December 14, 2005

Greenspan says free markets antithesis of violence

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The rise in global living standards
despite fears of violence is a testament to the value of free
markets in the world, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan
said on Wednesday.

"Despite worrisome pockets of violence and destruction,
commerce and wealth-building continues apace," the U.S. central
bank chief said in a speech prepared for delivery at New York
University, the alma mater for all three of his degrees.

He and British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown
were at the university on Wednesday to receive honorary

"On average, world standards of living are rising, in large
part because of the widening embrace of competitive free
markets, especially by populous and growing China and India,"
Greenspan said.

The Fed chairman, who will step down at the end of January,
called free markets "the antithesis of violence."

Trust and a lack of prejudice are essential to a properly
functioning capitalist system, he added.

Greenspan reiterated that financial market punishment is
the biggest deterrent to company malfeasance, not rigid rules.

"Corporate scandals in the United States and elsewhere have
clearly shown that the plethora of laws of the past century
have not eliminated the less-savory side of human behavior," he