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2006年,艾伦·格林斯潘(Alan Greenspan)从他干了18年的美联储主席任上退休,其时名誉如日中天。他引导美国经济穿越互联网枯荣循环,谨慎地渡过2001年9月11日恐怖袭击带来的潜在增长威胁,在任期间GDP和生产率增长迅猛。在他的最后一次美联储理事会会议上,时任纽约联储主席蒂莫西·盖特纳(Timothy Geithner)对格林斯潘进行了如今看上去颇令人尴尬的高度赞扬,说格林斯潘的名誉在未来还会继续上升而不是下降。

区区三年后,诺贝尔经济学奖获得者保罗·克鲁格曼(Paul Krugman)借用巨蟒(Monty Python)的鹦鹉素描,说曾经的大师格林斯潘如今已经名誉扫地。央行被广泛视为在本世纪最初的几年里玩忽职守。它们放任全球失衡日积月累,亲切地看着巨大的信用泡沫产生,忽视按揭市场所闪现的危险信号,不假思索地赞美薪酬过高的投资银行家所创造的创新但有毒的金融产品。

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