The Hypothetical Economist Lawrence Summers

The Hypothetical Economist Lawrence Summers

Prince Albert - Thursday - January 20, 2005 - by: Mario deSantis

The president of Harvard University Dr. Lawrence Summers raised more than one eyebrow last Friday when he spoke at a conference on women in science and engineering. Dr. Summers suggested that the fact that women donít succeed in science and math career is due principally to three hypotheses.

He stated that the first hypothesis is the reluctance or inability of women who have children to work 80 hour per week; the second hypothesis is that women donít have the same innate ability or natural ability as men in some fields; and the third hypothesis is the possibility of discrimination against women. Also, Dr. Summers discounted somewhat the possibility of discrimination as the Free Market would correct such economic inefficiency; however, he added that further research should be done on these three hypotheses.

Last year, at Harvard University, only four of thirty-two tenure job openings were offered to women, as a consequence we can figure out the natural abilities of free marketeer Dr. Summers.

Dr. Summersí preaching of the Free Market was encapsulated in a memo he wrote on December 12, 1991 while he was Chief Economist at the World Bank. In this memo he wrote:

"The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. 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."

It is my understanding that we cannot ever alleviate poverty, defeat plaguing diseases, end wars and have a more equitable society with this neoconservative mentality as expressed by Dr. Summers: a tunneled vision of humanity based on further hypothesized researches and their consequential impeccable economic policies.


Mario deSantis



Bombardieri, Marcella Summers' remarks on women draw fire January 17, 2005 Boston Globe,




The Whirled Bank Group The Memo




Wikipedia, Lawrence Summers


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