World's Most Politically Dangerous Book

World's Most Politically Dangerous Book
AP Photo/Alexandra Panagiotidou

When Alan Greenspan began his political career in 1974, he asked two people to accompany him to his Oval Office swearing-in ceremony as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers: his mother, Rose Goldsmith, and his guru, Ayn Rand. From the time of his appointment years later as Federal Reserve chair until his retirement in 2006, Greenspan would implement Rand's ideology of “objectivism” as monetary policy: Counting on market players to self-regulate in the pursuit of their selfish interests, he deregulated the financial industry and scoffed in the late 1990s when warned of the systemic risks posed by the unregulated derivatives market. Soon enough, these “financial weapons of mass destruction,” as Warren Buffet once called them, would explode, destroying the plans and lives of countless Americans in the Great Recession. A congressional inquiry placed the blame for the 2008 financial crisis squarely at Greenspan's feet, and, under questioning by members of the House, Greenspan admitted that there must have been “a flaw” in his Randian worldview.

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