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The Panama Papers: a cultural shift

Political leaders and billionaires, drug traffickers and law firms, mafia bosses and big banks, celebrities and arms dealers, what do they all have in common? Money, power, and Panama. Money hidden somewhere. ‘Follow the money’ keeps being the golden rule to understand what happens in the world

Hard power is about the economic clout (e.g. money, bonds, assets) that political leaders, mafia bosses, banks, law firms, drug traffickers and the like have, secreted or not. Soft power is about making people want what you want (Nye, 1990), which in the business world would be a synonym to marketing. Soft power is much more though, as it relates to a cultural hegemony. The cultural hegemony of the capitalist market system that has been imposed since the late 1980s have thrived so that politics often ends up wanting what Big Actors want.
The Panama Papers are not telling us soImething we were not aware of before, but the magnitude and the amount of people in the criminal and non-criminal world involved comes as a shock. When you get one scandal a day you have your dose. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) gave us an overdose. A good one, hopefully.
Prime Ministers (e.g. Iceland, the UK and Ukraine), Banks (e.g. UBS, Experta Corporate & Trust Services, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Société Générale Bank, Landsbanki Luxembourg, Rothschild Trust Guernsey Limited) andLaw firms (e.g.Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth-largest law firm providing offshore financial services) are involved in massive scandals from either a legal or ethical point of view. As stated before, there are also mafia bosses, arms dealers, billionaires, drug traffickers and celebrities in the list. Why should the latter not be named one by one? Of course they should, but there is a crucial difference between what a prime minister, a bank, and a law firm represent, and what a billionaire, an arm dealer, and mafia bosses represent.