Brenda Cooper

Reading Recommendation: The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World

Alan Greenspan’s autobiographical look at economics is well worth the read (or whatever – I listened to it as an audiobook). That old saying about discovering the power by following the money is so often true it has become part of the common cliche library. Well, this is a book about money. It’s a little about politics, but one of Greenspan’s greatest gifts to us may have been keeping the fed as apolitical as he did. But it’s still a big undertaking to get through a book that size. Here’s what I go out of it:

  1. A much better understanding of money as a tool for peace (yes, it’s also a tool for war, but think of fed policy as a stabilizer). No, Greenspan didn’t say either of these things directly.
  2. Hope becasue it seems there are some white men in power who are smart, thoughtful, and appear to really be out for the common good both based on what they say and what they did: what the outcomes of their use of power have been. Yes, I’m all for a balance of all races and gender in power, but the truth is we don’t have that yet even if we’re making inroads. So it’s nice to see all the rich old white male wielders of powers may not be evil. I ended up pretty convinced Greenspan is one of the good guys.

  3. A much better understanding of economics, which was one of my favorite topics in business school. Too geeky ? Refer back to the follow the money cliche. Think about world building. Science fiction writers build whole new worlds out of what they learn from this one, with the added spice of new ideas and different forces. It’s a fabulous playground. And building a complex society required designing an economy.
  4. I also admit to getting some general satisfaction out of it, too. I’m a social liberal (particularly on retention of rights issues, equality issues, etc.) and a fiscal conservative (but don’t confuse that with trickle-down economics – we have a terrible imbalance of wealth right now that won’t be fixed that way for sure). Greenspan hits a lot of my political sweet spots.