måndag 31 augusti 2009


In his address to the International Fiscal Association, IFA, at the opening session of its 63rd congress in Vancouver Aug 30th, Robert A Mundell (Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics 1999) gave a fascinating overall presentation of his opinion on the reasons for the economic crisis and the state of affairs in the economic world today. He blamed it the collapse of the housing financial markets but pointed out that no appropriate measures were taken by the US govermnent to prevent its development into the banking crisis 13 months later starting by the fall of Lehman Brothers. An important factor for the restauration of the world economy would be to stabilize the relations between the great currencies. Maybe the World Fair in Shanghai would be the right place and time.

Of special interest to me was that he also pointed out the anomaly of taxing company income, making states partners in the business community. (I could not help finding myself applauding and the only one amongst some 1 500 persons to do so.) At the same time as the state stimulates the economy it whithdraws capital from the companies by the taxation of their profits; an appropriate measure today would be to reduce company taxes substatially. Paradoxically the states don't share the companies losses!

I had the opportunity to talk to professor Mundell at the cocktail reception immediately after the opening ceremony. I suggested that the consequenses of his thinking would be that company taxation should be abolished altogether. I understood his answer that he shared my opinion. I proposed him a toast to the abolition of company tax and we both drank to it.

He told me about his reception of the Nobel Prize. Svenska Handelsbanken och SEB by tradition share the honour of delivering the checks to the Laureats; some of the Laureats get their money from the Nobel Foundation's accounts in Handelsbanken and some from SEB. Professor Mundell got his check from Handelsbanken and that gave us an opportunity to talk about the bank and some of its leaders. He rememberd very well Tore Browaldh. Tore had told him about the Swedish rules for toasting. There are three fundamental rules: Never propose a toast before the host has done so; never toast the hostess; never toast a person senior in age. Tore had explained the reason for not toasting the hostess that if everybody did so, she would soon be drunk.

As a Swede I am proud to report that Pernilla Rendahl received an Honorable Mention to the Mitchell Carroll prize for the study in her dissertation at Jönköping International Business School of Cross-Border Consumption Taxation of Digital Supplies. It is a comparative study of EC VAT, Australian GST and Canadian GST concerning how digital supplies are taxed in business to consumer cross-border supplies. The study was regarded by the jury as very thoroughly researched, had an insightful comparative approach and dealt with an important topic.

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