Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Robin Hood tax

This tiny tax on speculative activities takes from the obscenely rich casino style banking practices - that may or may may not have bankrupted the world’s economy – and uses the money for good purposes. Like Robin Hood.


This is a version of the long mooted Tobin tax -  click for wiki link

Taken from the wiki article (adapted slightly by me):

No less a luminary than John Maynard Keynes in 1936 (after the Wall street Crash and Great Depression) proposed that a small transaction tax should be levied on dealings on Wall Street, where he argued that excessive speculation by uninformed financial traders increased volatility. For Keynes, who personally enjoyed speculation to the fullest, the key issue was the proportion of ‘speculators’ in the market, and his concern that, if left unchecked, these types of players would become too dominant. Keynes writes:

"Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the situation is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation."

"The introduction of a substantial government transfer tax on all transactions might prove the most serviceable reform available, with a view to mitigating the predominance of speculation over enterprise in the United States."



Anonymous said...

what do you call someone who calls themselves a 'thinker' on their blog

a egotist

Nick Palmer said...

Another pointless comment from a weaselly troll.

Oh, BTW, grammatically speaking, you should have written an egotist not a egotist

Sure, I've got an ego. I could even be described as being egotistical - but not in a bad way, as you undoubtedly mean it. I have proved frequently that I have a creative original mind, not to mention a very high I.Q. and an extremely wide ranging knowledge.

How about you? Maybe you have some rinky-dink qualification that you studied for? Parroted the party line to get it without critical analysis or real thought??

Maybe you don't understand the distinction between a singer/corporate clone and a songwriter/thinker? Songwriters come up with new melodies and lyrics, singers just mindlessly repeat them, like X-factor "stars". Here today and gone tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

OMG i've just read r.harrabins bbc jones piece.

I can't believe jones did that interview.

why oh why did he say the mwp was real,
and, as for saying mmgw was not settled science...

has he been turned?

Nick Palmer said...

I think you need to be careful reading that piece. It is only the interpretation of a reporter as to what Jones said.

The denier meme of the so-called Mediaeval warm period was promoted by arch-denier S. Fred Singer (with Avery) in his book "Unstoppable global warming every 1500 years". What he did not say was that it was not world-wide. In my view he deliberately allowed his more gullible readers to jump to that conclusion. A lot of the denialosphere operate like that.

It is undoubtedly true that certain areas of the Northern hemisphere were warmer than they are today, notably Greenland. If you listen to the denialists on this one, you would end up believing that the whole country was a fertile wonderland where the Vikings ranged free and got fat while their animals roamed the prairies of a green and pleasant land.

The reality was they had a couple of settlements in very sheltered areas in the fjords on the South Western tip.

Greenland experienced many very strong climate changes over the last 100,000 years - it's a consequence of where it is and ocean currents etc.

While some bits of the world were warmer then, than they are now, the average global temps were lower than today. Certain regions such as central Eurasia, North Western North America, and (with less confidence) parts of South Atlantic, exhibited anomalous coolness.

From Wiki:
The IPCC Third Assessment Report from 2001 summarises this research, saying "... current evidence does not support globally synchronous periods of anomalous cold or warmth over this time frame, and the conventional terms of 'Little Ice Age' and 'Medieval Warm Period' appear to have limited utility in describing trends in hemispheric or global mean temperature changes in past centuries". Global temperature records taken from ice cores, tree rings, and lake deposits, have shown that, taken globally, the Earth may have been slightly cooler (by 0.03 degrees Celsius) during the 'Medieval Warm Period' than in the early and mid-20th century.[5] Crowley and Lowery (2000) [6] note that "there is insufficient documentation as to its existence in the Southern hemisphere."

Nick Palmer said...

You also said that Jones said

"and, as for saying mmgw was not settled science..."

He didn't say this in this interview. The only thing I can find that even looks like it is:

"And he agreed that the debate had not been settled over whether the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the current period. "

It seems very unlikely that he actually said this exact thing - if so, he probably didn't realise how misleading it might appear.

Again, be careful about the difference between what was actually said and meant and the interpretation that the reporter put on it.

You must also be aware of what a scientist means if he says stuff like this - it is very precise and often fools the listener.

If a scientist is 99.999% certain of what he is saying, he should, according to the underlying philosophy of science, technically still maintain that things are not settled (i.e. 100% certain). This fact of "science speak" often confuses the public and the ambiguity of it is frequently exploited by the denialosphere to mislead people.

I believe that the total amount of reliable evidence so far is insufficient to be a smoking gun proof - just like a "beyond all reasonable doubt" verdict in a criminal case. In civil cases, a verdict of guilty can be made on the "balance of probabilities". The proof for the average temperature of the globe during the so-called MWP is probably somewhere between these two legal standards of proof. In other words it's pretty certain that the averaged out temperature of earth back then was slightly less than before we started increasing it artificially.

Similarly the so called little ice age was also not planetary wide either.

Anonymous said...

pachauri has been a disaster,
why the ipcc should choose a railway engineer as its head is bewildering.

climate change is too important to leave to amateurs.

have you read the "harry read me" file? i'm sure its a fix but it does not look good.

i thought big oil etc. funded the deniers, then this
(bottom of the page)

everywhere i look i see attacks on the science.
noaa & giss temp. records are next on the 'hit list'

recently it seems every 2nd person
is now a 'sceptic'
sometimes i just want to thump the fools!

i know RC is u.s. based but can't Gavin do something about this stuff.


Nick Palmer said...

You wrote:
"pachauri has been a disaster,
why the ipcc should choose a railway engineer as its head is bewildering."

You're probably reading propagandised sources. Saying they chose a railway engineer as their head is as silly as saying that Virgin chose Richard Branson because he sold records from a phone box when he started out.

In any case, you need to remember that George Bush bullied the IPCC to choose a new head because the existing one - Robert Watson - was too honest and straightforward for the USA
From Wiki:
"In April 2002 the United States pressed for and won his (Watson's) replacement by Rajendra Pachauri as IPCC chair. According to New Scientist, "The oil industry seems to be behind the move." The industry campaign to oust Watson had begun days after George W. Bush's inauguration in January 2001, with a memo to the White House from Randy Randol of oil giant ExxonMobil asking "Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the US?"

Pachauri himself later became almost as outspoken as Watson so Bush's lot were rather miffed!

He began his career with the Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi but he ended up as a bit more qualified than that!

Pachauri was awarded an MS degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, in 1972, as well as a joint Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Economics in 1974.

He served as Assistant Professor (August 1974 - May 1975) and Visiting Faculty Member (Summer 1976 and 1977) in the Department of Economics and Business at NC State.

On his return to India, he joined the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, as Member Senior Faculty (June 1975 - June 1979) and went on to become Director, Consulting and Applied Research Division (July 1979-March 1981). He joined TERI as Director in April 1981.

HEC Paris appointed Pachauri Professor Honoris Causa in October 2009

Pachauri was on the Board of Governors, Shriram Scientific and Industrial Research Foundation (September 1987); the Executive Committee of the India International Centre, New Delhi (1985 onwards); the Governing Council of the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi (October 1987 onwards); and the Court of Governors, Administrative Staff College of India (1979-81) and advises such companies as Pegasus Capital Advisors, GloriOil, the Chicago Climate Exchange, Toyota, Deutsche Bank and NTPC.

On 14 July 2008, Pachauri received the title UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador.

Pachauri has been awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Indian government and ‘Officer of the Legion of Honour’ by the French government.

In November 2009, Pachauri received the 'Order of the Rising Sun - Gold and Silver Star' in recognition of his contribution to the enhancement of Japan's policy towards climate change. He was bestowed with the decoration by Emperor Akihito.

Nick Palmer said...

you also wrote:

"i thought big oil etc. funded the deniers"

They used to, now it's done in a more indirect manner. Big oil funds pro-climate change organisations directly because they know the science is sound. If you look around you'll find clear statements by the chief execs of the biggest oil companies acknowledging the reality of fossil fuel caused climate change and the need for action. Maybe this is a very clear signal that what the deniers say is a bunch of lies, breathtaking stupidity and deceit.

Big Oil are still, of course, very big companies who want lobbyists who will influence Washington in their favour, regardless of the rights and wrongs so they also fund ultra-right wing US think tanks and lobbyist organisations, like The Heartland Institute, Cato Institute, Marshall Institute or the Competitive Enterprise Institute. These organisations then go on to employ and commission denier/inactivists such as S.Fred Singer and Richard Lindzen. It is true to say that most of these denier institutes get most of their funding these days from ultra rich American trusts such as that of the Coors beer family.

Anonymous said...

you make the assertion that the
heartland,cato,marshall institutes and the cei are all funded by big oil.

can you post links to information proving this.

all in the name of truth and honesty you understand.


Nick Palmer said...

Answering deniers and self-described sceptics is mostly a big waste of time. Why didn't you look it up yourself? Why don't you already know this sort of stuff? Probably because there are those who simply refuse to see whatever conflicts with their blinkered view and their wishful thinking.

However, it's happy hour here so why don't you get out of your small box? Blow your mind and your prejudiced perceptions with facts (for a change).

First, let me reprint this bit from my last comment in case you "missed" it.

It is true to say that most of these denier institutes get most of their funding these days from ultra rich American trusts such as that of the Coors beer family.

Competitive Enterprise Institute

CEI no longer publishes lists of its institutional donors so I can only show indirect stuff.

Try page 9 of a document sent by CEI to Philip Morris (Big Tobacco).

Or how about this May 2006 article in The Washington Post? which is a great relatively unbiased (Washington Post publishes a lot of denialist op-eds) background to the denialist vs scientist bun fight. It's five pages long but is a valuable read - along the way you will see that ExxonMobil (biggest of the Big Oils) supports CEI.

Excerpt from article:

Ten years ago, Fred Smith (Founder of CEI) says, the Competitive Enterprise Institute had contributions from companies across the board in the petroleum industry. It still gets money from Exxon Mobil, the biggest and most hard-line oil company on the climate change issue, but many of its donors have stopped sending checks.

The most generous sponsors of last year's annual dinner at the Capital Hilton were the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Exxon Mobil, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and Pfizer. Other contributors included General Motors, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Plastics Council, the Chlorine Chemistry Council and Arch Coal.

Heartland Institute
from Source

On its funding it stated that "in 2007 it received 71 percent of its income from foundations, 16 percent from corporations, and 11 percent from individuals. No corporate donor gave more than 5 percent of its annual budget ... ExxonMobil has not contributed to Heartland since 2006. Indeed, gifts from all energy companies - coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear - combined did not exceed 5 percent of Heartland’s budget in 2007.

George C. Marshall Institute

list of recent funders

Cato Institute

Cato's 2006 report page 47

As a flavour of the true aims and "integrity" of these Institutes/lobbyists/think tanks try looking at this from an ex-insider...

In a 2009 essay, former Marshall Institute Executive Director Matthew B. Crawford, wrote that after he commenced with the group in September 2001

"...certain perversities became apparent as I settled into the job. It sometimes required me to reason backward, from desired conclusion to suitable premise. The organization had taken certain positions, and there were some facts it was more fond of than others. As its figurehead, I was making arguments I didn't fully buy myself. Further, my boss seemed intent on retraining me according to a certain cognitive style — that of the corporate world, from which he had recently come. This style demanded that I project an image of rationality but not indulge too much in actual reasoning."

Hope that helps...


Anonymous said...

thanks for the links
i think we can safely say that big oil has funded both sides
do you agree?

the agnostic

Nick Palmer said...

Oh, this cartoon may amuse you. It shows the think tanks' fine values in action in America.

Hookers and whiskey

Nick Palmer said...

Yes, - funded both sides - that would be fair, but could be misleading.

Big oil, Big coal etc used to fund them a lot but as the science got stronger they reduced funding as it became less acceptable and the slack got taken up by the aforementioned ultra-rich American family trusts and foundations.

Of course, it is suggested that certain factions within Big Oil/Tobacco/Plastics/Coal still funnel money to organisations like Cato but, in the way of the modern world, it is all very indirect, hands off, and plausibly deniable. I can't provide any info on that but intuitively it seems very likely.