Economist Larry Summers credits Canada in recent Sauder talk


With the U.S. facing a much publicized fiscal cliff, and the EU budget talks breaking down, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers praised Canadian monetary policy in a recent talk at the Sauder School of Business.

“You’ve done a bit better, which is a credit to your financial regulation,” said Summers during “An insider’s view on economic policy in the U.S.,” hosted by Sauder’s Canccord Learning Commons on November 19.

Summers, president emeritus of Harvard University, has served as financial adviser to two U.S. administrations. He became Secretary of the Treasury, from 1999 to 2001, under President Bill Clinton  and led President Obama’s National Economic Council, as the director from 2009 to 2011.

Speaking about his time with the Obama administration, Summers said that the most important accomplishment was getting the US economy growing again – especially as economic statistics were worse than during the stock market crash in 1929.

Despite the doom and gloom of current global markets, Summers marvelled at the economic development seen pre-financial crisis, particularly in China. “It has only taken China six years to replicate the economic progress made between ancient Greece and the industrial revolution,” he said.

In order to build on that success, Summers stressed the importance of the relationship between economy and information technology. “A smartphone has more computing power than the Apollo program that sent a man to the moon,” he said. Summers added that, if he was asked to choose between access to his smartphone or to the library at Harvard University, it would be an easy choice – he would pick his phone.