The Multinational Monitor

May 2003 - VOLUME 24 - NUMBER 5

T H E    L A W R E N C E    S U M M E R S    M E M O R I A L   A W A R D


The May 2003 Lawrence Summers Memorial Award* goes to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).

In March, the AAPD announced it was entering a million dollar partnership with the world's largest soft drink company, Coca-Cola.

The AAPD stated that the Coke grant will "support important clinical, basic and behavioral research" and "create public and professional educational programs, based on science, that improve dental health for children."

"This partnership will provide [the] AAPD [Foundation] additional and innovative approaches to communicate our messages to a broad spectrum of the general public," said AAPD President David K. Curtis.

Innovative? No doubt.

The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest denounced the program, and urged the AAPD to withdraw from the arrangement.

"It's hard to imagine a professional association of dentists choosing a more inappropriate partner to fund educational programs," said Center for Science in the Public Interest Executive Director Mike Jacobson. "The AAPD would have to be incredibly naive to believe that Coke's gift is inspired by a newfound desire to promote dental health. Coke's idea of education is spending billions 'educating' kids to consume caffeine-and sugar-laden soda. I'm surprised that AAPD is willing to be co-opted in this way, and for relatively little money in the scheme of things. The Academy's leadership should resign."

*In a 1991 internal memorandum, then-World Bank economist 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)?" wrote Summers, who went on to serve as Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration. "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.