This headline is from Naked Capitalism, in a piece describing how the respected but controversial U.S. economist Michael Hudson once fired Alan Greenspan, way back in 1966, 21 years before he became chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Hudson told me this exact same story himself; in fact you can read about it in Treasure Islands, where Hudson recalls the incident and said he remembered Greenspan as a ‘nasty little twit.’
Hudson explained a bunch of other interesting stuff, which I put in a chapter entitled ‘the Fall of America’ describing how the U.S. deliberately turned itself increasingly into a tax haven from about the 1970s. Anyway, the thrust of Hudson’s story here is that Greenspan:
“was known as a hack that always gave …his clients what they wanted instead of something actual.”
He was fired basically because he faked some numbers: instead of doing the real research, he saved himself a lot of time by extrapolating (wrongly) from something else.
Greenspan was a kind of libertarian policy-maker, and I guess that libertarian policy-making can be a form of intellectual laziness, a sort of ‘don’t bother trying to regulate or control anything much, the market will take care of itself, let’s go to lunch instead’ kind of attitude. (Update: we should call it “Lazy-Faire” – thanks to Brian on the comments underneath for that reminder)
And look how that all turned out.