This weekend, G20 leaders have an opportunity to support a simple idea that would finally redistribute some of the much talked-about benefits of globalization to the rest of the world – to fight global poverty and climate change.
Last week, German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy wedded themselves to the idea of the Robin Hood Tax, writing a letter to Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper to put discussion of the tax on the agenda at this weekend’s meetings.
The idea is to impose a tiny tax of 0.05 per cent on all financial transactions on the stock market and futures markets. For the most part, it would target the speculative activity of day traders who make hundreds of thousands of deals a day using computer algorithms. Astonishingly, at just 0.05 percent, this tax could generate hundreds of billion dollars, several times the amount donor countries contribute to global aid budgets.
To date, Harper has dismissed the idea of a “bank tax” (not a Robin Hood Tax or financial transaction tax), largely on the grounds that Canadian banks (like those in India, Brazil, China, and South Korea) didn’t have the same financial meltdown in other countries.
This may be the case. But he is missing the point. This is more than just a financial crisis. It is an economic crisis.