We'll Miss You, Mr. Greenspan

Today they named a succesor to Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and we here at Blogagaard found ourselves strangely sad. In the fall of 1998, my freshman year at St. Olaf, I took an economics class as a lark, happy to find myself at a privately funded institution that actually taught economics. Here is what I retained from that class:

1) a sunk cost is money you've already spent to make more money, someday
2) there are macro economics, which focus on the bigger global markets, and there are micro-economics, which focus on economics on a smaller, local scale.
3) My professor Steve drove an old car which he could fix himself no matter what the problem, and this car also served as an example to almost every econ term he explained to us.
4) Economics involves way, way too many graphs that make no fucking sense.
5) A bear market is strong market, a bull market is weak. (or vice versa)
6) Econ books are expensive, smell good, and are wonderful sedatives if you find yourself in the library wishing you had something to cover your face with.
7) There aren't many hot girls in the econ world.
8) Apparently, Americans are all "capitalists", although few can actually recite all the state capitols.
9) The St. Olaf econ classrooms are frequently attacked by swarming hornets. So many, in fact, that Professor Steve started to ignore them as they buzzed around his face while he taught and the rest of us giggled.
10) Alan Greenspan is a powerful, monetary genius whose eventual loss the world would quickly come to regret. He does not even answer to the president.

So fair thee well, Mr. Greespan. I know you're 79 and not feeling too well, but maybe when you get to heaven God will put you in charge of bingo calling or something.


Something dirty said...

Did you know Greenspan was part of Ayn Rand's inner circle back in the day? However you feel about Rand, it's kind of weird.

Blogagaard said...

Everything about Rand is weird. Here, I dug up this:

How Alan Greenspan Joined Rand's Circle

In Greenspan: The Man Behind Money, Justin Martin describes how Alan Greenspan came to be a member of Rand's inner circle.

While Greenspan was married to Joan Mitchell, he had occasional brushes with the Collective in its formative stages. He had enjoyed reading The Fountainhead on his own, but he didn't much care for the exclusive little reading group/admiration society that surrounded it. By all accounts, the feeling was mutual. One time, Greenspan ran into Rand and some of her acolytes as they were getting off an elevator. Rand took an instant dislike to him. He was a very somber young man, she felt, wearing a dark suit and tie that matched his demeanor. "He looks like an undertaker," she remarked.

After their marriage ended, Mitchell continually urged Greenspan to be more open toward Rand and her circle. Given his personality, she was certain that he would respond to objectivism's emphasis on rationality and individualism. It was through her that Greenspan got to know Nathaniel Branden, objectivism's chief proselytizer. Over several months in 1954, they met a number of times, sometimes in restaurants, sometimes at Branden's apartment at 165 East 35th Street.


Branden kept after Greenspan. At their meetings, Greenspan would say things such as: "I think that I exist. But I don't know for sure. Actually, I can't say with certainty that anything exists."


One day, Branden was riding in a cab with Rand. He had some surprising news and could hardly contain himself. Finally, he just blurted it out.

"Guess who exists?"

Rand was shocked.

"Don't tell me," she said, "you've won over Alan Greenspan."

"Yes, I have," he answered. "And I think you're going to change your mind about him. I think he's a really interesting man with a very unusual brain."

Branden was Rand's chief protégé. A few years hence, she would officially designate him as her "intellectual heir." She trusted his judgment implicitly. If Branden said Greenspan was all right, Greenspan was all right. So it was that Greenspan was invited to join the salon of celebrated author Ayn Rand.

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