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Global Financial Crisis - Who’s To Blame?
Autrefois considéré comme le gourou de la finance mondiale, A Greenspan est aujourd'hui désigné comme un des responsables de la crise.

Julia Finch in her "Twenty-five people at the heart of the meltdown” article does not rank them 1-25 but her readers do and currently in The Guardian’s Readers' Poll - Alan Greenspan is first with 29.5% and way ahead of the rest. The next is George W Bush with 16.3%.

The New York Times Oct 23 2008 reporting on Greenspan’s appearance before a Congressional hearing writes, "For years, a Congressional hearing with Alan Greenspan was a grand event. Lawmakers doted on him as an economic sage. Markets jumped up and down depending on what he said…”

So what did he do that changed him from an "economic sage” to the man many people say is the person most responsible for the meltdown?

This is best answered by Robert Reich also writing in The Guardian.

Reich starts by complimenting Greenspan for keeping interest rates low in the 1990s Reich then says, "Bill Clinton is usually credited with the 1990s boom, but it was really a product of Greenspan’s willingness to reject the old economic models in favour of new realities, and let the economy prosper.”

What happened next is what the Greeks called hubris. Greenspan thought he had the right answer for any problem. He backed George W Bush’s 2001 huge tax cuts for the very rich and in a matter of months the USA’s budget surplus turned into a deficit.

In 2004 Alan Greenspan yet again lowered interest rates but this time it didn’t work. At 1% this enabled banks to borrow at virtually zero percent interest. The banks grabbed the opportunity and loaned money to borrowers at a higher interest rate. Unfortunately they were not careful enough in choosing who they loaned the money to.

Greenspan was also against regulating "derivates” described by Warren Buffett, (acknowledged as one of the best investors in the world), as "financial weapons of mass destruction”.

Representative Henry A. Waxman chairman of the Congressional hearing asked Alan Greenspan, "You had the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. You were advised to do so by many others…Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?”

Greenspan replied, "Yes, I’ve found a flaw” but refused to accept responsibility for the effects of the "flaw" or acknowledge his unwillingness to take advice from other economic experts.

Commenting on this matter, Robert Reich writes, "The situation screamed for government oversight of lending institutions, lest the banks lend to unfit borrowers. He refused, trusting the market to weed out bad credit risks.” Alas the market was too greedy and instead sought ways to make even greater profits regardless of the risk.

Reich concludes, "There’s no single culprit for the mess , but Alan Greenspan comes closest.”

By Stan


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