Sunday, September 09, 2012

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Stephen Kimber makes the case for a financial transactions tax in Atlantic Business:
(W)hat can supposedly sovereign nations do when individual governments seem powerless in the face of rampant globalization and footloose capital?

Well, they could get together to create an international public counter-balance to out-of-whack corporate power and – at the least – begin to mitigate some of the worst effects of unfettered globalization.

Agreeing to a locally adopted, globally implemented financial transactions tax would be a smart start.

The idea – popularly known as the Robin Hood tax – originated with Nobel prize-winning economist James Tobin, who pitched a variation of the tax following the 1990s Asian financial crisis. Not surprisingly, his proposal has only gained traction in the wake of the 2008 global meltdown.

The miniscule tax – averaging no more than 0.05 per cent – would be tacked on to the cost of buying and selling all stocks, bonds, mutual funds, currencies, derivatives, futures, options, etc… (but not ordinary consumer transactions like credit card purchases, deposits and withdrawals).

Besides serving as a (probably only slight) brake on speculative trading, such a tax would have the more important impact of raising up to $400 billion a year.

Some of the revenue raised through the tax could be used to, in effect, either force banks to fund their own future bailouts or help underwrite economic recoveries. The rest could be put to all sorts of public goods at home and abroad, like maintaining and improving public services, fighting climate change, reducing world hunger … or some combination of the above.
- Meanwhile, Tabatha Southey's take on the Republican convention is particularly apt in calling out the deception behind small-business rhetoric:
I plan on coupling that knowledge with what I learned at the rest of the Republican convention, which is that there’s no problem that cannot be solved by opening a small business.

Unemployed? Open a small business. Underpaid? Open a small business.

Can’t afford another baby? Open a small business. Have an autistic child? Open a small business.
In a convention markedly devoid of specifics, at least there was that. I came away so hopeful: If my car won’t start, I’ll open a small business. I‘m sure a dab of small business will arrest a run appearing in my tights. Overwhip that cream? Just add a splash of small business. Syria needs more small businesses.

And every successful person at that convention could give you the reason for their success – it was born of a small business. Even though that small business may have been started three generations ago, and might have been an oil well.

I have no objection to big business, but small business was put forward at the convention the same way people always show you the baby version of any ugly-ass species of animal they want you to love.

Never mind the fact that most people aren’t in the financial position to open a small business. Or aren’t suited to run their own businesses. Or that half of all small businesses fail in their first five years.
- Luisa D'Amato writes that for all the attention paid to micro-targeting and robo-calling as some parties' preferred means of delivering a message to voters, the NDP's by-election victory in Kitchener-Waterloo can be traced in no small part to personal contact with constituents.

- Finally, after of plenty of speculation as to who might run for the NDP in Calgary Centre, Brian Malkinson has thrown his hat into the ring. And it took no time at all for environmental lawyer Murray Rankin to step up in pursuit of the nomination to succeed Denise Savoie in Victoria.

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