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The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting Hardcover – October 22, 2013
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"No other American economic policy maker in the past half-century could have written so thoughtfully about the implications of the Enlightenment for economic policy or have attempted, as Greenspan did while in office and does again here, to compute the physical weight of all the goods that comprise American gross domestic product. The range of topics and arguments makes this book a very important statement, whether one ultimately agrees or disagrees with the author…..Greenspan’s range, vision and boldness is especially important at a time like the present, when Washington is preoccupied with the political and petty….Greenspan has written a major work ….[A] splendid book.”
Burton Malkiel, The Wall Street Journal:
“The Map and the Territory is a model of expositional clarity, with complex and recondite matters made accessible to the lay reader. The book should be must reading for anyone interested in the way our financial markets work—and sometimes fail to do so."
“Compelling and hugely enlightening…This exposition of a lifetime as a practicing economist is full of insights and lessons for financiers, security analysts, business students and public policy makers, especially Presidents, congressmen, central bankers and the FDIC, SEC, CFTC, FHLB. It should be required reading for some of the insights into the way markets perform.”
N. Gregory Mankiw, The New York Times Book Review:
“The book offers much wisdom….[Greenspan] sees the world through a different set of eyes than do many others in his field. He is driven less by theory, more by data and practical experience….Greenspan’s new book lays out his worldview in light of the financial crisis, the deep recession and the meager recovery of the past five years. His critics often condemn him as an ideologue, but the book demonstrates the unfairness of that accusation. On a wide range of topics—from monetary, fiscal and financial policy to productivity, inequality and globalization—he offers readers a thoughtful, nuanced and open-minded perspective, tempered by many years of having seen both business and public policy from the inside….Whether or not you’re an economist, you can’t help coming away from The Map and the Territory with greater insight into many of the crucial issues facing the nation. Greenspan’s path to fame may have been unconventional, but after reading this book, you’ll understand why five American presidents turned to him and made him one of the great economic policy makers of our time.”
Top Customer Reviews
Greenspan touches on a number of topics, but there are better books on each subject. For example, his discussion of how growth in government benefits has crowded out private savings is the better handled in Edgar Browning's, "Stealing From Each Other." Acharya and Richardson's "Restoring Financial Stability" and "Regulating Wall Street" are still the best books on the financial crisis and how to prevent another. I expect "The Map and the Territory" to sell wildly, but most readers will find that it does not live up to the hype. Greenspan most likely has very interesting things to write, but sadly he has not produced them here.
Thus, I have a close up view of the financial collapse and a broad-based view of the real world economy that underpins it. This perspective has made me a successful investor. But I do confess to having been blindsided by the 2008 collapse, as Mr. Greenspan and most professional economists were. This book explains Mr. Greenspan's opinion as to why so many professional economists were caught napping during the Great Recession that began in 2008 and casts its long shadow over the economy today and for years to come.
Mr. Greenspan gets right to the heart of the question:
On the face of it, the financial crisis also represented an existential crisis for economic forecasting. I began my postcrisis investigations, culminating in this book, in an effort to understand how we all got it so wrong, and what we can learn from the fact that we did..... What went wrong? Why was virtually every economist and policy maker of note so off about so large an issue?
Mr. Greenspan begins to answer the question with with an essay on investor psychology, popularly known as "animal spirits" that delves into the psychological reasons why investors may commit or withhold their capital from the economy. That is followed by a chapter on banking regulation.Read more ›
The Crash of '87 was the market response to uncertainties caused by five years of debt-fueled federal binge spending and speculation in high risk securities. Greenspan's response was Keynesian; he pumped as much public money into the market as it took to maintain the facade of integrity in finance. By 1987 politicians had redefined financial services from necessary parasites to the foundation for all that is good about America. By the end of 1988 well-employed Americans lived falsely optimistic lives in a false economy propped up by massive public debt. The people Greenspan needed to please were pleased, and so politicians and the corporate welfare classes tended to grade Greenspan's performance in the range A+++ to A++.
A different parallel reality tended to be unacknowledged. The middle class was shrinking as the quality of jobs declined. Risks to taxpayers increased as the quality of securities declined and government debt exploded. Still, Greenspan apparently felt the transfer of wealth from middle class consumers to parasitic financial services industries needed more accelerant, so The Maestro continued to weaken quality constraints on credit and debt claiming rational markets would check financial avarice.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not an economist--just a reader, but this is the worst written book ever. There are no topic sentences. There is paragraphing, but it makes no sense. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
i was looking for more definitive assessments in written word and perhaps an epiphany .....the graphs and various inserts were impossible to read on my indle ...dmPublished 11 months ago by dm
This book is a series of independent essays some better than others. Most essays have clear and well researched arguments that cannot be ignored. Read morePublished 13 months ago by A. Wertheim
A really good book, with some very deep and revealing insights. It points many fingers in the right direction, both about the financial crisis of 2008, and about the current... Read morePublished 18 months ago by popivan