Emory Law Journal


There has been a decades-long effort to repair an increasingly fragile international tax system. One reason it has foundered has been what we identify as the “Liberia problem.” In 2000, the powerful Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development identified Liberia—but not Switzerland—as a tax haven and targeted it for sanctions. It did not go well. During the two decades since, everything has changed; yet seemingly from this lens of inclusion, nothing has changed at all. Awkwardly similar “blacklists” still target “Black” and “Brown” jurisdictions despite the fact that experts mean something quite different when they speak of the “scourge of tax havens” and secrecy jurisdictions. We think differently in important respects but believe that those real disagreements demonstrate the need for a less insular global tax policymaking apparatus. And we share a conviction that a more inclusive and more level playing field in the international tax arena would benefit all states. To show why, we offer a series of “truths” designed to prompt a long-overdue conversation about perceptions of bias and privilege in international taxation.


Originally published on 09/14/2021, the repository-archived version of this article was updated on 09/30/2021 with new pagination due to correction of errors in another article in this issue.

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