Thursday, September 27, 2007

Alan Greenspan and Naomi Klein go toe to toe


By Ben Cohen

Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan recently took part in a fascinating debate with leftist author Naomi Klein on the show 'Democracy Now'.

Having kept his mouth shut during his years with the Bush Administration, Greenspan has embarked upon a tour to promote his new book 'The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World', that basically excuses his appalling complicity in some of the worst economic decisions in recent history. Now admitting that the war in Iraq was about oil (and having not uttered a word when he could have had an impact), Greenspan attempts to weave his way out of taking any responsibility, and spouts his usual free market nonsense in the hope that people will still take him seriously.

The host, Amy Goodman takes Greenspan to task for his inability to speak out about decisions he knew to be detrimental to the U.S economy (like the absurd tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans), while Klein exposes his free market rhetoric as unproven, fanatical ideology....

In one part, Greenspan outrageously states that 'populist' movements in Latin America during the 70's and 80's "gripped...many Latin American countries to their detriment", conveniently omitting the devastating effects of the IMF in the years after, and the numerous CIA backed coups that undermined socialist movements in the region.

Klein schools 'Saint Alan' on some basic economic theories, embarrassing him with his own quotes about crony capitalism:

"There is something that I was quite interested in in your book, which was your definition of corruption and crony capitalism. You said, “When a government's leaders or businesses routinely seek out private sector individuals or businesses and, in exchange for political support, bestow favors on them, the society is said to be in the grip of crony capitalism.” You say, “The favors generally take the form of monopoly access to certain markets, preferred access to sales of government assets, and special access to those in power.” I kept thinking about Halliburton, Blackwater, Lockheed and Boeing. You were referring to Indonesia at the time..."

Greenspan's record and reputation are in tatters, and his futile attempt to excuse himself essentially collapses when challenged.

It's a very insightful debate, and well worth reading the whole transcript. Click here to check it out.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your little stub summary is pretty much wrong. I read the transcript, skimming over some parts, and it seems Naomi Klein's role here is the same as everywhere else I've seen her, make inane comments and self-promote. Which obviously she does pretty well to land a debate with Alan Greenspan. But, after reading it I still have the same opinion of Klein, while having gained a bit more respect for Greenspan.

Ben Cohen said...

Naomi Klein is making inane comments? Which interview are you reading my friend? Alan Greenspan presided over the most irresponsible tax cuts in American history, is part of the ideological framework that has wrecked half of the third world, and is now trying to repaint his role at the Fed. Klein on the other hand, has just written an exhaustively researched book that has shaken the world of economics. I don't see how you can respect Greenspan.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. There are too many parameters we can dissect here. Everyone seems to "know" how to make things work. But, we can never know until we are in their shoes. Communist/Socialist values are quickly becoming extinct around the world. They paint a beautiful world of equality that; in the end, is just as corrupt as the Capitalists. Both sides feed on the weak and uneducated. Capitalists are quickly becoming eaten by their own greed. There has to be another way. I'm tired of seeing both sides continuously pointing the finger at each other.

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