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From the archives: Four decades of Alan Greenspan at AEI
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On February 14, Alan Greenspan will return to give the keynote address at a discussion of “The bubble economy — Is this time different?”. Greenspan’s first appearance at AEI may have been in 1974, when he spoke on world oil problems. The conference was the first in Washington to bring representatives of oil producing and oil consuming nations together. Other speakers included Saudi Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Sheik Ahmed Yamani, the architect of Saudi oil policy for decades and also of the 1973 oil embargo; Senator Henry Jackson; John Sawhill, head of the newly created Federal Energy Agency; and Congressman Melvin Laird.
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In 1978, Greenspan participated in a forum with Alfred Kahn and AEI’s Marvin Kosters on weapons against inflation, a subject that deeply concerned the nation and AEI scholars at that time, and one they may turn to again.
In 1990, Greenspan returned to AEI for a star-studded luncheon with all of the former chairmen of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, a position Greenspan held and one that former AEI resident scholar Kevin Hassett holds today.
Greenspan’s most memorable address at AEI came in 1996. He received AEI’s highest honor, the Francis Boyer Award (now known as the Irving Kristol Award). During his Boyer Lecture titled “The Challenge of Central Banking in a Democratic Society” he urged central bankers not to become complacent about the complexities of the interactions of asset markets and the economy. He used the phrase “irrational exuberance” to describe the stock market (then at 6,400) and other asset markets. The next day the markets fluctuated wildly.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Greenspan suggested a replay. “There are two bubbles: We have a stock market bubble, and we have a bond market bubble.”