The Map and the Territory 2.0: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting Hardcover – 22 Oct 2013
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Larry Summers, "Financial Times" "No other American economic policy maker in the past half-century could have written so thoughtfully about the implications of the Enlightenment for economic policy or have attempted, as Greenspan did while in office and does again here, to compute the physical weight of all the goods that comprise American gross domestic product. The range of topics and arguments makes this book a very important statement, whether one ultimately agrees or disagrees with the author.....Greenspan's range, vision and boldness is especially important at a time like the present, when Washington is preoccupied with the political and petty....Greenspan has written a major work ....[A] splendid book." Burton Malkiel, "The Wall Street Journal" ""The Map and the Territory" is a model of expositional clarity, with complex and recondite matters made accessible to the lay reader. The book should be must reading for anyone interested in the way our financial markets work--and sometimes fail to do so." "Forbes" "Compelling and hugely enlightening...This exposition of a lifetime as a practicing economist is full of insights and lessons for financiers, security analysts, business students and public policy makers, especially Presidents, congressmen, central bankers and the FDIC, SEC, CFTC, FHLB. It should be required reading for some of the insights into the way markets perform." N. Gregory Mankiw, "The New York Times Book Review" "The book offers much wisdom....[Greenspan] sees the world through a different set of eyes than do many others in his field. He is driven less by theory, more by data and practical experience....Greenspan's new book lays out his worldview in light of the financial crisis, the deep recession and the meager recovery of the past five years. His critics often condemn him as an ideologue, but the book demonstrates the unfairness of that accusation. On a wide range of topics--from monetary, fiscal and fin
About the Author
Alan Greenspan was born in 1926 and reared in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. After studying the clarinet at Juilliard and working as a professional musician, he earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from New York University. In 1954, he co-founded the economic consulting firm Townsend-Greenspan & Co. From 1974 to 1977, he served as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Gerald Ford. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan appointed him Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, a position he held until his retirement in 2006.
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In this work Greenspan challenges the traditional model of the rational man who calculates his economic interests and acts accordingly. He posits a new model in which the animal spirits of fear and euphoria play previously underappreciated roles in guiding human behavior and seeks to incorporate those into models more in keeping with contemporary homo economicus.
The author also expresses his own views on political economics, proposing that regulations prevent companies from growing too big to fail. He takes his shots at crony capitalism, the practice of governments aiding certain businesses, and urges changes in spending priorities to improve and maintain America’s capital stock.
This work is well written although readers can drown in statistics. Though not an economic major I did take several economic courses in colleges and have supplemented my studies with some reading since, including Greenspan’s “Age of Turbulence” (see my review). While my attention was somewhat superficial during parts of this book, I did emerge with new perspectives on driving motivations and relationships between government and business. For that it was a worthwhile read.
Oddly enough, Greenspan still seems wedded to these views, even though he often practiced the opposite when he was Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, a position he held for 18 years up to 2006. As someone who can be held at least partly responsible for the financial crisis, with his disdain for regulation and total belief in the markets, Greenspan has in fact admitted that he got things wrong by encouraging the era of cheap credit that led up to the crash.
Yet in this book he still insists that the financial sector, if left to market forces, can sort itself out and bring renewed prosperity. He fails to see the damage caused by ever-worsening inequality, which is largely a result of the rise of finance relative to real industry.
So really this book adds nothing to what we already knew. All it does is confirm my suspicions that the people in power either don’t understand the huge problems caused by rising inequality, or they don’t care. If you want real insights into the problems facing the global economy, I suggest a much better book, neatly summed up by its subtitle, ‘An Inquiry Into Wealth, Work and Values’: Why Things Are Going to Get Worse and Why We Should Be Glad.
What is scary is the fact that a person invested with such authority and with such vast powers of such a huge number of people can produce nothing other than unrigorous dogma.
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