Marxist View on Tobin Tax issue

abc170 at abc170 at
Wed Aug 16 19:02:33 MDT 2000

What is a Marxist response to the Tobin Tax question

[This is cross-posted to Marxism-Thaxis].

We must note 2 things; firstly, capitalist crisis is increasing and needs taxation to
fund social justice.  Secondly, international finance is pure surplus value.

I think it is obvious that this wealth should be taxed if there are good reasons for
taxing workers’ wages.

I am totally amazed at the crypto-capitalist line some so-called Marxists take when
discussing and dismissing Tobin tax concepts.  I haven’t seen a good counter argument
yet - but then I haven’t seen much discussion on Marxism lists about this either.
What are the plain-English counter arguments?  Where are they?

Maybe people know of good arguments for or against Tobin tax but from the point a view
of a conscious knowledge of what capitalism is and from a recognition that
international finance is the proceeds of sometimes savage expropriation of workers.

Commerce (socialist investors as well as capitalist) claim that capital will flee
Tobin Tax regimes.  But why?  Countries have had other controls on foreign exchange
with minor if any adverse consequences.  Isn't Brazil a case in point?

I cannot get too excited about this ‘capital flight’ argument because a Tobin Tax is
so small, around the transaction cost, that we can assume the impact is minimal (if
measureable).  Whatever damage to a capitalist economy they may be claimed on the
basis of taxing international floods of finance, it must always be balanced against
the benefit inside national economies of additional welfare expenditures and lower
taxes on wages, and consequential better home consumption environment.

I am not aware of any paper that undertakes this analysis.

However I would be very interested in any comments on Tobin from an informed  Marxist

Chris Warren

abc170 at

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