Saturday, September 20, 2008

To Those Foresaking Maestro

Last time I checked, he warned those of us who bothered to listen ... and warned us .... and warned us again. He even offered prescriptions for the event (see below).

I suppose it's (unfortunately) human nature to desire someONE to blame for pain. Time after time, each crisis needs a fall guy. Just one will do. Two are OK as long as they're joined at the hip. Any more than that and our WIP brains apparently throw a cyclic-redundancy bluescreen.

I won't tilt at that imperfect human predillection, but I will adamantly fight against another one: the tendency to tear down the ascendant.

Do not repeat NOT vilify Alan Greenspan as the economic anti-christ responsible for the errs of a billion. For shame the growing hoardes of talking heads who are doing so (check out for the latest list). For shame those (see below) who insist on ignoring the last 28 years of unprecedented prosperity, innovation, wealth creation, and reduction in poverty.

There is a critical difference between being coerced to harm yourself ... and not being prevented from doing so.

Just a few apropos quotes for our near future (not all from the book):

any form of government guarantees of credit lessens the need of financial counterparties to earn a reputation for honest dealings

The benefits of broadened home ownership are worth the risk. Protection of property rights, so critical to a market economy, requires a critical mass of owners to sustain political support

History has not dealt kindly with the aftermath of protracted periods of low risk premiums

Protectionism will do little to create jobs and if foreigners retaliate, we will surely lose jobs

Anything that we can do to raise personal savings is very much in the interest of this country

The more flexible an economy, the greater its ability to self-correct in response to inevitable, often unanticipated, disturbances and thus to contain the size and consequences of cyclical imbalances

Whatever you tax, you get less of

How do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values? ... We should not underestimate or become complacent about the complexity of the interactions of asset markets and the economy

Regulators can pretend to provide oversight, but their capabilities are much diminished and declining. In practice they have to rely on "counterparty surveillance to do the heavy lifting".

regulation approved in a crisis must subsequently be fine-tuned.

The Current Hall of Shame:
Tim Iacono: The Mess that Greenspan Made (yes, he has a whole blog devoted to his mission)

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