In This Review

In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices From Wall Street to Washington
In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices From Wall Street to Washington
By Robert E. Rubin and Jacob Weisberg
Random House, 2003, 448 pp

Rubin offers personal reflection on two highly successful careers: on Wall Street, where he was co-chair of Goldman Sachs, and in Washington, where he was Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. The result is a good read for anyone interested in either the inner workings of one of the world's most successful financial firms or a once-outsider's reaction to policymaking. Rubin candidly discusses his initial ignorance of Washington and notes both the exhilaration and the frustration of being at the center of economic policymaking. The book is judicious throughout; although it offers no new information on the major international debt crises of the late 1990s, it gives an insider's authoritative treatment of them. On the whole, Rubin expresses his satisfaction with the positions the administration took, which, he says, reflected a reasonable balancing of risks given the information available at the time. Although (or perhaps because) Rubin has extensive experience with financial markets, he does not believe that "the market always knows best," but rather that markets sometimes require corrective action by government.