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The Daily Devil’s Dictionary: Paradise Papers Define “Transparency”

Defending the right to opacity for the direct benefit of Nike, Apple, the Queen of England, the president of Angola, and other politically exposed persons and the indirect benefit of a global economy that depends on keeping rich people motivated.

Today’s 3D Definition: Transparency

The Guardian and 95 media partners worldwide have published their analysis of leaked documents concerning the financial affairs of the wealthy channeled through tax havens. The main reason for such operations is to guarantee opacity in the interest of neutralizing the effect of national taxes. We learn that nothing is more dangerous than transparency:

“…the International Financial Centres Forum (IFC), a body representing offshore law firms, insisted British overseas territories and crown dependencies had ‘the highest regulatory standards.’

It said more transparency would lead to more money laundering and would only be a boon for criminals, NGOs and investigative journalists. Changes to the sector would only do harm, the group insisted.”

Here is its 3D definition:


The greatest threat to the most profitable activity of the finest minds in the world of business: the art of opacity or the skill of hiding financial assets and escaping the tyranny of taxation — a form of general punishment practiced by governments and properly applied exclusively to ordinary citizens.

Contextual note

The Paradise Papers pick up where the Panama Papers left off. This is not transparency but a deeper view into the mechanics of opacity. The immediate reaction to the breaking news of the Paradise Papers is already rich and varied. It includes proposals for reform, vows of silence and forgotten promises, such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to redistribute “black money stashed abroad.” Could this mark the beginning of the “Black Money Matters” movement?

*[In the age of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain, another American wit, the journalist Ambrose Bierce, produced a series of satirical definitions of commonly used terms, throwing light on their hidden meanings in real discourse. Bierce eventually collected and published them as a book, The Devil’s Dictionary, in 1911. We have shamelessly appropriated his title in the interest of continuing his wholesome pedagogical effort to enlighten generations of readers of the news.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

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