Lawrence Summers

American economist, Secretary of the Treasury, college administrator, and U.S. government official

Lawrence Henry "Larry" Summers (born November 30, 1954) is an American economist, former Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank (1991–93), senior U.S. Treasury Department official throughout President Clinton's administration (ultimately Treasury Secretary, 1999–2001), and former director of the National Economic Council for President Obama (2009–2010). He is a former president of Harvard University (2001–2006), where he is currently a professor and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Lawrence Summers, 2012

Quotes edit

1980s edit

  • The country will not have to pay the piper. Through a combination of sound policy actions and a great deal of good luck we are well on our way to a soft landing and a period of growth and price stability.
  • The things you hear now about European unemployment -- that there are structural problems, that real wages have failed to adjust, that there are inflationary fears -- are the same things that were said during the early 1930. It is well established that government spending began to pull Germany out of its slump in 1935. There is no known reason why spending for peace can't do as well at getting the economy going as spending for war.
  • Takeovers wouldn't cause the stock market to rise unless there is an upward reassessment of earnings (potential). People are more optimistic and confident about the future.
    • Lawrence Summers in: Glenn Pascall (August 16, 1987) "Raiding Can Be Seen As Wake-Up Call For Corporate America", The Seattle Times, p. B4.

1990s edit

I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that. . . . I’ve always thought that countries in Africa are vastly under polluted; their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles. . . . Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty indus- tries to the Least Developed Countries? —Lawrence Summers, confidential World Bank memo, December 12, 1991

  • Things take longer to happen than you think they will and then they happen faster than you think they will.
    • Lawrence Summers in: David Warsh (February 11, 1992) "Avoiding Weimar Russia", Boston Globe, p. 37, Section: Business.
  • No free country will ever again have anything like the 90 percent tax rates that we had in this country. Past a certain point, high marginal tax rates are, indeed, terribly destructive.
  • The situation in a number of countries reminds one that it's still a risky world out there in the emerging markets.

2000s edit

  • We must recognise that in an integrated world, trade cannot be divorced from other concerns. We need to promote free trade and serious global efforts with respect to common problems even as we support every nation's right to chart its own course.
  • I deeply regret the impact of my comments and apologise for not having weighed them more carefully … I was wrong to have spoken in a way that has resulted in an unintended signal of discouragement to talented girls and women.
    • Apology letter addressed to Harvard University community, posted on his website — reported in Reuters (January 26, 2005) "Summers Regrets", The Australian, p. 032.
  • I know that there is one additional thing that I've learned and that is that what Harvard does and says has an enormous resonance that goes beyond Zip code 02138.
    • Philip Kennicott (April 15, 2005) "The Man in The Ivory Tower - Harvard's Lawrence Summers Is a Study in Controversy" The Washington Post, p. C1.
  • With uncertainty in oil markets, a buildup of speculative pressures and the large U.S. current account deficit, there is a real possibility that Paulson's crisis-management skills will be tested.

Quotes about edit

  • Summers’s outlook on economic policy can be summarized by the remark that he gave me some years ago: “If I had your views on economics, I would find another profession.” He meant that if free markets usually worked well and the government ought usually to stay out, then he would find economics to be an uninteresting occupation. Fortunately for Summers, he has always believed in the potential benefits from governmental activism, although the strength of this belief may have diminished over time.
  • Bill Clinton and his two treasury secretary enablers, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, instituted a system of unregulated capitalism that has resulted in financial anarchy. This anarchic form of capitalism, where everything, including human beings and the natural world, is a commodity to exploit until exhaustion or collapse, is justified by identity politics. It is sold as “enlightened liberalism” as opposed to the old pro-union class politics that saw the Democrats heed the voices of the working class. Financial anarchy and short-term plunder have destroyed long-term financial and political stability. It has also pushed the human species, along with most other species, closer and closer towards extinction.

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