Larry Summers is in the running to head the World Bank. But according to tens of thousands of people that recently signed a petition, he's not the man for the job
More than 37,000 people have signed a petition expressing their dismay at the idea that Summers -- who as then-president of Harvard, once famously suggested that women might lack an "intrinsic aptitude" for science and engineering -- could be put in charge of the World Bank, an institution that allocates funds to developing countries.
"[T]he World Bank has a lot of power over the education and training of women and girls in developing countries," reads the petition in part. "We need a nominee who believes girls have the same potential as boys."
Dealbreaker reports that those 37,000 signatures came within the first 24 hours of the petition's existence -- which, by our calculations, works out to about 25 signatures a minute, or a new name every two and a half seconds.
Summers, a former top economic advisor to President Obama, is said to be among the president's top choices to take over the World Bank later this year, when current president Robert Zoellick's term expires. Obama is also reportedly considering Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for the position, as well as other candidates, according to Bloomberg.
This isn't the first time Summers has attracted public displeasure. The former Secrtetary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton has been a bugbear of the left for several years -- going back as far as 1991, when Summers, then chief economist at the World Bank, signed another staffer's tongue-in-cheek policy memo that argued that toxic waste should be shipped to developing countries for dumping.
More recently, Summers has drawn ire for his record of pushing back against regulation for derivatives markets -- even though critics argue that a lack of oversight in that area played a direct role in the 2008 financial crisis. Summers has also been criticized for his ties to hedge funds and investment banks, including major Wall Street players like Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Citigroup.
Those grievances lay at the heart of another petition against Summers -- one that was circulated in 2008 to try and knock Summers out of the running for a second stint as Treasury Secretary, a position that instead went to Timothy Geithner.