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Finance in Parrot Talk, Part II: Anthony de Jasay
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In a breath-taking "Note on the Reform of the International Financial and Monetary System in the Context Of Global Public Authority" issued by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on 24th October 2011,1 this institution of the Holy See took it upon itself to urge the imposition of a tax on financial transactions (the notorious Tobin tax advocated mainly by Germany and France, dismissed by Great Britain and mostly ignored by the United States of America), the separation of retail and investment banking, and the strengthening of the equity capital ("recapitalisation") of the banking system. If the International Chamber of Commerce issued a statement calling for brotherly love and charity and the regular practice of the sacraments, we should find it incongruous and out of place. However, the Holy See has since Leo XIII's encyclical of 1891 accustomed us to Church advocacy of large departures from a laisser faire free contract economy. (The Catholic "Club Med" countries of Southern Europe are paying a heavy price for following this advocacy).