Dismissing the suggestion of an unnamed European official cited by the Suddeutsche Zeitung that Greece’s current loan program is to be rolled over into the fall, with 4 billion euros unlocked in exchange for some of the reforms Brussels is demanding as “science-fiction scenarios,” Yannis Varoufakis has made it clear that Greece “will have to prioritize pensioners and public sector workers” over any obligations to the IMF and the banks.
In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4, the Greek finance minister has also “confirmed that one of the reforms Athens is considering in a bid to raise much-needed revenue is a tax on banking transactions, though he noted that talks on the levy were at an early stage.”
The Tobin Tax – now popularly also known as the Robin Hood Tax – he referred to is named after James Tobin, the Nobel Prize Laureate in economics who first proposed a levy on spot conversions from one currency to another in 1972. Since then, Tobin’s original idea has been taken up by other economists and extended to cover all banking/financial transactions. Its supporters worldwide include not only the progressive groups and institutions in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia such as the Global Moves for Justice and Action/2015, as well as Oxfam, ActionAid, Save the Children, Tearfund, CAFOD and Christian Aid, but also some of the world’s top religious leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury and both the previous and the current Pope, the latter of whom has come out unusually strongly in condemnation of the international financial system and capitalism as the reigning economic paradigm in the world today.
For a quick introduction to the Robin Hood Tax, here‘s a 3-and-a-half minute campaign video by the British actor Bill Nighy.