Technocracy in the Era of Twitter. Between Intergovernmentalism and Supranational Technocratic Politics in Global Tax Governance

25 Pages Posted: 13 May 2020

See all articles by Sol Picciotto

Sol Picciotto

Independent; ICTD; Lancaster University

Date Written: April 28, 2020

Abstract

The international tax system developed as a form of technocratic governance, aimed at facilitating international investment, neglecting provisions for cooperation between national governments for tax enforcement. Its endogenous flaws resulted in its politicization in the 1970s, and again in the 1990s, leading to an increasingly technicized form of global governance. The great financial crisis was even more disruptive and accelerated a shift towards increasingly volatile interactions between the spheres of technocracy and politics. Complex global problems requiring long time-horizons are dealt with by increasingly narrowly focused technical specialists, dominated by corporatized bureaucracies operating in public-private symbiosis; while in the sphere of politics, a wider public seeks simple solutions and mistrusts experts, with good reason given the experience of regulatory failures, often due to the capture of regulation by private interests. Instant communication favours opinion-formers claiming authority, while representative democracy has shifted to ‘audience representation’, opening the way for demagogue leaders, as well as clientelism and corruption. This destabilizes technical fields, opening up possibilities for a paradigm shift, illustrated by the dramatic changes of the last decade in international tax governance.

Keywords: international tax, avoidance, evasion, havens, offshore, BEPS, global governance, corporate capitalism, crisis.

JEL Classification: F23, F55, K34, M16, M42

Suggested Citation

Picciotto, Sol, Technocracy in the Era of Twitter. Between Intergovernmentalism and Supranational Technocratic Politics in Global Tax Governance (April 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3587542 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3587542

ICTD ( email )

Institute of Development Studies
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Brighton, BN1 9RE
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Lancaster University ( email )

Lancaster LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

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