Brazil Wants Global Tax on Financial Transactions and Arms Trade to Help Poor

It is possible that Brazil will be able to reach, and even exceed, some of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals by the target date of 2015, says Anna Peliano, the director of Social Studies at the Applied Economic Research Institute (Ipea).

Peliano points out that Brazil is trying to exceed the official goals. It has already achieved universal elementary education (up to the eigth grade, rather than just the official goal of the fourth grade) and cut extreme poverty in half.

Patrus Ananias, minister of Social Development, says Peliano is right. The government is working to do better than the official Millennium Development Goals, he says, adding,

"The target is to eliminate absolute poverty and hunger by ensuring that each and every Brazilian has food every day. Good food, every day."

It is estimated that it will take US$ 50 billion per year for the world to achieve the eight Millennium Goals by the year 2015.

Undaunted, Maria Lúcia Viotti, the director of the Department of Human Rights and Social Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, says she knows how to take care of that problem.

First, she proposes two taxes: one on all international financial transactions and another one on the international commerce in arms.

Then she suggests special withdrawals from the International Monetary Fund for development projects linked to the Millennium Goals.

"It is crystal clear that we must work through international cooperation to find ways to raise additional funding," says Viotti, commenting on the fact that her suggestions were first placed on the table at a UN conference back in September 2004, where the ideas were sponsored by Brazil, Chile and other countries.

The international financial transaction tax was originally proposed by James Tobin in the 1970s. Tobin went on to win the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1981.

Viotti made her comments at the round table which is taking place this week in Brasilia on "Promoting Progress Toward the Millennium Goals in Latin America" (Mobilização e Diálogo Social para Promover o Avanço dos Objetivos de Desenvolvimento do Milênio na América Latina).

The round table ends today.

Agência Brasil

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