Reaction to the Tobin Tax

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This article is a list of all notable reaction to James Tobin's 1972 proposal of what is now known as the Tobin tax.

Government officials[edit]

From 1990 to 1999[edit]

From 2000 to 2004[edit]

  • 2000 - Supporters - Finnish Government[3]
  • In late 2001, a Tobin tax amendment was adopted by the French National Assembly. However, it was overturned by March 2002 by the French Senate.[5][6][7]
  • 2001 - Supporter: Fidel Castro - At the UN September 2001 World Conference against Racism, when the issue of compensation for colonialism and slavery arose in the agenda, Fidel Castro, the President of Cuba, advocated the Tobin Tax to address that issue. (According to Cliff Kincaid, Castro advocated it "specifically in order to generate U.S. financial reparations to the rest of the world," however a closer reading of Castro's speech shows that he never did mention "the rest of the world" as being recipients of revenue.) Castro cited Holocaust reparations as a previously established precedent for the concept of reparations.[8][9]
  • In January, 2003, in Latin America, the Tobin tax was supported by the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez.[10]
  • On June 15, 2004, the Commission of Finance and Budget in the Belgian Federal Parliament approved a bill implementing a Spahn tax.
  • June 2004 - Supporters - 864 Parliamentarians and government officials around the world: "An effort to mobilize support among parliamentarians around the world resulted in 864 signatures to a pro-Tobin tax resolution by June 2004"[11][12] Officials were from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Ivory Coast, Denmark, Djibouti, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA[13]

From 2005 to 2008[edit]

In 2009[edit]

In 2010[edit]

In 2011[edit]

  • June 29, 2011, the European Commission called for Tobin-style taxes on the EU's financial sector to generate direct revenue starting from 2014. At the same time it suggested to reduce existing levies coming from the 27 member states.[29]

Non-government supporters and opponents[edit]

1936 to 1989[edit]

1990 to 1999[edit]

  • June 16, 1995, Paul Bernd Spahn opposed the original form of the Tobin tax and proposed his own variation (see Spahn tax).
  • On August 1, 1995, an IMF Working Paper No. 95/77 Financial Transactions Taxes by Shome,Parthasrathi and Stotsky, Janet Gale found that "the economic effects of financial transactions taxes on capital markets are seen to be pervasive. They may impose significant efficiency costs by impairing the smooth functioning of financial markets, increasing the cost of capital, and distorting the structure of capital financing. Their effects on the volatility of capital flows, either in domestic or international financial markets, are uncertain, as are their distributional and revenue effects."[33]
  • 1997 - Supporter - Ignacio Ramonet
  • 1998 - Supporter - Economics writer Linda McQuaig[1]
  • 1998 - Supporters - ATTAC (Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens)

2000 to 2004[edit]

  • In 2001 the charity War on Want released The Robin Hood Tax,[34] a report explaining the case for a currency transactions tax. War on Want also sets up the Tobin Tax Network to develop the proposal and press for its introduction.
  • 2001 - The Guardian wrote that Tobin Tax would make everyone poorer. The liquidity on the currency market would decrease, the prices would become more volatile and transporting goods would become more difficult and expensive. According to The Guardian, speculants are needed to risk their money so that liquidity would be better.[35]
  • 2001 - September 19 - Speculator George Soros, put forward a different proposal, special drawing rights or SDRs that the rich countries would pledge for the purpose of providing international assistance, without necessarily dismissing the Tobin tax idea.[36] He stated, "It is not at all clear to me that a Tobin tax would reduce volatility in the currency markets. It is true that it may discourage currency speculation but it would also reduce the liquidity of the marketplace."
  • In 2001, the International Monetary Fund conducted considerable research that opposes a transaction tax. In 2001, findings by Habermeier, Karl Friedrich, and Andrei Kirilenko, state that "transaction taxes or such equivalents as capital controls can have negative effects on price discovery, volatility, and liquidity and lead to a reduction in the informational efficiency of markets."[37] (See also IMF position of 2010, below)

2005 to 2008[edit]

  • In 2006, Markku Lanne and Timo Vesala of University of Helsinki write in the Bank of Finland Research Discussion Paper No. 11/2006 The Effect of a Transaction Tax on Exchange Rate Volatility(2006) that "a transaction tax is likely to amplify, not dampen, volatility in foreign exchange markets."[38]
  • In September 2006, George Monbiot argues in favour of a Tobin Tax, in his book Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning.[39]


  • In August, 2009, Adair Turner, chair of the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority, in an interview for Prospect magazine supported the idea of new global taxes on financial transactions, warning that a “swollen” financial sector paying excessive salaries has grown too big for society.[40][41]
  • October 5, 2009 - Supporter - Joseph Stiglitz (recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 and the John Bates Clark Medal in 1979, and former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank.)[42]
  • In early November 2009, the "Lex" column of Financial Times opposes the Tobin tax, in "Tobin or not Tobin" it writes "The Tobin tax should remain a curiosity of economic history."[43]
  • In November 2009, Matthew Sinclair, Research Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, wrote an article in the London newspaper City AM A Tobin Tax would destroy London without making the world safer [44]
  • In late November 2009 Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist and professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, argued that a Tobin Tax would have ameliorated the Financial crisis of 2007–2010. He wrote, "bad investments aren’t the whole story of the crisis. What turned those bad investments into catastrophe was the financial system’s excessive reliance on short-term money ... a financial transactions tax, by discouraging reliance on ultra-short-run financing, would have made such a run much less likely. So contrary to what the skeptics say, such a tax would have helped prevent the current crisis — and could help us avoid a future replay." Krugman wrote that it is "an idea whose time has come."[45]
  • In late November 2009, Economist Charles Goodhart, Professor Emeritus of Banking and Finance at London School of Economics and developer of Goodhart's law, was scathing in his criticism of "radical and consumer groups [that] go on backing the Tobin tax idea". He argued, "Many of those who support such a tax neither know, nor care, what effects it might have on market efficiency. Besides a, generally misguided view that its imposition would fall primarily on the financial sector, rather than be passed on to its customers, the hope is that such a tax would produce lots of lovely revenue, to be spent on good deeds, such as foreign aid." [46]
  • December 7, 2009, economist Stephany Griffith-Jones advocated a very low but "internationally co-ordinated tax on financial transactions, often described as a Tobin tax."[47]
  • December 7, 2009 - Supporter - Hector Sants, Chief Executive Officer of the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority[47]


(The) imposition of a global tax is an inappropriate response and a further burden to industries, especially small and medium enterprises, and consumers in the wake of the global financial crisis. We also believe that the proposals under consideration would be harmful for a range of additional reasons, including the practical challenges of implementing any such tax.[48]

  • 31 March 2010 - "350 economists, including Jeffrey Sachs and the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, from more than 35 countries signed a letter to the leaders of the Group of 20 countries calling on them to impose a tax on financial transactions between financial institutions, but not on transactions conducted by individuals."[49] The then leaders of Europe's three biggest economies - Angela Merkel of Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Gordon Brown of Britain -were "promoting a financial transaction tax as a way of raising as much as $US 400billion a year to fulfil commitments to domestic budgets, poverty reduction, global health and climate change mitigation."[49] A coalition of community organizations in Australia also supported the tax.[49]
  • April 16, 2010 - International Monetary Fund - "While the IMF does not endorse a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), it concedes that 'The FTT should not be dismissed on grounds of administrative practicality.'[50] This is important because the Fund might have rejected it outright. However, the IMF interprets its mandate from the G20 quite narrowly and therefore does not endorse the FTT on the grounds that it 'does not appear well suited to the specific purposes set out in the [2009/2010] mandate from the G-20 leaders.'[50]"[51] (See also IMF position of 2001, above)


  • October 10, 2011 - Charity group Oxfam, which is campaigning for a financial transaction tax, banned a pensioner from one of its shops, after he complained about a poster which highlighted Oxfam’s call for a “Robin Hood” tax of banks and financial institutions. Pensioner Barry Nowlan has incurred £10,000 in legal fees fighting the ban. Nowlan, 63, of Taunton, says he has a legitimate complaint about Oxfam’s “political campaigning.”[52]
  • November 2, 2011 - Microsoft founder Bill Gates in an interview with the BBC declared he backs a Tobin tax.”[53]


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  2. ^ Brash, Donald T. (1996-06-29). "New Zealand and international financial markets: have we lost control of our own destiny?". Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
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  4. ^ Hansard (March 23, 1999). "36th Parliament, 1st Session; EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 202; CONTENTS; Tuesday, March 23, 1999". Hansard. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Eddy Fougier (Spring 2003). "The French Antiglobalization Movement: a New French Exception?" (PDF). Institut Francais des Relationes Internationales. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-20. 
  6. ^ Kwan S. Kim & Seok-Hyeon Kim (December 2003). "The Tobin tax revisited in the context of global governance on capital markets". The Role of International Institutions in Globalization: The Challenges of Reform (edited by John-ren Chen). Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 30. 
  7. ^ Daniel Ben-Ami (March 25, 2002). "Tobin or not Tobin?". spiked. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. 
  8. ^ Fidel Castro (September 1, 2001). "Key address by Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba at the World Conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance". United Nations. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  9. ^ Cliff Kincaid (October 6, 2009). "Progressives Back Obama Push for Global Tax". Accuracy in Media. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
  10. ^ (BBC News)
  11. ^ Taylor, Rupert (editor) (2004). Creating a better world: interpreting global civil society. 1294 Blue Hills Avenue, Bloomfield CT 06002 USA: Kumarian Press. p. 123. ISBN 1-56549-188-2. 
  12. ^ Nelson, Paul (December 2002). "New Agendas and New Patterns of International NGO Political Action". Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. Springer Netherlands. 13 (4): 377–392. doi:10.1023/A:1022062010375. ISSN 1573-7888. Retrieved March 2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  13. ^ World Parliamentarians for the Tobin Tax (January 2003). "World Parliamentarians for the Tobin Tax". World Parliamentarians for the Tobin Tax. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  14. ^ SIN PERMISO - artículos en la WEB
  15. ^ "Sarkozy to press for 'Tobin Tax'". BBC News. London. September 19, 2009. 
  16. ^ Tom Braithwaite (September 24, 2009). "Volcker backs new bank taxes". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  17. ^ Cristina Arantes Berry & Marcelo Natale (October 21, 2009). "Brazil Tax Alert - 21 October 2009". 
  18. ^ a b Tony Barber (2009-12-11). "EU leaders urge IMF to consider global Tobin tax". The Financial Times. 
  19. ^ a b c BBC (November 7, 2009). "Lukewarm reaction to UK tax plan". BBC. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
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  21. ^ "DEFAZIO INTRODUCES LEGISLATION INVOKING WALL STREET 'TRANSACTION TAX'". Website of Peter DeFazio. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  22. ^ David Rodgers (December 3, 2009). "Pelosi pushes global financial fee". Politico. 
  23. ^ Tony Czuczka (December 10, 2010). "Merkel Says Germany Prefers Financial Markets Transaction Tax". Bloomberg. 
  24. ^ Tobin tax remains Treasury ambition (December 11, 2009). "Tobin tax remains Treasury ambition". Financial Times. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  25. ^ Michael Shields (December 13, 2009). "Volcker finds British bonus tax "interesting": report". Reuters. 
  26. ^ Emma Saunders (January 26, 2010). "Mervyn King: Radical reform is needed". Financial Times. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  27. ^ Doug Saunders (February 5, 2010). "A Tobin tax? The outré is back in". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  28. ^ David Charter (May 20, 2010). "Merkel leads calls for global financial tax as markets continue to slide". Times Online. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  29. ^ Ian Traynor (June 29, 2011). "EU calls for 'Tobin' tax in a move to raise direct revenue". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  30. ^ Stephen Spratt of Intelligence Capital (September 2006). "A Sterling Solution". Stamp Out Poverty report. Stamp Out Poverty Campaign. pp. 15–16. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  31. ^ James Tobin (July–October 1978). "A Proposal for International Monetary Reform". Eastern Economic Journal. Eastern Economic Association: 153–159. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  32. ^ Summers, Lawrence H.; Summers, Victoria P. (1989). "When financial markets work too well: A cautious case for a securities transactions tax". Journal of Financial Services Research. 3: 261. doi:10.1007/BF00122806. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ The Robin Hood Tax Archived 2011-06-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  35. ^ Jospin in fantasy land over Tobin tax - Silly distraction is unenforceable, The Guardian, Thursday 30 August 2001
  36. ^ Asia Society: Speeches Archived 2009-04-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Lanne, Markku; Vesala, Timo (2006). "The Effect of a Transaction Tax on Exchange Rate Volatility". Bank of Finland Research. SSRN 1018363Freely accessible. 
  39. ^ Monbiot, George (September 2006). Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning. South End Press. ISBN 0-7139-9923-3. 
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  41. ^ George Parker, Daniel Pimlott, Kate Burgess, Lina Saigol and Jim Pickard (August 28, 2009). "Turner relishes role on City front line". Financial Times. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  42. ^ Edmund Conway (5 Oct 2009). "Joseph Stiglitz calls for Tobin tax on all financial trading transactions". Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ Paul Krugman (November 26, 2009). "Taxing the Speculators". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
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  47. ^ a b Stephany Griffith-Jones (December 7, 2009). "Now let's tax transactions". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  48. ^
  49. ^ a b c Peter Singer (March 31, 2010). "Tax the banks and give to the poor, Robin Hood style". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 
  50. ^ a b International Monetary Fund (April 16, 2010). "A FAIR AND SUBSTANTIAL CONTRIBUTION BY THE FINANCIAL SECTOR INTERIM REPORT FOR THE G-20". International Monetary Fund; Excerpt and LINK TO FULL REPORT as a PDF - republished online by Global Print Monitor on April 22, 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  51. ^ John Dillon (May 2010). "An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Adopt a Financial Transactions Tax". KAIROS Policy Briefing Paper No. 24 revised and updated. KAIROS. Archived from the original on January 23, 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  52. ^ "Oxfam ban Somerset's Robin Hood row banker". Western Daily Press. October 10, 2011. 
  53. ^ "Bill Gates backs a Tobin tax". BBC. November 2, 2011.