The Lawrence Summers
The March 2000 Lawrence Summers Memorial Award* goes to Robin Cushman, CEO of NBC.
Responding to a question at the National Press Club on whether NBC News might air a segment on the giveaway of the digital spectrum to broadcasters at no cost (the answer is "no"), he offered the following:
"And then the concept of coming along and somebody saying, 'Well, you guys have a pretty good business there, we're basically going to sell your business to somebody else and you're going to get nothing,' because that's really what was implied in the issue of 'Cancel your license, I'm going to issue you a new digital license, and you're going to have to go and buy it at auction,' which is basically, you know, that's not too different from what Fidel Castro did in his land management program in Cuba, where he said, 'Listen, you people enjoyed these estates, you had fun, but now it's mine and we're going to do something else with it."
(National Press Club luncheon speech, January 24, 2000. Thanks to Sam Husseini for sending the transcript.)
*In a 1991 internal memorandum, then-World Bank economist and current Secretary of Treasury Lawrence Summers argued for the transfer of waste and dirty industries from industrialized to developing countries. "Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs (lesser developed countries)?" Summers wrote. "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 that. ... I've always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly under polluted; their air quality is vastly inefficiently low [sic] compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City." Summers later said the memo was meant to be ironic.