race to the bottom

A race to the bottom is when different nations or cities compete, either by lowering taxes, or easing regulations to favor potential investors, such as trans-national corporation. Under such conditions, it is predicted that the entire burden of taxation would eventually be shifted entirely onto labour income

Some related issues: globalization, deregulation, tax arbitrage, tit for tat

Sometimes retributive justice and technological escalation are described in similar terms but rarely with the exact phrase race to the bottom.