Lawrence Henry ("Larry") Summers (b. 1954) is an economist who served as the Secretary of the Treasury in the final year and a half of the Clinton administration. From there he was selected to be the 27th President of Harvard University, considered to be the top position in academia. Lawrence Summers currently is the Director of the White House's National Economic Council (NEC) for President Barack Obama.
He served as President of Harvard from 2001 to 2006, when he was forced to resign after suggesting that the wide disparities between male and female academics in science, math and engineering may be partly due to innate differences in their aptitude or preference for those fields.
When he made this suggestion, in a private meeting, the ensuing uproar by liberals led to his ouster.
- "I felt I was going to be sick," said MIT Biology Professor Nancy Hopkins, a biology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was attended the meeting, which was organized by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. "My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow," she said. "I was extremely upset."
However, liberals since deny that as the cause of his termination, even though over a year later for the same reason they forced a rescission of an invitation for him speak to an academic audience.[Citation Needed]
Larry Summers and charges of conflicts of interest
As noted earlier, Lawrence Summers is the Director of the White House's National Economic Council (NEC) for President Barack Obama. The NEC was established to advise the U.S. President on U.S. and global economic policy. Larry Summers favored the bailouts of Wall Street firms and banks. A 2005 study found that government corporate bailouts are often done for mere political considerations and the economic resources allocated exhibit significantly worse economic performance than resources allocated using purely business considerations.
A government watchdog group reports:
|“|| Larry Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, ...continues to accept large speaking fees from bailed out banks.
"Most of the companies paying Summers' speaking fees are found at top the list of contributors to politicians from both parties, leaving voters to wonder if there is anyone left who isn't in Wall Street's pocket."
The Washington Post reported:
|“||Lawrence Summers, the chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees from several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations.||”|
Larry Summers and leftist economics
George Gerald Reisman, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Pepperdine University and author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics, wrote that Summers socialistic ideas on redistributing wealth demonstrate that Summers is a "lightweight leftist" who "fails to understand the nature of the most essential feature of capitalism, namely, private ownership of the means of production and the indispensable role it plays in the standard of living of the average person." Reisman also wrote that Summers is a shallow and ignorant man whose knowledge of economics is minimal and whose evil views qualify him to be the economic advisor to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela or Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, but do not qualify him to be an economic advisor to the President of the United States.
Larry Summers and crony economics in Lithuania
The leftist publication The Nation declared:
|“|| In 1988, he was Michael Dukakis's chief economic advisor, but when that campaign failed to bring Summers to power, he turned to America's great rival, the former Soviet Union, to try out his economic experiments. In 1990, Lithuania, a restive Soviet republic seeking independence, hired Summers to advise on that country's economic transformation. Poor Lithuania had no idea what it got itself into. This was Summers's first opportunity to tackle a country in economic crisis and put his wunderkind theories into practice. The results were literally suicidal: in 1990, when Summers first arrived, Lithuania's suicide rate was 26.1 per 100,000 and falling. Just five years after Summers got his hands on Lithuania's economy, life became so unbearable under the economic transition that the suicide rate nearly doubled to 45.6 per 100,000, worse than any other ex-Soviet republic in transition. In fact, it was the highest suicide rate in the world, suggesting something particularly harsh and brutal about the economic transition in that country as opposed to the others, where suffering and pain were common. Things got so bad that in 1992, after just two years of Summers-nomics, the traumatized Lithuanians voted the communist party back into power, the first East European nation to do so--even though just a year earlier Lithuanians actually died on the streets fighting communism.
Fresh off his success in Lithuania, Summers moved to the World Bank, where he was named the chief economist in 1991, the year he issued his famous let's-pollute-Africa memo. It was also the year that Summers, and his Harvard protégé Andrei Schleifer (who worked with Summers on the Lithuania economic transformation), began their catastrophic "rescue" of Russia's crisis-ridden economy. It's a complicated story involving corruption, cronyism and economic devastation. But by the end of the 1990s, Russia's GDP had collapsed by more than 60 percent, its population was suffering the worst death-to-birth ratio of any industrialized nation in the twentieth century, and the financial markets that Summers and Schleifer helped create had collapsed in what was then the world's biggest debt default ever. The result was the rise of Vladimir Putin and a national aversion to free markets and anything associated with Western liberalism.
- Summers' Comments on Women and Science Draw Ire - The Harvard Crimson