While the campaign has been going strong in the UK for a Robin Hood Tax, in Australia people are just starting to talk about it. Luckily, there’s some damn good people who are starting to talk about it. Take for instance, Peter Singer, one of Australia’s leading ethicists, who in this SMH article today says:
For the first time in history we have the ability to eradicate large-scale extreme poverty and the suffering it brings. The question is whether we have the will to do it. Growing support for a global financial transaction tax – known as the Robin Hood Tax – offers an exciting glimmer of hope this really could happen.
That sounds pretty good, but if you think this is still just being advocated by a bunch of people divorced from the real world, think again:
Now 350 economists, including Sachs and the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, from more than 35 countries have signed a letter to the leaders of the Group of 20 countries calling on them to impose a tax on financial transactions.
Suddenly the leaders of Europe’s three biggest economies – Angela Merkel of Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Gordon Brown of Britain – are promoting a financial transaction tax as a way to fulfil commitments to domestic budgets, climate change and international development.
I’ll say again: this is a good idea. I can tell you why financial institutions are balking at this – it runs directly contrary to the “greed is good” mentality they’ve had for decades. It encourages them to warm up their black little hearts and unclench the fists they wrap around other people’s money just enough to do some good. That they hate the idea of it is proof positive enough about how important it is that it gets passed.