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Panderer to Power

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Tags BiographiesThe FedPolitical Theory

03/08/2009Frederick J. Sheehan

Alan Greenspan, the man who as Fed chairman gave the U.S. its largest bubble ever, along with the most serious financial calamity in recent memory, is an enigma.

Greenspan's career is summed up in the title, Panderer to Power. This has been his modus operandi his entire life. At each critical juncture, he chose to chase fame and control rather than principle and freedom. For this reason, the book is not only a wonderful financial analysis; it makes for a gripping character study as well. It demonstrates what happens to a person who makes power instead of principle his North star.

It is important that every champion of free markets come to terms with the things that have made Alan Greenspan tick. Sheehan is the first to show that his attachment to free markets was truly superficial, that he was never a serious Randian, that his writings on the gold standard were flights of fancy. Greenspan's tenure at the Fed lasted 18 years, and Sheehan shows that his real mentors were not the advocates of free markets but the Washington bigshots he chose to emulate — even unto his own professional unraveling.

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