TLS: Reich Reviews Greenspan's Memoir

"The Greenspan years - The autobiography of America's central banker - logical positivism and political extortion" - an incisive review in the Times Literary Supplement by Robert B. Reich (Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, a former US Secretary of Labor, and the author of Supercapitalism, 2008) of an excellent book by Alan Greenspan, THE AGE OF TURBULENCE, Adventures in a new world. Reich concludes on a negative note:
Although the second half of his memoir dips into several important areas of public policy, Greenspan barely mentions the crisis in America’s health care system or the desperate state of the nation’s infrastructure, and he gives cursory attention to education. He urges that educators put greater reliance on “market forces” such as vouchers (“I suspect Rose and Milton Friedman . . . were right on track”), and briefly acknowledges that “the cost of education egalitarianism is doubtless high and may be difficult to justify in terms of economy efficiency and short-term productivity”. Greenspan writes that he is concerned about widening inequality, lamenting that the first decade of the twenty-first century has been “marred by a disturbing shift in the concentration of income” and that “two-tier economies are common in developing countries, but not since the 1920s have Americans experienced such inequality of income”. But given his support for Bush’s lopsided tax cuts for the wealthy and his deep aversion to Clinton’s original agenda for poorer Americans, his words seem strangely disembodied, if not hypocritical. Alan Greenspan the empiricist contributed a great deal to America, instigating the longest economic expansion in recent history and rewriting the rules of monetary policy. But Alan Greenspan the Ayn Rand libertarian has caused the nation grave injury.

1 comment:

George Berger said...

My wife and I subscribe to the TLS. we read Reich's excellent explanatory article a few weeks ago. With the present problems now on my mind, I have been sending the link to the article---on the TLS site---to some of my friends. Keep up your good work!