A Tobin tax would only work by destroying financial activity. The government must instead break up large banks and regulate them betterby George Magnus / September 2, 2009 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2009 issue of Prospect Magazine
Much of the debate has, naturally, surrounded pay and bonuses. But to focus on compensation is to miss the bigger picture about how to control credit booms and finance in the first place. Turner is well aware of this. When he referred to possible Tobin taxes, he did so before saying “if increased capital requirements” are insufficient. Moreover, his comments came in the context of a longer debate about the excessive growth and size of the financial sector in general. Put another way, regulatory reform is essential for a more stable and orderly financial system in which discipline is restored. And in finance, size really does matter—but I would argue that the size of financial entities is more important for stability, profits and compensation than the size of the financial sector in principle.
If a Tobin-type tax were introduced, where would the authorities apply it? On foreign exchange trades, cre…