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Robbing The Rich and Social Justice

What is Robin Hood's greatest legacy? Bob White from the World Wide Robin Hood Society says it's the idea of social justice!

 

 

I am sure there have been many individuals throughout history who, in one form or another, adopted the practice of 'robbing the rich to give to the poor'. However, across the ages, this particular virtue seems to have become permanently entwined with the development of the traditional Robin Hood legend; and it has established itself in the hearts and minds of the public as probably the outlaw folk hero's most endearing principle.
There are many examples of fair play and social justice that surround the traditional character of Robin Hood, and no doubt these are one of the key reasons for the outlaw's timeless popularity. 'Robbing the rich to give to the poor' reflects history's recurring theme of the eternal battle between the 'have's' and the 'have-not's', and even over the last couple of decades or so contemporary exponents of this practice have been referred to as 'modern-day Robin Hoods'.

*For example, the people of Thailand who go to work in other countries and send money back home are called 'Robin Hooders', and the terminology has also been adopted by other immigrant communities who follow the practice.

*In the Romanian capital of Bucharest, the charity CRY (Care and Relief for the Young) established their Casa Robin Hood project and opened an orphanage that through the symbolism of its name reflected the famous outlaw's association with the principles of caring for the poor.

*Guitar superstar Eric Clapton described the concept for his Crossroads Centre addiction and rehabilitation project in Antigua as being "a Robin Hood scheme really, whereby drawing on people from America and Europe who would pay to come there, it funded scholarship beds for the locals who couldn't afford it."

*New York City's Robin Hood Foundation was set-up in 1988 by multi-millionaire stockbroker and philanthropist, Paul Tudor Jones and its philosophy uses business techniques and financial guidance, instead of just giving donations to charities and community groups and letting them get on with it. The organisation stated that "the idea of helping the poor is inextricably linked to Robin Hood and the founders knew that it was the ideal image for the foundation". It has given out over £80m – all in the name of Nottinghamshire's own folk hero!

*Top-flight litigation lawyer, Stephen Alexander was so boastful of his devotion to the cause of victims of injustice (especially when they suffered at the hands of giant companies or governments) that he commissioned a poster of himself pictured like Kevin Costner in the 'Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves' movie!

However, there are instances where giving someone the 'Robin Hood' title gets carried a bit too far.
American financial consultant Allen Klein was known as 'the Robin Hood of Pop' through his reputation for recouping millions of dollars for his clients from seemingly iron-clad record company percentages; he acted for the likes of the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and the Kinks, not necessarily many people's idea of 'giving to the poor'!
And just weeks ago music industry boss Duncan Schwier, 52, was described as a 'Robin Hood' after stealing nearly £650,000 from the record label Universal Music Group, spending £400,000 on staff bonuses, parties and gifts, as well as giving £100,000 to charity. He was jailed for three years after admitted theft from his employer – ironically, he was caught out when he was given a promotion and his successor discovered invoices to bogus companies.

The Robin Hood Tax was devised as an initiative potentially capable of turning a crisis for the banks into "an opportunity for the world" – and probably represents one of the most high-profile recent international examples of the use of the Robin Hood name which clearly reflects his own style of social justice.
Bringing together the support of nearly 60 organisations, including Oxfam, the TUC, Barnardos, ActionAid, the Salvation Army and Save The Children, the proposed 0.05% tax would be levied on financial services companies for transactions like stocks, bonds, and foreign currency and derivatives.
The organisers say which could raise £250 billion a year globally, which would then be used to combat poverty, famine, protect public services and help make the world a better place. In the UK alone it is predicted that it would bring in £20 billion annually.
The Robin Hood Tax campaign group says: "The Robin Hood Tax is justice. The banks can afford it. The systems are in place to collect it. It won't affect ordinary members of the public, their bank accounts or their savings. It's fair, it's timely, and it's possible."
The proposal is similar to the previously suggested Tobin Tax, although that was originally intended to be aimed solely at currency exchanges.
Since the idea of the Robin Hood Tax was launched in 2010, more than 750,000 people have backed it so far. But while European finance ministers have agreed to take action on some financial transactions, this falls short of the full Robin Hood Tax which has been proposed.