The parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) includes one of Jesus’ teachings on the need to always be prepared for the end times, the second coming of the Messiah, and the final judgment. Five of the virgins are foolish and five are ready, and all await the arrival of the bridegroom (simile of the second arrival of Christ). Fools do not have their oil lamp properly fed to keep the flame while they wait. The lists do and, when the time comes to receive the groom, the fools no longer have oil for their lamp, but the lists have it, but they refuse to share it.
How do the ten virgins get the oil for their lamps, and why did the lists have enough and the foolish ones didn’t? Would the fools actually be so foolish or is it that the lists, in a biblical capitalist accumulation, made sure to have the oil for their purposes, and the fools were actually naïve victims of the voracity of the lists, that when the groom arrived they had their lamps shining while the others were left out of any possibility of being chosen?
Beyond the machismo of this parable – many exegetes doubt that it has been pronounced by Jesus, because it is not consistent with other of his teachings and actions – I think it is quite relevant at a time when other ready virgins, from a modern parable, some Caribbean islands with British denomination of origin, have come to light as a result of the information and data of almost 12 million documents on societies. and current accounts based in them, erected as a distant refuge in which it is not possible to declare the origin, lawful or not, of the money, nor to pay the taxes that should have been paid in the countries of origin. These virgins are undoubtedly the lists, those who have all the necessary fuel to reach the end of time, and their suppliers, no virginal, also take advantage of this paradise to be properly protected from any apocalypse and enjoy worldly life while the final judgment comes.
The smart and foolish contemporaries are a reflection of the inequality in the distribution of wealth in the world. To the British Virgins are added 93 tax havens, including some doubtful ones such as Ireland, Switzerland, England, Malta. They concentrate the equivalent of 10% of the world’s gross domestic product, have registered some 2,000,000 opaque corporations (41% in the British Virgin Islands), which subtract – some legally that yes – billions of dollars in unpaid taxes in their countries of origin. Fundamental taxes to meet so many basic needs of the “foolish” populations that do not have enough oil to maintain the flame of their development.
The OECD, which has been active in promoting transparency, points out that corporate tax has been falling in the world from 32% to 23%, under pressure from corporations. The U.S. FATCA Act has been a step forward. The same is the international agreements to make banking movements transparent. But there are still large multinationals that pay in taxes on their profits a percentage of less than 2%. In the EU alone, which has just passed a directive to force multinationals to show where they pay their taxes, some 370 billion euros ($428 billion) in taxes evaded or evaded by their companies are estimated.
With the pressure of world public opinion, the spaces in which these financial movements are protected must be increasingly closed. The agreement of 136 countries to establish a basic rate of 15% to be paid by multinationals, considered still insufficient, is a step in the right direction. But we must aim in the multilateral system to end tax havens due to disuse, when it is not possible for large fortunes and companies to go out legally to hide in them. Without corruption there is no paradise. Nor ready virgins.
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