't going to put an end to tax havens overnight. The reason poverty exists is because of deeply embedded and deeply unjust rules that create systemic inequality. Our goal is to change those rules. Shining a light on the City of London and forcing transparency is a critical first step.
(1) According to the World Bank 2011 figures, global GDP in 2012 was US $69.8 trillion dollars: http://databank.worldbank.org/databank/download/GDP.pdf. And according to The Tax Justice Network there is US $21 - $32 trillion dollars sitting in off shore tax havens around the world: http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/upload/pdf/Price_of_Offshore_Revisited_120722.pdf