No-one enjoys paying taxes. So it’s not entirely surprising that conventional wisdom has taken the easy option and declared that the only good tax is a cut one. Less familiar is the way this became a ‘tax consensus’ imposed worldwide, much like the neoliberal Washington Consensus itself, with disastrous long-term consequences. For the time being, we’re still getting crunched by the consensus that is the real cause, even as its brokers cast aside what principles they ever had and blackmail taxpayers into bailing them out. Questions will have to be answered, and sooner rather than later, about what sort of taxes are now being paid by what sort of people to what sort of purpose, and these are explored in some detail in the main theme, which begins on page 4.
Those who rely on the corporate media will not be fully aware, either, that a small island in the Caribbean has aspirations to become a ‘humanitarian superpower’. The extraordinary story of the 30,000 Cuban doctors who are propping up healthcare services around the world is told first hand-hand on page 34. If you share the Washington Consensus, you will dismiss this as political propaganda. If you think healthcare matters, there are plenty of useful lessons to be learned from the Cubans.
Another example worth following can be found in the innovative campaign to prevent oil from destroying the much more precious Yasuní biosphere reserve in Ecuador. This was the focus of our July magazine and is the subject of our Yasuní Green Gold book of photographs, which is launched in October. The NI co-operative has decided to back the campaign in whatever way we usefully can. Our own limited resources are, of course, as nothing compared with what you, our many thousands of active subscribers and readers around the world, can achieve if you join in at this critical moment, which you can do quite easily by visiting www.newint.org/yasuni. In any event, we’ll keep you posted online and in future editions of this magazine.
David Ransom for the New Internationalist co-operative.
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