Lawrence Summers Quotes That Will Make You Stop and Think

, Staff Writer
Updated February 16, 2022
Portrait Of Lawrence Summers With Quote
    Portrait Of Lawrence Summers With Quote
    Rob Kim / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment
    Used under Getty Images editorial license

Lawrence “Larry” Summers is an American economist who has served in many prominent positions including Vice President of Development Economics, Chief Economist of the World Bank, senior U.S. Treasury Department official, former director of the National Economic Council, and former president of Harvard University. With those credentials, it is no wonder that he has many thought-provoking quotes.

Lawrence Summers Quotes About Economics

Lawrence Summers has served many roles over his career and has appeared on many programs and in various publications to voice his views on the U.S. economy and current events.

  • “The country will not have to pay the piper. Through a combination of sound policy actions and a great deal of good luck we are well on our way to a soft landing and a period of growth and price stability.” - “Stockman's Timing Was Never Worse,” Boston Globe, by David Warsh (April 20, 1986)

  • “Takeovers wouldn't cause the stock market to rise unless there is an upward reassessment of earnings (potential). People are more optimistic and confident about the future.” - "Raiding Can Be Seen As Wake-Up Call For Corporate America,” The Seattle Times (August 16, 1987)

  • “If investments in factories were the most important investments in the industrial age, the most important investments in an information age are surely investments in the human brain.” - Treasury Secretary Summers Says U.S. Faces Critical Choices in Next Five Years

  • "If you ask why the American financial system succeeds, at least my reading of the history would be that there is no innovation more important than that of generally accepted accounting principles: it means that every investor gets to see information presented on a comparable basis; that there is discipline on company managements in the way they report and monitor their activities." - quoted in “Paul Krugman: The Big Zero,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (January 2, 2010)

  • “When I look out the window at my backyard, I can't think of anything interesting to ask. I mean, it's green, it's growing-but nothing occurs to me that any concentrated effort of thought could possibly enlighten. Whereas in economic, statistical, or mathematical kinds of things, I can think of lots of questions.” - “Inside the Crisis,” The New Yorker (October 4, 2009)

  • “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 it.” - "Furor on Memo At World Bank,” The New York Times (February 7, 1992)

  • “…it’s important to remember how fortunate we are as a country to have a currency and a bond market that is seen in every way as a source of strength and it’s a huge responsibility for us to keep it that way.“ - “Summers sees end to ‘sense of free-fall’,” Financial Times (April 9, 2009)


Lawrence Summers Quotes About World Trade

Few people know more about the world economy and trade than Summers. In addition to his vast knowledge of the U.S. financial system, he has offered his insights on global affairs and policies.

  • “The situation in a number of countries reminds one that it's still a risky world out there in the emerging markets.” - "Global Economic Crisis In Its Last Days,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • “Where countries have been able to carry through on their reform commitments -- as in Korea, Thailand and the Philippines -- results are starting to come in the form of lower interest rates, new investment and increased growth.“ - "Clinton's Capitulation on China,” The Washington Post (April 12, 1999)

  • “We must recognize that in an integrated world, trade cannot be divorced from other concerns. We need to promote free trade and serious global efforts with respect to common problems even as we support every nation's right to chart its own course.” - statement made at World Economic Forum, "China trade vote a key test, says Summers,” The Straits Times

  • “No free country will ever again have anything like the 90 percent tax rates that we had in this country. Past a certain point, high marginal tax rates are, indeed, terribly destructive.“ - The Wall Street Journal (April 5, 1998)

  • “It used to be said that when the U.S. sneezed, the world caught a cold. The opposite is equally true today. Our prosperity is linked inextricably to the maintenance of a strong world economy, an open international trading system, and stable global financial markets.” - “Sayonara to Summers,” The Globalist (January 15, 2001)


Quotes About Education From Lawrence Summers

Lawrence Summers began his career as a professor of economics at Harvard from 1983 to 1991. Moreover, he was the President of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006. As such, he has given his opinion of the importance and state of education in the U.S. on several occasions.

  • “Investment in girls' education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world.” - “Investing in All the People: Educating Women in Developing Countries” in World Bank Publications

  • “A good rule of thumb for many things in life holds that things take longer to happen than you think they will, and then happen faster than you thought they could.” - “The 21st Century Education” in The New York Times (Jan. 22, 2012)

  • “The idea that we should be open to all ideas is very different from the supposition that all ideas are equally valid.” - “Harvard Radical,” The New York Times


Thought-Provoking Words