He wanted to be right …

In the FT Weekend Books (8 October 2016) John Plender essayed Sebastian Mallaby’s biography of The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan. It is headed “A rock-star Fed chairman whose reputation was tarnished by problems stored during his tenure. Alan Greenspan emerges in all his contradictions..”

Plender reports;

In Mallaby’s account, the shy and introverted young economist craved control over a confined domain. He wanted to be right, and to know that he was right; and he thrived on problems that he could solve alone, without seeking others’ opinions. His unyielding individualism made for an uncomfortable first marriage that lasted less than a year, after which he became for decades an eligible bachelor who dated news anchors, senators and beauty queens.

Can it be that here we’re witnessing the hegemony of the ‘right’ operating at its quintessentially best: a personal existential crisis later followed towards the end of his 18 year tenure by the 2007/8 financial crises!

Apparently he secured a place at the Juilliard Music Conservatory where he played the tenor saxophone and clarinet. He soon dropped out however and joined a second tier jazz band as a sideman. Those familiar with these two musical instruments will know that the left hand is held closer to the face and the left hand thumb is placed over the octave or register key. In some sense then, the left hand does greater transformative work when playing! Maybe this is why Greenspan was so insistent on being right early in his career in economics and finance.

About petermathews

Member of the Royal Society of Medicine
This entry was posted in Biography, Hand, Hegemony, Left, Right and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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