Action Research: Outputs, Outcomes and the Political Setting

What follows is the section of my action research project analysing the metrics and bureaucracies inserted into the support-need junctures which influence and determine the support which people receive from various organisations and support services.

Jacob Jordaens depiction of Odysseus escaping from the cave of Polyphemus (1635)
Jacob Jordaens depiction of Odysseus escaping from the cave of Polyphemus (1635)


You can read the previous section of this project ‘Action Research: The Outcomes Star and Developing Novel Methodologies’ by clicking HERE.


The previous section sketched an ethnographic picture along with a view of the poverty and benefits landscape of the United Kingdom as described by the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty in the United Kingdom, Professor Philip G. Alston; this prefaced an initial introduction to the Outcomes Star bureaucracies and the methodolgies underpinning the creation of the paperwork with a view to innovating.


In this section I am going to be opening with some sketches on the socio-economic landscape which we are living in; using potted history of our century and pointing towards zeitgeists that have laid down the foundations of how our society has been structured.  Why have metrics and outcomes become so important ?  What are some of the influences that have shaped this ? What are the results of such systems being used to manage the world ?


These are some of the questions I am touching upon.  In these frontispieces to the writing I produced as an analytical report I unrepentently grab from any discipline I feel necessary to build up the complex in intra-relational pictures which I feel are vital to depict the realities of my life, and by extention other people’s lives.


This harks more to the interdisciplinarity of Scotland’s pedagogical tradition of the Democratic Intellect than the Anglicised system of categorical specialism which has come to structure much of how we relate knowledge and construct arguements.  Knowledge and discipline have become divided with much the same impetus that infused the industrial revolution, but whilst production of components has increased, cohesiveness of systems has decreased.  It may be that the factory philosophy of the industrial revolution has come to infect all that we do weakening our capacity to recognise things in complexity and as a result always striving to reduce things – simplify them – to component parts.


This may not articulate all the details of other people who live in similar circumstances, but I do claim that these accounts infer the same kind of complexity in every single person’s life who is subsisting in the dispossessive economy which identifies people with unsubstantial finance as low value, valueless or worse.


Like so many people in similar circumstances I feel it important to try and speak truth in the face of power, for if there are few other wealths left to me, to us.  Truth, the wonderful beautiful ugly truths we know are dignities which we have not given up.


Mark Twain

In this sketch I shall be loosely outlining four principle converging lines of thought to examine different aspects of the political economy of the United Kingdom that ultimately profoundly shape the lives and determine the opportunities of people like me:


  1. The rise of metrics culture and managerialist practices through business schools from Operational Research
  2.  The development of free market ideology reframing and challenging nation states and regulation
  3. The rise of deregulated offshore tax havens
  4. The ideological use of austerity as economic policy


Confronting Managerialism by Locke and Spender
Confronting Managerialism by Locke and Spender

The rise of metrics culture and managerialist practices through business schools from Operational Research

These are accounts which exist beyond the spreadsheets, key performance indicators, the gross domestic product figures which are used to trade in the unaccountable square mile of London; these are narratives to put on some tiny record, somewhere, that I was here and was not an output or an outcome in profit creation but a human being with a whole life with which I had to contend.  The financial system has gained cult like power over the fascinations of people.


Such a simple abstraction of goods and services, of promisary covenants between human beings, has borne a sort of enchantment with numbers and figures which is truly mysterious in its power to make people blind to what is in front of their eyes – to what is happening to the land around them, and ultimately to them.


I see it as a demonstration of the operant conditioning acting on the mammalian nervous system; someone rings a bell and we salivate like Pavlov’s dogs and behave in certain ways which have been reinforced through pleasure and pain.  But we have not become hungry for the food, we now hunger for the bell, for more bells, just for more because it promises to be the only thing to relieve the anxiety.


Understanding how our world has come to be so like it is, I have been very interested in the account which Robert R. Locke and J.-C. Spender give in their book ‘Confronting Managerialism How the Business Elite and Their Schools Threw Our Lives Out of Balance‘, which deserves studying.  They articulate how a new paradigm in education emerged after the second world war which gave rise to a preoccupation with numbers which was associated with the magical promises of purely rational systems and omniscience by metric management. 


A significant part of their thesis is presenting the counterveiling argument that “not all the variables that affect their decisions and outcomes can be modeled mathematically”.  What results is a series of problems which we see playing out in our world today.


The new paradigm built a head of steam under the name of Operational Research: “Operational Research is the application of the methods of science to complex problems arising in the direction and management of large systems of men, machines, materials and money, in industry, business and defence.


The distinctive approach is to develop a scientific model of the system, incorporating measurements of the factors such as choice and risk, with which to predict and compare the outcomes of alternative decision strategies or controls. The purpose is to help management determine its policy and actions scientifically.” (page 28)


John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes

The development of free market ideology reframing and challenging nation states and regulation

Parallel to this development, over time we can see a reformulation of the discipline of political economy from being a social science based on functional relationships to neoclassical economics which was expressed in the abstractions of pure mathematics.


The drive to have it related as an area of knowledge akin to physics embodied this trend which was started by William Stanley Jevons amongst the mills of Manchester to become arguably a reformation of the subject by the Chicago School of Economics which came to be one of the most powerful global influencers of how the social science was to be conceived of and taught.


The Chicago School of Economics was to become a centre that championed the ideology of free market and a significant other perspective of Keynsian economics which had been an influence in the management of the United Kingdom. As the drive to deregulate grew in the United States through the impetus of the Chicago economists, in the United Kingdom John Maynard Keynes worked to try and keep a measure of regulation in place.


Understanding the geopolitics which took place during and after the second world war is very important.  Robert Skidelsky, a well respected biographer of the man wrote in his book ‘John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946‘:


”In this war, the United States occupies the foreground – as ally but also as rival. Churchill fought to preservee Britain and its Empire against Nazi Germany. Keynes fought to preserve Britain as a Great Power against the United States. The war against Germany was won; but, in helping to win it, Britain lost both empire and greatness.”

[Skidelsky, R. (2002). John Maynard Keynes: Volume three, fighting for Britain, 1937-1946. London: Papermac. Page xvii]


Whilst the second world war was being fought out on the continent of Europe, 730 delegates from the 44 Allied nations met at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States.  This conference was called the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, but became known more commonly as the Bretton Woods Conference.


John Maynard Keynes was one of the principal architects of the Bretton Woods agreement struck in 1944 which set out a system of rules for commerce and finance in relations between United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and Japan.


Keynes had wrangled with Harry Dexter White who was the United States Treasury’s negotiator, working to forge a system to regulate international finance despite his declining health. Keynes was to die 21 April 1946 at the age of 62 from a heart attack. White was later to be accused and outed as spying for the Soviet Union eventually dying at in 1948 from an overdose of digoxin.


One of the failed proposals of the conference was the International Clearing Union. Keynes had put this forward as a way to regulate the balance of trade with a view that the International Clearing Union would enable countries with a trade deficit to be unable to climb out of it, rather than paying perpetual interest on their ever-increasing debt stifling global economic growth.


As a counterpoint to Keynes’s suggestion White laid down plans for an International Stabilization Fund, which would put the burden of maintaining the balance of trade on the deficit nations imposing no limit on the surplus that wealthy creditor countries could accumulate.


Along with this came the creation of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) designed to provide capital for the economic reconstruction of damaged nations after the war. The International Monetary Fund which was agreed at Bretton Woods was closer to White’s proposals than to Keynes’s.


This set the stage for the rules, institutions, and procedures to regulate the international monetary system, establishing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which is now a part of the World Bank. This also established the US dollar as the global currency of the entire world, and, very importantly, neutralised the pound sterling as a rival.


The United States had offered the shocked world-in-conflict a deal to establish a new institution which would provide support to nation states in difficulties in the form of short term balance of payments. In return the trade off was to devalue currencies against the US dollar. In a hard corner, the agreements were accepted and the deal struck.


The Treaty of Rome (1957)
The Treaty of Rome (1957)

These arrangements held up until the middle of the 1960s when the control the United States had over the world economy started to loosen.  In 1957 the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) had been formed which is more commonly known as the Treaty of Rome.  This laid down foundations of the constitutional basis of the European Union by bringing together the European Economic Community (EEC) via processes of integration amongst its member states.


The establishment of the European Economic Community along with the rise of the strong Japanese economy meant that the influence the United States had was in decline.  Interestingly the bolstering of the Japanese economy had been aided by the famous W. E. Deming who worked with leaders of Japanese industry from 1947 to rebuild their economy.  Interestingly, the United States paid little attention to the ideas of this key thinker which were so successful in Japan.


When asked “…has anybody in government ever called you up and said listen, we’d like your ideas?” he said  “I’ve done some government work. I don’t do very much because I don’t fill out papers and will not write reports.”


In effect the United States had been the world’s creditor, and it determined the level of international liquidity (the degree to which something can be quickly bought or sold without affecting the asset’s price).  The European Economic Community and Japan had been closing the gap between themselves and the United States feeling unhappy about the privileging of the US dollar as the international currency.


The US dollar had replaced the gold standard in the international financial system and the United States had agreed to link the dollar to gold at the rate of $35 per ounce.  This set a fixed rate at which foreign governments and central banks could exchange dollars for gold.  Thus all currencies were defined in relation to the US dollar and ultimately to gold.


In 1961 seven European countries forged an agreement with eight central banks in the United States to pool their gold reserves in an attempt to underpin the Bretton Woods System of fixed rate covertible currencies.  This became known as ‘the London Gold Pool‘ aimed to stabilise the price of gold and ultimately currencies by interventions in the London gold market.


Through a mixture of the Vietnam war, which had run since 1955, public expenditure and monetary inflation by the Federal Reserve, the US dollar become overvalued.  The gold reserves underpinning the fixed rate exchange became depleted which had a knock on effect of collapsing the London Gold Pool agreement in 1968.


Tricky Dicky Richard Nixon
Tricky Dicky AKA Richard Nixon

In 1971 without consulting any members of the international monetary system or his own State Department, Richard Nixon introduced a raft of economic measures which became known as The Nixon Shock.


Amongst these was the unilateral cancellation of the direct international convertibility of the US dollar to gold which incapacitated the Bretton Woods system.  Nixon stated his intention to resume the direct converibility of the US dollar to gold following reforms but this never happened.


In 1973, as a result the Bretton Woods system had become de facto replaced by freely floating fiat currencies. Fiat money is a currency without any intrinsic value (i.e. does not have use value other than being money) which has been established as money by a government or parties agreeing on its value.  The international monetary system had become decoupled from material resources.

The rise of deregulated offshore tax havens

Following the collapse of the Bretton Woods system there came a period of deregulation of international financial transactions which marked the growth of offshore finance.  When offshore finance is mentioned, it essentially means what people commonly refer to as tax havens.  The Tax Justice Network uses the term ‘secrecy jurisdiction’ interchangeably with the term ‘tax haven’, but also offshore financial centre.

[Farquet, C. (2017). The Swiss Tax Haven, the Bretton Woods System Crisis and the Globalisation of Offshore Finance. In M. Buggeln, M. Daunton, & A. Nützenadel (Eds.), The Political Economy of Public Finance: Taxation, State Spending and Debt since the 1970s (pp. 126-148). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781316498958.006]


In 2000 the International Monetary Fund defined Offshore Financial Centres as: “Jurisdictions that have relatively large numbers of financial institutions engaged primarily in business with non-residents; Financial systems with external assets and liabilities out of proportion to domestic financial intermediation designed to finance domestic economies; and More popularly, centers which provide some or all of the following services: low or zero taxation; moderate or light financial regulation; banking secrecy and anonymity.”


Between 1968 and 1978, the value of bank accounts held in tax havens increased from $10.6 billion to $384.9 billion, representing a twenty-fold growth in real terms.


[Tax Havens and Their Use by United States Taxpayers; An Overview, by Richard Gordon, Special Counsel for International Taxation, 12 January 1981, p. 41]

Panama papers


This trend accelerated in the late 1970s and early 1980s and bank deposits from non-residents, other than banks, quintupled globally, rising from $149.1 billion to $796.1 billion between 1975 and 1985.


[International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics Yearbook (Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 1986), pp. 78–81]

With this deregulation of international finance the influence of the Chicago School of Economics extended itself further.  Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger taught the doctrine of free market and deregulation economics unleashing on the world economists and economic behaviours which were to shape the coming decades.


Between 1975 and 1990, while the top income tax rates were reduced by 42 and 43 per cent in the United States and Great Britain respectively, they decreased on average by 18 per cent in the OECD countries.

[Farquet, C. (2017). The Swiss Tax Haven, the Bretton Woods System Crisis and the Globalisation of Offshore Finance]


As the international market for tax evasion grew the new environment stoked competition between banking centres to attract and retain capital. Banking centres ubiquitously promoted the globalisation of international tax evasion practices. This competition has received little attention in the history of taxation or finance.


The United Kingdom has come to occupy a central position in the system of tax evasion and, according to the Tax Justice Network, is arguably the most important player of all. The UK is responsible for many of the largest ‘satellite’ tax havens including Cayman Islands, Jersey, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda.


The Great Tax Robbery by Richard Brooks

As former tax inspector turned journalist Richard Brooks suggests in his book ‘The Great Tax Robbery’, “as a provider of the things we need most of all the state remains fantastically efficient compared to any feasible alternative….if this were a club only a fool would not join” (Page 11).  Tax is the single most distributive mechanism available to create abundance and equity upon which healthy societies are built.


Further deregulation was seen in 1999 by the passing of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA) in the United States.  This repealed the Glass-Steagall Act which was put in place by the US Congress in 1933 as the Banking Act which prohibiting commercial banks (which lend money) from being involved in investment banking business (which organize the sale of bonds and equities).


After the stock market crash of 1929 it was legislated as an emergency measure during the Great Depression which saw the failure of nearly 5,000 banks. Once enacted the law gave banks a year to choose between commercial banking and investment banking.


Professor Robert Kuttner wrote about how since repeal of Glass Steagall in 1999 we have seen the formation of ‘super-banks’ which have been able to “re-enact the same kinds of structural conflicts of interest that were endemic in the 1920s — lending to speculators, packaging and securitizing credits and then selling them off, wholesale or retail, and extracting fees at every step along the way”.


Professor Joseph Stiglitz in an article called ‘Capitalist Fools’ published in Vanity Fair wrote: “The most important consequence of the repeal of Glass-Steagall was indirect – it lay in the way repeal changed an entire culture. Commercial banks are not supposed to be high-risk ventures; they are supposed to manage other people’s money very conservatively.


It is with this understanding that the government agrees to pick up the tab should they fail. Investment banks, on the other hand, have traditionally managed rich people’s money – people who can take bigger risks in order to get bigger returns. When repeal of Glass-Steagall brought investment and commercial banks together, the investment-bank culture came out on top.”


The global banking crisis of 2007–2008 has been linked to the repeal of the Glass Steagall act.  It is widely considered by many to have been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It started in 2007 with the crisis in the subprime mortgage market in the United States before cascading into the full-blown international banking crisis which resulted in the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers 2008.


The unfettered risk taking which was being done by banks such as Lehman Brothers caused the financial impact to scale to a global level having ripple effects on everyone’s lives.


Add to all of this, after intense lobbying, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission relaxed the rules in 1999. Banks such as Barclays, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan, could now buy up as much food futures as they liked. Previously they could not. This led to manipulation and artificial inflation of the price of staple food stuffs.


YouTube player


In 2008 there was the biggest ever wheat harvest in history, yet there was more hunger in the world than ever. This was due to the deregulated commodities trading.  Amartya Sen said; “People don’t go hungry because there is no food, people go hungry because of the price of food”…


The estimates of those without enough to eat are approaching a billion people—about one sixth of the planet; the same odds you get from the a roll of a dice. The deregulation of financial and commodity markets along with the deregulation of major financial institutions and the growth of tax havens has led to increased unemployment, poverty and food insecurity.


The Joy of Tax

The ideological use of austerity as economic policy

The first austerity measures were introduced in late 2008, year which saw the global banking crisis, the worlds biggest wheat harvest and all time high prices for oil and other industrial raw materials.  The term age of austerity had not been used since the years immediately following World War II.


In his 2015 book ‘The Joy of Tax; How a Fair Tax System Can Create a Better Society‘, Professor Richard Murphy wrote about how the politicians of the UK’s political parties (SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru aside) remained fixed to programmes of austerity which planned to cut government spending increasingly between 2015 and 2020 in an attempt to clear the United Kingdom government deficit.


Simultaneously they all promised growth in the UK Gross Domestic Product. The combined goal of balancing the government’s books while maintaining growth is for all practical purposes impossible to achieve he suggests.


[Murphy, R. (2016). The joy of tax: How a fair tax system can create a better society. London: Corgi Books – pages 78 to 122]


He suggests that the political system may be being influenced by right wing think tanks to cut the size and role of the government to fit what they believe to be the available tax revenues.  When the government talks about balancing the budget it knows that it can only do this if ‘consumers’, businesses and people buying new houses spend a lot more over the coming years than they have done in the previous ones; to do this people must borrow.


There are only two outcomes of the austerity policies of the political classes he suggests (barring the SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru); either there is a private sector credit boom where most people are indentured to debt or we get significantly worse off as our economic security fails.  So why the Austerity programmes in the name of ‘balancing the books’ ?


Is it because they actively want a private credit boom with the inevitable crash to follow ?  Is it because they so dislike what the state does for people that they want to cut it regardless of the consequences ?  In May 2015 the Conservative party announced plans to cut state spending as a percentage of GDP from 41 per cent to 35 per cent during the period 2015 to 2020 parliament.


Simultaneously to this all we have seen a cut in corporation tax reducing it from 28 percent to 20 percent in the last Parliament leading to 2015, making it the the joint lowest level in the G20 countries, with further plans to cut it  to 19 percent in April 2017 and 18 percent in 2020. ActionAid did research which shows that 98 of the 100 companies in the FTSE 100 – the hundred biggest publicly listed UK corporations – had subsidiaries, associates, or joint ventures in countries defined by the charity as tax havens:



ActionAid: Addicted to tax havens
Click to Download: ‘ActionAid: Addicted to tax havens’


Professor Mark Blyth, political scientist and professor of international political economy agrees with Richard Murphy’s analysis.  While Blyth holds the perspective that states can’t solve the problem of public debt through further borrowing, he argues that it is impossible to increase economic growth by simultaneously cutting public spending.  He talks through the idea of Austerity as a dangerous one.  You can listen to him below:


YouTube player

Conclusion: A Potted History of the Last 100 Years

So, this is the world which I am living in, the world in which I am clambering at the bottom third of triage formulas; a world which is built on debt from creditors who will not give the likes of me a crust of bread.  Government as a representative democracy is representing the privileged and disproportionately white, male, wealthy, privately educated, Oxbridge which can’t understand, let alone represent, most people in the UK whose situations and choices are outside their own life experiences.


The Sutton Trust did a study on Parliamentary Privilege which showed that: “One in 10 of the privately educated MPs and 3% of all MPs attended one private school, Eton College. All 20 MPs who attended Eton in the 2017 parliament are members of the Conservative Party. The level of MPs who attended Eton has remained relatively consistent over time. There were 20 in 2010, and a historic low of 15 Old Etonians in 2005”


How does all this make me feel ?  How does it encourage me to think ?  What kind of example and message is being transmitted out to everyone about how to get on in life ?


I struggle to eat because I cannot till the common land; I struggle to survive because I do not have the qualifications which ordain me as part of the preferred supplier guild; I cannot gain purchase to truck nor barter because I have been torn from the list of who gets thrown a luck penny.  And in the spirit of ethnographic veracity, when I have sat at tables with people-who-are-used-to-being-listened-to, and who can buy another property or business or futures folio just to keep themselves busy; I have studied their interests in me who has no wealth they believe in or recognise.


This all busts my head; whilst some people play the stockmarket like pokimon with people’s lives and the planet I have to fill out their damned metrics and forms to let ‘philanthropist funders’ know where I am on a sliding scale of emoji’s… baaah… there aint an emoji for this burn as I see services being throttled and frontline support workers going off sick with trauma because they are told to get people to do ‘digital-by-default skills workshops’ on systems which patently dont work and undermining their jobs when their clients break down, again. How do I feel ?  I know that what I feel is not the whole picture… I feel like Adam Smith expresses:

“The rich, in particular, are necessarily interested to support that order of things which can alone secure them in the possession of their own advantages. Men of inferior wealth combine to defend those of superior wealth in the possession of their property, in order that men of superior wealth may combine to defend them in the possession of theirs….Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”


[Page 554, Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Edited by S. M. Soares. MetaLibri Digital Library, 29th May 2007]


Things are great

Part 4: Outputs, Outcomes and the Political Setting

An attempt has been made to change the focus from ‘what services do’ (outputs) to ‘what changes for the service user as a result of the service’ (outcomes). The Charities Evaluation Services suggest that ‘outputs are the products, services or facilities that result from an organisation’s or project’s activities’ [29] and that ‘outcomes are the changes, benefits, learning or other effects that happen as a result of what the project or organisation offers or provides [30].


With these differences being put forward, a question is raised here about whether outcomes and outputs can be separated, and whether a possible mode to operate in would be to use carefully chosen outputs which inherently hold in them necessary and sufficient outcomes which can be extrapolated from.


Logically, if an organisation who’s remit is to provide care support, does not do so then it is falling short whether the language of output or outcomes are used. It suggests that the organisation itself has been set up and funded without consideration for achieving it’s vocational goal.


A social comment is worthwhile here to bring into the bigger economic picture the fact that more people in the United Kingdom are in poverty than since records began. According to the Poverty and Social Exclusion (PSE) Survey, the most comprehensive source of information on the extent and nature of deprivation in contemporary Britain: “At the turn of the millennium, there were more people living in or on the margins of poverty than at any time in British history” [96].


Poverty and social exclusion
Click to Download: ‘Poverty and social exclusion in Britain’

Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain JRF Report


Is this distinction between outputs and outcomes an unnessary proliferation of managerial language when we consider that the products, services or facilities which result from an organisations activities are implicitly the changes, benefits, learning and effects that happen as a result of the organisation’s activities ?


It thus suggests the retro fitting of this vocational thinking. Is this an example of another wave of managerial language and added complexities which illustrates the current paradigm of downsourcing responsibility, but not of power, by those who gatekeep public funds for improving people’s social and welfare circumstances.


Capital in the 21st Century

‘Capital in the Twenty First Century’ is one of the most comprehensive study of wealth and capital yet done. This volume, published in 2013 represents economic data ranging back to the eighteenth century collected from twenty countries by Thomas Piketty and a number of economists detailing historical changes in the concentration of income and wealth.


The mass of data illustrates the evolution of inequality since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries western European society was highly unequal. Private wealth dwarfed national income and was concentrated in the hands of the rich families who sat atop a relatively rigid class structure.



Add to this the understanding that the modern financial world of corporations hive off profit in tax exempt situations – such as offshore accountancy, whilst drawing on public funds to manage and deliver public services, is crucial. For example, the Telegraph reported on how Atos and G4S – two of the country’s biggest private contractors – paid no corporation tax in 2012 despite carrying out £2 billion of taxpayer-funded work [98].


G4S paid no corporation tax


The Guardian reported on FTSE 100 companies use of tax havens. Research showed that the UK’s biggest public companies have more than 8,000 subsidiaries or joint ventures in tax havens – including G4S, the prisons and jobcentreplus contractor [99]. Whilst examining the enculturation of outcomes and measurements of bureaucracies across the third and public sectors, it is important to gain a picture of the macroenvironment.


Where previously established communities of practice worked in a supportive way with each other, the third sector has been pitted against each other in tendering processes which introduce sunk costs that bring organisations to failure point.


This system persisted as industrialisation reorganized the social order of countries. The work shows that modern economic growth and the disruption of knowledge have allowed us collectively to avoid confronting inequalities and modifying the deep structures of capital which perpetuate inequity [97].


Treasure Islands

This arena is dominated by undercutting, corner cutting (when it comes to service provision), and downsourcing workload to frontline staff and clients. Set against a backdrop rhetoric of austerity, competition and efficiency, it seems relevant to identify Tax Havens as a ‘single most important reason why poor people and poor countries stay poor’.
In his book ‘Treasure Islands; Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World’, Nicholas Shaxson wrote about how Tax Havens are at the heart of the global economy with over half the world trade processed through them [100].
The economics are that of corporate mercantilism where the state is being asset stripped by private interests, moving away from a mixed market economy in the UK, which traditionally acknowledged merit goods and public value towards a free market ideology.


The circular flow of money has been disrupted in favour of a deterministic elite meritocracy. The emperor has new clothes.



[29] Martha Nussbaum (2011). Creating capabilities: the human development approach. Cambridge, Mass, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, ISBN: 978-0-674-05054-9, Page ix
[30] Charities Evaluation Services; accessed online 05/08/2014:
[96] Gordon, D, Adelman, L, Ashworth, K, Bradshaw, J, Levitas, R, Middleton, S, Pantazis, C, Patsios, D, Payne, S, Townsend, P & Williams, J 2000, Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York ISBN 1 85935 059 3
[97]  Piketty, T., & Goldhammer, A. (2014) Capital in the twenty-first century, Harvard University Press, ISBN-13: 978-0674430006
[98] Christopher Hope (Senior Political Correspondent), ‘Atos, G4S paid no corporation tax last year despite carrying out £2billion of taxpayer-funded work’, 6:00AM GMT 12 Nov 2013; Accessed online 04.03.2015:
[99] James Ball, ‘FTSE 100’s use of tax havens’, The Guardian, Sunday 12 May 2013 20.01 BST; Accessed online 05.03.2015:
[100] Nicholas Shaxson, ‘Treasure Islands; Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World’, ISBN: 978-0-099-54172-1