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Economic Puppetmasters: Lessons From The Halls Of Power
by Lawrence Lindsey
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From Publishers Weekly
Despite the title, there are no puppetmasters in Lindsey's view, and the interviews with such figures as Alan Greenspan, Helmut Kohl and George Soros seems more concerned with describing describing the office furniture than the subjects' deep thoughts. Lindsey, a former governor of the Federal Reserve Board, offers a detailed snapshot of the world economy in the autumn of 1998. Its strength is its breadth as Lindsey moves seamlessly back and forth in time, from theory to practice and into every part of the economically developed world. Its weakness is sloppy writing, repetitiveness and an uncritical enthusiasm for the existing shape of the free market. Instead of simply stating that democratic political institutions created undemocratic economic institutions, Lindsey writes: "As a result, each role was demanded by, or at least had its continued existence sanctioned by, the democratic institutions of their respective countries, even though, in many respects, the role being demanded had undemocratic aspects." In the end, this is a partisan work that lays groundwork for a Republican economic platform and rises to the defense of Republicans from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan while offering approving explanations of Milton Friedman-style supply-side economics. Serious students of political economy will overlook the stylistic lapses for the author's rare combination of expertise, experience and access. Moderate Republicans, given Lindsey's intellectual defense of tax and spending cuts, will want to adorn their shelves with this book. Lay readers and market skeptics will have trouble making it past the first chapter.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Lindsey was a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1991 to 1997, a policy advisor to President Bush, and a member of President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. His Growth Experiment: How the New Tax Policy Is Transforming the U.S. Economy (1990) was a defense of supply-side economics and Reagan tax policy. Lindsey now serves as a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative public-policy think tank. He explains here how those who pull the world's economic strings make their decisions and shows how those decisions affect the world's and national economies. He suggests that there are systemic limits to the power of even key decision makers, and he argues that the decision-making systems in place today are ill suited to current needs. The decision makers Lindsey profiles are Alan Greenspan, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board; Eisuke Sakaibara, vice-minister of finance in Japan; Helmut Kohl, then chancellor of Germany; and financier and investor George Soros. David Rouse
John Kasich, chairman, House Committee on the Budget
Lindsey sits you down with some of the key decision makers in our global economy-but never loses sight of why their actions matter to real people. Anyone who wants to understand how the world economy got to where it is today should read this insightful and engaging book.
Martin Feldstein, president and CEO, National Bureau of Economic Research
Larry Lindsey has participated in policy making at the highest level in the White House and in the Federal Reserve. His book combines the insights from that experience with the careful analysis of a skilled economist. Lindsey's lively and clear writing style will make this a book that anyone interested in economic policy and the global economy will want to read.
Steve Forbes, publisher, Forbes magazine
What a timely, incisively informative book from one of those rare individuals who truly knows whereof he speaks. His insights, especially regarding the IMF, are sorely needed in Washington today.
Hon. Richard Armey, majority leader, U.S. House of Representatives
Anyone wondering how the world fell into its current financial predicament needs to listen to Larry Lindsey. With unmatched clarity and insight, he explains how economies come to ruin and what we can do to help them recover. His book is a sometimes frightening, always fascinating tour of economic decision making at the highest level. In this time of financial turmoil, policy makers, investors, and voters would do well to listen to his analysis and advice.
William Simon, former Secretary of the Treasury
In Economic Puppetmasters, Lawrence Lindsey makes sense of the global economy of the 1990s in a clear and cogent manner which the average reader will understand. Lindsey reminds us that only a few short years ago, the 'new' wisdom among economists and policy makers held that America would be overwhelmed by the economies of Germany and Japan, and that we needed to increase government's role in the economy if we were going to compete. In this book, Lindsey draws on his extensive knowledge of political and economic history to show quite the reverse: that it is precisely because the American economy is not as heavily burdened by government bureaucracy and regulation as Germany and Japan that it has been able to maintain its flexibility, enjoy greater prosperity, and reestablish itself as the envy of the world. This book deserves a wide-readership.
An insider's perspective on the bureaucratic structure of governmental institutions that shape economic policy, and the incentives and limitations of the individuals who head them.
Provides an insider's perspective on the bureaucratic structure of governmental institutions that shape economic policy & on the incentives & limitations of the individuals who head those institutions.
About the Author
Lawrence B. Lindsey is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. The author of The Growth Experiment: How the New Tax Policy Is Transferring the U.S. Economy (Basic Books, 1990), he served as a governor of the Federal Reserve Board from 1991 to 1997.
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