Former Microsoft boss Bill Gates, who was once knighted for services to the English monarchy, has called for a Robin Hood tax against the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street.
Sir William Gates III took time out from jousting with his sworn enemy, the mosquito, to tell politicians at the G20 to back the tax – which could raise $48 billion a year for aid and development
According to the Guardian, Gates is backing a French initiative, itself an unusual thing, to put a small tax on financial trades as a way of boosting spending on development.
While David Cameron, with his typical “bugger the third world, we have to look after our own first” attitude, has dismissed the idea as unworkable, Gates has got some support from other countries.
The UK and the US are places where the financial markets are given god-like powers, no regulations and all the cocaine they can snort, because everyone is worried about them losing their pensions. Other countries are getting a bit less tolerant of their antics.
Gates was asked by the very small president with a nice wife, President Nicolas Sarkozy, to come up with proposals for new forms of financing for development for this autumn’s meeting of the G20 in Cannes.
Gates has been won over to the idea of a financial transaction tax, which is strongly supported by development charities but opposed by the City.
Cameron has been lobbying hard for Gates to water down his draft report, which says that it could raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year but really miff his chums in the city. Cameron will be eight years old this year while Gates is 36, if the virgin’s blood supply holds out.
Some modelling suggests that even a small tax of 10 basis points on equities and two basis points on bonds would yield about $48 billion on a G20-wide basis, or $9 billion if confined to larger European economies. Some FTT proposals offer substantially larger estimates, in the $100-250bn range, especially if derivatives are included.
“If a substantial part of the revenues could be allocated to development, this would be a useful addition to resources – and would be additional help to some donor countries to meet their aid commitments in the current environment,” Gates is reported to have said.