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The G20 and the Robin Hood Tax
October 31, 2011
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World leaders are gearing up for this week's G20 summit, which is taking place in Cannes, France. They're not the only ones. Activist organization Make Poverty History has an idea that they want the G20 countries to adopt: the Robin Hood Tax. The concept is to levy a tax of 0.05% on all financial market transactions of stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and derivatives, and use the money raised for "poverty reduction and helping poor countries cope with climate change", according to the group's website.

The tax would only be levied on members of the EU, although there are also calls to make it global. Here's a video explaining the idea:

As Forbes points out, the tax - which was originally proposed in the UK in February, 2010 in ads directed by Richard Curtis and starring Bill Nighy - is unlikely to find favour with the G20 countries. UK Finance Minister George Osbourne said last week that he opposed the tax unless it was applied globally, while Russia's assistant to the president said "we don't need taxes on transactions and banks [.] If other parties want to impose transaction taxes let them do it".

The Robin Hood Tax (which is also referred to as a Financial Transaction Tax) has faced skepticism in various circles since it was first proposed. But Kalle Lasn, the creator of 'Adbusters' magazine - the publication that provided some of the inspiration for the Occupy Wall Street movement, while the New York City General Assembly and like-minded community groups around the world put the idea into action - thinks the tax could become a rallying point for Occupy protestors. In an interview, Lasn says that on November 3rd and 4th, when the G20 meet, there will be "millions of people marching around the world, all demanding one thing. And we believe that one thing could be the Robin Hood tax".


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