A world of more equality begins with transparency, argues Charlotte de Vreeze-Nauta in her latest column.

Yesterday, my husband and I watched a program on television about Dubai and its luxuries. We saw a young Belgian couple considering buying a 32-million-euro house on Palm Island. The house not only consisted of amazing spaces, infinity pool and marbled bathrooms, but also boasted a private beach and a snow room. A snow room? Yes, because if you live in the desert, you simply must have a dedicated room that produces snow so that you can have apres-ski parties… Really?

Later we were reading up on the news and we read about the situation in Somalia. We read about the famine as a result of the immense drought of the past months. We saw photos of hollow-eyed children. We read the report of a doctor in a hospital who can’t take it anymore, struggling to save children that are so dehydrated and so weak from hunger that they cannot even muster up the effort to cry. And we read how one mother was so weakened from hunger that she didn’t have the strength to bury her 3-year-old child that died of malnutrition. Really…

The huge divide between the rich and poor is getting bigger by the second. How can we simply go about our daily lives when we live in a world in which some people have 32 million euro to spend on a house with a bleeping snow room in the middle of the desert while elsewhere half a nation is dying of hunger because nothing will grow in their desert.

Just writing about it makes me sick and angry all over again.

So, why on earth is the system so messed up that the rich only get filthier and the poor have less and less to eat until they cannot even find the strength to give their children a dignified final journey?

There are many reasons for this, but one of them has to do with the untraceable money flows, orchestrated by expensive tax lawyers, making use of fiduciary corporate management businesses, offshore vehicles or empty shelf companies.

It is because of well-known and non-transparent tax dodging islands like Grenada, the Seychelles, St. Kitts, Nevis and the British Virgin Islands. Or Delaware – it is whispered that Biden’s home-state houses 25% of all black money in the world.

It is astonishing and disgusting that it is still possible for so many countries, amongst which until a few years ago also Luxembourg, to offer nasty loopholes for the ultra-rich to minimize their taxes or evade them altogether by stashing money in non-transparent countries.

Isn’t it about bleeping time to abolish this? Some countries have been talking about this for years, but when will it actually happen? When will they put their money where their mouth is? When will financial institutions and governments especially grow a frigging backbone, make a stand and end this?

After all, in most cases these practices are not illegal. They are the result of loopholes in tax laws and international tax lawyers know how to use them. These loopholes are a result of national tax treaties who were designed by governments. So, it is up to governments to do something about it. Tax evasion on a massive scale can’t have been the objective when the tax treaties came about, can it?

I know that this alone will not end the inequality. I may be naïve, but not that naïve.

But it would be a good first step if all money flows became completely transparent. After all, it is only the very rich who profit from this. And they should be the last people on earth to have access to any tax advantage.

Ending these tax evading possibilities is not only completely justified; why should someone be able to avoid paying tax, just because he has more money? One can easily imagine that any further division can lead to social unrest and even serious conflict.

But the rich finally paying tax, might eventually even lead to the possibility of lowering taxes for the lower incomes, so that those scraping to get by, have a little bit more room to breathe.

A world of more equality begins with transparency.

Oh, and by the way, if you like the snow so much, don’t move to the f*cking desert.