Summers for secretary of the Treasury?

Precisely what Larry Summers said is unclear; I think the transcript suggested he was conjecturing that women are in some innate  way less capable than men in science and maths.  Does that  raise any obstacles to his serving as secretary of the treasury, a position for which he is said to be being considered?

Had he been conjecturing about the innate inferiority of African Americans in maths, would that make him more unacceptable?

He is supposed to be a brilliant economist, and goodness knows the world economy needs some brilliant problem solvers.  So I’d be willing to go for his appointment were it not for the fact that we are already a couple of steps into the  compromise.  Or maybe more, Hillary supporters would surely want to insist.

What do you think?

8 thoughts on “Summers for secretary of the Treasury?

  1. I would offer that saying the same about blacks would be worse, because there at least obvious physical and genetic difference between men and women (even if there are also intersexed individuals, transgendered people, etc.), whereas the only consistent difference between black people and white people is skin color… And actually, Colin Powell is pretty dang white if you really look at him.

    Still, I find it hard to believe that a guy at the top of Harvard could be so ignorant as to have not heard the many rebuttals, feminist or otherwise, of hastily attributing group difference to genes rather than environment. By which I mean, there are real genetic differences between men and women, but even those differences in the genes won’t be expressed if, for example, we change the fetus’s environment by injecting the sex hormones of the other sex at specific times. Similarly, we could make women as a group taller than men as a group by passing a law that undernourishes males. So, really all biological differences are part-environment and part-genetics (ie., we have human genes, not dolphin genes), but some things are presumed to be environmental constants (no injecting hormones or starving people) and so, in “normal” circumstances are attributed to genes.

    … Etc., etc. I’m sure you guys have heard this before. But why didn’t Summers? Maybe it’s because he was an economist only, so he thinks statistics are king, but doesn’t question where the statistics come from. Like Charles Murray or something…

  2. I haven’t had enough caffeine yet this morning to comment thoughtfully on whether he’s fit to be the new Treasury secretary.

    However, his remarks are quite clear, if you know where to look.

  3. my two-year-old son is keen on cranes (the construction-work kind; tho he does also like birds). he has two two cranes–a big one, and a little one–and just like summers’s daughter, he calls them ‘papa crane’ and ‘baby crane’. and when baby crane lifts something, he cheers it and encourages it and sometimes hugs it. and if baby crane bashes into something and hurts itself, papa crane comes to the rescue and comforts it. he also calls real cranes ‘papa crane’ or ‘baby crane’ depending on how big they are, and when he sees a ‘baby crane’ he coos at it and tells me that it’s ‘sweet’. if babying heavy machinery is innately female behaviour, then i haven’t a clue what my child is doing with that penis.

  4. I think its interesting that on the Things Obama will so for women referenced on a later blog, they state that Obama and Biden believe in equal opportunity for girls and boys in the math and sciences (in response to the absence of women in certain fields or in top positions etc.) its interesting because their beliefs are not actions, also equal opportunity when they don’t give examples of discrimination? its a lot to go into here but with ignorant people like Summers acting like we need to seriously consider a biological handicap in women when we’ve gone so far as to deny women souls in this sexist world, well its plain sexism and it is not better to defend second class status of human beings with excuses supposedly centered on real differences than on imagined ones.
    no carl, it would not have been worse if he said it about blacks and your blog looks like philosophical mystification.

  5. I just spent several hours writing a very fact-intensive blog post about this issue. See:

    I was able to find the transcript of exactly what he said and it is disgusting. I have a link to the transcript on my blog.

    The damage he did to women in science with his comments was immense. He is completely unfit for this position. Since Larry has a history of letting his bias get in the way of rationality, I think he is not as “brilliant” as some would have us believe.

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