I was on the BBC World Business Report yesterday, talking about proposals for a Tobin Tax (a tax on financial market transactions with the revenues allocated to poverty reduction). David Hillman from Stamp Out Poverty discussed the issue with me. I said I could not see the logic of linking measures to reduce capital market volatility with financing aid.
The World Business Report podcast is here. The discussion about the Tobin Tax was in the edition for October 7th, 2009 – it will be there for a few days. Alternatively you can download just the relevant part of the programme here.
The presenter, Mike Johnson, introduces the discussion by saying that James Tobin (a Nobel prize winning economist) proposed the tax as a way to finance efforts to combat poverty and disease. That isn’t true: James Tobin proposed the tax as a possible way to reduce speculative transactions. The idea of linking the tax to development spending is a subsequent embellishment by campaigners against global poverty. James Tobin said in an interview in Der Spiegel in 2001:
Ich habe nicht das Geringste gemein mit diesen Anti-Globalisierungs-Revoluzzern.
(My translation: “I have nothing at all in common with these anti-globalisation revolutionaries.”)