Global taxes can address serious global problems while at the same time raising revenue for development. A tax on carbon emissions could help slow global climate change, while a tax on currency trading could dampen dangerous instability in the foreign exchange markets. The revenue from these taxes could support major programs to reduce poverty and hunger, ensure primary schooling for all children, and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases. Unreliable donations from rich countries will not fill this need, estimated by the UN to cost tens of billions per year. A global system of revenue-raising must be put in place to fund genuinely international initiatives.
|Picture Credit: flickr.com/Helge F.
While proposals for global taxes have met fierce opposition from the US government, more and more politicians, scholars, international organizations and NGOs support the idea. In 2004, the presidents of Brazil, France and Chile launched an initiative to promote international taxes to finance development. Since then, the leaders of Spain, Germany, Algeria and South Africa have joined the process. This and other recent proposals have focused on the revenue side of global taxes, disregarding their role as policy shaping instruments. By 2005, the group had narrowed down its tax proposals to a "solidarity contribution" (tax) on plane tickets to finance a global health fund. This page explores the different ways global taxes can be implemented, the need for democratic oversight and control, the policy shaping and distributive effects, and the possible use of such taxes to fund development and the UN, and its Specialized Agencies, Programmes and Funds.
This section posts information on currency transaction taxes, (sometimes referred to as the Tobin tax), which seeks to decrease currency speculation and ensure international financial stability while raising resources for poverty reduction.