This contribution discusses how ideas are powered through expertise and moral authority. Professionals compete with each other to power ideas by linking claims to expertise, how things best work, to moral claims about how things should be. To show how, we draw on a case of battles over global tax policy. Corporate reporting for tax purposes is an area where the European Union, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations, large global accountancy firms and non-governmental organizations have been active. The point of contention here is what form of financial reporting multinational corporations should provide to ensure they pay their fair share of tax. Ideas powered by expertise contain shared causal beliefs, as well as principled beliefs about value systems. We demonstrate that professionals can contest the established order when demonstrations of expertise can be fused with claims to moral authority. Such a constellation is more likely when political conditions are favourable.
Bibliographical noteExploratory work for this piece was supported by the European Commission FP7 project, 2011 –2015, ‘GREEN – Global Reordering: Evolution through European Networks’ [#266809-GR:EEN]. Extensive research was funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Framework Program 2015–2018 [#649456-ENLIGHTEN].
- Tax policy