Sebastian Mallaby

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Hidden Forces has probably been my favorite podcast for the last year. Dimitri Kofinas may be the best, most thorough interviewer working today.

In this episode, he talks to the author of a biography about Alan Greenspan. They touch on many aspects of the Fed’s history and some of the Chairman involved.

Maybe most interesting about this story is Greenspan’s incongruence: he was raised a devotee of objectivism and seemed well aware of the pitfalls of asset inflation, and yet presided over a regime change in the Fed that enabled two huge asset bubbles under his watch. He preemptively cut interest rates during the Asia crisis of 1998, and seemed to relish in politics. It seems he traded a large degree of integrity for political success.

The episode contains a good discussion of this incongruence as well as looming issues caused by the behavior of central banks (which boils down to: encouraging higher and higher levels of debt by enabling carry trades that rely on low rates of interest).