We wake to news that the admirable Poonwalla family, of Serum Institute fame, is to donate a whopping £50m to Oxford University’s Jenner Institute.  The money will fund more cutting-edge research in many areas of health, but some at least will be set aside for the Holy Grail of a Malaria vaccine. Imagine the difference one of those would make to so many lives.
We could allow ourselves a wry smile at persons from the Indian subcontinent funding their erstwhile imperial masters. But one thing we’ve noticed about Indians-they know which side their bread is buttered, and every pound spent in research now is thousands in profits later. The generous Poonwalla family joins an illustrious roll call of names that includes Carnegie, Gates, Tata, Soros, Buffet and many more. By why should people like that have to do all the heavy lifting?
For all the estimates indicate that at least $21 trillion is held in off shore accounts, tax havens and other queasy bolt holes. According to Frederick E Allen of Forbes, that is equal to the combined GDPs of the USA and Japan. (for the benefit of our more nervous readers, Forbes is not exactly what you would call a socialist outfit) The super rich always claim that their efforts add wealth to communities. Maybe so-but didn’t the acquisition of all those fortunes depend on the transport, education and defence systems which the rest of us have paid for? Readers of LSS, we challenge you-what could be done with just a fraction of those funds if we could get them back?
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