25 October 2008

Greenspan Sorta', Kinda' Takes Some Responsibility

As I wrote here not long ago, it is unfair to lay all or even most of the blame for our current economic woes at the feet of Alan Greenspan - or an other single policy-maker. But it also is irresponsible to allow Greenspan and his various fellow travelers to walk away as though faultless. Late this past week, as the financial markets were collapsing world-wide, Greenspan almost accepted a reasonable share of responsibility in his testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Almost.

There is, of course, a longish line of libertarian political thinkers - Robert Nozick in the U.S. and John Gray in the U.K., for instance - who've recanted after policies inspired by their views have been implemented by right-wing politicians. But 'Oooopps! My Bad!' doesn't really cut it if the consequences of one's ideas are being born by many less able to bear them. And, while I am not advocating show trials, there is a long line of academic economists and policy makers who advocated for extreme de-regulation and who ought to be 'invited' to take public responsibility for the abject failure of their ideological views.

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