Robin Hood is one of the great heroes of folklore. He stood against tyranny and injustice by fighting against evil Prince John, who was blocking the return of good King Richard the Lionheart from captivity. Robin Hood fought for social justice and stood for the rights of the common man by stealing from the Prince and using the funds to support the downtrodden.
What if Robin Hood had run for President and been elected? What would he have done? Well, perhaps he might have governed like the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. Remember the Rose Revolution that brought Saakashvili to power? He took a stand against the corrupt and unjust rulers and vowed to clean up the system. But now that he is President - what does his reform program look like?
These were the subjects of a very interesting conference held in
So, what is the status of reform in
Going back to
Take one of the more recent examples. When
Now, the story is not all bleak. The education reform program that is being carried out in
On the other hand, the government was justifiably enraged over the failure of businesspeople to pay their taxes. In fact, last year, McDonalds paid as much tax as all of the other restaurants in
There are several ways of dealing with tax evasion. However, the solution the government came up with may have been worse than the problem itself.
The government utilized the services of the financial police. They raided some of the restaurants during the lunch hour dressed in battle gear with automatic weapons and seized the cash registers. No warrants, no probable cause, and lacking concrete evidence. Such tactics of enforcing tax payments extend beyond the restaurant industry.
But, do these Robin Hood tactics work? According to the IMF,
What we have learned over decades of work in more than a hundred countries, and what was discussed at length at the conference, is that one of the underpinnings of economic growth and prosperity is rule of law. Another one is economic freedom – the ability of economic agents to determine their own course of action and act within a market system.
Despite short-term successes, what Robin Hood really lacks is the underpinnings of long-term economic growth and social prosperity – fiscal responsibility, rule of law, and economic freedom. So, perhaps, he should read the Magna Carta, take a course from Adam Smith, and create a market-based democracy that works for everyone.