Calling the progress made in rebounding from the “abyss” in the past six months “remarkable,” Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, said going forward the economy must be geared toward exports.

“We were at the brink of catastrophe at the beginning of the year but we have walked some substantial distance back from the abyss,” Summers said, according to excerpts of a speech released by the White House Friday. “Substantial progress has been made in rescuing the economy from the risk of economic collapse that looked all too real six months ago.”

He said the economy started the year “in free fall … with no apparent limit on how much worse things could get.”

He said, “Fear was widespread and confidence was scarce.”

President Obama attempted to restore confidence and break “the vicious cycle of economic contraction and financial failure” by setting a “firm foundation of productive investment and long-term growth,” Summers said.

As for the future, Summers said: “The rebuilt American economy must be more export oriented and less consumption oriented, more environmentally oriented and less fossil-energy oriented, more bio- and software-engineering oriented and less financial-engineering oriented, more middle-class oriented and less oriented to income growth that disproportionately favors a very small share of the population.”

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