In This Review

The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World
The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World
By Alan Greenspan
Penguin Press, 2007, 544 pp

This engaging and provocative book is more than an account of Chair Greenspan's tenure at the Federal Reserve. It contains a short but revealing memoir of Greenspan's personal and intellectual development as well as a series of concluding chapters that outline Greenspan's views on important economic topics and provide insights into the intellectual foundations of his economic worldview. Greenspan believes that world economic history is going through a unique period, as the entry of hundreds of millions and even billions of workers into the market economy temporarily reduces inflationary pressure even as rapid technological progress is raising productivity. Ultimately, Greenspan suggests, this benign combination of factors will disappear, and economic policymakers in the United States and elsewhere will face more difficult choices. Greenspan's recollections of Ayn Rand are both moving and fascinating. Rand's intellectual attraction for Greenspan was not simply her philosophy; Rand was also the person who helped a shy, work-focused young economist begin to explore the broader worlds of culture and art. One is struck by the similarities in background between Greenspan and the economist Milton Friedman, another child of Jewish refugees who embraced and defended the individualistic values of the Anglo-American world.