of Amsterdam Journal.
Tax has many associations.
It has long been viewed with fatal resignation, likened to a natural
but inevitable force. It has also underpinned our civilisation's history.
Whether we embrace positive or negative views of tax it has a deeply
embedded role within society. [percapita]
- Would it make sense to create a different tax structure reflecting
the allocation of taxes to specific purposes?
- Why doesn't everyone revolt, when accumilative taxes (direct and indirect)
on income are about 80%?
- What will happen if tax evasion becomes a national sport and when
digital media facilitate tax evasion?
- Will lower taxes in surrounding countries lead to a massive outflux
of tax payers?
- To which extent can taxes be used to influence purchasing behaviour
of people and companies?
Join us at
future of Taxes - Thursday, 31 May!
.... interested in knowing
more and sharing thoughts and ideas .... email us!
does not matter. Spending and taxes do.
Antonio Fatás, Portuguese Council Chaired Professor
of European Studies and Professor of Economics at INSEAD
the point that government debt matters less than most people think
because in some cases we simply owe money to ourselves. He is
right and what he has in mind is the notion that government debt
is (in many countries) mostly held domestically. Japan is an extreme
case where more than 90% of the government debt is held by its
nationals but even in the US the majority of government debt is
held by US citizens or institutions. For some it is debt but for
others it is an asset, they cancel out from a national point of
We can think of an
extreme case where government bonds are held by all taxpayers
in proportion to their income - in a way that mimics tax rates.
In that case, government debt is not imposing a future burden
on anyone, it simply cancels out with the assets that all investors/taxpayers
How do future generations
enter into this analysis? What if we try to pass the bill to future
generations? Let's start with the case of a closed economy/system.
In a closed system (the world, no international trade or capital
flows) the debt that the current generation has will end up in
the hands of the future generation in one of two ways: either
it gets simply passed to the next generation as a bequest or,
alternatively, the current generation could try to sell their
assets and spend all their wealth if they do not want to leave
a bequest to their children. But the debt must be bought by someone.
And given that this is a closed economy, it can only be bought
by the future generations. In both cases the bond holders are
also the taxpayers.
If we bring other
countries into the picture then the analysis is different. The
government debt that other countries hold is a claim on our current
and future income and as such it is a financial burden that either
the current generation or the future one will have to pay for.
But Krugman's point, which is correct, is that many make the mistake
of assuming that government debt is equivalent to external debt
and they overestimate the burden that it imposes on a country.
Let's go back to
the case of a closed economy: is it really true that debt does
not matter? Not quite, because there are distributional issues
of two types: first there is no perfect match between bond holders
and taxpayers so it is not quite true that we owe money to ourselves.
Some citizens owe money to others. The second distributional issue
is about generations and here we need to go back to the example
above to understand how difficult the analysis can get. The best
way to understand the argument is to stop talking about debt and
talk about spending and taxes, which is what really matters. A
government spends some income today (builds a road, provides health
services to the population). It decides not to tax anyone but
instead it issues debt bought by the current generation. The government
decides that it will only pay back the debt in the future when
it raise taxes on the next generation, not the current one. Are
we passing a burden to the next generation? It all depends on
what the current generation does. If they decide to spend all
their income and leave no bequests for their children then the
answer is a clear yes. The current generation enjoyed services
that they did not pay for themselves and did not compensate the
next generation in any way for the future taxes they will have
to pay. Just to be clear, the future generation will be holding
the debt that the previous generation sold to them when they were
spending their inheritance, but this is not a transfer of resources,
the asset was sold at market price. So the fact that in the future
bondholders are also the taxpayers does not mean that we are not
passing a burden to the next generation.
There is a second
scenario where there is no burden passed to the next generation.
It can be that the current generation is responsible, understands
that the government is asking future generations to pay for the
goods and services that they enjoyed and they decide to leave
a larger-than-planned bequest to their children so that they have
resources to pay for all the taxes (you can think about the bequest
being the government debt itself). In this case no burden is passed
to the next generation.
This simple example
(*) makes it clear that answering the question of what distributional
impact government debt has across generations requires an understanding
of the patterns of spending, taxes and saving of different generations.
What matters is not debt but who enjoys the spending that the
government does and who pays for it. Debt is just a vehicle that
can be used to transfer resources across different individuals
or generations. Debt is not a problem, the problem, from a generational
point of view, is the potential mismatch between spending and
taxes (even if future taxpayers are also the holders of government
bonds when they are paid back).
(*) The example ignores
many issues: the type of goods government buy, the possibility
of default, the possibility of crowding out (government bonds
displacing other forms of saving),...
future of Taxes
18:30 - 21:15
- Sint Antoniesbreestraat 16, 1011 HB Amsterdam [Next to Nieuwmarkt]
This event is supported by Info.nl
The conference language is English.
The speakers and topics are:
Partner Tax Controversy and Litigation, Deloitte Belastingadviseurs
Tax Controversy Management Group
strategy director, Info.nl and head of info.nl/labs
The Internet of Things as enabler of a new organization of responsibility
Taxes, making the world a better or worse place?
moderator is Homme
Skyrocketing speed trains and cars
A revolution in transport is about to take place with the project
literally Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies. Still at the
prototype stage, this project is set to install fast, clean, cheap
and safe travel on earth needing only a 50th of the energy of
the transportation mean used whether it be train or car. Invented
and directed by Daryl Oyster, an American scientist who graduated
in mechanical engineering and worked on aeronautical and marine
design and certifications, the evacuated tube transport system
consists of using for travel tubes eliminating all possible frictions
due to speed thus permitting the mean of transportation to travel
faster and safer once it is set in motion. These tubes, made of
various possible materials such as fiberglass, sealed concrete
and plastics, will enable capsules containing 4 to 6 persons to
travel at a speed up to 6.400 kilometers per hour.
ETT sounds surreal when we hear its inventor assuring that we
will be able to link Washington DC and Beijing in two hours. Many
questions have already aroused on the feasibility of the project
and our adaptation to such a revolutionary mode of transportation.
Is the human body able to stand such speed? Is this mode of transportation
really safe? Will it be owned and operated by public entities
or private corporations? Will it be accessible to all or reserved
to high-incomes because of its cost? Apparently, the answer to
all of these questions is yes. The human body can stand the forces
of such high speed for it can stand 8g of acceleration while it
will only have to stand 1g of acceleration even at the speed of
6.400 kilometers per hour. This mode of transportation does appear
to be safe; and let us not forget how scared we have been at each
stage of the transportation evolution timeline. We thought the
human body would never be able to stand the speed of a train when
this mean of transportation first appeared and today it is a part
of our daily lives. Let us not be scared of change. Moreover,
to reassure all skeptics, setting in place much smaller tubes
for the transportation of mail could be a perfect start to ensure
the efficiency and security of such an innovation. Concerning
the ownership and management entities of the project worldwide
it appears more realistic for it to be split between the governments,
public entities such as cities and private companies and corporations
who will all have invested in ETT. As for any major infrastructure
transportation project, the cost of ETT will be lowered with the
number of investors interested and its expansion in as many countries
Any company interested in the project is encouraged to buy a license
to speed up the development of ET3 and enable the construction
of a prototype. Once proven its efficiency, the construction worldwide
of these tubes should take place at a high rate, linking major
cities and countries to form a global transportation network.
of Amsterdam blog
of Amsterdam blog
Water, Energy, Air, Food
Change / Sustainability (1)
Change / Sustainability (2)
/ Stock Market / Poverty
ultimate freedom: beyond time
about the Future
- escaping phone operator's control
The Serval Project could soon revolutionize the mobile phone
market and the state's control over our mobile phones. Its principle
is one of meshing, that is creating multiple and temporary networks
for communication between close-by rooted phones which are phones
having had their operator security locks deactivated. In that
way, the phones can function without SIM cards or antenna or
satellite intermediary. If the two phones are more than a few
hundred meters apart, the phones which will have also downloaded
Serval will serve as intermediaries for transmission of the
communication without their owners noticing it or needed to
do anything. Invented by an Australian scientist, Paul Gardner-Stephen,
in collaboration with students from a famous engineering school,
the INSA Lyon, Serval appears to be a return to the beginning
of the mobile phone industry where already in the 1980's engineers
had started to set in place some similar meshing systems quite
simple and cheap. They were prevented of developing these systems
by states and companies wanting to reproduce the controlled-by-the-top
pyramidal structure already in place for the phone market.
solar organic photovoltaic panels
a German company funded by BOSCH and others based in the city
of Dresden, has managed to develop a new and innovative type of
solar panel, more flexible, lighter and just as efficient as conventional
solar panels in cloudy or hot weather. Consisting of organic molecules
on polyester films, the technology of these new solar panels is
close to the one already used for certain phone and TV screens.
Heliatek's innovative solar panels thus appear more practical
and useable because of their lightness and flexibility while generating
as much electricity as "traditional" solar panels already
on market. Heliatek is the global leader
in organic photovoltaic technology
strategy shaping the future of Automotive OEMs
Flexibility to drive growth
Automotive: A Key Industry in Germany
Since the first practical petrol engine was built by Karl Benz
in 1885, Automotive has been a key industry in Germany. In 2011,
the German Automotive industry employed more than 719,000 people.
This figure in combination with large CAPEX investments (2011:
EUR 13.3 billion) and an internal R&D spend of the OEMs amounting
to about EUR 15.8 billion underpins the importance of the industry
for the German economy.
This key industry is now undergoing significant change. German
car producers are increasingly active in seeking growth in emerging
markets - especially in the BRIC countries. To be successful here,
product adaptation to the local market as well as economies of
scale are required. One way of balancing these - on the face of
it - contradicting requirements is the development of automobile
platforms that can be shared across models and brands. This paper
investigates this trend and shares insights about the future in
Sharing: An Overview
Estimate: 45-47% passenger cars will use one of top 20 platforms
Reasons behind Automobile Platform Sharing
All passenger cars are built on platforms or architectures that
define the core engineering of a vehicle. Traditionally, automotive
OEMs have shared this engineering across products. For example,
under the hood, Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo use the same engineering
structure. As platform development costs account for nearly half
of the product development costs of Original Equipment Manufacturers
(OEMs), this strategy of using common engineering across vehicle
models allows them to save money as well as time.
As the global automotive industry strives to achieve economies
of scale and efficient product launches, major OEMs will increasingly
focus on manufacturing a larger volume of passenger cars on select
global platforms (core platforms). These core platforms will be
used to design and produce vehicles across segments (by size and
price range) and brands on a global scale.
Evalueserve estimates that by 2020, the 10 major OEMs (General
Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroen,
Honda, Renault, Fiat, and Daimler) will reduce their platforms
by about a third from over 175 platforms in 2010, and will concentrate
mass production across a few key core platforms. For instance,
GM recently announced that it plans to almost halve its vehicle
platforms from 30 in 2010 to 14 in 2018. The company is expected
to save an estimated USD 1 billion per year, primarily contributed
by product development projects.
Consequences of Platform Sharing
According to Evalueserve's analysis, the top 20 passenger car
platforms accounted for approximately 40% of the global production
volume in 2010. The use of a set of select global platforms by
most manufacturers will mean that almost half the passenger cars
manufactured in the latter half of this decade will use one of
the top 20 global platforms. A realistic projection suggests that
by 2015, such a development will lead to the top 20 platforms
accounting for 45-47% of passenger cars launched globally.
The major contribution will come from the domination of global
platforms, such as Renault-Nissan's B platform (recently renamed
as V platform) producing models such as Clio, Micra, and Dacia;
Volkswagen Group's MQB platform, which will produce a range of
models for VW, Scoda, and Audi; and Toyota's MC platform producing
models such as Corolla and Auris. The subcompact and compact vehicle
segments (B, C, and D segments) will leverage this consolidation
the most by harnessing manufacturing, innovation, procurement,
and market adaption synergies.
Increased sharing will also hasten the consolidation of core platforms.
OEMs have started collaborating with each other (more than ever)
to co-develop and share their core platforms. The collaborative
framework of each company depends on its organizational setup,
markets, goals, and product portfolio. Renault and Nissan, for
instance, co-develop and share platforms as two distinct groups.
PSA Peugeot Citroen, on the other hand, has collaborative agreements
to share platforms with several partners, including Fiat, Mitsubishi,
Emerging economies such as China and South Asia, and South America
will continue to strongly influence car manufacturer's strategies
in the near future, affecting product development, marketing,
and manufacturing strategies. OEMs will increasingly adapt their
existing platforms and develop new ones for these markets. The
Honda Brio five-door hatchback subcompact, produced in India and
Thailand, is an example of this emerging trend. Evalueserve's
research on the emerging economies suggest that these markets
will account for more than half of the global light vehicle production
by 2015, given a strong CAGR of 8-9% over the next five years.
What is Required for Efficient Platform Consolidation?
Strong intra-platform component commonality and global production
flexibility will be critical for platform consolidation. Volkswagen
is one of the forerunners in implementing a modular strategy for
platforms and uses common platforms for multiple brands as well
as vehicles. For instance, Volkswagen and Porsche share a platform
for the Volkswagen Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne Sports Utility
Partnerships among various manufacturers are crucial as modularity
can be achieved only till a certain limit, beyond which inter-OEM
synergies have to be harnessed (and will keep increasing in magnitude
as well as number over the next few years). The Renault-Nissan-Daimler
alliance will serve as an example for OEMs looking to harness
platform and procurement synergies without undergoing full operational
integration. Evalueserve believes that platform synergies will
be the key to any further consolidation of the global auto industry.
However, platform consolidation will be a double-edged sword for
component suppliers. Increased production per platform will mean
significantly higher volumes for suppliers, but reduced core platforms
will mean very selective business development opportunities. Further,
regional suppliers with limited capabilities may come under pressure
as global delivery, supply chain, and efficient manufacturing
capabilities will be the key to efficient platform consolidation.
Platform Consolidation and Sharing
Although platform consolidation is gaining popularity throughout
the automotive landscape by virtue of being a simple and effective
strategy, several factors still prevent its instant adoption.
We have discussed some of these below:
- Low returns
and higher risks: A large number of similar vehicles based
on the same platform can result in lower "sales per model".
Platform sharing also magnifies the risk of increased product
recalls for vehicles based on the same platform by different
manufacturers. For example, the Toyota Matrix and Corolla as
well as the GM Pontiac Vibe, which were built on the same platform,
had to be recalled from the market.
- Need for product
adaption: Homologation norms differ significantly from country
to country and thus disallow the use of universal platforms
across all markets. Although most vehicles can be sold without
major modifications within a region (such as the European Union,
which follows a more or less uniform set of norms with regard
to platforms), a large number of vehicles have to be adapted
to meet the different homologation norms. GM, for instance,
had to lengthen the front portion of Saturn Astra to meet the
more stringent crash standards in the US.
- Consumer behavior:
On the demand side, consumer behavior and brand consciousness
are the biggest deterrents. While the North American market
is dominated by relatively larger vehicles such as sedans and
SUVs, the emerging markets such as India are primarily dominated
by small cars. Buyers are apprehensive about buying expensive
cars based on the same platform that underpins a relatively
more affordable vehicle with low differentiation on features.
An interesting example can be the recent launch of Renault Pulse
in India, which shares engineering with Nissan Micra and showcases
low differentiation. However, the success of this market launch
will largely depend on Renault's pricing strategy.
These obstacles in
the path of platform consolidation can be overcome gradually and
are likely to wither away against the forces driving platform
consolidation. However, to accelerate the pace of platform consolidation,
extensive regulatory support, R&D, consumer-driven innovation
to increase local acceptance of vehicles developed on global platforms,
and segment-driven marketing (personal car, family car, executive
car, etc) initiatives are required over the next few years.
An effective approach may be to retrace the path of container
standardization in international logistics in the second half
of the 20th century. Realizing the potential advantages of a universal
regime of standard containers, several regulatory as well as corporate
initiatives were taken to promote container standardization. Finally,
when standard containers replaced the traditional break bulk method
of handling dry goods, it revolutionized the transportation of
Evalueserve believes that if platform standardization is executed
well, it could lead to the next wave of revolution for the automotive
You can download the full White Paper.
Tax Policy in Europe: To Be or Not to Be?
By Krister Andersson (Editor), Eva Eberhartinger
(Editor), Lars Oxelheim (Editor)
The book is dedicated to the question
of how much room for national tax policy Member States of the European
Union will find necessary and possible to maintain in the future.
It focuses on the possibilities Member States have and the constraints
they face, such as the need to enhance competitiveness and attractiveness
to inward foreign direct investment, to finance social programmes
and the limitations imposed by European and International Law. The
research question is looked at from economic as well as from legal
points of view. This comprehensive approach and the answers given
will be of interest to scholars and policy makers alike and may
guide the path for future tax developments in Europe.
Inc. is an ocean data services provider and developer of the
Wave Glider marine robot that functions as a persistent and
versatile platform for scientific and industrial payloads. Based
in Silicon Valley, Houston and Hawai'i, the company's Wave Glider
is enabling dozens of applications and missions never before
deliveries of the Wave Glider unmanned maritime vehicle (UMV)
took place in 2008. To date, Wave Gliders have logged well over
100,000 miles of operations.
harvesting energy from the environment, Wave Gliders are able
to travel long distances, hold station, and monitor vast areas
without ever needing to refuel. A unique two-part architecture
and wing system directly converts wave motion into thrust, and
solar panels provide electricity for sensor payloads. This means
that Wave Gliders can travel to a distant area, collect data,
and return for maintenance without ever requiring a ship to
The Wave Glider
is a configurable platform designed to support a wide variety
of sensor payloads. It can keep station or travel from point
to point. Data is transmitted to shore via satellite, and the
continuous surface presence means that data can be delivered
as it is collected. Payloads can be installed by customers or
integrated by Liquid Robotics..
Ed Lu - Oceans
Portrait: Markku Wilenius
former PhD graduate of the University of Helsinki in social sciences,
has become in the last decade a well-known and independent futurist,
valued in his field within Finland and around internationally.
Being today one of the very few professor of futures studies worldwide
Wilenius stands out from the crowd of futurists and experts because
of the academic dominance of his CV and expertise. Professor of
Futures studies at the University of Turku and professor and director
of the Finland Futures Research Centre (1999-2001, 2003-2007),
Wilenius has managed for years now to combine his academic profile
with high-level consultancy and advising activities for governmental
bodies and multinational companies such as Allianz SE. His long-term
aim has been to bring and develop strategic thinking inside class
rooms, governmental bodies and companies to "futurise"
these organizations. Developing a new vision of leadership, management,
usual activities according to a far-reaching vision, his work
has been focused on adapting companies and the concerned actors,
including students who will become leaders and actors within companies,
to the Future. Markku Wilenius differentiates himself of other
experts in the fields of future studies and futurism by offering
critical and innovative thinking. Stating the importance of culture
as an asset for companies as much as for society, promoting the
necessity of "responsible communication" and trying
to open more paths towards a creative economy, better adapted,
responsible and efficient, Wilenius is currently at the forefront
of future studies.
Adding to his academic, consultancy and advising activities, Wilenius
is currently president of the Woima foundation, an organization
aiming at helping "Finland to find new sources of wealth
and well-being", and senior president at Fibertus a promising
start-up company aiming at developing and commercializing a sustainable
product to eventually replace oil-based products for various uses
(construction, packaging, insulation, etc). Member of the Club
of Rome, one of the major think tanks on future-oriented issues
worldwide, since 2002, Markku Wilenius is also a praised author
having published a number of valuable works in the last decade
such as Creative Economy (2004) and Mediators (2008). Delivering
lectures in his home university and around the world, Wilenius
is an futures expert to watch.
Season Events 2011/2012
future of Taxes
18:30 - 21:15
Location: Info.nl, Sint
Antoniesbreestraat 16. 1011 HB,
Supported by Info.nl
of Urban Energy
June 28, 2012, 18:30 -
Option: Guided Tour 17:00
Van Eesterenmuseum, Burgemeester
De Vlugtlaan 125,
1063 BJ Amsterdam
future of the Living Room
collaboration with Museum Geelvinck
future of the
collaboration with Gendo
future of Film
collaboration with the Freelance Factory
Felix Bopp, Editor-in-Chief
Raphaelle Beguinel, Assistant Editor
comments, ideas, articles are welcome!
Please write to Felix Bopp, Editor-in-Chief:
Copyright © 2002-2012,
Club of Amsterdam.
All rights reserved.