The Big Ideas of 2008

The Myth Maker

Alan Greenspan's thick weave of lies and deceit may mean the American economy never recovers.

There's a myth growing around Alan Greenspan. Just a year after he stepped down as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, he's now seen as some kind of financial wizard, economic genius and gifted virtuoso, who delighted in pure mathematics and jazz when he was young. Developing almost into folklore, it's said he learned some Promethean magic from the rational self-interest in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and then became the great macroeconomist who engineered the longest period of growth in American history.

For years, whenever he lowered the interest rates, the world gasped "ohhhh," and whenever he injected more liquidity into the markets, we all sighed "ahhhh." But it was all a bunch of bullshit. In reality, he was a man so blinded by the neoclassical money games that he couldn't see the forest through the trees. Despite a flurry of warnings over many decades, he never saw the ecological crisis coming – a changing climate, vanishing salmon runs, beetle infestations and fish disappearing from the seas. All these calamities were mere "externalities" to him – not a part of his world.

He could have been the man who shook up the world of economics. He could have started including ecological measurements into his fiscal calculations, put America's national accounts in order and redefined what economic progress means. But he didn't, and in that sense he is a grand failure, just another money man and bean counter who did not seize the moment. History will not be kind to him.

72 comments on the article “The Myth Maker”

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This article is very bad, does not bring any evidence, and is the proof of what the progressists must not do otherwise they will never be taken seriously.


Well said people! Just make the connection to the True Cost Economics campaign and you'll realize that Lasn's comments are more relevant and timely than ever!

mike b.

well said kalle, the capitalist sycophants who are critical of your words are too busy choking on their WSJ puff pieces to engage in serious analysis, absolutely clueless as far as critical thinking goes. They want evidence of your claims? Where were they for the last 19 years?

Jeffrey S

The fact that this article was on the main page discredits the website. Do you want to give us a bad rap? Take that crap down and stick it below my comment.


Now our top economist has to be the advisor for ecological policy? You mesh all fucking departments of the government into some Illuminati bullshit clan that coordinate their actions subliminally. Get real


Yeh Kalle's right, greenspan started it all after dotcom debacle financial markets needed some stimulation, some liquidity so cheap credit/debt. Greenspan did this. Check out 'Rense' site for good article explaining very well. Thanx.

David Ching

I liked the article. It called him a bean counter. To bad the bible bangers and republicans didn't like it.


Adbusters used to make relevant economic commentary. Now you're resorting to name calling? If Greenspan is as horrible as you claim, especially with the level of credibility he has as an economist by virtually all departments and economic advisers, you need to back it up with something other than calling his policy bullshit. This article is beyond pathetic. It gives good causes like anti-consumerism and green economics a bad reputation as nothing more than a social network filled with counterculture radicals who know nothing and refuse to accept anything other than their elitist ideals.


Honestly, I read Adbusters on the order of 34 years ago. Now this concept of creating a brand to unbrand brands is a fucking joke.

Additionally, I think a 7th grade student could have composed this article. I actually enjoyed the idea behind Culture Jam, but I also think that market forces have worked and are giving people a MUCH wider variety of choice than humanity has ever enjoyed. You can bitch all you want, but people with real jobs are making the advances in technology and society to meet the ends that you are complaining about.

If you would spend your time spreading actual, real information rather than propagandized bullshit opinion pieces, you might contribute to the change you'd love to see in America.

Sherman M.

The article is brief, but does help to start a very important discussion. So, as I polish off another egg nog, I thought I would add my dribble... I agree with Josh N. who describes the responsibilities of the Fed output, inflation, employment, and the money supply. However, achieving one of these goals often means sacrificing another. So, in general, I would say the Feds goal is long run sustainable economic growth. Has Mr. Greenspan aided in the cause? Not sure Im qualified to answer that question. Perhaps...but he clearly saw the froth in the hosing market bubble and did nothing to stop this nightmare. Now people are being evicted from their homes, the banks have run out of liquidity, and we are facing a recession. Run for the hills!!!


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