Bubble Man: Alan Greenspan and the Missing 7 Trillion Dollars

Peter Hartcher, Author Bubble Man: Alan Greenspan and the Missing 7 Trillion Dolla $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-393-06225-0 ISBN 978-0-393-06225-0

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan's famous 1996 pronouncement that an "irrational exuberance" had gripped the American stock market was premature; the markets continued to climb, reaching an exceptional peak in March 2000 before sliding into a $7.8 trillion collapse. Hartcher (author of The Ministry and an editor at the Sydney Morning Herald ) turns his attention to the culprits behind "the madness that was the Great American Bubble"—what was in purely monetary terms, the single costliest event in American history. The author blames corporations, Wall Street, the government and the media, but chief among his targets is Greenspan himself, whom Hartcher indicts for keeping interest rates low and investors' attitudes cheery. In this account, Greenspan's retreat from the critical position he staked in 1996, in the face of political opposition and public mania, earns him a decisive share of responsibility for the bubble and its consequences. Equal parts revisionist history, economics lesson and admonitory polemic, the book briskly moves through complex concepts with illustrative examples and straightforward analysis. While the text is occasionally repetitive (e.g., frequent mention of the crash of 1929), Hartcher's brisk, lively approach transforms a potentially dry dissection of monetary policy into an engaging cautionary tale. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 00/00/0000
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