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Today’s Robin Hood wears a Business Suit, not Tights.

How banks could help to change the world for the better by simply accepting a modest tax, the Robin Hood Tax – Not Complicated. Just Brilliant.

Some Time ago I read a short article in a German newspaper about a tax, that imposed on financial transactions, could raise an enormous amount of money, that could be used for various social and ecological projects.

The other day I skimmed through the online New York Times and one article stuck out: “Tiny Tax on Financial Trades Gains Advocates”. After reading the first few lines I remembered the article from a few months ago and got interested again. While researching that topic several questions arose: “How exactly will that tax be imposed”, “How high is it?”, “Who is supporting it and who is not willing to apply it?” to mention just a few. So now I will give you the answers to these questions

How Robin Hood wants to save the day

The Legend of Sherwood Forest “Robin Hood” has many origins and tales, but one thing they have all in common: Robin steals from the rich and gives the loot to the poor.

Of course the Robin Hoods won´t ambush managers in an underground garage and steel a piece of a quarter. They thought it would be a pretty good idea to generate money by imposing a tax on financial transactions and businesses. This tax will be about half a percent.

The Idea spreads

Though the Idea had its origins in Great Britain in 2010, it spread quickly across the world and attracts more and more supporters, including several humanitarian and environmental protection groups. And since the immense effects of the current financial crisis even some governments. Sanjay Basu posted that the European Commission recently planned an EU financial transaction tax to be adopted within the 27 member states of the European Union. Steven Greenhouse and Graham Bowley mention the leaders of France and Germany, Owen Tudor stated, that Belgium supports a tax on the financial sector as well. Also former Vice President Al Gore, billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Pope Benedict XVI team up with Robin Hood.

The Robin Hood Tax is brilliant. Or not?

On the official Robin Hood Tax web page the authors state that:

  • The Tax is justice.
  • The banks can afford it.
  • The systems are in place to collect it.
  • It won’t affect ordinary members of the public, their bank accounts or their savings.

Opponents are mostly banks and people who gain a fortune in the financial business. But also some “common” citizens have their doubts. They consider the tax to be:

  • Too complicated to apply
  • transferred over to consumers rather than really being paid by the bankers – Steven Greenhouse and Graham Bowley quote Glenn Hubbard in the New York Times
  • diminish private pension funds
  • have a harmful impact on the banking industry and the overall employment , claims Sanjay Basu in the Global Health Hub

Now what do you think? Is it an idea worth supporting or just the dream of some heroes in tights?


9 thoughts on “Today’s Robin Hood wears a Business Suit, not Tights.

  1. Excellent, Anne!

    It is a great pleasure to find this post!

    I didn’t know about the British version of this movement, and the video’s are completely excellent. I also very much like the way you have structured and formatted the post: the headings, bullet points, video’s, as well as the basic argumentation make it very easy for your viewers to read and understand.

    This is a great step forward!

    And what about your next step?

    Two suggestions.

    First, I think now might be a time to think strategically about your professional/academic interests: are they in finance, CSR, news …. in which direction might you like to go? I think that this topic will support your interests in many directions: if you were to dig deeper on almost any question am sure you will find much. This is basically for you to decide, and I suggest that you think about combining this interest with some other you are working on.

    Second, and I am sorry you missed class today (get better soon!), please look at the Toyota A3 article and learn from your classmates how we put it into context. Briefly: this is about developing a more systematic research model, including survey of debates, clarification of issues, diagramming, mapping, setting up the problem … as if, for example, you were working for a bank and charged with presenting the board options and, following the Toyota A3 way, were also charged with developing a comprehensive framework. I’ll review some of this in the coming days, but start with the article.

    I think you are off to an excellent start: it looks to me like your “a-ha!” experience, one that will propel you forward with thought and speed!


    Posted by Bruce Spear | January 3, 2012, 1:04 pm
  2. Hey Anne,
    first of all the way you present your topic is great. Compared to your previous blogposts it is shorter which makes it easier to read through. You formulate your points clearly what addiotionally supports the smoothness of reading it. Therefore, a great job!!!

    Now to the question: In my oppinion, it is worth it to impose the “Robin Hood Tax”. Implementing the EU financial transaction tax seems very reasonable as it is said by various specialists. The financial markets need regulations and the revenues they would gain by this tax. Otherwise we will end up where we are right now considering the financial crisis.

    Looking at the map on: http://www.financialtransactiontax.eu/ it is striking to see which countries, oppose the FTT. The next meeting will take place on June 24th 2012.

    Interesing choice of topic what do you think about it?

    Posted by Fernanda | January 5, 2012, 2:07 pm
  3. Hey Anne
    unfortunately, the two previous comments already said a lot about your great and really exciting post, so I will just add something.
    To be honest, I had not known so much about this tax before, so I got a nice aha-experience while reading your post.
    You explained it in a very well-structured, comprehensible way and the videos gave a lot of answers to questions I had before.
    Your text and the 2 videos replenished each other perfectly and it did not take too much time to follow you though.
    It is very interesting to see the banker confronted with this tax and seeing him under pressure and having no real idea of it, becoming more quiet till the end.
    I think it is a behavior we all expect from the stereotyped banker: fearing his and the banks’ existance receiving unimaginable high amounts of boni.
    Why are the richest often the less willed to give? It will not harm a hair on their heads.

    To your question, I think it is definitely worth a thought about supporting it, but I am also thinking about one contra-point you mentioned…As it is with almost all taxes or shortages, I think this will at the end be transferred over to the consumers, which has nothing to do with the original idea.
    So to my mind, there should be a very concrete plan how to control and guarantee that this tax will be paid by the banks before the decision is made.

    As I am not the best informed in the banking sector, but was able to get an insight with your help, I can tell your text is very easy to read and is a very appealing way to get informed. It is relatively short, but concise and every word more would be too much.

    Thanks for this great lesson 🙂

    Posted by Viola | January 5, 2012, 5:00 pm
  4. I find it a very interesting topic!
    Looking at the current crisis we see that many governments try to decrease their spendings in order to have more money to help out banks and other financial institutions. Public education and social welfare programs suffer the biggest cuts. Therefore I believe that the Robin Hood Tax is a very good idea to raise funds for projects or parts of society that suffer financial losses like the education system.
    By the way, I really liked your title. Great job!

    Posted by Martin | January 11, 2012, 3:52 pm
  5. Hey Anne,

    When I am right informed, in the current news we could hear that Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy want to introduce this kind of tax in Europe. I think the first problem they have is that the UK doesn’t want to participate. This could cause that banks and clients shift their financial transaction to Great Britain and banks in Germany and the rest of Europe would be left with nothing. The second problem is that the coalition partner FDP is against the tax as long as not all of the EU members are participating. In general I think this tax is a good idea and we should at least give it a try!

    You chose a very current and interesting topic. Besides your way of explaining the topic I also liked the length of your post blog, (I wished I could shorten by posts like you! 😉 Nicely done, keep on!

    Posted by KathrinS | January 12, 2012, 9:29 pm
  6. Well, I dont think the ones who first had the idea of the tax were wearing business suits but that’s not the point. I dont know if the transaction tax has already been a matter when you wrote your post but it is now so its very current, which is nice. Funny that GB is still against the tax but their citizens had the power to convince France and Germany. Lets not talk neither talk about Cameron nor our friend Roessler.
    You stated your comments nicely with evidential clips and linked all of them to their sources.
    I guess I agree with Kathrin. I dont know if you should get into this topic even deeper. I mean its interesting as it is but on governmental base it might get a little to theoretical. Keep looking out for fairytales applied to the real world though. nice choice.

    Posted by Lucas | January 16, 2012, 10:03 pm
  7. Robin Hood. My childhoods favorite Disney movie. You got my support right away! But seriously, this is an awesome thought. Why not take money from the ones who have it in massive surplus. There are poor people suffering all over the world. This is not the only problem. The earth is getting destroyed more and more by the ones who have the financial surplus. They even want more! Of course I am polaryzing right now but I think it fits pretty good to the topic of Robin Hood. Rich and poor. Good and bad.
    As you just look out the window, the world is a mean and bad place. The strongest survives.
    The topic refers great to our last session in class. Mr. Spear told us that we want to be up there, on the top. There wont be a strong middle in the future if we continue like that. Most people do not recognize the critical situation by themselves. That’s why sometimes a Robin Hood is needed to take some gold from Prince John’s brusting treasury.

    Posted by Nico | February 11, 2012, 1:27 pm


  1. Pingback: Finding my way to Robin Hood « News With Juice - January 3, 2012

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