Alan Greenspan

  • American economist
  • Born March 6, 1926

Alan Greenspan (; born March 6, 1926) is an American economist who served as Chair of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private adviser and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC. First appointed Federal Reserve chairman by President Ronald Reagan in August 1987, he was reappointed at successive four-year intervals until retiring on January 31, 2006, after the second-longest tenure in the position (behind William McChesney Martin).Greenspan came to the Federal Reserve Board from a consulting career.

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?'

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Any informed borrower is simply less vulnerable to fraud and abuse.

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.

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.

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.

The person I liked the best was Gerald R. Ford. He was the most decent man in politics I ever had any relationships with.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

If I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said.

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.

I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said.

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.

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.

Finance is wholly different from the rest the economy.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Unless you are willing to compromise, society cannot live together.

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.

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.

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.

The problem is you cannot have free global trade with highly restrictive, regulated domestic markets.

Diplomacy is really far less important than the stock movements within Russia.