Comments: Why I am a fan of Alan Greenspan, still.

Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens

Now a respected (if controversial) American economic commentator, Hudson said his time at Chase—during which, incidentally, he fired a "nasty little twit" called Alan Greenspan 1 —taught him most of what he ever learned about international economics.

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couldn't resist ... also has lengthy section on City of London ... lots of its peculiarities including being one of the oldest and largest tax havens and money laundering centers. pg71/loc1477-79:

The City’s nine thousand–odd human residents have one vote each in municipal elections here. But businesses in the City vote too, as if they were human, with thirty-two thousand corporate votes. 25 In effect, Goldman Sachs, the Bank of China, Moscow Narodny Bank, and KPMG can vote in a hugely important British election.

... snip ...

for those that had thoughts about the US supreme court ruling about corporations are human.

Posted by Lynn Wheeler at July 1, 2013 08:04 AM

older history, no. 2 on list of those responsible for the financial mess last decade (repeal of Glass-Steagall and blocking derivatives from being regulated),28804,1877351_1877350_1877330,00.html

Gramm and the 'Enron Loophole'

Enron was a major contributor to Mr. Gramm's political campaigns, and Mr. Gramm's wife, Wendy, served on the Enron board, which she joined after stepping down as chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

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and an older article: Phil Gramm's Enron Favor

A few days after she got the ball rolling on the exemption, Wendy Gramm resigned from the commission. Enron soon appointed her to its board of directors, where she served on the audit committee, which oversees the inner financial workings of the corporation. For this, the company paid her between $915,000 and $1.85 million in stocks and dividends, as much as $50,000 in annual salary, and $176,000 in
attendance fees,

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and #3 responsible,,28804,1877351_1877350_1877331,00.html


Greenspan Slept as Off-Books Debt Escaped Scrutiny

That same year Greenspan, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt opposed an attempt by Brooksley Born, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to study regulating over-the-counter derivatives. In 2000, Congress passed a law keeping them unregulated.

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Brooksley was fairly quickly replaced by Wendy Gramm as head of Commodity Futures Trading Commission, before Wendy then resigned to join Enron's board.

Now after Gramm leaves congress ... also from "Treasure Islands" pg140/loc2907-9:

In February 2003 Phil Gramm, a former Republican Texan senator who became vice chairman of the Swiss investment bank UBS Warburg, wrote to U.S. treasury secretary John Snow, arguing against a plan to increase international financial transparency.

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and long detailed discussion of the BCCI incident, heavy involvement of Bank of England and numerous insiders in both London and Washington, pg136/2815-16:

The full Price Waterhouse report on BCCI remains confidential today, on the grounds that this will disturb Britain’s "international partners." It is a clear defense of tax haven London.

... snip ...

Posted by Lynn Wheeler at July 1, 2013 01:23 PM

Thanks very much for replying, and letting me know. This does help me understand a bit. I guess my real critique of Greenspan is that, while he was skeptical of his *own* institution, he wasn't skeptical enough of the private-sector banks themselves; particularly, he did not understand the degree to which fraud is pervasive throughout the ecosystem.

Upon re-reading some of his statements, in principle, I agree with much of what he has to say; he just had a view of the consequences of those principles that was almost entirely divorced from the reality of the context that he existed in. Recently he has said several times, in various different ways, that he believes the state should more aggressively pursue fraud, but it's too little too late. If bankers and industrialists were really the objectivist paragons of enlightened long-term self-interest that he seemed to treat them as, almost everything he did would have made sense (and, I'd argue, be beneficial).

Posted by Glyph at July 6, 2013 04:47 AM
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