Larry Summers’ New Worldview

What does the great American economist really think about globalization?

June 16, 2004

What does the great American economist really think about globalization?

Larry Summers’ career falls together with one of the most intense phases of globalization. He witnessed this process as World Bank chief economist, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury — and now does so again in his capacity as president of Harvard University. Our Read My Lips examines his views on issues from education to the process of globalization.

“Education is the ultimate act of faith in the future.”
(April 2004)

“At Harvard, there’s a sense of common purpose and everybody’s rooting for everyone else’s success — whereas in Washington, half the city is always a constituency favoring failure.”
(June 2004)

“If the visa process remains complicated and filled with delays, we risk losing some of our most talented scientists and compromising our country’s position at the forefront of technological innovation.”
(April 2004)

“If the next generation of foreign leaders are educated elsewhere, we also will have lost the incalculable benefits derived from their extended exposure to our country and its democratic values.”
(April 2004)

“The converging phenomena of globalization and new information technologies may well alter — will alter — the university in ways that we can now only dimly perceive.”
(October 2001)

“In admiring past accomplishments and worrying over current cleavages, it is easy to forget the transatlantic confrontation over Suez, the degree of anti-Americanism in Europe engendered by Vietnam — and the strains on the alliance in the early Reagan years.”
(November 2003)

“I do worry about our country’s fiscal situation — and how long the world’s greatest power should stay the world’s greatest borrower.”
(April 2004)

“In the developing world, far more people are poor because of too little globalization rather than too much.”
(July 2002)

“No one ever says on Christmas morning: ‘Without trade with China, I would only be able to buy half as many toys for my kids.'”
(October 2002)

“I am more concerned with extending the benefits of globalization by reducing trade barriers around the world than I am with promoting labor and environmental standards.”
(July 2002)

“Mexico would have been a very different country — one much less congenial to U.S. interests — without NAFTA.”
(July 2002)

“Battlefield medicine is never perfect.”
(July 2002)

“Without macroeconomic stability, clearly established property rights, market competition, openness to the global economy, significant investment in people, education and health — without the development of effective institutions in everything from promoting literacy to regulating banks — development is very, very difficult.”
(July 2002)

“Anti-Israeli views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities.”
(September 2002)

“One of the things I learned in my years in government traveling all over the world is that I wouldn’t trade our problems for the problems of any other country in the world.”
(June 2001)