chapter  19
14 Pages

Offshore Finance

WithRodrigo Fernandez, Reijer Hendrikse

Offshore finance is a key driver of mounting inequality, the breakup of social contracts underlying welfare states, ecological disaster, financial crises and rising authoritarianism. This chapter explains the mechanisms and players shaping offshore finance. It provides a number of legal innovations instrumental to the rise of the global offshore system. The chapter aims to evaluate different datasets underscoring the weight of offshore capital stocks and flows shaping financialized capitalism. Although tax avoidance traces a longer history, the global rise of offshore finance coincides with a number of late nineteenth-century legal innovations radically rebooting the geographical makeup of modern capitalism. The growth of the offshore Euromarkets eventually came to undermine the postwar order, which collapsed in the early 1970s. Since the 1990s the offshore world has mushroomed and professionalized, with a growing number of states offering all kinds of offshore arrangements.