The Price We Pay

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Death and Taxes

Like most humans, writer and documentary filmmaker Harold Crooks preferred to avoid contemplation of death and taxes. However, when Crooks was approached to explore the world’s tax haven crisis with the same verve he applied to the environmental crisis in the powerful documentary he co-directed with Mathieu Roy, Surviving Progress, he relented.

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Says Crooks, “When I realized that taxation is like a camera lens to understand power—who has power in society, who doesn’t have power, whether the regular person has a chance to get ahead in life—then I was hooked.”

For his paradigm-shifting feature doc, The Price We Pay, Crooks enlisted myriad financial brainiacs including then obscure French author Thomas Piketty who has since shot to economic rock star fame with his best seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

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What’s most striking about The Price We Pay is the simplicity of the answer to the world’s most pressing problem – massive inequity. With over half of the world’s financial wealth beyond the reach of public treasuries—hidden in the data clouds—no one country can solve this on its own. All the big kids have to sit down at the same table and agree not to let sociopathic thugs beat the rest of us back into the Dark Ages. If they can go to the next town and buy the Sherriff’s protection – they will. If there are no Cayman Islands to run to, they’re just going to have to behave.

The Occupy Movement was criticized for not having a plan, through interviews with tax justice campaigners, former finance and tech industry insiders, and relentlessly passionate journalists, The Price We Pay proposes a bold one.

Judith Klassen is a Toronto-based writer, filmmaker (Love in the Sixth) and the host of the celeb talk shows Judecast and Martini Think Tank.

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