FindsGood

  1. Quotes
  2. Alan Greenspan
  3. 16/08/2017 (Wed, 16 Aug)

“Look, I’m very much in favor of tax cuts, but not with borrowed money. And the problem that we’ve gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money, and at the end of the day that proves disastrous. And my view is I don’t think we can play subtle policy here.”

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Quotes by Alan Greenspan

  1. An almost hysterical antagonism toward the gold standard is one issue which unites statists of all persuasions. They seem to sense… that gold and economic freedom are inseparable.
  2. Any informed borrower is simply less vulnerable to fraud and abuse.
  3. Anything that we can do to raise personal savings is very much in the interest of this country.
  4. At the outset of the creation of the euro in 1999, it was expected that the southern eurozone economies would behave like those in the north; the Italians would behave like Germans. They didn’t. Instead, northern Europe fell into subsidizing southern Europe’s excess consumption, that is, its current account deficits.
  5. Before I met Ayn Rand, I was a logical positivist, and accordingly, I didn’t believe in absolutes, moral or otherwise. If I couldn’t prove a proposition with facts and figures, it was without merit.
  6. Chinese productivity is the highest in the world but the way they do it is by borrowing the technology from abroad, either by joint ventures or other means.
  7. Corruption, embezzlement, fraud, these are all characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably the way human nature functions, whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is keep it to a minimum. No one has ever eliminated any of that stuff.
  8. Crony capitalism is essentially a condition in which… public officials are giving favours to people in the private sector in payment of political favours.
  9. Diplomacy is really far less important than the stock movements within Russia.
  10. Europe is very critical to the United States in the sense not only do we have a fourth of our exports there, but more importantly, a significant proportion of the foreign affiliate profits in fact, half of U.S. corporations, are in Europe.
  11. Every economy exists, no matter what the level of democracy, has elements of crony capitalism. It’s – given human nature and given the democratic structures, which we all, I assume, adhere to, that is an inevitable consequence.
  12. Fear and euphoria are dominant forces, and fear is many multiples the size of euphoria. Bubbles go up very slowly as euphoria builds. Then fear hits, and it comes down very sharply. When I started to look at that, I was sort of intellectually shocked. Contagion is the critical phenomenon which causes the thing to fall apart.
  13. Fear invariably and universally induces disengagement, and disengagement is negative division of labor.
  14. Fear is a far more dominant force in human behaviour than euphoria – I would never have expected that or given it a moment’s thought before, but it shows up in the data in so many ways.
  15. Finance is wholly different from the rest the economy.
  16. Forecasting our futures is built into our psyches because we will soon have to manage that future. We have no choice. No matter how often we fail, we can never stop trying.
  17. History has not dealt kindly with the aftermath of protracted periods of low risk premiums.
  18. I always believed in animal spirits. It’s not their existence that is new. It’s the fact that they are not random events, but actually replicate in-bred qualities of human nature which create those animal spirits.
  19. I do not understand where the backing of Bitcoin is coming from. There is no fundamental issue of capabilities of repaying it in anything which is universally acceptable, which is either intrinsic value of the currency or the credit or trust of the individual who is issuing the money, whether it’s a government or an individual.
  20. I don’t know where the stock market is going, but I will say this, that if it continues higher, this will do more to stimulate the economy than anything we’ve been talking about today or anything anybody else was talking about.
  21. I get so engaged when I have a problem you cannot solve that I just cannot break away from what I am doing – I keep thinking and thinking and cannot stop.
  22. I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you’ve probably misunderstood what I’ve said.
  23. I have found no greater satisfaction than achieving success through honest dealing and strict adherence to the view that, for you to gain, those you deal with should gain as well.
  24. I stated that I’m a libertarian Republican, which means I believe in a series of issues, such as smaller government, constraint on budget deficits, free markets, globalization, and a whole series of other things, including welfare reform.
  25. I think the whole issue of a debt ceiling makes no sense to me whatsoever. Anybody who is remotely adroit at arithmetic doesn’t need a debt ceiling to tell you where you are.
  26. I was a fairly good amateur musician, and I was an average professional. But the one thing I saw was that the big band business was fading.
  27. I was a fairly good amateur musician, and I was an average professional. But the one thing I saw was that the big band business was fading. So I made an economic decision, and it turned out the best judgment I ever made in my life.
  28. I was a good amateur but only an average professional. I soon realized that there was a limit to how far I could rise in the music business, so I left the band and enrolled at New York University.
  29. I was sort of shocked when it all of a sudden turned out that I got all A’s through college, with the exception of two B’s in the first term. I never envisaged myself as summa cum laude.
  30. I wasn’t able to do much reading when I was chairman of the Reserve Board. The workload was too large, and the luxury of reading was not available to me. So I caught up a good deal when I left office.
  31. I’m a free-market economist from years and years back, and I’ve never veered from that.
  32. I’m not denying that monopolies are terrible things, but I am denying that it is readily easy to resolve them through legislation of that nature.
  33. I’ve always considered myself more of a mathematician than a psychologist.
  34. I’ve been around long enough to know that a good deal of the praise heaped on me I had nothing to do with. The only thing I did object to was the fact that where the criticism was actually wrong. Did it bother me? Of course it bothered me. But I’ve been around long enough to have ups and downs. So you get over it.
  35. I’ve been in and out of Wall Street since 1949, and I’ve never seen the type of animosity between government and Wall Street. And I’m not sure where it comes from, but I suspect it’s got to do with a general schism in this society which is really becoming ever more destructive.
  36. If I turn out to be particularly clear, you’ve probably misunderstood what I’ve said.
  37. If somebody had said to me in June or July of 1987, ‘We’d like you to become chairman of the Federal Reserve, but you’re never allowed to discuss any economics after you leave,’ I’d have said, ‘Forget it.’ What do they want me to do? Become an anthropologist?’
  38. In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value.
  39. Increased jobs are the consequence of increased trade. Increasing jobs more than output implies a fall in productivity and standards of living. That surely cannot be our goal.
  40. It is very difficult to predict when a bond crisis could happen.
  41. It’s hard to tell which assets will be toxic. The best way to ensure that only shareholders and banks feel it is have adequate capital.
  42. It’s only when the markets are perceived to have exhausted themselves on the downside that they turn. Trying to prevent them from going down just merely prolongs the agony.
  43. Look, I’m very much in favor of tax cuts, but not with borrowed money. And the problem that we’ve gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money, and at the end of the day that proves disastrous. And my view is I don’t think we can play subtle policy here.
  44. Manufacturing capacity is not a rigid level against which one bounces. When you are dealing with a world economy, with a flexibility to employ production facilities other than one’s own, then the concept of capacity is vaguer.
  45. Markets do very weird things because it reacts to how people behave, and sometimes people are a little screwy.
  46. Most high-income people in our country do not realize that their incomes are being subsidized by their protection from competition from highly skilled people who are prevented from immigrating to the United States. But we need such skills in order to staff our productive economy, so that the standard of living for Americans as a whole can grow.
  47. Much fiscal policy is implemented, not through spending increases, but through tax credits and other so-called tax expenditures. The markets should respond to them as they do spending cuts, with little contraction in economic activity.
  48. One of the major problems with China is that its innovation is largely borrowed technology.
  49. One of the problems with hedge funds is that they are changing so rapidly. If you have the balance sheet that closed business last night, by 11 A.M. this morning, that won’t tell you very much about what they’re doing.
  50. People don’t realize that we cannot forecast the future. What we can do is have probabilities of what causes what, but that’s as far as we go. And I’ve had a very successful career as a forecaster, starting in 1948 forward. The number of mistakes I have made are just awesome. There is no number large enough to account for that.
  51. Protectionism will do little to create jobs and if foreigners retaliate, we will surely lose jobs.
  52. Putin probably, almost certainly, thinks that one of the great disasters of the 20th century was the demise of the Soviet Union. It’s very obvious that he’s trying to work its way back and maintain something similar to that sort of institution.
  53. Revolutions are something you see only in retrospect.
  54. Since 1948 I have spent every single day thinking how the economic and political worlds have changed.
  55. The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of default.
  56. The central focus of what we are doing at the Fed is to keep inflation from accelerating – and preferably decelerating.
  57. The culture of Greece is not the same as the culture of Germany, and to fuse them into a single unit is extremely difficult.
  58. The only thing that was economic, I might say, about my music career, aside from the fact that I did everybody’s tax returns in the band, was the decision I made to leave the music business on economic grounds.
  59. The only way to have several currencies from divergent nations lumped together is if they are culturally close, such as Germany, the Netherlands and Austria. If they aren’t, it simply can’t continue to work.
  60. The only way you get economic progress, real standards of living moving higher, is to have the savings of the society continuously invested in the cutting-edge technologies. And those technologies which are obsolescent get dropped out.
  61. The person I liked the best was Gerald R. Ford. He was the most decent man in politics I ever had any relationships with.
  62. The problem is you cannot have free global trade with highly restrictive, regulated domestic markets.
  63. The purpose of a politician is to be a leader. A politician has to lead. Otherwise he’s just a follower.
  64. The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake.
  65. The very nature of finance is that it cannot be profitable unless it is significantly leveraged… and as long as there is debt, there can be failure and contagion.
  66. There are winners and there are losers. And as much as we would like to help the losers, if we do it in the way that directs the limited capital of the society to support the low-productivity parts of the economy, it means that the rest of the economy – our overall standard of living – will not rise as much as it could.
  67. There is a huge number of people outside our borders who would love to come here. In fact, many of them come here, get well educated, and then are required to leave… This is a factor in income inequality.
  68. There is a limit to how much the United States Treasury can borrow.
  69. There’s no other job in public life that is like chairman of the Fed.
  70. To succeed, you will soon learn, as I did, the importance of a solid foundation in the basics of education – literacy, both verbal and numerical, and communication skills.
  71. Unless you are willing to compromise, society cannot live together.
  72. We need, in effect, to make the phantom ‘lock-boxes’ around the trust fund real.
  73. We really can’t forecast all that well, and yet we pretend that we can, but we really can’t.
  74. We’re a democratic society. Shutting down the government should not be on the agenda.
  75. What I see in the corporate sector is very clearly an issue of a major shortfall in the issue of, what some people call confidence, but whatever you want to call it. Clearly people are looking out in the very distant future and they are saying that it is too complex.
  76. What a sound money system does is to stabilize all the elements in it, and reduces the uncertainty that people confront. And the one thing all human beings do when they are confronted with uncertainty is pull back, withdraw, disengage, and that means economic activity, which is really dealing with people, just goes straight down.
  77. Whatever you tax, you get less of.
  78. When you go back and look at American history, it’s not terribly different from Canadian history. If you weren’t self-reliant on the prairie, you wouldn’t survive.
  79. You have to really stretch your imagination to infer what the intrinsic value of Bitcoin is. I haven’t been able to do it. Maybe somebody else can.