Dispatch from London: The Middle East’s Laundromat

8 Mar

This morning’s edition of the Guardian fronted the news that the head of the London School of Economics and Political Science had resigned last night over donations from Libya.  Colonel Qadaffi’s son received a Ph.D. from the institution that may be fraudlent.  Lord Megnhnad Desai (an economics professor) supervised the dissertation that a quick Google search revealed to be ripped off of the IMF’s website.

Is it really that unusual?  London is the Middle East’s favorite spending place.  An Egyptian owned Harrod’s and sold it to the Qatari royal family.  A few steps north of Oxford Street finds offices of all the Middle East airlines.  U.A.E. money paid for the Sheik Zayad Theatre in the LSE’s New Academic Building.  Hijabs and rather stylish burkas parade down Regent Street shops.

It’s in a central time zone (not too far from the Continent, Africa, the Middle East, Russia, Asia, or the Eastern U.S.A.).  The tax laws are favorable to foreigners in a wayAmerica’s are not.  Financial regulation like Sarbanes-Oxley did not apply here; a little known fact about the AIG implosion is that it began at their division in London.

Is there a better way for this city to exist and prosper?

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