Most of Mortgaging the Earth's text is drawn from the infamous memo written by Lawrence Summers who has since gone on to serve as Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton and is currently President of Harvard (update-no longer, of course).  The deathless proclamation that "the economic logic of dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable" was uttered while Summers was Chief Economist for the World Bank.

 

The rest of the text consists of excerpts from an exchange between Summers and Jose Lutzenberger who was then Brazil's Secretary for the Environment.  "Perfectly logical and totally insane" was Lutzenberger's description of the memo-perhaps the best four words to sum up what really existing capitalism means for those who live under it.  Lutzenberger would be fired from his position not long after and Summers would continue his meteoric rise.

 

Thanks to Bruce Rich, chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund for providing me with these documents.


Commissioned by Sequitur for the group's cabaret series at Joe's Pub in New York, it has since been performed by Composers Inc. in San Francisco, Fulcrum Point in Chicago, Winsor Music in Boston, Timothy Dwight Chamber Players at Yale, and the Locrian Ensemble again in New York last May.

 

Score is here.

 

Superb recording by Sequitur is here.