Allan Greenspan Gardening

In landscape photography there are two terms for how photographers try to enhance a scene – one is called “sweeping” and the other is called “gardening” . Sweeping involves removing all the obvious defects from a scene that might well be done later in Photoshop-post processing. Remove that cup or other junk; crop down to remove ‘the hand of man’ – say a fence or telephone pole; or remove or lower those odious weeds in the foreground.

“Gardening” on the other hand is a more serious alteration of the natural landscape. All of sweeping” is allowed but in addition uninhibited “sprinkling” also takes place. Not enough color in the shot – just move those flowers or fall leaves into the scene. Need some amusant – just drop that toad onto the grassy knoll. Need some richer tones – just use a mirror and some orange light to warm up the scene. Need more gliiter – spray some water mist onto the grass and flowers.

Allan Greenspan – The Age of Turbulence

Now everybody knows most autobiographies have a little sweeping in them – just a touch up to get rid of some of the blemishes in an otherwise virtuous life. So I fully expect Allan Greenspan’s book to have some “sweeping”.However, this party, having not read the book or any reviews so far – but determined toread the book expects to see some full fledged gardening. And here are four key issues where I expect to find some “green thumb gardening”.

1)Many observers would consider Alan Greenspan to be the rescue fireman for his own defined exuberant capital markets. There are some key situations, when capital marketers having flaunted prudent risks, created “turbulence” in the markets which had to be rescued by generous interests rate cuts to fight the general hazard. The term in the finance industry is”moral hazard” – when big players on the street act imprudently, they can count on the Fed to rescue them with lower interest rates to ease the credit crunch because the imprudent ones know that the Fed cannot risk wider financial disaster. So much for the markets being efficient weeders of the careless and imprudent. Let see what Alan has to say about these several “moral hazard” situations.

2)Returning to “moral hazard”, the Fed does not have regulatory powers but surely has strong influence at Treasury, SEC, FTC and even in Congress/White House to argue for reforms and restraints that would prevent these moral hazards from arising again. Let see what Alan has to say about controling Enron, Capital management, and other egregious risk spurners that the Fed had to intercede or at the least be concerend about for their unsettling effects on finacial markets.

3)The rise of Hedge Funds and Private Equity has resulted in huge amounts of capital being made available to the players with Loan-lite constraints and without borrowing tests and loan provisions that other borrowers have to adhere to. In addition Hedge Funds and particularly Private Equity firms are able to keep much of their financial risks out from scrutiny by regulatory bodies such as the FED, SEC, FTC, Treasury and others. This means a sizable chunk of the capital markets – nearly 20% are “flying blind” and may be exposing the whole to imprudent risks that in these days of fast changing political and economic dynamics can prove to be vulnerable to Rene Thom’s instant Butterfly and Other Catastrophes. What says Alan on this growing “Turbulence” risk ?
4)Finally it will be interesting to see what the Fed patrician thinks of the the latest sharing of wealth numbers for the US and what if anything should be done about it:
a)the top 1% of the population controls 20% of the US National Wealth;
b)the bottom 30% of the population controls 12% of US national Wealth;

The rich are getting richer like never before just when the middle class is getting butchered by globalization and outsourcing. Top Salaries in organizations now command 10,000 times the average wages in some cases; up from 100 times average wages just 10 years ago. At what point is the income divide a permanent gap cutting off the American dream that “anybody can make it to the top”; let alone the broader and critical issue of when is it dysfunctional for the broader economy.

So I will read Greenspan with the Turbulent Times issues in mind and see if Alan is a GreenThumb Gardener at heart. I am ready to take a 5th if Alan comes through with no Gardening Dirt in his book.

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