(It's 2010 and Robin returns to England. "Redistribution of wealth" is once more on people's lips. Robin and his rotund friend, Friar Tuck, pop to a 'cybercafe' to see how it's done.)
Friar: (Scanning a news archive). Nothing has changed. Taxes seem to hurt the poor more than they do the rich.
Robin: There's a surprise.
Friar: Rich men say that, if they're asked to pay more, they'll simply go and live in the land of the cuckoo clocks and strange cheeses.
Robin: Cuckoo clocks eh? These rascals get everywhere.
Friar: So it appears.
Robin: But still, there can't be much business to be had in this land, if rich men are only here because of lower taxes.
Friar: That is partly true. Manufacturing has gone down the pan; farming's a struggle; and there are few other natural resources... Most wealth comes from money-lending - they call it banking.
Robin: How strange. Men usually borrow and lend to achieve some particular end, not as an end in itself?
Friar: So one would assume. Although, it says here that wealth is also generated from the buying and the selling of houses and from the love of 'toys', from a game called football, and from wine. Oh and one other thing - from 'shopping', presumably for said items.
Robin: A people obsessed with possessions and pleasures of the flesh, it seems
Friar: And if the rich men leave, so it goes, the common folk will lose jobs and houses will be less valuable. Everyone will feel poorer and will cease buying possessions. Then the country will grind to a halt.
Robin: (Scanning another article) It looks as though the country has already ground to a halt, if this piece is anything to go by...
Friar: I was coming on to that, Robin. It seems that these banks stopped lending of their own volition... no fault of the rulers. And then the rich stopped spending.
Robin: (Still engrossed in the article) Yes, but have you seen what happened next?
Friar: What, Robin?
Robin: The rulers gave money to these 'banks', and then yet more money.
Friar: You jest.
Robin: I jest not. They did it even though the banks made the country grind to a halt.
Friar: I don't understand. Why?
Robin: The rulers thought the banks would collapse otherwise. And then ordinary people, who keep their savings in those banks would lose everything.
Friar: How terrible. I keep my money under the mattress
Robin: As do I, much safer... (Turning back to the screen) But look, it says here that these savings will be siphoned off anyway.
Friar: How can that be?
Robin: The government has printed more money to 'revive the country'. That is the same money that constitutes these savings. Therefore the savings will be diluted.
Friar: Dreadful! Taking that money from ordinary folk.
Robin: It gets better. Then government officials have used the printed money to buy their 'debts' back from the banks. And this transaction has made these bankers yet more money.
Friar: So the banks ruin the country. And the rulers reward them by taking money from ordinary folk and giving it to them. Then the rulers take yet more money, this time from the savings of ordinary folk and they give them that as well. These officials are worse even than the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Robin: Indeed, Friar. Indeed
Friar: So there are none here who take from the rich?
Robin: There is this one fellow
Friar: Do tell.
Robin: Goes by the name of Madoff. He stole much from the rich.
Friar: Excellent, this is a start. Did he give it to the poor?
Robin: No one knows. Much money vanished. He perhaps kept it, though he is rich. So this does not look good after all.
Friar: How sad. None like us in 2010, it seems. In fact quite the opposite. All are greedy and on the make.
Robin: There is one good thing, Friar. Folk, even ordinary folk, have the right to change their government. They eventually made good what de Montfort started back in our day: Indeed the men they choose are called 'Parliamentarians'. Therefore, however bad things are now, however much the rulers steal from the poor and give to the rich, the ordinary folk can change things and choose new rulers from among these Parliamentarians.
Friar: How marvelous. There is hope yet for this country.
Robin: (Scanning another article) There would be hope... but it seems that even these Parliamentarians steal from the ordinary folk. They call it 'fiddling expenses'. And more, they are in the pay of rich men and companies even as they make the laws. And they hope one day to work for these rich men - when they have left Parliament. So perhaps they will not want to change anything really.
Friar: How dreadful, Robin. So, in fact there is no hope, whatever folk do?
Robin: Not a lot of hope, Friar. It would seem that we have much work to do here.
Friar: Indeed, Robin. Much to be done.