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Could ‘Robin Hood tax’ work in the Gulf?

Could ‘Robin Hood tax’ work in the Gulf?

Would local bankers ever support a 0.05 percent tax which would raise up to $700 billion for the poor?

February 13, 2010 8:10 by

British film director Richard Curtis, who is behind classics like Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually, created a stir in the financial community after his short film starring Bill Nighy (pictured left) was released earlier this month.

The film proposes a ‘Robin Hood tax‘, or ‘Tobin tax’, which would levy a 0.05% charge on most banking trades. Under the proposal, argued for by a UK-based group, the proceeds from the tax would be used to combat UK and international poverty as well as fight climate change. If implemented worldwide, the tax could raise a cool $700 billion.

Predictably, a tax named after a hero of English folklore known for “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor” has not gone down too well in the financial community. Goldman Sachs launched an investigation last week after it was alleged that one of its computer servers was linked to an avalanche of 5,000 ‘no’ votes against the campaign.

Kipp wonders how this idea would go down in the Gulf region. Given the fact that there is only minimal taxation here anyway, some institutions may argue (as an easy excuse, perhaps) that there is no infrastructure in place to collect this tax. Perhaps they would scoff at the idea; perhaps it’s not even on their radar. But perhaps some would welcome it as a relatively painless way to help alleviate poverty in this generation, and the ravages of climate change in the next.

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