• English
  • 日本語
  • France
  • Deutschland
  • Italy
  • España
  • Slovenia

Financing the global sharing economy, part three: the ten policy recommendations

01 October 2012

For many years, numerous reports and initiatives have highlighted the need for innovative policies for raising additional finances to fund urgent global needs.

These include a number of reports that have focussed on new ways of raising money to meet the Millennium Development Goals, or to finance climate change mitigation and adaptation programs in the Global South.[1The current report is somewhat broader and less technical in its remit, and aimed at concerned citizens and campaigners rather than policymakers and economists. Although the recommendations set out in the following 10 sections draw on many of the options advocated in existing reports, the focus here is not exclusively on development or climate finance. Instead, this report illustrates how the international community has the means to mobilise and redistribute staggering amounts of money to finance the global sharing economy and end needless poverty-related deaths, whatever the cause. As a foremost global priority, governments should use the additional revenues to reverse austerity measures, prevent life-threatening deprivation and mitigate the human impacts of climate change.

If taken together, the policy recommendations presented below could enable the international community to mobilise more than $2.8 trillion within a short number of years, money that governments should use to strengthen and scale up the sharing economy both nationally and globally. This colossal sum amounts to approximately 4% of global GDP - twice as much as required for securing a basic level of social protection for all the world's poor.[2]

As explained in the following 10 sections, the figures presented are only broad annual estimates and most are extremely conservative. For example, only the partial sums that could be saved from global tax avoidance are included; billions (or globally even trillions) more dollars of public revenue could be raised each year from preventing illegal tax evasion, strengthening tax systems in the Global South and adopting more progressive taxation policies in the North. Of the $4 trillion of debt owed by developing countries, as outlined in the section on cancelling unjust debt, only illegitimate ‘dictator debt' has been included in the calculation; governments can and must in fact cancel considerably more. Similarly, as outlined in the section on military expenditure, there is no reason why governments should not divert much more than a quarter of current spending. Even the annual estimate for redistributing IMF resources does not include a one-off sum of $165 billion that could be raised by releasing the Special Drawing Rights that already exist. Furthermore, there are various additional and innovative options available to governments for raising financial resources that are not considered in this report, such as commodity taxes, a global wealth tax or a new International Finance Facility. 

Besides enabling governments to raise additional public finances, many of the recommended policies are clearly beneficial in their own right. For example, carbon taxes could help significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and a financial transactions tax could help reduce the amount of the most risky speculative transactions - the sort of gambling that helped trigger the financial crisis and drove up gas and food prices around the world.  Together, the modest proposals outlined in this report could help establish a world with less military spending, a fairer international trade regime, less national debt, less corporate welfare, and more progressive and effective forms of taxation. Achieving these long-standing and widely championed goals would be an enormous step in the right direction for the international community, signalling a triumph for millions of people working towards progressive change, and paving the way for more transformative reforms to the world's economic and political systems that must urgently follow.

For many years, organisations and individuals around the world have supported the policy recommendations presented in this report and many of the campaigns associated with them. In some cases, advocacy by civil society has pushed these proposals to the top of the political agenda. Most notably, it now looks increasingly likely that governments will soon implement a financial transactions tax in a number of European countries following a very successful ‘Robin Hood Tax' campaign. Similarly, campaigns to increase international aid and cancel ‘Third World' debt - such as the Make Poverty History and Jubilee 2000 mass mobilisations - have previously gained widespread support from the public. Today, the issue of tax evasion and avoidance is also widely discussed by policymakers as a result of the growing public debate around tax justice.

If public support for all the policies and campaigns in this report continues to grow, the possibility of mobilising public opinion on a global scale and transforming governmental policy fast becomes a reality. For this to occur, everyone reading this report - especially those who are new to these issues - must add their weight to the global call for sharing and justice. 

  • The following sections outline how governments can mobilise over $2.8 trillion to finance the global sharing economy as an immediate global priority.

  • Each section presents an overview of a specific policy that campaigners have long advocated for, such as debt cancellation, increased international aid or tax justice.

  • An estimate is provided for how much money governments could mobilise if they implemented these recommendations.

  • Additional boxes explain related ‘global justice' issues in more detail, such as the problems associated with financial speculation, free trade and perverse subsidies. 

  • A short assessment of the feasibility and current state of play for each policy recommendation is included in terms of both political progress and public support.

  • Key additional resources are also highlighted alongside important campaigns that can help concerned citizens to learn more and get involved in the global movement for sharing and justice.

The 10 policy recommendations: 

1. Tax financial speculation
2. End fossil fuel & biofuel subsidies
3. Divert military spending
4. Stop tax avoidance
5. Increase international aid
6. End support for agribusiness
7. Redistribute IMF resources
8. Tax carbon emissions
9. Cancel unjust debt
10. Protect import tariffs


[1] For example, see Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development, Monterrey, Mexico, 18-22 March 2002; or more recently see United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Economic and Social Survey 2012: In Search of New Development Finance, United Nations: New York, 2012; United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, November 2010. 

[2] International Labour Organisation, World Social Security Report 2010/11, November 2010.