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World Parliamentarians Call for Tobin tax

The speculation in stock markets is reaching its historical peak. The abandonment, in 1971, of the Bretton Woods pegged currency exchange system led to a considerable increase in the cross-border exchanges of currencies 1500 billion dollars are exchanged every day whereas thirty years ago it was only 70 billion. Most of these transactions do not correspond to any real exchange of goods but are driven only by the search for instant and often huge-profits.

This evolution is particularly harmful to humanity because it is a major cause of the instability of the currency system which leads to serious and contagious economic crises. These crises, like those in Mexico (1994), Southeast Asia (1997), Russia (1998), and Brazil (1999), ruin years of productive labor in a matter of days. Nations are forced to buy investors confidence by granting concessions to attract capital, often at the expense of workers, citizens, and the environment.

Consequently, freely circulating and unregulated capital destabilizes democracy This is why regulatory mechanisms are necessary. One such mechanism is the Tobin tax, named after the American economics Nobel prize winner. James Tobin proposed, in 1978, to tax, at a low rate, all the transactions on the currency markets in order to discourage speculation and, at the same time, provide the international community with resources. With a rate of 0.05% the Tobin tax is estimated to bring in more than 100 billion dollars per year, which could be utilized for currency stabilization, economic development, emergency relief, or other national and international crises.

Throughout the world, numerous civil society and non-governmental organizations, linked with trade unions, social, ecumenical, and environmental causes are acting in solidarity to request that their governments support multilateral cooperation in the enactment of Tobin-style taxes.

Parliamentarians and legislators support the leadership of civil society, and the emergence of strong public opinion. New levels of multilateral cooperation are needed to tame currency speculation and utilize the revenue for urgent global and local needs.

We, parliamentarians and legislators, ask our respective legislative bodies and governments to seize the question of the Tobin tax so that each government will strive for its implementation at national and international levels and explore other options for reforming global finance.

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