Orders of Magnitude and the Human Cost of Illicit Financial Flows
By Raymond Baker, November 25, 2014
By Any Measure, Illicit Financial Flows Pose a Devastating Challenge to Developing Countries and Human Lives
Thomas Pogge—Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University, Director of the Global Justice Program, President of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP), and member of the Board of Directors of Global Financial Integrity (GFI)—has estimated that 18 million people die each year of economic deprivation and causes stemming therefrom. His calculation is based in good part upon estimating the number of people dying from preventable diseases.
GFI estimates that US$1 trillion a year of illicit financial flows drains from developing countries into western accounts. Our estimate is based on balance of payments and balance of trade data filed by governments with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the same data that is used by millions of people every day in making decisions about investments, loans, interest rates, exchange rates, and more. We believe that our data is very conservative because it does not include major components of illicit outflows, which do not show up in official statistics.
18 million people dying a year is around 50,000 people a day. US$1 trillion a year is roughly US$3 billion a day.
On this day, how many of the 50,000 people will live, if the US$3 billion stays home?