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Moral Philosophy and Politics

Editor-in-Chief: Schefczyk, Michael

Managing Editor: Schmidt-Petri, Christoph

Ed. by Meyer, Lukas Heinrich / Peacock, Mark / Schaber, Peter

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Global Tax Justice and the Resource Curse: What Do Corporations Owe?

Zorka Milin
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  • Peter and Patricia Gruber Fellow in Global Justice, Yale Law School, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
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Published Online: 2014-02-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mopp-2013-0012


Tax abuse by multinational extractive corporations should be an important subject of attention for global justice because it exacerbates the unjust global distribution of resources and contributes to the resource curse. The amounts of taxes at stake dwarf the current levels of international aid. This abuse is not necessarily unlawful but is enabled by the interaction of complex international tax rules. It is “abuse” because it contravenes a number of theoretical understandings of global tax justice, several of which are explored here: egalitarianism, two variants of restitution-based justifications and corporate citizenship. Within each of these justificatory frames, global justice in the resource context requires restoring a fair share of the benefits from natural resources to the impoverished populations of resource-rich countries. Justice, thus understood, can and should be achieved through the effective taxation of extractive companies. This article is a first step toward filling a lacuna in the literature on taxation and development, which tends to encourage decreased taxation in order to promote foreign investment, to the exclusion of concerns about justice and which conceives taxation as a purely domestic issue, not one involving international rules that have the effect of distributing revenue among nation states.

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Published Online: 2014-02-19

Published in Print: 2014-05-01

Citation Information: Moral Philosophy and Politics, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 17–36, ISSN (Online) 2194-5624, ISSN (Print) 2194-5616, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mopp-2013-0012.

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