Much like the information provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Panama Papers have provided the world with mountains of evidence for something everyone knew was happening.
That isn’t to say the leak isn’t important. The Panama Papers provide an incredible look at a small section of the clockwork controlling global financial activity. Iceland’s prime minister has already resigned as a result of the scandal — he owned the debt of several failed Icelandic banks while being one of the people who controlled the fate of the banks — and the Chilean head of Transparency International has also stepped down as a result of the leak. Irony noted.
For those not in the know, the Panama Papers are a 2.6 terabytes document leak obtained by a number of journalists, which reveal the efforts of many of the world’s wealthiest to dodge taxes and — in some instances — launder money and hide assets.
The Panama Papers are — among many other things — a reminder that at worst, the societal systems the general population must live under are actively working against them. At best, they are working solely for the benefit of the ultra-wealthy with no regard for the general citizenry.
That all-too-obvious reality is both a foundation and fuel for the populist fire that’s burned through the presidential primaries this election cycle.
It’s becoming harder and harder to gently nod along with those who argue that beneficial, lasting change is best won incrementally and from within established political systems.
It’s requiring willful ignorance to deny there is some legitimacy behind the disenfranchised zeal driving the Trump and Sanders campaigns.
Some may point to California’s recent adoption of a $15 minimum wage as evidence that the systems do occasionally work in favor of Joe Citizen. Hopefully, this will be the case. More likely — as has been suggested by both conservative and liberal leaning economists — the situation will result in entry level job loss and a potential business migration from California. Business owners — understandably — will figure out the most efficient ways to do more with less to protect their profits.
Ultimately that’s the issue at the core of the Panama Papers. Those who profit most from society are the ones who seem least interested in giving back.
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