Larry Summers? You have to be joking.

Although a certain former first lady has been constantly mooted as Zoellick’s successor it seems that Obama may be also considering another candidate. Larry Summers is former Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, and head of the National Economics Council under Obama, and is currently a professor at Harvard. He is also rather notorious for his part in the deregulation of the finance sector, brazen comments on the ‘scientific aptitude’ of women, and for advocating increased pollution in developing countries as a cost-cutting exercise.

Needless to say he is what is politely called a ‘divisive’ figure. After a brief period in which commentators seemed to be momentarily stupefied by the news, Summer’s candidacy has now provoked a rapid, and incredulous, response from the political blogosphere.

Felix Salmon at Reuters pleads:

Please, Barack, don’t do it! … giving him the World Bank job would be a disaster.

Before adding that:

giving the job to any American is a bad idea. We’re long past the point at which it makes any sense at all that the president of the World Bank should always be an American.

David Dayen at popular blog Fire Dog Lake likens Summers to a zombie, and seconds Salmon’s view that he should not be appointed to the role:

You just can’t get rid of zombie Larry Summers. He can get drummed out of Harvard. He can see the deregulation policies he pushed in the Clinton Administration lead to a financial meltdown. He can preside over a sluggish economy for two years during the Obama Administration, after which Congress flips to the opposition. And he just keeps falling upwards

Over at the Huffington Post Jason Linkins asks whether ‘Surely President Obama Is Joking About This ‘Have Larry Summers Run The World Bank’ Thing!’. His view is no less damning:

At any rate, it seems pretty clear that his prickliness, his record of being a source of dysfunction, and that teensy little thing where the policies he supported helped wreck the economy would all disqualify Summers

Any thoughts on Summers dear readers?

5 thoughts on “Larry Summers? You have to be joking.

  1. If that is the case you might as well consider their latest “Global Economic Prospects” report the last resemblanc­e of reality to ever come from the organizati­on (not that the IMF or World Bank are known for living in the real world). I was actually surprised that their most recent report actually had shades of reality in it! With Larry Summers in charge you can be sure not even “shades” of reality would be accepted — Which might be a reason they want him there lol

    http://www.wallstreetrant.com/2012/01/world-bank-issues-world-rare-reality.html

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  3. Whatever you may think about a memo Larry Summers wrote in 1991, and controversial comments about women in science that he should have known better to make in front of that audience, Larry Summers is an excellent economist familiar with today’s issues of development, has executive experience in the US government and in a hard-to-manage elite university, and is a man who speaks his mind. He speaks well and with passion, even if you don’t agree with him. He is not a perfect manager–no one on the speculative list is–but the ad hominem attacks and namecalling are unbecoming to the importance of the job. He will not be the nominee, so let’s move on.

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