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The Tobin Tax Lives Again

CAMBRIDGE – Something happened in late August that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. A leading policymaker in the Anglo-American empire of finance actually came out in support of a Tobin tax – a global tax on financial transactions.

The official in question was Adair Turner, the head of the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority, the country’s chief financial regulator. Turner, voicing his concerns about the size of the financial sector and its frequently obscene levels of compensation, said he thought a global tax on financial transactions might help curb both.