The Robin Hood Tax Project
What the French president has to do with open education and aspiring filmmakers.
By Maria Popova
Among the recession’s many toxic byprodcuts is the widening of the gap between the world’s haves and have-nots, making the global poverty crisis all the more palpable. But what if poor and the planet could actually benefit from the economic chaos of the past couple of years? That’s exactly what a coalition of over 100 NGO’s is aiming for with the Robin Hood Tax movement — an ambitious campaign for a new deal between banks and society that helps reduce poverty and tackles climate change in the process.
The idea is simple but brilliant: Banks, hedge funds and other finance institutions agree to pay a minuscule tax — between 0.005% and 0.05% — which, in the context of the massive amounts of money being transacted through the world’s financial establishments every day, can raise billions of dollars in aid and funding for the fight against poverty and climate change.
Driven largely by viral short films, the campaign is now turning the camera over to the public — they’ve launched a brand new film competition, encouraging aspiring filmmakers and advetising professionals to create 60-90 second films about why the Robin Hood Tax is, in layman terms, a good idea. With a completely open brief, filmmakers are free to roam creatively. A panel of judges, including Sienna Miller, Richard Curtis, MTV’s John Jackson and Andy Hobsbawm of Do The Green Thing (remember them?), will select the 12 finalists, vying for the three top prizes.
While the campaign is currently focused on the UK, we think it’s a brilliant idea — reminiscent of the Robin of Shoreditch project — and should be implemented on a global scale. And at a time when many of the world’s leading politicians — including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — have spoken out in support of similar financial taxation, in the karmic cost/benefit scale of things, the lifechanging benefit to those living on $1 a day far outweighs the laughably negligible cost to financial institutions.
Published June 3, 2010