On the sidelines of the Gaidar Forum in Moscow, housed by the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Peter Morris Oppenheimer, a prominent economist and fellow of Christ Church, Oxford, gave an interview to Invest Foresight, Forum’s main media partner, covering various aspects of Russian and global economic life.
As he pointed out, “The Russian natural resources sector and the fuel sector in particular is of such global importance that a company wishing to play a significant part in the global economy in such sectors can not ignore Russia and would like to come in, but would like to achieve a promise of a guaranteed stability in the tax regime, and the structure of shareholding regime, and other aspects before doing so”.
Speaking of investments and capital flows, Peter Oppenheimer noted, “It is foreign capital that flows in, and it is Russian capital that goes out. The fact that it is Russian capital that’s flowing out, is a proof of my suggestion that the climate for wealthy individuals and wealthy companies is not altogether predictable in Russia.”
Concerning tax havens and efforts of many national governments to fight them, “Some success can be achieved,” Peter Oppenheimer said. “The international exchange of information between fiscal authorities about the affairs of individual persons and individual companies has undoubtedly increased enormously. So there has been a general increase in fiscal compliance. On the other hand, there are clear signs that it is not going to be 100%, partly because very often higher reaches of the government itself have financial interests abroad which they want to protect from attention of the tax authorities.”
When expressing his opinion of cryptocurrencies, he noted, “The lesson of the 21st century to date is that technical and institutional inventiveness in the sphere of finance has gone beyond what is in everybody’s useful interest. There are great incentives for very wealthy people to make use of new technology to hide their wealth. But in general, the vast mass of the population is untouched by these events so far because they are not that rich.”
“Globalization is bound to lead in some ways to complications in economic life. The monopoly or quasi monopoly of the dollar as a world currency has been a source of irritation to various governments for 50 years. Today’s move away from dollar is neither all that new nor an enormous source of complication,” Peter Oppenheimer believes, noting that such a shift is certainly fueled by “Theatrically uncooperative attitude of the present US President.”
Current developments in the global economy may not be taken as clear signs of an approaching financial crisis. According to Mr Oppenheimer, “The truth is, if everybody foresees everything, measures would be taken to soften it. By definition, a crisis is something that was not foreseen. There is no crisis round the corner, but there will be a new financial crisis some day. We have not seen the last of it.”