You may have heard of this in the aftermath of the banking crisis, but people seemed to forget about it quite quickly. Now, with Ed Miliband as the new Labour leader, it is gaining some renewed support in the UK, and is being supported globally (under its alternative name, the Tobin Tax).
Basically it is a small tax on banks for transactions. Tobin never set any concrete ideas in place about how much it should be, but he suggested a tax less than 0.5%, or even as little as 0.005%. The idea is that the money raised from this tax would go into a worldwide fund for development and poverty alleviation, and now, climate change adaptation/mitigation.
As well as raising money directly through the tax, it would have a knock-on effect of slowing the movement of money around and stabilising economies. This would likely shrink the banking sector (the degree would depend on the size of the tax), but since banking is one of the most profitable businesses in the world, it’s not such a big deal.
Governments seem disinterested in making the banks pay for their errors. Apparently we should all be sympathetic because some closed and some had to make people redundant. But they got themselves into that situation in the first place, and dragged us down with them. And those that survived are still doing quite nicely: hefty bonuses and all. Meanwhile a huge amount of public money went into rescuing them, and now we have to put up with increased taxes and reduced public spending. So we’re getting less for more right? Surely that’s the wrong way around: aren’t we a capitalist economy (world, even), interested in efficiency and therefore getting more for less?
Ed Miliband is being hailed as the new opportunity to get the Robin Hood Tax back on the agenda. Find out more about the tax and show your support here (including which world leaders and celebrities are on board), and see the Robin Hood Tax videos here.