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Alan Greenspan was born in New York City on March 6 1926 to Herman H and Rose G Greenspan His bachelors masters and PhD degrees in economics were all earned at New York University For three decades 1954-1974 and 1977-1987 he was chairman and president of an economic consulting firm in New York City Townsend-Greenspan Co Inc Martin 12 His distinguished record during this time was reflected by his elections as chairman of the Conference of Business Economists president of the National Association of Business Economists and director of the National Economists Club His carer in the private sector was interrupted by calls to public service first as chairman of President Fords Council of Economic Advisors 1974-1977 then as chairman of President Reagans Commission on Social Security Reform 1981-1983 as well as several other presidential boards and commissionsMartin 22 These included President Reagans Economic Policy Advisory Board and a consultant position with the Congressional Budget Office Greenspan assumed his most important public position on August 11 1987 replacing Paul A Volcker as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System the Fed The Fed seeks to control the creation of money and to influence key interest rates thereby controlling flucuations in prices of financial market assets such as stocks and bonds Perhaps most important among the Feds responsibilities is to provide temporary loans through the so-called discount window to banks and other financial institutions in times of need Martin 33 This lender of last resort function was the primary reason the Fed was created by Congress in 1913 since individual bank failure had often spread to other banks leading to a general financial market collapse Less than two months after assuming office Greenspan was faced with such a financial market crisis After peaking at 2722 in August of 1987 the Dow Jones industrial average an index of 30 major industrial stock prices floated downward by 17 percent over the next
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