Lawrence H. Summers
Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University
01:41

Progress as Opportunity

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According to Larry Summers, progress is access to opportunity for ever more people.

Lawrence H. Summers

Lawrence H. Summers is an American economist. He is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University, where he became one of the university's youngest tenured faculty at age 28.

The author of over 150 journal articles, Dr. Summers' wide-ranging contributions to economic research were recognized with the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40. He was also the first social scientist to receive the National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award for outstanding scientific achievement.

Beyond his academic career, Dr. Summers has held a number of distinguished appointments in government. He previously served as Director of the National Economic Council for the Obama Administration, Secretary of the Treasury for the Clinton Administration, and Chief Economist of the World Bank.

Lawrence Summers received his S.B. from MIT and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard. He and his wife Elisa New, a professor of English at Harvard, have six children.

Transcript

Lawrence Summers: I hope we are moving to a world in which the range of human opportunity will be expanded, and will have steadily expanded in the years ahead. And part of that is, what’s created, as people become educated; as people are free from pain; as people’s material capacity increases and they get the ability to broaden their world, whether it’s in the different clothes that they can wear, or the access to the world that telephone or TV or Internet connection can provide.

For me it’s about an ever-expanding provision of opportunity to an ever-growing number of people. And I see the kinds of opportunities that I’ve had, contrast them with the opportunities that a previous generation has had. Look ahead to the kinds of opportunities that my children will have. And I don’t think that’s a process that ever stops, but I think there’s a vast amount we can do to promote more opportunity for more people.

 

Recorded On: June 13,  2007


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