Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Secrets of the Templ

Secrets of the Temple

William Greider

By Richard E. Noble

“Secrets of the Temple” is a book that discusses the interaction of the Federal Reserve and Government economic policy. This book is basically a detailed analysis of the Reagan administration and the Volcker chairmanship of the Reserve.
Once again Mr. Greider teaches us how the “clock” works by taking us on an intimate tour through the internal mechanisms of the “clock”. This is the hands on approach to learning. I like it. Actually it is the only way that I have ever learned to do anything. One can read history and theory until he is blue in the face but until you actually go there and do it - you don’t really get the whole story. So this is the next best thing. Mr. Greider takes us on a tour of the factory - from assembly to design and through sales and advertising.
This book is nearly 800 pages long. It’s a bargain. If I had any negative criticism it would be that it contains too much information. But that seems to be Mr. Greider’s style - no one is going to accuse him of not “doing his homework”. I guess he gets that from his journalist background.
I have now read four of Mr. Greider’s books and I have been thinking of going through them one by one and comprising a book of facts and figures. If I actually did that I think that I would have an encyclopedia of economic knowledge.
I really can’t imagine how long it took Mr. Greider to put together this volume. I should think that one such effort would be the achievement of a life-time.
Writing a book like this is not like writing a novel - this takes brains as well as creative imagination. Once again this book is not a “read”; it is a “study”.
I read all of Mr. Greider’s books with a highlighter in hand. Even Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal give praise to this book on the back cover.
I am not going to try to give any detailed analysis of what is in this book - you have to read it for yourself - but if you are interested in “money” and how it works in our system this is a good place to start.
On first glance one might think that there was a battle going on between the Reagan administration and the Volcker Federal Reserve. But it seems to me if there was a fight going on, it was to see who could make the rich richer.
The more Reagan spent and created deficits, the higher Voicker raised the interest rates. Now if Reagan was a Democrat and creating these huge deficits on social spending, Volcker’s high interest rates might have had some sort of leveling effect. But when Reagan was cutting taxes to the super wealthy and spending on military while closing down any social spending, building unemployment and chasing businesses overseas, Volcker high interest rates just seemed to be adding insult to injury. The small investment class - the top 10 to 24 percent gained on every account. There is no doubt - the rich truly got richer and the poor got poorer. And since the Reagan administration this trend has continued.
This book not only tells you what was supposed to happen, but what actually happened. And it seems that what was supposed to be and what was, were for the most part two different things.
I don’t know if I am ever gong to understand economics. I’m beginning to think that an economics text book is more like a program at the race tract. The book tells you what happened in the past and gives you the present status of the principals. Then the race starts. After the race is over you review the program. “Oh Yeah,” you say that is why I should have bet the 4 instead of the 2 - but it is too late. It was all right there in black and white ... but not quite.
After reading Mr. Greider’s books I feel much like Mr. Chaim Weizmann who went on a cruise with Albert Einstein. After the cruise was over Mr. Weisman is quoted as saying; “Einstein explained his theory to me every day and soon I was fully convinced - that he understood it.”
Ah yes, I am thoroughly convinced that Mr. Greider knows what he is talking about - I only wish I did.

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