Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Outgrowing Ideology

Reagan was lines of cocaine, but this Clinton-era stuff was injecting speedballs into your eyeballs. From 1999.

Greenspan has a theory about what holds them together: In analytical people self-esteem relies on the analysis and not on the conclusions. That must be it. The three men have a mania for analysis that has bred a rigorous, unique intellectual honesty. In the Reagan Administration economic policymaking was guided not by analysis but by conclusions--specifically a belief in so-called supply-side economics. No matter what the data showed, the results among Reagan-era economists like Arthur Laffer were always the same: tax cuts and less regulation were the solution. Rubin, Greenspan and Summers have outgrown ideology. Their faith is in the markets and in their own ability to analyze them. It's unusual, Greenspan says. In Washington usually you come to the table, and everyone meets, and no one changes their mind. But with us, you have something else.This pragmatism is a faith that recalls nothing so much as the objectivist philosophy of the novelist and social critic Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged), which Greenspan has studied intently. During long nights at Rand's apartment and through her articles and letters, Greenspan found in objectivism a sense that markets are an expression of the deepest truths about human nature and that, as a result, they will ultimately be correct. Greenspan jokes that Rubin, with his background in arbitrage, may be slightly more skeptical because of his experiences with market imperfections. But they all agree that trying to defy global market forces is in the end futile. That imposes a limit on how much they will permit ideology to intrude on their actions.

Ideology is other people.