The Pandora Papers: Are We Really Surprised?

Financial district in Panama City, Panama

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has announced that they have unearthed and analyzed the largest ever collection of data and documentation shining light on the shadowy world of international money movement, and on some of the current and former world leaders who use this system to stay rich and get richer. It documents how many world leaders steal, hide, launder and move huge sums of money, mostly through totally legal means, and with the help of banks and investment companies worldwide. This huge data leak is being called the Pandora Papers, after a Greek myth about a jar or box containing all the world’s misery and evils. It documents in great detail this world of “offshore” banking and tax havens. These tax havens allow wealthy people to stash their money away safely and anonymously, even though many are already using fake, or “shell” companies to hide their participation.

The names in this report are mostly political leaders and entertainers, all of whom are rich, but none of whom are the really big capitalists like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Charles Koch, or the owners of oil companies, auto companies, airlines, etc. In fact, most are political leaders who help people like Bezos and the other big capitalists dominate our world.

But the release of this new report begs a big question: didn’t we already know this? The answer is yes, yes we did. We all know today and have known for decades or more that the One Percent dominates our world, including our political leaders, whether elected or not. We know this from seeing life in front of us, from even basic news sources, and notably from the famous Panama Papers of 2016, which told almost the exact same story (Panama City, Panama being one of the centers of offshore tax havens for the world’s ruling class).

So while the revelations of the Pandora Papers might add to what we already knew, the basic story was already clear. The real question is and has been, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to continue to allow the capitalist class to exploit and oppress us, then help the world’s leaders steal and hide the world’s wealth as we continue to struggle? Or are we going to do something about it?