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1,000 economists call for financial tax to support development efforts

2011 April 15
by FCI Program of MSH

In a letter  released yesterday, a thousand eminent economists from more than 50 countries called for the establishment of a global Financial Transaction Tax.

Writing to finance ministers from the Group of 20 (G20) countries, representing the world’s leading economies, and to Bill Gates, who has been asked by the G20 to examine innovative ways to fund development and climate change, the economists wrote:

This tax is an idea that has come of age. The financial crisis has shown us the dangers of unregulated finance, and the link between the financial sector and society has been broken. It is time to fix this link and for the financial sector to give something back to society. Even at very low rates of 0.05% or less, this tax could raise hundreds of billions of dollars annually and calm excessive speculation… This money is urgently needed to raise revenue for global and domestic public goods such as health, education and water, and to tackle the challenge of climate change.

Together with advocacy partners from a range of health and development issues, FCI has been working for two years to build support for a tax on financial transactions (widely known in the U.K. as a “Robin Hood Tax“), with proceeds going to fund global health and poverty efforts. While the effort has not yet picked up steam, or attracted government support, in the U.S., there is significant momentum in Europe, where both France (host to this year’s G20 summit) and Germany have expressed strong support for the idea.


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