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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Summers Loves Little Girls

In what is clearly an attempt to say something almost antithetical to what he stated last year about females (that caused the huge flurry) President Summers recently said that educating girls is "the single most important investment that can be made in the developing world," at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Is that before or after poisoning them by dumping huge amounts of toxic waste from the industrialized world into their environments, Larry? I wonder...

13 Comments:

At 3:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't believe he was sarcastic in the memo about toxic waste?

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger Jeremy Singer-Vine said...

Educating girls in the developing world really is the single most important investment that can be made in the developing world. Or at least one of the 8 most important. See the UN Millennium Delevopment Goals: millenniumcampaign.org goals 2 and 3.

Would you rather that he didn't say it [the truth]?

 
At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

angry black man alert

 
At 12:51 PM, Blogger katie loncke said...

What I find weird about the pollution memo is, even if the comment is sarcastic, why would he have to make it in the first place? When people are sarcastic in the way he was, it's usually a tactic used to discredit someone else's suggestion by painting it as outlandish. So was someone else at the World Bank actually advocating for this (in a nuanced way, shrouded in economic terms, maybe even without realizing the implications of what they were saying) so that Summers felt compelled to respond with a rebuke? That's what I don't get. The article doesn't give enough information to be able to tell; does anyone know of any other coverage on it? (Incidentally, this was one of the real-life-economics examples used in a class I took this semester, "Economics: A Critical Approach." An alternative to Ec 10, in case anyone's interested.)

 
At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

article from harper's, 'the oil we eat'

http://www.harpers.org/TheOilWeEat.html

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger katie loncke said...

anonymous 2, even if you're joking, don't throw around stereotypical epithets to make your point. if you think Jersey's overreacting, say so respectfully and explain why. then go read the discussion people had earlier on humor and racism.

 
At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry has been saying this about girls education for a long time. He wrote an influential paper about it: "The Most Influential Investment" Scientific American, August, 1992, as well as a World Bank policy paper on educating girls in Pakistan.

He thinks the reasoning and argumentation is consitent for girls education and for toxic waste redistribution. The economic ends justify the means. According to his logic, if there were no economic benefit to educating girls, states shouldn't do it. And because there is an economic benefit for states in pollution redistribution, he argues for that as well.

I'm not saying that's a correct method of approach. I think there's some good that can be recognized in adhering to basic principles of equality of opportunity to justify universal education even if there wasn't an extreme economic benefit, and there's some moral concerns with shifting pollution to underdeveloped nations.

But this isn't a new argument of his, and he's been very vocal that the two are self-consistent.

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger Jersey Slugger said...

I'm not disputing the claim that educating girls in the developed world is the best thing to do there. I really don't know what's best because I don't have enough experience living or working there or even studying the developed world. Nevertheless, this deals with the question of "What is development?" that has been discussed at length back in November. Most of the people at the World Bank are either fooling themselves or fooling us into thinking the whole world world can become developed. The ideal cannot be highly industrialized nations such as Japan, Germany, or the U.S. because our consumption of food, energy, and whatever else factories and companies can pump out and sell is simply unsustainable for the majority of the world to partake in.

Good points, Katie. I never even thought of that aspect of the memo. If it was supposed to be a sarcastic joke memo it would have come as a reaction to comments from someone else suggesting doing the toxic dumping. Also, there are a lot more angry Black men out there than me, Harvard. I just have access to this blog.

The Oil We Eat looks like an interesting read. I'm going over it now and may offer some thoughts on it later.

 
At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't you give the guy a break? He's obviously trying to move on from the scandal he had before, so why won't you let him? Your little dig about his pollution memo has nothing to do with educating girls, so I have to wonder if you're making cheap shots because you know your dismissiveness isn't justified. Certainly you don't try to reason things out at all.

I think you're unquestionably the worst writer on CC.

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger Jersey Slugger said...

Summers will never get a break while in his current position and he doesn't deserve any due to:

His comments on women being, intellectually, instrinsically less suitable for science than men...

His comments on the Native American genocide by European settlers being "a coincidence that was a consequence" and "nobody's plan"...

His comments that Cornel West, one of the world's most prominent scholars and public intellectuals, should do more scholarship and be less politically active or involved with showbusiness (which, despite what people will have you believe, has since propelled the rapid decline of our once untouchable African and African American Studies Department)...

etc., etc., etc. Not to mention my diagreeing views with him on things like globalization, the sexuality-constraining U.S. military, and others topics of debate.

Does "worst" = "writer you most often disagree with"? That's cool if it does. If you mean I'm just a bad writer, you're obviously on drugs. Obviously.

 
At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone's saying that Summers hasn't said controversial stuff and/or that you shouldn't criticize him. I think what Anonymous above doesn't quite understand (and me either, to be perfectly honest) is how the different statements are connected, besides them both having to do with "poor people."

P.S. Even though I often disagree with what you say, I don't think you're a bad writer at all, and I hope you don't take anonymous' comments to heart.

 
At 12:28 PM, Blogger Jersey Slugger said...

Which comments above don't you understand as being connected?

 
At 2:26 PM, Blogger katie loncke said...

I think the point Jersey's making (correct me if I'm wrong) is that Summers' purported concern for the welfare of women and girls in the "developing world" seems disingenuous in light of his willingness to destroy these people's enironments by buying from them the right to dump our toxic waste on their land.

As an earlier anonymous said, while Summers is using the PR to massage his image after last year's hubub, if we look to the base of his arguments, they're not founded in concern for human beings or for justice and equality, but in terms of economic expediency:

"He thinks the reasoning and argumentation is consitent for girls education and for toxic waste redistribution. The economic ends justify the means. According to his logic, if there were no economic benefit to educating girls, states shouldn't do it. And because there is an economic benefit for states in pollution redistribution, he argues for that as well."

I think Jersey was just expressing his frustration that the media coverage on the gender equality in education bit was largely uncritical (in the 'critical thinking' sense) of Summers. It's not enough to know *that* he supports education for girls; we also have to ask *why* he supports it.

 

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