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How the World Works

Stephen Holmes: Alan Greenspan, 22 May 2014

The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature and the Future of Forecasting 
by Alan Greenspan.
Allen Lane, 388 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 241 00359 6
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... Among​ the once celebrated triumphs of Alan Greenspan’s eighteen and a half years as chairman of the Federal Reserve, three stand out. First, he responded nimbly and forcefully to a series of dangerous crashes (from Black Monday in October 1987 to the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000), injecting liquidity to calm the markets and arguably fending off recession ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Kicking Dick Cheney, 2 August 2007

... seal. What kind of tax cuts are needed? Cheney wanted to know. How big?’ Cheney’s old friend Alan Greenspan, the excessively revered chairman of the Federal Reserve, wasn’t so keen on the cuts. Large budget deficits lead to higher interest rates in the long term, which in Greenspan’s opinion would more than ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Romney-Ryan, 30 August 2012

... but well-fed achiever in Janesville, this doctrine was a gift – just as it had been once for Alan Greenspan, a young cultist before he became chairman of the Federal Reserve and presided over the bubble and collapse of the Clinton and Bush years. What signal did Romney send by choosing Ryan? He is on the ticket to make sure that Romney will let Wall ...


Anthony Holden, 6 November 1980

The United States in the 1980s 
edited by Peter Duignan and Alvin Rabushka.
Croom Helm, 868 pp., £14.95, August 1980, 0 8179 7281 1
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... dispensation. The ensuing 200-odd economic pages, from such potentially influential theorists as Alan Greenspan, Martin Anderson (already named as senior domestic adviser-in-waiting) and joint editor Rabushka, amount to a familiar litany of the arguments for the removal of government from the free-market process: less regulation, less taxation, less ...

Past Its Peak

Michael Klare: The Oil Crisis, 14 August 2008

... the view that Iraq was a war for oil was held largely by critics of the war, but last year Alan Greenspan broke ranks with other members of the Washington establishment when he declared: ‘I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’ Whatever its original aim, the ...

What if they start saving again?

Wynne Godley: The US economy (2000), 6 July 2000

... agreed that the growth of the US economy must soon slow down – or be slowed down by Chairman Alan Greenspan – because unemployment cannot fall much further without inflation waking up. The question of the moment is whether growth will slow down to a rate which just accords with that of productive capacity, in which case there could be ‘a soft ...

Goings-On at Eagle Lake

Christopher Tayler: Barry Hannah, 29 November 2001

Yonder Stands Your Orphan 
by Barry Hannah.
Atlantic, 336 pp., £9.99, September 2001, 1 903809 16 9
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... Mortimer achieves a kind of apotheosis at a party where the dancers are masked as Reagan, Nixon, Alan Greenspan and Hillary Clinton: ‘Club of the Now!’ he shouts. And when he hurts people, it’s because he wants to make them as inauthentic as he is: ‘Maybe I cut because I want them to have no face too.’ Hannah himself is rumoured to have pulled ...

It’s the Oil

Jim Holt: Iraq’s Lucrative Mess, 18 October 2007

... to be no sophisticated, professional, insiders’ version of the thinking that drove events.’ Alan Greenspan, in his just published memoir, is clearer on the matter. ‘I am saddened,’ he writes, ‘that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’ Was the strategy of invading Iraq to take ...

The Big Mystique

William Davies: Central Banks and Banking, 2 February 2017

The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath 
by Ben Bernanke.
Norton, 624 pp., £27.99, October 2015, 978 0 393 24721 3
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The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy 
by Mervyn King.
Little Brown, 448 pp., £25, March 2017, 978 0 349 14067 4
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... a more honest one). This ethos was deliberately in stark contrast to that of his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, a man who told a Senate committee in 1987: ‘If I seem unduly clear to you, you must have misunderstood what I said.’ Bond traders used to try and work out what Greenspan was planning by studying the ...

Central Bankism

Edward Luttwak, 14 November 1996

... have all the moral certitude of the Aztec priests. Gathered together last August with their host Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, in Jackson, Wyoming (which instantly became the world’s premier resort), the central bankers congratulated themselves at length on their success in reducing inflation by keeping real interest rates ...

Why blame the Russians?

Edward Luttwak: The financial crisis in Russia, September 1998, 17 September 1998

... help Russia or any other country. Even more than the United States, which worships at the feet of Alan Greenspan, the Europeans obey their central bankers, who oppose any increase in public expenditure for any reason at any time. They are still proudly dedicated to fighting inflation – when there is no inflationary pressure at all. A Thirties scenario ...

Down with deflation!

Paul Seabright, 12 December 1996

... piece by Michael Prowse (headlined ‘Monetary Vigil’, and warning the Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, against ‘the siren voices telling him that the battle against inflation is won’) concludes with the chilling observation: ‘After nearly twenty years of struggle the US is on the verge of achieving price stability. It would be tragic if ...

Reproaches from the Past

Peter Clarke: Gordon Brown, 1 April 2004

The Prudence of Mr Gordon Brown 
by William Keegan.
Wiley, 356 pp., £18.99, October 2003, 0 470 84697 6
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... to expect a politician to take unpopular decisions to raise rates? That is how it struck Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, when his advice was sought by Brown and Balls. The uncomplaining Fed had long been given that job in the US, just as the Bank was now to be saddled with the dirty work here. It should be noted that ...

The Non-Existent Hand

Joseph Stiglitz: How to Save Capitalism, 22 April 2010

Keynes: The Return of the Master 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Allen Lane, 213 pp., £20, September 2009, 978 1 84614 258 1
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... pushed – that markets are efficient and self-adjusting – gave comfort to regulators like Alan Greenspan, who didn’t believe in regulation in the first place. They provided support for the movement which stripped away the regulations that had provided the basis of financial stability in the decades after the Great Depression; and they gave ...

Zero Is a Clenched Fist

Donald MacKenzie: Trading from the Pit, 1 November 2007

Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London 
by Caitlin Zaloom.
Chicago, 224 pp., £18.50, November 2006, 0 226 97813 3
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... at a set time in the future. None of the usual market-moving factors had caused the excitement. Alan Greenspan hadn’t said anything; neither the dollar nor the stock market had suddenly plunged or soared. Instead, a trader had started using the lid of a large plastic tub as a frisbee. The lull of that morning in 1999 was temporary: the markets were ...

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