Speaking Out

Notes on Greenspan Note

The "Notes" on Honorary Degree Recipient Alan Greenspan (Almanac March 31) neglect important episodes in his career. Martin Mayer's The Greatest Ever Bank Robbery, The Collapse of the Savings and Loan Industry (1990), features Mr. Greenspan, with its Appendix C devoted to the flattering letter Mr. Greenspan wrote in 1985 on behalf of Charles Keating, head of Lincoln Savings and Loan. In that letter the authorities were urged to exempt Keating from restrictions on risky loans, given his exceptional character and soundness of his operation, with "no foreseeable risk to the Federal Savings and Loan Corporation." Mr. Greenspan was a paid consultant to Lincoln, which failed in 1989 at enormous expense to the FSLIC and taxpayer. Mr. Keating ended up in prison.

Mr. Greenspan was for many years a follower of Ayn Rand, contributing three chapters to her book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966), all reflecting her ultra laissez-faire ideology. In one, Mr. Greenspan castigates antitrust law and practice as not merely harmful, but with the "hidden intent" of injuring the "productive and efficient members of our society." In another, he argues forcefully that all government regulation represented "force and fraud" as the means of consumer protection, whereas it is "profit-seeking which is the unexcelled protector of the consumer." He argues that the market system itself is a "superlatively moral system that the welfare statists propose to improve upon by means of preventive law, snooping bureaucrats, and the chronic goad of fear."

This ultra laissez-faire spirit still animates Mr. Greenspan in 1998. He has already indicated his approval of the giant banking mergers now in process. And in a speech before the U.S. newspaper editors in Washington, D.C., on April 2, Mr. Greenspan noted that "It has become increasingly difficult for policy-makers who wish to practice, as they put it, a more 'caring' capitalism to realize the full potential of their economies." Mr. Greenspan clearly opts for realizing the "full potential" of economies rather than following "welfare statists" in trying to improve on a "superlatively moral system."

-- Edward S. Herman, Professor Emeritus of Finance

Every Litter Bit Helps

I wish to share some very good news with University people who live in the neighborhood, and to ask your help in making a success of a small but important new step in changing the quality of life.

The Philadelphia Streets Department and the University City District have agreed to a pilot program of new litter baskets for University City, installing two wire mesh litter receptacles per intersection along the following major commercial and transit streets in University City:

  • Market Street, 38th to 50th Streets.
  • 40th Street, Filbert to Walnut Streets.
  • Baltimore Avenue, 40th to 50th Streets.

Installation will begin on Monday, May 4, and will be complete in a couple of weeks. The Streets Department has agreed to empty each basket at least once a day, Monday through Saturday.

Earlier this month, UCD Safety Ambassadors began distributing educational flyers to homes and businesses adjacent to the new litter basket locations. After the baskets are installed, the Ambassadors and Public Space Maintenance personnel will continually monitor the new baskets for misuse and abuse.

Please tell your neighbors and tenants about this enhancement to the quality of life of University City. It is important that we observe the proper use of these baskets so that they are not abused. We hope to expand this program in the future, so the success of this first round is very important.This is one of many ways in which the UCD is working with City government to improve services in the University City area.

--Paul Steinke, Executive Director, University City District

Speaking Out welcomes reader contributions. Short, timely letters on University issues

can be accepted by Thursday at noon for the following Tuesday's issue, subject to right-of-reply

guidelines. Advance notice of intention to submit is appreciated.--Ed.

Almanac, Vol. 44, No. 31, April 28, 1998