Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan asserted his unwavering support of globalization despite recent terrorist acts to a packed Media and Public Affairs auditorium full of business school students, professors and area professionals Monday night.
“Fear of terrorist acts . has the potential to induce disengagement from activities, both domestic and across borders,” Greenspan said in his first visit to GW. “It would be a great tragedy if progress toward greater openness were stopped or reversed.”
In his televised speech, “The Challenges of Globalization,” Greenspan said there is much more to be done by world leaders to ensure the progression of global economic activity.
“A far greater challenge for us has been, and will continue to be, making clear that globalization is an endeavor that can spread worldwide the values of freedom and civil contact – the antithesis of terrorism,” he said.
Increasing interaction among the world’s national economic systems often receives much criticism, Greenspan said. Before Sept. 11, globalization summits including the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and World Bank were attacked by opponents who claimed that global capitalism exploits the world’s people and resources, he said.
Greenspan dismissed anti-globalization sentiment as having a flawed view on how free and open markets function.
“One would be hard pressed to cite examples of free and prosperous societies that shunned the marketplace,” he said.
Greenspan, who has served as chairman of the Federal Reserve since 1987, is often cited as a prominent contributor to the nation’s longest period of economic expansion. In his introduction, colleague Alfred Broaddus, president of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, said many people in the business world refer to the American boom of 1990s as the “Greenspansion.”
Several students who attended Greenspan’s lecture said they were impressed by his comments.
“I was amazed to be in his presence because Greenspan is a genius,” senior Lisa Freeman said. “But I would have preferred it if he had focused more on the current economic situation.”
“He had a great message and basically mapped out the path of globalization and what we need to do in the face of a new enemy,” senior Brian Leuchtenburg said.
Brian Dubrow, a senior, agreed.
“Having someone as renowned as Alan Greenspan was really something, and good for GW, too,” he said.
Greenspan said he understands opponents of globalization but disagrees with their arguments.
“Technological advance and globalization distress those who once thrived in industries that were at the forefront of technology, which have since become increasingly noncompetitive,” he said.
The event was part of the School of Business and Public Management’s Robert P. Maxon lecture series, which is conducted annually to draw distinguished business leaders to campus.