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More Borders, Please

Jul 1, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 40 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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Borders

The Scrapbook was alarmed at the very French way that the OECD, the Europe-based club of rich countries, tried to make a splash at last week’s G-8 summit in Northern Ireland—by urging the world’s governments to make their tax systems more transparent to one another. The Scrapbook would feel a lot better if the OECD had not used the plan to promote an initiative it calls “Tax Inspectors Without Borders.” The model is Doctors Without Borders, the group of idealistic physicians, founded in France, who have been vaccinating children and treating the sick and wounded since the 1970s. Either the OECD has an unduly mundane view of what it is like to work as a doctor in a warzone or an unduly romantic one of what it is like to work as a tax collector in a large bureaucracy. (“I will follow you anywhere,” she sighed, “you dashing rogue of a tax inspector, you!”)

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