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The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean could also strengthen property tax schemes or reintroduce inheritance tax. All nations must also work together, under the auspices of the United Nations, to overhaul the international tax system so that multinational companies and rich individuals can no longer exploit tax loopholes or hide their wealth in tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of tax.
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So what can the political leaders and decision makers from the private sector and civil society take from the Latin American experience as they head to Davos? The lesson is that tackling inequality must be part of a new social compact to improve the state of the world, and building a fairer tax system must be part of any plan to tackle inequality and boost inclusive growth. The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum. I accept. Here's how to fix it Inequality is growing at an alarming pace in Latin America, posing a serious risk to the fight against poverty.
How do we build a sustainableworld? Submit a video. Most Popular. Scientists have been investigating the Loch Ness monster. The inspiring story behind this picture of two world leaders Rosamond Hutt 18 Sep More on the agenda. As more indigenous leaders also won political office, the ladino and indigenous cities gradually reached a modus vivendi.
The other three city-based movements will also be familiar to readers of LARR. In Porto Alegre, Rubin and Sergio Gregorio Baierle note that opposition to participatory budgeting was nearly uniform among the bourgeoisie, even those individuals ostensibly sensitive to the plight of their poor neighbors Apart from obvious considerations of power and interest the rich could be outvoted in the meetings and the city government had raised their property taxes to fund many of the projects under discussion , the authors find inherited cultural biases at work.
None of their bourgeois informants who participated in budget meetings had a negative personal experience, and indeed none failed to get spending directed toward themselves. Rather than waking up to the complexity of life in the favelas , or embracing a more active role for government there, local businesspeople came to view Afro-Reggae as an exceptional enterprise. For them the favela remains unremittingly bad and the possibility of its improvement via public policy, nonexistent — The chapter on recuperated firms in Buenos Aires, by Carlos Forment, differs in several ways from the rest of the volume.
Private Wealth and Public Revenue in Latin America: Business Power and Tax Politics
Although it generalizes inaccurately about a few dates and economic trends during the neoliberal period c. Interestingly, the recuperations provoked a divided response among Argentine business. The Right, big business, and traditional media all responded negatively, citing property rights and the legal problem of employees taking ownership of an abandoned asset without permission. Suppliers who defied their peers when they first sold to the worker-managed companies now talk about these relationships in a social idiom, emphasizing reciprocity — It is also a perceptive and detailed introduction to recent Bolivian politics, with an extensive bibliography.
It features chronological narratives within thematic chapters, punctuated by occasional excerpts usually several paragraphs long from interviews with important political figures and ordinary Bolivians.
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The book has the best qualities of engaged scholarship, yet it speaks in the voice of long and deep experience. Farthing and Kohl did not move to Bolivia on account of the Cochabamba water wars or the election of Morales, and their long familiarity enables them to contextualize these events effortlessly, without diminishing their historical significance. As in Ecuador, here we have a Left government, hungry for revenue to fund spending on its poor urban supporters, pressing ahead with natural resource exploitation—which brings protests from even poorer rural communities.
It is also difficult to prove. The substantive chapters complicate the argument. Yet Fuentes also observes the lack of social pressure for deeper reforms But for the Right, deference to the military and neoliberalism arose from ideological commitment, not a misplaced pragmatism. It did not even try to tax private mining operations at the same rate applied to the public mining company — Likewise on the spending side: by —, Chile spent less as a percentage of GDP on education and health than the Latin American average He faults the coalition not only for its timidity on redistribution but also, and mainly, for its lack of attention to structural change, away from natural resources, in order to increase growth.
Landerretche blames this, in part, for the student protests of Several chapters on social policy issues affirm a similar view. Because of measurement problems, it was also probably exaggerated — Regarding other social policies, Dante Contreras and Kirsten Sehnbruch see the coalition as bound by two assumptions: first, that Chile could not afford universalistic social transfers; and second, that the formality and stability of employment would both increase with GDP per capita.
The first was accurate in , becoming part of a transition-molded mind-set; but the second turned out to be wrong, as Sehnbruch demonstrates in detail in her chapter on the labor market ; — But if so, this says less about the dynamics of transition than about a peculiar legacy of Chilean history—a powerful center party with a distinctive social-conservative ideology —, On education, the neoliberal reforms of the dictatorship left a system that was expensive and starkly unequal.
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It was also not easy to change: Pinochet embalmed it in the constitution and after , the electoral Right strenuously defended it —, Not entirely. Taking the book as a whole, the evidence seems mixed.
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The strongest case can be made for the cuoteo , informal consultations with the Right, and to a lesser extent, the untouchability of the model see also Fairfield, discussed below. As for legislative candidate selection, this is impossible to separate from the presence of a binomial system in a country with six main parties 25, Should the Left have pushed harder and earlier to change the electoral system?
Maybe, but the chapters also testify to the absence of public pressure for speedier constitutional reform, or for vindications of human rights. This was an institutional constraint, therefore, and only at one remove a dispositional one. As these examples suggest, ex post attributions of inappropriate risk aversion are like deriving a residual.
After controlling for institutional and political constraints, we have to entertain the possibility that the actions in question were reasonable and prudent—or in this case, after the generational trauma of , at least understandable. It compares the politics of progressive tax reform in Chile — with processes in Argentina and Bolivia over roughly the same period. But it is also nearly impossible because its targets, rich households and big firms, have a variety of weapons.
Fairfield places these into two categories, structural power and instrumental power. The two kinds of power also interact, as when businesspeople enjoy enough access to threaten presidents with capital flight in a private meeting 27— While structural power varies across time usually greater in recessions , sector, and country, Fairfield finds that most of the variation in tax policy outcomes had to do with differences in instrumental power. Fairfield artfully deploys her extensive set of elite interviews— of them with informants 22 —to achieve two important purposes.
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First, she is able to perceive many gaps between what reformers wanted and what they dared to propose. If this had been based on only ten or fifty interviews, the point would have been interesting but speculative. But the fact that these accounts are both numerous and consistent gives us evidence of a kind of agenda-narrowing instrumental power at work, especially in Chile. Second, she generously salts her chapters with apt, short-paragraph reflections from leaders and other principals. This, in turn, bears practical fruit in her detailed and useful catalog of strategies for progressive reform 53— Apart from this thoughtful guide for reformers, the book contributes to several literatures.
However, the present stands in sharp contrast with the inaction of the past decades. Soon after starting her second term as president, Michelle Bachelet sent an aggressive tax reform plan to the legislature that would close most of the loopholes used by business owners to decrease their tax burden and strengthen the power of the SII.
The reasons for the change, Fairfield argued, are to be found in the student protests that began in While the student protests provided the impetus for these reforms, Fairfield noted that the fragility of the right after the election made them politically viable. The lower house of Congress approved the tax reform quickly, but it stalled in the Senate, due in part to a tough media campaign waged by business owners who happen to own most of the media.
The complexity of the reform also weighed it down, Fairfield noted, by creating uncertainty about its hard-to-understand consequences. In the end, however, the Senate passed a compromise reform bill on September 10, The tax reform approved by the Senate is a complicated system in which business owners voluntarily choose one of two regimes for corporate tax purposes. However, under the new regime, the corporate tax will be increased from 20 to 25 percent, and shareholders will be taxed on both distributed and non-distributed profits.
With the second regime, shareholders continue to be taxed only on distributed profits, but the corporate tax rate is set at 27 percent. This regime is semi-integrated, so shareholders can use only a fraction of corporate tax payments as a credit for their personal income taxes.