Vive la taxe Tobin !

CAMBRIDGE – En août dernier il s'est passé quelque chose que je considérais comme inimaginable. Pour la première fois un haut responsable de l'empire financier anglo-américain s'est prononcé en faveur de la taxe Tobin, une taxation des transactions financières au niveau mondial.

Il s'agit d'Adair Turner, le chef de l'Autorité des services financiers du Royaume-Uni, autrement dit le premier régulateur financier du pays. Préoccupé par le niveau souvent obscène des indemnités et la taille exagérée du secteur financier, il a dit qu'une taxe mondiale sur les transactions financières pouvait contribuer à limiter l'un et l'autre. Une telle déclaration aurait été impensable avant la crise déclenchée par les prêts immobiliers à haut risque. Cela montre à quel point les choses ont changé.

L'idée de cette taxe a été émise pour la première fois dans les années 1970 par James Tobin, un prix Nobel d'économie, qui a fait sensation en appelant à ampquot;mettre un grain de sable dans les rouages de la finance internationaleampquot;. Inquiet des fluctuations excessives des taux de change, il pensait qu'une taxe sur les transactions de devises permettrait de brider la spéculation et de donner une marge de manœuvre supplémentaire pour la gestion macroéconomique intérieure.

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