Every crisis brings with it opportunity, and so it is with this financial crisis. A spotlight has been turned on the huge profits enjoyed by the City, and the sparse regulatory framework in which they operate.
One area more than any other encapsulates this: the trade in money itself. The currency market is the richest market in the world, worth a staggering US$800,000 billion a year [£485,200 billion], the equivalent to a pile of $100 bills stretching to the moon and back.
Given these colossal figures it is extraordinary that governments have, to date, exempted this market from any kind of duty.
Stamp Out Poverty, a network of more than 50 organisations including RESULTS, is calling on the UK government to implement a tiny Currency Transaction Levy on the foreign exchange market and to use this money to finance development. The proposed rate of 0.005% is too small to significantly alter market behaviour, yet large enough to generate billions in additional finance for development.
The financial crisis has exacerbated a shortfall in meeting the Millennium Development Goals that will cost millions of lives, yet it has also created unprecedented opportunity for change in how the financial markets operate.
Members of the RESULTS network can sign up to the Stamp Out Poverty campaign and help convince the UK government to follow France’s lead and back the Currency Transaction Levy as a sustainable, reliable and just way to pay for development.