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Alan Greenspan And Ayn Rand Star In The World’s Weirdest Intellectual Romance…

October 2nd, 2012 · 3 Comments
Economic History · Policy

No really, I am not making this up because I love irony. Check it out (the Greenspan-specific part starts at about the 4:00 mark):

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Apparently it’s Alan Greenspan week here at EDIWM…now, I’d been vaguely aware for a while now that Alan Greenspan had some sort of connection to Ayn Rand (I initially thought, given that he is a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, that I was imagining things, but Wikipedia confirms my recollection), but I had no idea that their intellectual love affair had escalated to the point of her standing beside him at his inauguration as President Ford’s Chief Economic Adviser. (In unrelated news, I don’t think I want to know whether she, as Colbert so delicately put it, rocked his balls or not.) That’s just…creepy in a way that I can’t quite describe, and the creepiness has little to do with my level of ideological alignment with Ms. Rand. (I think I envision the scenario as if Greenspan brought his psychic or life coach along with him, and somehow the fact that he chose to bring Rand along with his mother really doesn’t help the matter.)

I wonder how many times Ayn rolled over in her grave when Greenie was sworn in as Fed chair, especially since he was kind enough to contribute an essay supporting the gold standard to one of her books. (sidenote: I may have just made a Kindle purchase.)

The Wikipedia article actually gives a good explanation of how Greenspan manages to sleep at night:

He has come under criticism from Harry Binswanger, who believes his actions while at work for the Federal Reserve and his publicly expressed opinions on other issues show abandonment of Objectivist and free market principles. However, when questioned in relation to this, he has said that in a democratic society individuals have to make compromises with each other over conflicting ideas of how money should be handled. He said he himself had to make such compromises, because he believes that “we did extremely well” without a central bank and with a gold standard. In a Congressional hearing on October 23, 2008, Greenspan admitted that his free-market ideology shunning certain regulations was flawed. However, when asked about free markets and Rand’s ideas in an interview on April 4, 2010, Greenspan clarified his stance on laissez faire capitalism and asserted that in a democratic society there could be no better alternative. He stated that the errors that were made stemmed not from the principle, but from the application of competitive markets in “assuming what the nature of risks would be.”

Open to compromise? Admitting errors in ideology? He’s blowing my mind here. Maybe that’s why, unlike the magazine, he’s The Economist.

Tags: Economic History · Policy

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michael // Oct 3, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Since the primary stated purpose of Objectivism is to put as many people in poverty as possible and promote fascist politics, I’d say Greenspan did fine.

  • 2 Dear NBC News: It’s Time For A Talk About Mrs. GreenspanAlternate Viewpoint | Alternate Viewpoint // Oct 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm

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