Saturday, 29 August 2009

Adair Turner and Tobin tax etc

Shocking news this week that Adair Turner thinks a Tobin tax isn't a completely barking idea. Even more shocking is that he said as much in... errr... 2001 in his book Just Capital:
"[T]here are... at least theoretical attractions in james Tobin's proposal of a tax - levied at a very low rate - on foreign exchange transactions... The key arguments against it are... not theoretical but simply the impracticality of enforcing it and deciding on the division of revenues in a world of multiple nations and governments." (footnote 20 on page 340)
In fact flicking through the book again tonight I found another couple of interesting bits. Like his opinion of the Laffer Curve:
"It is difficult to imagine an equally famous proposition stating a blindingly obvious and in practice useless, insight." (footnote 13, page 246)
And there's some stuff in Chapter 6 where he seems to come out quite strongly in favour of a shareholder value oriented approach to companies, over a more European/stakeholder type model:
"Pressure for high shareholder return and the threat of takeover have... become more important to the attainment of maximum potential productivity. The American system is thus better designed to ensure that companies rapidly seize the productivity potential of information and communications technology." (page 176)


Charlie Marks said...

I recall liking that book, even though I thought it a little weak in theoretical terms.

Turner has, though the reaction to what he's said, proved beyond all doubt that there is a powerful unelected ruling elite...

Tom Powdrill said...

Yeah I'm actually tempted to re-read it as I remember thinking it was quite good.