A Tale of Two Economists

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The
first week in March 1926 saw the birth in New York City of
two incredible individuals who would make their dramatic impact
on the political and economic destiny of the world.  Both were
born to middle-class Jewish parents.  Both youths were described
as extremely bright and intellectually precocious, but somewhat
socially awkward.  Neither was athletic.  Both decided
upon pursuing careers in economics.  Both studied economics
with distinguished faculty at New York University.  Both attended
graduate school at Columbia University with the noted
economist Arthur Burns, who later left academia to become chairman
of the Federal Reserve.  Both were attracted to the compelling
ideas of individualism and capitalism put forth in the works
of novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand.  Both rose to positions within
Rand’s inner circle in NYC.  Both defended Rand’s sprawling
1957 bestseller, Atlas
Shrugged
, from critical reviews in letters to noted
publications.

The
first person was born on March 2nd.  He was the legendary
Murray N. Rothbard – who spoke truth to power and inspired
generations by his courage, commitment to principle, and humanity. 
He became the greatest scholar of liberty in the 20th century, and
the most acclaimed student of NYU’s Ludwig von Mises,
the century’s most brilliant economist, authoring the
last economic treatise, Man,
Economy, and State
, and a host of other important books
in economics and history.  Rothbard was distinguished for his
perceptive critique of the pernicious influence of politically connected
Wall Street bankers –  in particular the firm of J. P. Morgan
– on the creation of the Federal Reserve and the
welfare-warfare state. He became the Fed’s most incisive
critic. 

The
second individual was born four days later.  His name is Alan
Greenspan.  After a stint as a Wall Street financial forecaster,
the coldly pragmatic Greenspan made his Faustian bargain first
with the unscrupulous Richard Nixon, as his 1968 presidential campaign
director of policy research, then with the befuddled Gerald
Ford, as chairman of his Council of Economic Advisors. 
Greenspan returned to his fabled career as economic soothsayer, even
rising to become a director of J. P. Morgan, the very firm
which figured so prominently in Rothbard’s trenchant critique.  In
1987 Ronald Reagan appointed Greenspan Chairman of the Fed, where
he remains ensconced today.

September
25, 2003

Charles
A. Burris [send him mail]
is an indoctrinator in a government school somewhere in this land
of the free, where he covertly teaches economics and history
to adolescents in the Murray N. Rothbard Room.


        
        

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