The Multinational Monitor

September 2004 - VOLUME 25 - NUMBERS 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 Lawrence Summers Memorial Award* goes to the Taiwanese Defense Ministry.

People in Taiwan should drink less tea and contribute the saved money instead to buy weapons from the United States, the ministry said in September.

"A cup of pearl tea for national security," the ministry said in a cartoon showing a boy holding a giant plastic tea cup next to photos of a submarine, Patriot anti-missiles and other armaments, Reuters reports. "We can buy top-notch equipment to protect our country [if] everyone drinks one less pearl milk tea every week," says the cartoon.

The Taiwanese political opposition has vowed to block the government's budget including big weapons expenditures. It says the money should instead be spent on education and welfare programs.

Source: Reuters, "Drink Less Tea to Help Pay for Weapons," September 21, 2004.

*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.