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Greenspan confirms foreign competition depressed US wages.

"Too Much Fed" quotes from a Wall Street Journal review of Alan Greenspan's new book in this Mark Thoma post:

Many economists say the Fed, by cutting short-term interest rates to 1% in mid-2003 and keeping them there for a year, helped foster a housing bubble that is now bursting. In his book, which was largely written before much of the recent turmoil in credit markets, Mr. Greenspan defends the policy. "We wanted to shut down the possibility of corrosive deflation," he writes. "We were willing to chance that by cutting rates we might foster a bubble, an inflationary boom of some sort, which we would subsequently have to address....It was a decision done right."

He attributes the housing boom to the end of communism, which he says unleashed hundreds of millions of workers on global markets, putting downward pressure on wages and prices, and thus on long-term interest rates.

Notice how he seems to like low wages and low prices and does NOT like stagnation in stocks, bonds, and housing prices. He does seem to like (asset) bubbles though.

Greenspan oddly credits the end of communism for a global labor glut when he should have credited globalization. Communism only ended in the Soviet Union and affected a relatively small number of workers in nations with minimal trade relations with the West. At its peak, just before dissolution in 1991, the Soviet Union had a population of 293 million, whereas Mexico, China, and India had a combined population more than 10 times that size. Alan, don't try to lay off on the commies the competitive pressures on US wages; you and the free trade coalition were responsible for our declining middle class.

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