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The Prophet Has Spoken: Greenspan on Ethics and the Economy
Federal Reserve Chairman talks about corporate greed.

Every society has its prophets, the persons to whom authority is given to see into the inner realities of the present and announce the prospects for the future. Since money is so central to this society, great authority is given to Alan Greenspan, chairman of The Federal Reserve Board. He gave a report to the Senate Banking Committee on July 16.

His report contains some very interesting testimony on his views of ethics: "It is not that humans have become any more greedy than in generations past," Greenspan said. "It is that the avenues to express greed had grown so enormously."

He was referring especially to stock options given primarily to senior executives who then have a huge incentive to keep the stock price high no matter what.

Note that his comments assume markets are not totally "free" but economic actors must function within rules and policies and that such rules and policies must be correct in order for the economy to function productively for all.

And this is coming from a person known as an economic conservative.

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Date Added: 7/16/2002 Date Revised: 7/16/2002

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