Saturday, 13 February 2010

A challenge to Goldman Sachs: debate the Robin Hood campaign

My letter in today's Guardian:

Goldman Sachs will no doubt recognise that it scored an own goal with the crude attempt to rig an online poll about the new Robin Hood tax campaign (Clicking in the votes, 12 February). The investment bank has said it is investigating the incident: no doubt the stunt may well have been unauthorised.

Yet the episode does highlight the need for those involved in international finance to engage seriously with the charities, pressure groups and churches who are campaigning for a financial transactions tax – as well as with those governments, including Britain, France and Germany, which are looking seriously at how such a tax might be practicable. The principle is an increasingly attractive one at a time of acute fiscal pressure after a public bailout saved the financial system from the consequences of excessive risk-­taking, though Dr Neil McCulloch (Letters, 12 February) identifies that important issues would need to be addressed.

The challenge for Goldman Sachs is to come out from behind the computers serving up anonymous spam votes and engage seriously on the merits of the issue. The Fabian Society would be delighted to offer Goldman Sachs a ­platform to debate with the Robin Hood tax campaigners on this important ­public policy debate.

Sunder Katwala

General secretary, Fabian Society

Over 30,000 people have backed the Robin Hood Tax campaign in its first 48 hours.

It is interesting to see the Guardian report British Chambers of Commerce chief economist David Kern arguing (cautiously )suggest that such a tax could potentially have beneficial effects if it could be organised multilaterally, with the United States and EU.

Left Foot Forward has a good summary of initial reaction, including noisy opposition from the right-wing blogosphere which is promoting a counter-mobilisation through the The Robin Hood Tax is a stupid idea Facebook group, which says:

Please invite all your friends! We need a few thousand to beat the group supporting it.

At the time of writing, 39 people had rallied to that cause.

However, I did learn that right-wing opponents of the tax are claiming the support of Socialist Worker, quoting Alex Callincos critique that:

The tax was always a proposal for reforming capitalism, not overthrowing it.


1 comment:

Tim Worstall said...

The Fabian Society would be delighted to offer Tim Worstall a ­platform to debate with the Robin Hood tax campaigners on this important ­public policy debate.

There, fixed it for you.