Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm starting to think . . .

A few things: First, my predictions here for the result of the Presidential election - from just a few months ago - are looking like they were very incorrect. Second, it is clearly the economy, especially the long-brewing and widely predicted global economic crisis that has changed the game. Third, while it is very important to recognize the extent to which Neo-liberalism has once again been revealed to be a disastrous and dangerous ideology, it is a little scary how quickly foreign policy has dropped off the radar. We are, after all, in the midst of fighting the War on Terror across the Middle East and Central Asia; engaged in an open-ended military occupation of Iraq and still battling al-Qae'da in Afghanistan.

This leads me to believe that Obama's foreign policy will be light-years ahead of Bush's lunacy, but will still need to be closely followed - and critiqued - by rational actors (and bloggers).

And I am not planning on changing the name of this blog any time soon, either.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

What hath Alan "John Galt" Greenspan wrought?

Daily Kos diarist "Devilstower" has a must-read post tracing the career of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, from his early days as a member of Ayn Rand's Objectivist cult to considering his legacy. Namely, that would be his successful push to change this country's long-standing moneary policy by deregulating the securities industry ,which led to the current financial crisis.

An excerpt:
When Ford replaced Nixon, Greenspan became the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. And when Reagan took power, Greenspan was no longer the voice crying in the wilderness, he was the very center of the establishment. Objectivism and Conservatism had united in Market Fundamentalism, and that force was on a jihad against regulation of any kind.

For the next thirty years, Greenspan would cheer the deregulation of the S&Ls and join John McCain in trying to protect Charles Keating from regulators. He would praise the deregulation of energy trading, and assure everyone that companies like Enron were pointing the way to greater efficiency and lower consumer prices -- and collect the 2000 "Enron Prize" in exchange. He would urge not only the creation of credit default swaps, but applaud their lack of regulation and invisibility in the system. He would argue against oversight, against limits on CEO pay, and for the increasingly complex systems by which banks generated new instruments of credit.

No one person did more to spread Rand's message of unregulated markets, unconstrained free trade, and unlimited power for corporate officers than Alan Greenspan.

If you were to asked to assign blame for the collapse of Neo-Keynesian economics as the governing ideology of the US, and the government oversight and fine-tuning that came with it, you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger culprit than Greenspan, with the only exception, of course, being Ronald Reagan. We really shouldn't be surprised by Greenspan's latest attempt to rehabilitate his legacy by loudly disowning the radical deregulation he rammed through.

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