Leading unions, AIDS charities and development NGOs have urged the new head of the World Bank, Dr Jim Kim, to back a Robin Hood Tax as an innovative way to raise funds for international development. The health expert who was appointed by President Obama (the US usually gets to choose who heads the global development bank) is expected to be more progressive than previous incumbents, as his recent introduction to the 2013 World Development Review on Jobs showed.
The letter comes as governments in Europe are moving closer than ever to implementing a Financial Transactions Tax, and it marks a shift in focus back to the international institutions, building on success at the level of national governments. The letter urges Dr Kim to
“use your prominent position of influence to become a vocal champion of innovative ways to ensure sufficient resources are available to tackle the most pressing problems faced by the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”
Union signatories ranged from the International Trade Union Confederation, Education International and PSI through to health unions in Australia and Canada, IG-BAU in Germany, and national confederations from the USA, Australia, Italy and Spain as well as the TUC. Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and WWF signed up from the green groups, along with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Oxfam and Stamp Out Poverty. Southern organisations from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mexico and Nepal also supported the letter, submitted just ahead of the World Bank’s annual meeting in Tokyo.
The letter continues:
“We have long advocated that such financial transaction taxes (FTTs) are a practical way to generate revenue to fill domestic and international financing gaps, discourage the type of short-term financial speculation that has little social value but poses high risks to the economy, and serve as a predictable and sustainable source financing for health, climate, development, education, and job creation. In a recent paper, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs concluded that ‘financial and currency transaction taxes are technically feasible and economically sensible. They could readily provide the means of meeting global development financing needs’.”