Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Governments disrupted by the internet

Recommended: Margaret Hodge and Jeff Jarvis debate the rights and wrongs of the revelation that Google, Starbucks and Amazon pay so little tax in the UK:

Should we boycott Google, Starbucks and Amazon? | Comment is free | The Observer: (excerpt) " . . . Jeff Jarvis: Please show me the rule book – ie the law – that defines "fair". For that matter, since you've suggested these companies are immoral, point me to the Bible verse that enumerates moral taxes. You are making an emotional – that is, political and ultimately cynical – appeal without grounding in the reality of business and law. If you want these companies to behave differently, make a law. That's your job. But, of course, if you make that law too demanding, you'll have to worry about driving these firms out of the UK, and with them the 8,500 jobs – and VAT and employment taxes – Starbucks generates in a recession, when jobs are desperately needed, and the 2,000 jobs – and entrepreneurial opportunities – Google brings. Truth is, Google could serve its 90% of the UK search market with nary a presence in the country. Welcome to the networked, global future, in which speech, ideas, collaboration and commerce can no longer be so easily hemmed in by governments. That is what I actually see being played out here. Just as newspapers, including this one, were disrupted by the net, so now are governments."

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