James Tobin: Lefty Tax Campaigners Misuse My Name

A great little nugget in the FT this morning: before he died Professor James Tobin, he of the ill-advised Tobin Tax, accused loony lefty tax campaigners of misrepresenting his ideas: “I have absolutely nothing in common with these anti-globalisation rebels. They’re misusing my name”. The 2001 interview with Der Spiegel makes for very interesting reading:

“I appreciate attention to my proposal, but many of the praise comes from the wrong side. Look, I’m an economist and, like most economists, an advocate of free trade. Moreover, I support the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization — everything that these movements are attacking. They’re misusing my name…  I feel that I’m being misunderstood and that my name has been wrongly co-opted for other people’s priorities. The Tobin tax offers no platform for the reforms that these people are seeking. But what can I do? Their intentions are good, I assume, but the proposals are badly thought out.”

For some reason you don’t hear that quote from today’s ‘Robin Hood’ wannabes…




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