In This Review

Economic Puppetmasters: Lessons from the Halls of Power
Economic Puppetmasters: Lessons from the Halls of Power
By Lawrence B. Lindsey
American Enterprise Institute Press, 1999, 200 pp.

Former Federal Reserve governor Lindsey takes the reader on a tour of macroeconomic policymaking in the United States, Japan, and Europe over the past few decades, with an interesting focus on four central individuals: America's Alan Greenspan, Japan's Vice Finance Minister Eisuke Sakikabara, Germany's Helmut Kohl, and international financier George Soros. The result is an engaging and well-assembled combination of personal comments, relevant history, and economic analysis tailored for the lay reader. Lindsey shows how historical circumstance and public memory influenced Kohl's policy objectives and Japan's extraordinary reliance on its professional bureaucracy for decision-making. Greenspan has proven to be a consummate contrarian who resists dominant market myopia and political pressure -- while winning the support of the American public. The author predicts a growing economic dynamism in all three regions, but a waning capacity to manage serious crises looms as well. And crises are inevitable in a dynamic capitalist system that relies on the creative destruction wrought by continual innovation and vigorous competition.