My Blog

Farewell to Kenneth Arrow, a Gentle Genius of Economics

February 25th, 2017

My mother’s brother, the Nobel economist Kenneth Arrow, died this week at the age of 95. He was a dear man and a hero to me and many others. No one else I have ever known so embodied the scholarly life well lived. continue

It’s Time for a Reset

December 12th, 2016

In statistical terms, 2016 was a year of continuity for the world economy, as performance was quite similar to that of recent years. The big changes were political, as a widespread anti-globalization movement signaled a breakdown in a consensus among most political leaders that had held since the end of the World War II. It used to be generally accepted that reducing trade barriers increases prosperity and promotes peace, benefiting investing and recipient countries and promoting international cooperation in solving problems around the world. Almost all of this was called into question in 2016. Read the full New York Times Turning Point article.

The Future of Aid for Health

November 30th, 2016

In a keynote address on November 30, 2016 at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) in Doha, Qatar, Summers talked about the Future of Aid for Health. Summers said, “I have always believed that economics is a moral science because it is so centrally involved with choices that directly affect human well being.  And cancer at age 30 reinforced for me that no choices centrally affect human well being as those involving health. Economics is defined as ‘the study of the allocation of scarce resources among competing ends.’  Few if any resources allocation choices are as consequencial as those involved with health care. I have become convinced  that even as we fight for increases in global health aid, there is a need for a major reorientation of the global aid for health effort away from financing service delivery in individual countries and towards global priorities.”