[Economist] Rob Johnson, who watched the Blinder ordeal, says Blinder made the mistake of behaving as if the Fed was a place where competing ideas and assumptions were debated. "Sociologically, what was happening was the Fed staff was really afraid of Blinder. At some level, as an applied empirical economist, Alan Blinder is really brilliant," says Johnson. In closed-door meetings, Blinder did what so few do: he challenged assumptions. "The Fed staff would come out and their ritual is: Greenspan has kind of told them what to conclude and they produce studies in which they conclude this. And Blinder treated it more like an open academic debate when he first got there and he'd come out and say, 'Well, that's not true. If you change this assumption and change this assumption and use this kind of assumption you get a completely different result.' And it just created a stir inside--it was sort of like the whole pipeline of Greenspan-arriving-at-decisions was disrupted." This put him in conflict with Greenspan and his staff. "A lot of senior staff... were pissed off about Blinder--how should we say?--not playing by the customs that they were accustomed to," Johnson says.
Um ano após sua saída, Blinder foi convidado a proferir as célebres Lionel Robbins Memorial Lectures da London School of Economics. A transcrição das aulas virou um livrinho clássico, Central Banking in Theory and Practice, lançado no início de 1999.
Hoje o Valor publicou uma longa entrevista com Blinder, que está lançando um novo livro que aumenta a já enorme biblioteca de obras sobre a crise recente. Da resenha de Roger Lowenstein para a New Republic:
Say this for Alan S. Blinder: the man has not been jaded. His new book on the Wall Street meltdown, After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead, is animated by a lay person’s sense of wonder and—at times—horror at the country’s financial mess.
Pois bem, eis que, no finalzinho do livro mais recente de Nassim Taleb, Antifragile, encontro a seguinte história:
At Davos, during a private coffee conversation that I thought aimed at saving the world from, among other things, moral hazard and agency problems, I was interrupted by Alan Blinder, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, who tried to sell me a peculiar investment product that aims at legally hoodwinking taxpayers. It allowed the hight net worth investor to get around the regulations limiting deposit insurance (at the time, $100,000) and benefit from coverage for near-unlimited amounts. The investor would deposit funds in any amount and Prof. Blinder's company would break it up into smaller accounts and invest in banks, thus escaping the limit; it would look like a single account but would be insured in full. In other words, it would allow the super-rich to scam taxpayers by getting free goverment-sponsored insurance. Yes, scam taxpayers. Legally. With the help of former civil servants who have an insider edge.
I blurted out: "Isn't this unethical?" I was then told in response "It is perfectly legal," adding the even more incriminating "we have plenty of former regulators on the staff," (a) implying that what was legal was ethical and (b) asserting that former regulators have an edge over citizens.
Now stage two - things get worse. Blinder and the dean of Columbia University Business School wrote an op-ed opposing the government's raising the insurance limit on individuals. The article argued that the public should not have the unlimited insurance that Blinder's clients benefit from.
Não descobri se houve uma réplica de Blinder, mas, se a história é verdadeira, "horror at the country's financial mess" só pode ser uma forma aguda de dissonância cognitiva - ou pura canalhice.