- By Bill Bonner
A family matriarch - such as Rose Kennedy - may speak for her entire clan.
William Donald Shaefer, as mayor, claimed to speak for the people of Baltimore.
Charles de Gaulle, grandly, spoke up for the French.
But only a leading economist, or a complete lunatic, would claim to speak for the entire planet.
Many adjectives can be applied to Larry Summers. Pompous. Foolish. Asinine. But not 'small-minded.' His mind is big...impossibly big.
Go ahead. Ask him anything. Really, there is no subject so complex, so remote, so gnarly that it can stump Mr Summers.
Former President of Harvard University, former Secretary of the Treasury, former chief economist of the World Bank, he now writes for the Financial Times.
In his columns, we find humankind's problems fixed...the world's challenges met...galactic issues resolved.
Yes, Larry - who was a candidate to replace Ben Bernanke at the Fed - is the Great Fixer. Never has a situation appeared for which he had no fix. And never has one of his fixes failed to fix a problem so miserably that he didn't come forth with yet another fix to fix the fix the faulty fix failed to fix.
We will come back to Mr Summers in a moment. We pause briefly to let readers know what is going on in the markets:
'Wall Street indexes drop 1% as rate hike looms', says a Reuters headline.
One percent doesn't seem like very much. Not in a market that has gone up 150% since 2009. It will take another 149 days of that sort of drop in order to erase the gains wrought by the Fed's fix.
US equities went up so much largely thanks to rate cuts and quantitative easing. Rate hikes are likely to send it in the other direction. As interest rates rise, there will be a bit of 'quantitative tightening' going on too...as higher rates (albeit only slightly higher) will reduce the amount of debt outstanding.
This will all probably happen the way it always seems to happen...gradually, then all of a sudden.
Debt - particularly the weakest (subprime) links in the bond market - will stretch...and then give way. Equity, too, will lollygag around, not sure what to do. Then, it will rush for the exits.
At least...you should be alert for it. No one knows what will actually happen.
But that must be why we have people such as Lawrence Henry Summers. He knows things that other mortals don't. In fact, he has answers to questions the rest of never even considered worth asking.
Take China, for example. Who knows what is going on in China? No one. Is that a problem? Not really. Why do we need to know?
The Chinese householder needs to figure out how to pay for his rice and fish eyes. The Chinese factory owner needs to bribe his local politician and put off paying his debt. The Chinese investor needs to guess which way markets are going - just like investors everywhere.
We all have our challenges, in other words...and tight limits on our range of competence.
But along comes Larry Summers. All of a sudden, the barriers of honest thinking and modest fitness are brushed aside.
No problem is too big for Larry's brain. And no detail is too small for his feet to trip over. He is not even thinking for himself. He has become the brain, the voice, and the shepherd of the entire world.
Summers in the Financial Times:
What manner of man is this? When did the world ever have a 'shared understanding' of anything? How could you have a 'goal' for the 'evolution' of the Chinese economy? They let this guy into Harvard?
The whole idea of evolution is that it happens without goals...without conscious thought. It is a trip without a destination.
And it is the way economies actually work. They do not respond well to manipulation by self-important meddlers.
But if you are speaking for the entire Earth, you have already gone way beyond the theory of evolution.
You are in a world without theory...without science...without experience or history. You are in a world of make-believe, where pundits pretend to know what they are talking about and newspapers fill space with mythical claptrap:
He also claims to know not only what is best for Larry Summers, the Summers family, the members of the Harvard Faculty, the people of Brookline, Massachusetts, the Yankees north of the Mason-Dixon Line, the citizens of the United States of America, and all the residents of the Americas, north and south ...but all the people of who live on Earth and the planet itself...presumably including its fauna...its flora...and its inanimate objects:
Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.