Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Conversation Between Machiavelli and Mr.Greenspan:“Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?”

drawing by marguerita
For years, a Congressional hearing with Alan Greenspan was a marquee event. Lawmakers doted on him as an economic sage. Markets jumped up or down depending on what he said. Politicians in both parties wanted the maestro on their side.
Mr. Greenspan’s critics say that he encouraged the bubble in housing prices by keeping interest rates too low for too long and that he failed to rein in the explosive growth of risky and often fraudulent mortgage lending.

Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation - NYTimes.com

In What Mode Faith Should be Kept by Princes (excerpts)-by Niccolo Machiavelli 1469-1527

How praiseworthy it is for a prince to keep his faith, and to live with honesty and not by astuteness everyone understands Nonetheless one sees by experience in our times that the princes who have done great things have known how to get around men's brains.
Thus, you must know that there are two kinds of combat: one with laws, the other with force.
The first is proper to man, the second to beasts.
Therefore it is necessary for a prince to know well how to use the beast and the man.
This role was taught covertly to princes by ancient writers, who wrote that Achilles, and many others ancient princes, were given to Chiron the centaur to be raised, so that he would look after them with his discipline.To have a teacher a half- beast, half-man means nothing other than that a prince needs to know how to use both natures; and the one without the other is not lasting.
A prudent lord, therefore, cannot observe faith, nor should he, when such observance turns against him, and the causes that made him promise have been eliminated.
And if all men were good, this teaching would not be good; but because they are wicked and do not observe faith with you, you also do not have to observe it with them.

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