Recently by Eric Peters: A Lesson From the Past . . . About the Rip-Off ofToday
In the original Matrix movie, there’s a character named Cypher who decides that life is more comfortable for him within the confines of the false-reality programming that is the Matrix. He betrays his comrades, in return for being plugged back into the Matrix – back into his comfortable (though illusory) life of ease and affluence. Of porterhouse steaks, fine wine and nice clothes… .
I got to thinking about Cypher’s choice as a result of a discussion I had recently with someone about a real-life Cypher. You may know of him.
His name is Alan Greenspan.
A long time ago, Greenspan was a champion of free market economics – an associate of the famous writer Ayn Rand and the author of Gold and Economic Freedom. He opposed central banking – and fiat currency. He vigorously defended sound money – and the vital (to economic liberty) necessity of moral hazard. The concept that people must be free to prosper – or fail – according to the merits of their ideas and their work, without fear or favor from the government.
His was a mighty voice for economic – and thus, individual – liberty.
But then Alan sold out. He plugged back back into the Matrix. He became the apotheosis of that which he had once reviled: chairman of the Federal Reserve! The head of the private banking cartel that manipulates boom-bust for its own financial gain. The entity that devalues the currency at whim, causing and creating the economic instability that makes financial security all-but-impossible for the average person.
The leading light of sound money became its most deadly enemy. The proverbial ringmaster of casino capitalism.
And was richly rewarded.
Alan Greenspan became wealthy, famous and powerful. For many years, as Fed chairman, he literally controlled the U.S. banking system – which is another way of saying he controlled the U.S. economy. Which is to say, his whim affected millions of people. Will interest rates go up – or down? How much inflation can we expect next year? Is it a good time to buy – or sell? The augurs parsed his every word, his every inflection… what will the Great Man do?
Augustus Caesar never wielded such arbitrary power over the masses.
It must have been intoxicating. It opened many doors – doors that would have remained forever closed to a defender of sound money – and so, an enemy of the Fed.
Of course, Greenspan must live with himself. And with what he did.