In one of the more fascinating discussions of recent times (and while the world was distracted by the President of Iran's visit to New York City that same day) took place on Monday morning with the help of Democracy Now and the presence of Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, and Alan Greenspan, former head of the Federal Reserve Bank in the USA.
Greenspan actually looked quite weak for much of the interview even as he stood his ground in promoting a Milton-Friedman-style of economic policy in the USA for the last two decades.
Naomi Klein took him to task for promoting a series of policies in America that he admitted worked well in Chile under Pinochet's dictatorship. At the same time, Greenspan refused to take off the table his inclination to claim as permissible the right of one state, such as the USA, to take over the reserves of oil and mineral wealth of sovereign states in order to keep stable worldwide market mechanisms. Unlike Klein, Greenspan feels that in this day and age a pre-emptive strike as discussed in the Cold-War era is a permissible doctrine. (However, he did seem to believe this topic should be debated more robustly and democratically in America and elsewhere.)
Moreover, Greenspan never once called into question the spending and misspending of the U.S. government on the Iraq invasion, the Allied Occupation with mostly USA funding, and the continuing defense buildup in Iraq (possibly in order to invade Iran later this year or the next).
GREENSPAN ENCOURAGES ACTION
On the other hand, at the end of the interview and discussion with Amy Goodman (moderator) and Naomi Klein, Greenspan seemed to encourage Americans—if they really feel that their government is being wrongly and improperly led (and against basic universal principles) to take back the power that has been so badly abused by recent leadership.
Specifically, Greenspan stated,"[O]bviously, I’m not going to deny that there’s all sorts of corruption…which goes on in every country. The problem, essentially, for a democratic society is to maintain the civil liberties of the society and suppress that. Corruption, embezzlement, fraud, these are all characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably the way human nature functions, whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is keep it to a minimum."
In short, as the evidence continues to unfold in America and in Iraq that the a bunch of cronies supporting the U.S. administration of Bush and Cheney are bleeding American taxpayers dry through foibles and corruption, a real democrats job would be certainly to "suppress" those in charge. The corollary of what Greenspan stated is that it is the responsibility of every democrat to oversee that an economy remains successful by keeping the worst of human malfunctions, corruption, tendencies towards abuse, and criminal acts in that economic system to a minimum.
Klein and Goodman cited several famous and award winning articles (e.g. by Pulitzer Prize winners) of findings and research indicating that the federal reserve and U.S. government has overseen losses of tens of billions of dollars in Iraq since 2003.
Klein and Goodman also noted many instances of contractual abuses and examples of what Greenspan would likely agree are examples of the worst sort of "crony capitalism", including those contracts dealing with the private mercenary firms, like Blackwater, and construction and management firms to the war devastated region.
Nonetheless, despite the fact that he himself was hoodwinked into supporting the invasion of Iraq in 2003, i.e. Greenspan had believed the many innuendos that Iraq had a weapon of mass destruction, Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan refused to admit that the whole (or even part of the) invasion of Iraq was an error or that the war was bad for the U.S. economy—and needed to be brought under control.
Greenspan simply tried to dance around calling a spade a spade on several occasions when he had opportunity during this interview. This was not unlike the many press conferences and hearings he provided back in 2001 and 2002 before the house and senate—when he should have been clearly warning the administration that their facts and assumptions were wrong.
Similarly, Greenspan did not apologize to viewers for supporting the boondoggle of spending cuts and tax cuts in 2001 for which he had been very complicit. These cuts and spending disasters under Greenspan's watch and carried with his overt support started early in 2001 have since decimated the prior 8 years of fiscal responsibility (seen between 1992 and 2000). The misdirection of the federal reserve at the beginning of the W. Bush Administration set the tone of Cheney or Reagan-type economics that has also left many aspects of the American economy open to takeovers from abroad as the value of the dollar has fallen considerably. (This was not unlike what occurred between 1984 and 1992, the last time the Reagan-style economic mismanagement led to recession.)
Moreover, the housing market is now in its worst state since the Great Depression.
All these denials of bad policy and practices (within reach of the so-called "maestro's" sphere of influence over the U.S. and global economics) made Greenspan look at times particularly weak during that lengthy interview.