By Bill Bonner – Bill’s Book Club (USA) –
Mallaby is a good storyteller. He is an economist, but he seems less interested in explaining, or even understanding, economic principle than he is in simply letting the characters in his book do the talking.
This is probably a good thing. But it is a bit annoying. Whenever we read anything about Greenspan, or from Greenspan himself, we long for judgment.
That is why we are meeting him here in Baltimore. We have some questions to pose the “Maestro.” Not that he hasn’t heard these same questions before and dodged them adroitly.
At a recent financial conference in New Orleans, for example, Gloom, Boom & Doom’s Marc Faber asked Greenspan if there was anything he regretted… something he did… or something he left undone… in his long career as economic adviser to presidents and chairman of the Federal Reserve.
His answer was pure Alan Greenspan. That is, it sounded like “no,” but it wasn’t clear. He had to deal with conditions on the ground. He did what he had to do… what he could do… under the circumstances.
The vineyard in which Alan Greenspan labored is both dangerous and seductive.
The fruit – power, money, adulation – hangs low, plump, and juicy on the banks of the Potomac. It also attracts a great many parasites and predators… stinging bees, wily foxes, and lethal bears… as well as ambitious economists.
At one point in Mallaby’s book, for example, philosopher Ayn Rand seemed to foresee Greenspan’s entire career. “Do you think Alan might basically be a social climber,” she asked of a mutual acquaintance.