Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Greenspan’s Autobiography

Posted by Jerry on September 4, 2007

The Age of Turbulence is slated to be released in the United States on September 18, 2007. I wonder when the book will find its way to India, because ever since Alan Greenspan retired from his office as the Federal Reserve Chairman and announced that he will pen an autobiography, I have been waiting to get my hands on it.

Alan Greenspan’s autobiography will be extra exciting for me because, in addition to the fact that I love reading biographies of interesting lives, Greenspan’s life includes the years he spent as part of the intimate circle of Ayn Rand’s friends. The extent of Rand’s influence on him is evident by his statement that Ayn Rand was his intellectual mother. Greenspan had invited Ayn Rand to the White House when he was being installed as the Chariman of the US Federal Reserve.

At his promotional blog on Amazon.com, Greenspan had this to say about his upcoming autobiography:

There was also a personal story to tell. I’d known every president from Richard Nixon to Reagan, Ford, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And what about all those other assorted characters from my childhood in New York, my years as a jazz musician, my complete career switch to economics – and my friendship with Ayn Rand? I wanted to make the leap from writing economic analysis to writing in the first person about what I’d experienced. And after years of talking “Fedspeak” in carefully calibrated congressional testimony – I could finally use my own voice!

As I wrote “The Age of Turbulence,” I tackled the personal part first, but then started unraveling the detective story about the economy: what did all the economic shifts we began to detect in the late nineties mean?

I’m so excited!

UPDATED — October 8, 2007: Three days ago, The Age of Turbulence moved into the bookstores in Mumbai. I was there at Landmark bookstore as the crates were being shifted inside. Thirty-five copies were stocked in Landmark. I bought myself a hardcopy of the book today: it was among the last three copies remaining. I asked the store if more were coming on their way, and they said yes.

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9 Responses to “Greenspan’s Autobiography”

  1. Akhil Jain said

    Hey Jerry,

    Well i’m looking forward to read this book too.
    Stimulated by your blog, I read Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, which was an excellent read, and which i plan to re-read. i’d loved the essays on the property status of airwaves, patents and copyrights, the articles by Alan Greenspan, the essay on how the capital markets are an in- built regulator of Capitalism by efficiently allocating resources, making funds easily available wherever money is to be made and thus promoting free enterprise and competition and preventing coercive monopolies.

    akhil

  2. Ergo said

    Hi Akhil! Good to hear from you after such a while. 🙂

    I’m glad you enjoyed reading CTUI. I can’t remember if I told you earlier or not, but the arguments presented in the CTUI might make a lot more sense to you–and therefore, be more persuasive–if you have read The Virtue of Selfishness. It gives you the moral framework from which the defense of Capitalism is mounted. Of course, if you already have a good familiarity with the Objectivist ethics, then you may find the book repetitive. But I’d say there’s always new integrations to be discovered by reading the book and reinforcing your grasp of the ideas.

    Well, hope all else is well.

  3. rambodoc said

    I remember having read Rand (or Peikoff) castigate Greenspan for being an economic Czar. I can’t give you a reference, but this is something I have surely read in days long past. I just don’t remember who exactly said this.

  4. rambodoc said

    On second thoughts, it must have been post-Rand, because he came in much later into the Fed Reserve.

  5. Ergo said

    I’m not aware of the specifics. But I’ve come across other folks just making the point about Greenspan joining the government as ironic given his associated with Rand. Well, I’m sure this matter will be addressed in his book.

  6. akhil said

    Hi Jerry!

    As suggested by you, i’d read The Virtue of Selfishness first and then read CTUI.:)
    Yeah i guess TVS and your blog made CTUI more convincing. Earlier i used to see Capitalism as the most efficient economic system and my belief in it arose from that perspective-it creates economic opportunities and choices, and not from the moral framework which Ayn Rand presents as the only political and economic system consistent with the nature of man-his evolving, volitional and conceptual nature.
    Without the moral basis that Ayn Rand provides, my conviction in Capitalism would’nt have been absolute as it is now.

    By the way, i’m now an atheist.So tell me how many people have you converted?:)

    akhil

  7. Ergo said

    “By the way, i’m now an atheist.So tell me how many people have you converted?:)”

    Haha! Akhil, so very good for you! And I’m happy to hear it. You have walked into the light; and quite literally, you have saved yourself.

  8. mahendrap said

    I have seen a TV documentary or program with Leonard Peikoff being asked about Greenspan. He didn’t say much, except to distance himself and the ARI from Greenspan’s economic policies since he went to the Fed Reserve.

    But, he surely has lots of interesting stuff to tell – I’m excited as well!

  9. Ergo said

    I’m already disappointed with several issues in the book. Alan Greenspan *repeatedly* misspells Ayn Rand’s philosophy as “objectivism”; it is a Proper noun! It’s supposed to be “Objectivism.”

    Next, he attributes some fabricated ethical tenet as one of Objectivism’s when he says that all men have an innate nobility. Given all my studies into Objectivism, nowhere have I encountered such an idea or tenet. Perhaps, there some meaning to his statement that I’m missing.

    For a man who was so close to Ayn Rand for so many decades of his life–even being her collaborator on writing projects, I find these errors egregious!

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