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How the World Works

Stephen Holmes: Alan Greenspan

21 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 AlanGreenspan’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 ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Kicking Dick Cheney

2 August 2007
... the experts as he furiously jotted notes on a stack of cards embossed with the vice-presidential seal. What kind of tax cuts are needed? Cheney wanted to know. How big?’ Cheney’s old friend AlanGreenspan, 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 ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Romney-Ryan

30 August 2012
... of the worship of collective sacrifice and blind solidarity that she detested in communism. For a lonely but well-fed achiever in Janesville, this doctrine was a gift – just as it had been once for AlanGreenspan, 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 ...

Reaganism

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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... the monetarists. I may safely, therefore, cede all judgment to those of you living under the present dispensation. The ensuing 200-odd economic pages, from such potentially influential theorists as AlanGreenspan, 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 ...

What if they start saving again?

Wynne Godley: The US economy (2000)

6 July 2000
... has been created, productivity growth has accelerated and inflation has been dormant. It is generally agreed that the growth of the US economy must soon slow down – or be slowed down by Chairman AlanGreenspan – 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 ...

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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... he is mistaken for ‘that lounge comic with the enormous head and hair, Brother Dave Gardner’. Mortimer achieves a kind of apotheosis at a party where the dancers are masked as Reagan, Nixon, AlanGreenspan 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 ...

It’s the Oil

Jim Holt: Iraq’s Lucrative Mess

18 October 2007
... admitted to a degree of bafflement. ‘What’s particularly odd,’ he wrote, ‘is that there seems to be no sophisticated, professional, insiders’ version of the thinking that drove events.’ AlanGreenspan, 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 ...

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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... and issued warnings with maximal precision (a political performance in its own right, and not necessarily a more honest one). This ethos was deliberately in stark contrast to that of his predecessor, AlanGreenspan, 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 ...

Central Bankism

Edward Luttwak

14 November 1996
... millions of young people of the opportunity even to start a career. Moreover, the central bankers have all the moral certitude of the Aztec priests. Gathered together last August with their host AlanGreenspan, 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 ...
12 December 1996
... to ‘the exercise of a lifetime’ finds an echo in the anti-inflation literature. Another recent piece by Michael Prowse (headlined ‘Monetary Vigil’, and warning the Federal Reserve Chairman, AlanGreenspan, 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 ...

Why blame the Russians?

Edward Luttwak: The financial crisis in Russia, September 1998

17 September 1998
... spreads, fixated on their own Euro-plan of strict monetary discipline, which forbids any action to help Russia or any other country. Even more than the United States, which worships at the feet of AlanGreenspan, 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 ...

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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... to the two parties having undertaken to trade a given quantity of assets at an agreed price at a set time in the future. None of the usual market-moving factors had caused the excitement. AlanGreenspan 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 ...

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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... responsibilities), a considerable portion of it lies with the economics profession. The notion economists pushed – that markets are efficient and self-adjusting – gave comfort to regulators like AlanGreenspan, 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 ...

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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... Would a Labour chancellor who wanted lower rates be judged so indulgently? Conversely, was it not ‘unfair’ to expect a politician to take unpopular decisions to raise rates? That is how it struck AlanGreenspan, 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 ...

Past Its Peak

Michael Klare: The Oil Crisis

14 August 2008
... by a desire to control Iraqi oil (or indeed to ensure US dominance of the Persian Gulf). Until recently, the view that Iraq was a war for oil was held largely by critics of the war, but last year AlanGreenspan 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 ...

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