SPIEGEL: The IMF, of all things? It is viewed as a handmaiden of global capitalism that ought to be abolished — and not just by the opponents of globalization.
Tobin: On the contrary, I think the IMF must be strengthened and enlarged. Certainly it\’s made many mistakes — no question about that — but it, like the World Bank, has far too few resources at its disposal to help the member countries, especially the poor and less developed economies. The World Bank and the IMF are not part of a conspiracy called globalization.
SPIEGEL: Does that also hold true for the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
Tobin: Certainly its predecessor, the GATT, did much good in expanding world trade.
SPIEGEL: Not everybody believes that. In 1999, the WTO-Meeting in Seattle failed as a result of pressure from tens of thousands of opponents of globalization.
Tobin: WTO may need more power — vis-à-vis the United States, among others. The WTO ought, for example, to be in a position to prohibit the industrialized countries from setting up all sorts of trade barriers to exclude imports from developing countries.
SPIEGEL: The tact is that the industrialized countries flood the markets of the third world with their goods and use those countries as a source of cheap labor.
Tobin: I think this whole idea that the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization are the enemies of the developing countries is misconceived. The problems of globalization will not be solved by trying to prevent it from going forward. All countries, along with their inhabitants, profit from the free exchange of goods and capital.
SPIEGEL: Then why has world poverty increased?
Tobin: It hasn\’t done that at all.
Or, as we might put it, fuck off hippies.