New technologies and the growth of services
As the quote from Owen Arthur suggests, there has recently been considerable international sabre-rattling over the growing role of offshore financial centres. It is an intriguing conflict for several reasons. It pits the economically dominant OECD core countries against some of the world’s smallest and otherwise most peripheral jurisdictions, from Barbados and Bahrain to Tonga and Nauru. Wedding these two types of state is increasingly mobile capital (see Chapter 7). Most of that capital is based in or flows through the banks of those same core states pointing fingers at the offshore banking sites. The core states’ claim that offshore banking hurts them by harbouring illegal activity is fairly predictable; to draw international sympathy, accusations must allege some sort of illegality. For their part, non-core states defend their gains, legality and sovereign powers.