David McWilliams: Apple decision shows Ireland is not a tax haven

Tax is not just about raising revenue, it is a legitimate part of our economic arsenal

The Romans were so enamoured by urine that they taxed it, leading to the wonderful  expression, attributed to the emperor Vespasian: ‘pecunia non olet’, meaning ‘money has no smell’. Photograph: iStock

The Romans were so enamoured by urine that they taxed it, leading to the wonderful expression, attributed to the emperor Vespasian: ‘pecunia non olet’, meaning ‘money has no smell’. Photograph: iStock

Whether they be city states or countries, all jurisdictions that experience growth rates and increases in prosperity that, for a time, dwarf those of their neighbours tend to have deployed an innovation, a resource or a policy that gives them a unique economic advantage.

For France, that policy might have been mass and brutal colonialism in Africa. For Holland it could have been the wholesale plunder, at gunpoint, of the natural bounty of Indonesia and Borneo. For Belgium, early 20th-century wealth came with the gruesome hacking-off of the hands of men, women and children in the Congo in order to force the enslaved African population to produce more rubber.

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