Nov 9, 2008

The Left vs. Larry Summers

It's another of those rare occasions when I have to disagree with Digby. I am puzzled with the Left's allergy to Larry Summers; one of its symptoms is obsessively scratching and digging up the 1991 World Bank memo about the possibility of selling toxic waste to Third-World countries. Says Digby:
Jonathan goes on to point out the unpleasant truth about such allegedly "out of the box" thinking --- that the people who reap the "benefit" of such things usually don't have to live in the putrid, polluted hellhole that's created by our toxic waste.
All I have to say in response is what I already wrote in a comment to a similarly-themed diary on Daily Kos, and an important part of it was the exact mirror image of Digby's thought - the people who scream that it is horrible and evil even to consider such ideas also don't have to share the fate of the poor people in the Third World:
In third world countries there are cities where children spend all day scavenging landfills. Perhaps there is unpolluted nature 20 miles away, but that does not help to make the lives of those children any safer, healthier, or more hopeful. Some more wealth in the country might, though - provided we can make sure it is actually spent on developing the country's economy and not on the leaders' luxury.
My current opinion (which is reality-based, so it may change with new information) is that toxic waste trade would be a bad idea, primarily because we could not effectively ensure that the money would be well spent. My educated but fallible guess is that Summers holds a similar view; my million-dollar bet is that he would similarly try to base his conclusions on reality and facts.

Look, some ideas seem yucky. But dissecting frogs is also yucky, and if you can't get over it, you can miss out on learning science. Part of maturity is that we should not let the yuck factor dictate our thought process and evaluation of ideas.

C'mon, people. All Larry is guilty of is bad taste.

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