If you've never tried it yourself, international tax evasion can seem like a dark and indecipherable art. How does money bounce around the globe through obscure shell companies and minor principalities and come out smelling tax-free? If you need to ask, you're probably not ready to know- though you might be ready to play Taxodus.
It's a new online game that lets you take the reins of a multinational company and plot a global strategy to lower the company's tax burden. With the help of a "Tax Wizard" you can establish setups like general partnerships, limited liability companies, and private foundations in countries around the world. And Taxodus gives you capsule briefings on the pros and cons of funneling money through specific countries. For example, did you know that Cameroon has a "transparent system that guarantees investor protection" or that Belarus is "piloting a high-capacity financial sector with 0% profit tax for 7 years"? The game's interface is a little clunky but its aesthetic sets a great mood for the task, with background music that recalls The Terminator, and a dark color scheme that makes you feel like a post-apocalyptic alien colonizer. You can play the game here and watch a preview below:
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.