catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Greenspan and the Rand connection

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I couldn’t help laughing at this bit from an old piece exploring Alan Greenspan’s (yes, that Alan Greenspan) not so brief flirtation with the Ayn Rand cult:

    Greenspan was introduced to Rand by Joan Mitchell, a young woman he was dating. She was a friend of Barbara Weidman, Nathaniel Branden’s fiancée and already a member of the group of young admirers who met in Rand’s apartment …

    Greenspan and Rand didn’t hit it off. According to Nathaniel Branden, he was philosophically a logical positivist and economically a Keynesian, both doctrines anathema to Rand. “How can you stand talking to him?” Rand asked Branden. “A logical positivist and a Keynesian? I’m not even certain it’s moral to deal with him at all.”

Another fun fact of the day from the article. The inscrutable Greenspan used to be a jazz saxophone player. I can only imagine. Anyway, apparently after some time, Rand’s views did rub off on him and the article goes on to speculate on the extent to which he remained a true believer, albeit a pragmatic one:

    From the start of his political career, questions have arisen about Greenspan’s political beliefs. Shortly after his appointment to the Council of Economic Advisors, he was asked on “Meet the Press” whether he had changed his opinion, published years earlier in a Nathaniel Branden Institute pamphlet, that anti-trust laws ought to be abolished. He replied forthrightly that he continued to believe they should be, but he was well aware that such a move would be politically unpalatable for the foreseeable future. …

    Only a few months earlier, Greenspan had recommended to a Senate committee that all economic regulations should have fixed lifespans. Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) accused him of “playing with fire, or indeed throwing gasoline on the fire,” and asked him whether he favored a similar provision in the Fed’s authorization. Greenspan coolly answered that he did. Do you actually mean, demanded the senator, that the Fed “should cease to function unless affirmatively continued?” “That is correct, sir,” Greenspan responded. “All right,” the senator came back, “the Defense Department?” “Yes.”

    The Senator could scarcely believe his ears. “Now my next question is, is it your intention that the report of this hearing should be that Greenspan recommends a return to the gold standard?” Greenspan responded, “I’ve been recommending that for years, there’s nothing new about that…. It would probably mean there is only one vote in the Federal Open Market Committee for that, but it is mine.”

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Written by Admin

June 19, 2006 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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