Alan Greenspan on economics, Trump and more


There are two types of monopoly. There are those which I would call coercive, in which [companies] do something which enables them to raise prices and make larger profits in a limited range of products. Then there is another form, which is actually a more prevalent form of monopoly, in which you gain a single seller status by having a higher quality of product relative to your competitors.

I think that it would be very wise if we restructured our anti-trust statutes to take into consideration that there are certain types of monopolies which we should be encouraging, not discouraging.
Recognise [what] has to be slowed down is entitlement spending, and social security is critical to that. What should have been done in the very beginning when President Roosevelt signed the Social Security bill in 1935 was to have the date when entitlement takes hold move. It never did. It was 65 years of age on entitlement, and that was in a period when average life expectancy was 60, 62 or something of that nature.

What we ought to have done then, and need to do now, is to index the date or the age of entitlement by life expectancy. That has not been done. It’s long overdue. That would be the most important thing that I think Trump could do, which has immediate possibilities of doing something helpful to the system.

Let’s understand what globalisation is. It’s basically breaking down the borders of various countries. There is no question that if all borders were brought down as they are, for example, in the 50 states of the United States, that you’d get higher output per hour than you do currently in the world. The more we can break down those barriers the greater the standard of living is for everybody.

The problem is that benefit is not symmetrically distributed and everyone wants more than their share. It creates what we’re looking at now where everybody is retrenching from globalisation, which is sad because it will bring down the rate of growth. Will it help anybody in particular? I doubt it.
The EU is not a global organisation, but it’s a very large part of the industrial community and I think it’s a force for good.

I thought that the Brexit vote within Britain was most unfortunate. I wish somebody could find a way to have a new referendum, because my suspicion is it may not pass this time. The real crucial issue is basically as much free trade as you can get, if your purpose is to elevate the general level of standard of living of the world at large.