Alan Greenspan’s new memoir is titled The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World and will be released this Monday, September 17, 2007.
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It sounds like Greenspan discusses his friendship with Ayn Rand in the memoir. He posted the following comments about the book at Amazon:
I started thinking about what was to become â??The Age of Turbulenceâ? two years ago. My nearly two decades as Federal Reserve Chairman were coming to an end – a remarkable experience. After a lifetime observing how the world works as a business economist on Wall Street, it was exhilarating to be at the center of international monetary policymaking. Sure, Iâ??d been President Fordâ??s White House economic advisor in the mid-1970s, but nothing fully prepared me for what I faced when President Reagan nominated me Fed Chairman in June 1987. So, in the waning months of my Fed tenure, I started getting excited about having time to stand back and think about all Iâ??d been through â?? the frightening stock market crash of 1987, the boom of the 1990s, the trauma of 9/11, the climactic end of the Cold War, all told, a cascade of events propelling a new world forward at warp speed.
There was also a personal story to tell. Iâ??d known every president from Richard Nixon to Reagan, Ford, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And what about all those other assorted characters from my childhood in New York, my years as a jazz musician, my complete career switch to economics â?? and my friendship with Ayn Rand? I wanted to make the leap from writing economic analysis to writing in the first person about what Iâ??d experienced. And after years of talking â??Fedspeakâ? in carefully calibrated congressional testimony â?? I could finally use my own voice!
As I wrote â??The Age of Turbulence,â? I tackled the personal part first, but then started unraveling the detective story about the economy: what did all the economic shifts we began to detect in the late nineties mean? At the Fed, I had at first focused primarily on monetary policy â?? interest rates and the forces that determined their appropriate levels. But as the years rolled on, it became increasingly clear to me that we needed to understand an entirely new range of factors to implement policy effectively. I had had inklings of this new world, of course, but as I raced from one policy meeting to another, I never had time to sit back and think about all this. Was this a permanent change or just another technological evolution that would, with time, come to an end? Would the growing income inequality that seemed to be associated with this new paradigm create a backlash to the forces of globalization? And wasnâ??t this a dangerous trend for our democracy?
My term as Federal Reserve Chairman ended at midnight, January 31, 2006. The following morning, I started to write. You would think after all those years at the Fed and my earlier decades as an economist that I would have learned about as much as I could. But halfway through the book I realized that the story was leading me in surprising directions. I needed to refocus much of what I had written in my original drafts.
The final chapter was to forecast how I thought the world would work in the year 2030. But until I spent a year researching and writing and thinking about â??The Age of Turbulence,â? I had little idea how it would turn out. In fact, I was having so much fun rethinking some of my earlier assumptions, I was as anxious to read it as I hope my readers will be. In the end, I can confidently say writing that final chapter brought meâ??and the bookâ??closure. It is not the grand finale of Beethovenâ??s Ninth, but for me, it hit the right chord.
And Amazon provides the following description:
In the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, in his fourteenth year as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan took part in a very quiet collective effort to ensure that America didn’t experience an economic meltdown, taking the rest of the world with it. There was good reason to fear the worst: the stock market crash of October 1987, his first major crisis as Federal Reserve Chairman, coming just weeks after he assumed control, had come much closer than is even today generally known to freezing the financial system and triggering a genuine financial panic. But the most remarkable thing that happened to the economy after 9/11 was…nothing. What in an earlier day would have meant a crippling shock to the system was absorbed astonishingly quickly.
After 9/11 Alan Greenspan knew, if he needed any further reinforcement, that we’re living in a new world – the world of a global capitalist economy that is vastly more flexible, resilient, open, self-directing, and fast-changing than it was even 20 years ago. It’s a world that presents us with enormous new possibilities but also enormous new challenges. The Age of Turbulence is Alan Greenspan’s incomparable reckoning with the nature of this new world – how we got here, what we’re living through, and what lies over the horizon, for good and for ill-channeled through his own experiences working in the command room of the global economy for longer and with greater effect than any other single living figure. He begins his account on that September 11th morning, but then leaps back to his childhood, and follows the arc of his remarkable life’s journey through to his more than 18-year tenure as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, from 1987 to 2006, during a time of transforming change.
Alan Greenspan shares the story of his life first simply with an eye toward doing justice to the extraordinary amount of history he has experienced and shaped. But his other goal is to draw readers along the same learning curve he followed, so they accrue a grasp of his own understanding of the underlying dynamics that drive world events. In the second half of the book, having brought us to the present and armed us with the conceptual tools to follow him forward, Dr. Greenspan embarks on a magnificent tour de horizon of the global economy. He reveals the universals of economic growth, delves into the specific facts on the ground in each of the major countries and regions of the world, and explains what the trend-lines of globalization are from here. The distillation of a life’s worth of wisdom and insight into an elegant expression of a coherent worldview, The Age of Turbulence will stand as Alan Greenspan’s personal and intellectual legacy.
The book is available for preorder through Amazon.
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal offers a review of the book, noting that Greenspan’s memoir is critical of Bush and the Republicans.