The Multinational Monitor

September 2002 - VOLUME 23 - NUMBER 9

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 September 2002 Lawrence Summers Memorial Award* goes to the Florida panhandle town of Springfield.

Springfield City Commissioners voted in August to accept a deal from a Charlotte, North Carolina firm, Government Acquisitions, to provide the city with 15 police squad cars for $1 each. The catch: The cars will be festooned with corporate sponsorship logos similar to those on race cars.

Source: Associated Press, "Fla. police cars to sport corporate logos," August 26, 2002.

*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.