The recent release by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, that expose hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over connects so many of my fancies that I cannot let that go by without comment.
My hang up with corruption and tax havens popped up in various posts already.
Investigative journalism hasn’t yet but will soon. As a social scientist this trade so often outperforms mine, feeding the public domain with relevant knowledge, acquired in stunningly innovative ways while still following proper fact checking procedures, that I am thoroughly jealous. And while the trade hasn’t made it yet here, some of its peddlers have.
And then there is the art of visualization to make complex stuff accessible. The consortium put a lot of effort into getting this one right before releasing the material. You can read all about what it took here, and have a look for yourself here, or be lazy and watch it all here:
Now, the big question obviously is: what difference is the release going to make? For sure some. Many governments are interested because it offers the opportunity to recap some easy money. But beyond the individual company or crook, or even tax haven, will the system change? Mmmm, no one can read the future but a negative answer seems a pretty safe bet. Which offers me another opportunity to celebrate the human ability to turn muck into beauty.