Modern Culture23 Jul 2010 11:26 am
“At the Oval Office, 1974. From left are Rose Goldsmith, mother of Alan Greenspan; President Ford; Greenspan; Rand; and her husband, Frank O’Connor.” (From the New York Times)
Ayn Rand might have been little more than a literary and political curiosity, except for one very important accident of history. In 1974, Alan Greenspan, one of her most devoted followers, was sworn in as the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, with Rand standing by his side. Thirteen years later, in 1987, Greenspan would ascend to the most important economic position in the United States: Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Greenspan was a member of Rand’s inner circle from the 1950′s. In fact, he was an “official” member: as part of the “Ayn Rand Collective,” he read chapters of “Atlas Shrugged” as Rand composed the book. He would later contribute an introduction to it, as well as essays (including one in support of the gold standard) to Rand’s 1966 collection, “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.”
Luckily (we’re not fans of Rand’s theories over at The Devoted Intellect) Greenspan wasn’t able to apply all of his “Objectivist” ideals while heading up The Fed. (That’s right: the economic crisis could have been that much worse.) As he told the Fox News Network in 2007, he had to make compromises as an official in a democratic society (including, presumably, the compromise that prevented him from reintroducing the gold standard). A year later, he would famously concede that his ideologies about market economics (his views were far too irrational and fixed to simply be called “ideas”) were “flawed.” For a detailed description of those flawed theories, you can’t do better than to make your way through the 1,368 pages of “Atlas Shrugged.” Though we wouldn’t suggest that you actually do it…
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