Tobin Says Activists Abuse His Name
The Associated Press
Saturday, September 1, 2001; 4:26 PM
BERLIN –– Nobel laureate James Tobin, who proposed a global tax on financial transactions to buffer small economies from boom-and-bust monetary flows, says radical anti-globalization activists are abusing his name in endorsing the idea.
"Most of the applause is coming from the wrong side," Tobin was quoted as saying Saturday in the newsmagazine Der Spiegel.
Tobin's name has become synonymous with his 1972 proposal to structure capital flows that can be overwhelming in size and speed and thus insulate poor nations from global market stresses.
Opponents of globalization have rallied behind the so-called Tobin tax, saying revenues could be given to economically underdeveloped countries as a way to ease poverty linked to unbridled capitalism.
"I'm an economist and like most economists a backer of free trade," Tobin said. "I also support the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization – all the things this movement is attacking. They're abusing my name."
He called for the IMF, World Bank and WTO to be strengthened, stressing that "I don't have the slightest thing in common with these anti-globalization revolutionaries."
The theme of reducing market volatility and ensuring sufficient aid to developing countries is to be discussed by European Union finance ministers in Liege, Belgium later this month.
Tobin, who was awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, told Der Spiegel that his tax likely had "no chance" of becoming reality – because "the important people on the international finance scene are against it."
© 2001 The Associated Press