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Robin Hood Had The Right Idea: Why The Left Needs To Deliver On The Financial Transaction Tax


Robin Hood Had The Right Idea: Why The Left Needs To Deliver On The Financial Transaction Tax

Stephany Griffith-Jones

A financial transaction tax (FTT) — a charge on the buying and selling of stocks, bonds and derivatives — is an idea with widespread support amongst leading academics, many politicians and, most importantly, citizens. It was initially proposed by Maynard Keynes, the greatest economist of the twentieth century, and developed by Nobel Prize winner James Tobin.


This is a good basic description of what the FTT is all about. I tried talking to my right wing mother about it and she had hardly heard of it which is not surprising considering her only information sources are right wing talk show radio and fox news. Of course right wing talk show radio and Fox news won’t talk about it. Better for right wing radio and fox news to keep their listeners and viewers in the dark than to accidentally cause support for the FTT. Sure would be nice if Europe does push through a FTT. That would give us great leverage to get it done here.


To the contrary. If the EU does it it will drive more transactions to London and the U.S. creating more reason for the financial markets to oppose it.


I have seen this idea spun around year after year with only lip service as A result-
I am in total agreement with your assessment here…


An extremely important issue. We have GOT to reduce the concentration of wealth or freedom is threatened.


The bottom line is who rules this country … most of us know.


“Tinker, Tinker, Little Star…”
The super-rich, profit-seeking big corporations and Wall St financiers are to continue to exist but be taxed more — how revolutionary and radical is that! Pie-in-the-sky reformism.

The main problem with such proposals is not that they are not going to work, but that they spread the view that they could work and so reinforce reformist illusions about capitalism being able to be reformed to function other than as a profit-driven system where profits have to be put before people. What this does is delay people coming to understand that capitalism can’t be reformed in these sorts of ways and that the only way forward is socialism. It helps prolong capitalism.

It is a demand for a minimal tax on the financial transactions in which capitalists try to swindle each other out of the proceeds of their past exploitation of the working class. It really is one of the most pathetic reform proposals.

if just one major financial centre were free of the tax, the speculation would gravitate there. And even if countries all introduced a Tobin tax, the financial sector could formally switch its business to offshore branches from the Cayman Islands to Singapore and so undermine the intended restricting effect. Failure is guaranteed.