he was a good outlawe, And dyde pore men moch god.
May 12, 2010 5:33 AM   Subscribe

How would a modern-day "Robin Hood" type character do their work?

Consider Robin Hood, the legendary commoner of English folklore, who steals from the rich to give to the poor. How would a modern representation of this archetype live and work? What would be the most effective (and safest) ways for them to "steal from the rich"? What would be the most glamorous (and subversive) ways to "give to the poor"?
posted by TheOtherSide to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Become a hedge funder. Then use the money to fund a charity. This method of robbing the rich is called "two and twenty".

Case for the prosecution: Arpad "Arki" Busson.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:38 AM on May 12, 2010

There's a large and loud, but diminishing, group in the US who say this is the sole work of Democrats and Socialists. They would say that politics are the most effective and safest ways to steal from the rich and subversively give to the poor.
posted by Houstonian at 5:47 AM on May 12, 2010

Been there, done that. I knew somebody who shoplifted from supermarkets and, in addition to feeding herself, handed-out the goods to poor people like herself. She wouldn't steal from small shops. Only from large corporates.

When she eventually got caught, and it took some time and laziness on her behalf, the police were impressed by her gumption.
posted by humblepigeon at 5:59 AM on May 12, 2010

Start a Ponzi scheme. Promise astronomical returns on investments. When clients start asking where their money is, tell them you've fled to Sub-Saharan Africa and spent it on vaccinating infants, distributing mosquito nets and getting girl children into school.

(Is this a hypothetical question?)
posted by embrangled at 6:06 AM on May 12, 2010

Pro bono class action lawsuits?
posted by JaredSeth at 6:09 AM on May 12, 2010

Maybe he could steal the identities of Madoff-like financial scum and use their bank accounts and lines of credit to run clinics and food pantries?
posted by xingcat at 6:10 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

As far as "subversive" ways to give it to the poor, you can use the money to help fix up squats/punk houses/communes/etc. instead of the traditional Giant Conglomerate Charity or Third World Country route.
posted by griphus at 6:33 AM on May 12, 2010

I think you have to consider the dynamic of the Robin Hood universe. Where the rich where entirely evil, the poor starving and broken with no hope of respite. Then you need to find that dynamic recreated in the modern world.

Stealing from Wal-Mart, raising taxes against the rich, its just not the same thing. Especially the Wal-Mart stealing. Even for a noble cause, it's still tears away at (a non evil) society and ends up hurting the (equally) poor people who pay full price for stuff.

I think you'd need to go to Africa and steal from the massively corrupt leaders who starve their countrymen to add more peacocks to their private ranches. The Robin Hood scheme would work especially nice there.
posted by esereth at 6:34 AM on May 12, 2010 [6 favorites]

Break into empty houses in the Hamptons and take everything you can fit in a Uhaul. Sell it and use the money to pay off some subprime mortgages.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:43 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Omar Devone Little.
posted by The Michael The at 6:59 AM on May 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

The TV show Leverage handles this pretty well, I think (albeit in somewhat unbelievable ways).
posted by specialagentwebb at 7:40 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Take out multiple fraudulent bank loans and give the proceeds to charity, never intending to pay them back, like Enric Duran.
posted by benzo8 at 7:47 AM on May 12, 2010

Vassilis Paleokostas seemed to resemble somewhat of a modern day robin hood to some people.
posted by morizky at 8:57 AM on May 12, 2010

Probably the most effective way to steal from the rich and give to the poor is to vote for / support / become a politician in favor of increasing taxation (/ increasing progressiveness of taxation) and using the revenue to support / transfer money to the poor.
posted by Perplexity at 10:23 AM on May 12, 2010

In the movie Sneakers, two hackers would crack into the bank accounts of rich conservatives and conservative organizations and anonymously give the stolen money to various charities or organizations of the political left. E.g. Richard Nixon makes a generous contribution to the Black Panthers.
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:19 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder mentions that Dr. Paul Farmer stole a very expensive microscope from Harvard and brought it to his community hospital in Haiti, and also stole several thousand dollars worth of TB drugs to distribute in Peru.

I think this works as a model - while I wouldn't characterize Harvard or the hospital he stole from (Brigham?) as particularly pernicious in its riches (though perhaps you could), the comparative poverty Farmer was addressing makes the riches seem much more a crime.
posted by quadrilaterals at 12:08 PM on May 12, 2010

Start an off-shore bank into which greedy, tax-evading fat-cats would deposit their money (to avoid paying their fair share of what it takes to keep society running) and then disappear without a trace after donating all their funds to victims of credit card companies' usurious practices.
posted by wjm at 12:22 PM on May 12, 2010

Robin Hood was protesting the illegitimate government of the pretender/usurper Prince John from Good King Richard, off at the Crusades. So it would be a bit analogous to carrying on about Bush's theft of the 2000 election. Though it was Bush who then went on a crusade...
posted by wilful at 7:14 PM on May 12, 2010

Credit card hackers could siphon a few cents from millions of accounts and transfer the money to the benefit cards that most states use to disburse welfare, child support and unemployment.

Also, 419 scams are pretty Robin Hood. I guess it depends on your definition of "rich."
posted by irisclara at 9:47 PM on May 12, 2010

Someone in Pakistan evaded taxes for many many years, then used the money to set up an educational trust for girls from low-income families...
posted by bardophile at 3:36 AM on May 13, 2010

This is not an answer to your question but your question reminded me of this.
posted by xm at 2:32 PM on May 15, 2010

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