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Deliberative and Pragmatic Approaches to the Tobin Tax Campaign 1

By James Brassettt


The paper addresses the possibilities for extending cosmopolitan ethics to global finance via an analysis of the civil society campaign for a Tobin Tax. The argument critiques deliberative arguments that civil society can act as a straightforward conduit for cosmopolitan reasons by appeal to the ethical dilemmas and political contests that pervade the campaign. Problems of financial, ethical and institutional universalism are argued to undermine any clear moral appeal in the Tobin Tax. However, the paper draws on the work of Richard Rorty to celebrate the role of the Tobin Tax campaign in ongoing practices of sentimental education. By illustrating the harm that global financial markets can cause, the campaign involves larger audiences in a discussion of global finance. Moreover, the debates and contests that pervade the campaign illustrate new ways of thinking the ethics of global finance. In Rorty’s terms, it is a sufficient aim for cosmopolitans to keep such conversation going

Topics: Deliberation, Global Civil Society, Pragmatism, Tobin Tax Address for correspondence
Year: 2006
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