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British Prime Minister David Cameron is urging the leaders of the major industrialized countries to engage in a concerted global war to penalize producers who try to avoid having their earnings stolen by governments.
Of course, this is not how he sees the situation. Cameron argues that in his own country government agents must be “more aggressive and assertive in confronting corporate tax avoidance.” He is concerned that multinationals like Starbucks and Amazon (that operate in the UK but might be headquartered elsewhere) find loopholes that allow them to escape what he argues is his country’s low and fair tax on enterprise. Other countries like France and Germany face similar situations.
Thus Cameron sees the need for an international alliance of governments but not, as with other such ventures, to liberate the world from a Communist, Islamist, or Nazi menace. Rather, this coalition would liberate enterprises from the profits of their productive efforts.
Cameron’s quest is yet another manifestation of the contradictions inherent in collapsing welfare states. Western Europe, with the United States not far behind, is experiencing the same sort of death spiral that occurred in the Communist bloc over two decades ago. State redistribution of wealth from makers to takers and heavy-handed regulation of enterprises have produced economic, social, and political crises that cannot be mitigated by the same policies that caused them to begin with. Welfare states are simply running out of victims as fewer people produce and others flee.
But some countries are friendlier than others toward wealth creators—or at least offer them banking havens for their wealth. Thus, statist politicians must work together across national boundaries to deny sanctuaries to those who refuse to be treated as sacrificial animals.
Yet unless they change their policies, in the end the welfare states will collapse, as have Greece and other countries in Europe that are kept afloat only by massive handouts from a somewhat freer and, thus, still moderately prosperous Germany.
Businesses and individuals are morally right to do whatever they can to protect themselves from governments that seek to seize rather than protect their wealth. And the more the producers can prevent welfare states from robbing them of their fruits of their labor, to sooner these states will collapse, offering at least the opportunity to reconstruct regimes dedicated to protecting the lives, liberty, and property of every individual.
Hudgins is director of advocacy for The Atlas Society.
For further reading:
*Edward Hudgins, “ Atlas Shrugging in Late 2012 .” December 14, 2012.
*Edward Hudgins, “ Switzerland Attacked! ” May 15, 2009.
*Edward Hudgins, “ Ragnar Shrugged. ” May 24, 2006.
*Edward Hudgins, “ Atlas Chased .” August 6, 2004.
Edward Hudgins is research director at the Heartland Institute and former director of advocacy and senior scholar at The Atlas Society.