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Voices in the Humanosphere 2016: How massive global tax avoidance fuels poverty

It’s odd how little attention the issue of tax avoidance gets within the humanitarian and aid/development community, with some notable and honorable exceptions, given the negative impact this has on all of our lives – and especially the poorest of the poor.

Given that President-elect Donald Trump has still not released his tax returns and, so far, appears unlikely to honor the tradition – and some would argue the requirement spelled out in the U.S. Constitution – of divesting from all external financial conflicts of interest prior to taking executive office, a chat about taxes and financial transparency seemed timely.

Alex Cobham, Tax Justice Network

Alex Cobham, Tax Justice Network

So, as part of our end of the year reflection, we are re-posting this podcast interview with Alex Cobham, a development economist and director of research at the international Tax Justice Network as well as a visiting fellow at King’s College London IDI. Cobham is one of the leading voices (in the wilderness?) calling attention to the harm caused by corporations, individuals and even non-profit organizations engaging in, arguably, illegitimate if not always illegal tax avoidance schemes.

Cobham has held various policy and research posts, including serving as a fellow at the Washington, DC-based Center for Global Development, chief policy adviser at Christian Aid and head of research at Save the Children (UK).

If you don’t want to hear podcast producer Imana Gunawan and I talk about news stories from last May (which were, I thought, surprisingly relevant if not newsworthy even still), start listening at about 10 minutes.

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About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.