Greenspan: Who IS he?

OK, can someone explain (a) how/when did Greenspan’s position came to be? How long has been serving? Why isn’t this an appointed position - for being so powerful?

Also, what would happen if there were no Greenspan - i.e.: a more laissez-faire approach?

Also, can someone help me understand the economic recession (ooh… the “R” word) of ~1979-1980s and that of today? For one, why did we see double-digit interest rates back then? These two economic eras seem very similar to me.

If you have any “nuggets of knowledge” to share on any part of these questions, it would be greatly appreciated.

  • Jinx, economically challenged, dazed, and :confused:

It is an appointed position.

Greenspan is Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The seven member Federal Reserve Board of Governors is appointed by the President. The term is 14 years. Chairman is chosen from the board membership by the President, and approved by Congress. The Chairmanship is a 4 year term, but they’ve been reappointing Greenspan since 1987. His current term as Chairman ends in 2004.

The Fed was established in 1913.

The Motley Fool’s explanation of the Federal Reserve:

http://www.fool.com/Specials/2001/SpecialFed/FederalReserve.htm

He’s also Andrea Mitchell’s husband (she’s a reporter for NBC).

Ask Cecil.

He’s a former disciple of Ayn Rand, whose famous rants advocating the abolishment of the Federal Reserve helped lead to his eventual selection as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. (You think I’m joking, but I’m not.)

In 1979-1980 oil prices were skyrocketing. IIRC, OPEC had declared another oil boycott of the United States. For sure 1979 was the first time that gasoline prices in the U.S. hit $1.00/gallon. Given the impact of rising oil prices throughout the economy, it’s no wonder inflation hit double digits.

Oil prices have done a yo-yo this year. Yes, they’ve gone up, but they’ve also come down quickly, which tends to level out their influence.

Whom he married in 1997, at age 71 (him, not her).

Re his involvement with objectivism - from http://www.fool.com/Specials/2001/SpecialFed/WhoisGreenspan.htm :

The difference between Greenspan and previous Fed chairmen is mainly that he seems inclined to be much more of a public figure and politician than his predecessors, rather than any difference in the actual powers of the office. Also, he has held it for an unusually long time, partially owing to his political dexterity in gaining reappointment.