Tuesday, January 24, 2023
sarkar presents Capital migration Today at UC-San Francisco
Shayak Sarkar (UC Davis; Academic google) presents Capital migration at UC-San Francisco today as part of his Tax Law Center’ Fiscal Policy Colloquium hosted by Heather Field and Manoj Viswanathan:
The money moves, while the migrants stay. If humans face borders, capital and corporations supposedly “have no borders.” However, what exactly makes capital and trusted companies foreign, the designation that underlies migration?
This article discusses capital migration and the responses it provokes. It does so by analyzing the intersection of capital and corporate migration with human migration and by identifying conceptual parallels. As a first parallel, the citizenship binary is insufficient to understand both human and capital migration, as illustrated by international tax law. Second, on the recurring issue of federalism, states, along with the federal government, have tax authority over foreign capital and companies. As an argument, just as immigration tax federalism allows for non-uniformity, so could corporate and capital tax federalism under the Foreign Trade Clause.
Beyond the theoretical parallels, this article refutes the separation of capital migration and human migration by examining where they meet: the human migration regimes that attract capital. “Capital purchase migration” on treaty or universal investor visas allows foreign capital to pave our streets and then the taxpayer’s path to permanent residence. “Migration-friendly capital” allows the temporary workers needed for an investment to flourish.
However, even when these regimes generate capital and human migration, both migrations must face the fear of the foreigner. That fear lies not only in the much-discussed Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, but also in our daily lives and communities. As this article explains, capital migration includes the aesthetic “intrusion” of residential investments by newcomers and the controversial commercial investments that cater to these newcomers. Through low-level laws (municipal ordinances), communities, including long-settled immigrants, police this foreign capital and the people behind it. As such, this article reorients our understanding of capital migration as having a literal and metaphorical connection to human migration, for better or worse. While this connection advises local fiscal flexibility, I caution against fear-based barriers to capital migration.
See also Shayak Sarkar, Capital controls as migrant controls, 109 cal. L. Rev. 799 (2021) (reviewed by Juliet Stumpf (Lewis & Clark; Academic google) here)
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