Tomorrow is the traditional Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. As always the day has me thinking of things to be thankful for, as well as how I’ve contributed in the past year. And, being a futurist, I consider things I’d like to be thankful for in the future.
Yesterday there appeared in the Financial Times a special article by Hassan Haikel, CEO of EFG Hermes, entitled “A tweet from Tahrir Square…” It really struck me as a proposal that, were it to come to pass in the near future, would cause the whole world to join in thanksgiving.
Mr. Haikel reveals that he is one of the 1%, really more like the .0001%, individuals in the world with net worth of more than $10 million, of which there are 1 per 10,000 in the global population. Concerned both with the plague of global debt, and the prospect for major social unrest and economic disaster if the debt problem is not fixed wisely, Mr. Haikel makes a startling proposal. He calls it the “Tahrir Square Tax.” He explains it as a one-time 10% tax levy on all those in the .0001% wealth bracket, whose total net worth is about $50 trillion, thus raising $5 trillion.
Were the proceeds then applied to public debt in Europe, the U.S., and Africa for example, public debt to GDP ratios could be cut to 50% in Europe and 80% in the U.S, while enabling significant infrastructure investment in Africa. The global economy would be off the hook, and in a good position to rebound.
Too simple, too elegant, too preposterous to be imagined, much less implemented. Or is it? The world would be grateful and with a restored economy I suspect the .0001% would rebuild their wealth in time to give thanks for their bounty by the time the next Thanksgiving rolled around.
Read the whole rather amazing article, free registration required.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.