Before he helped create America’s largest financial crisis since the Great Depression, Alan Greenspan was many things. He was an executive at an investment firm, an advisor to President Nixon, and a spokesman for Apple.
Yep, as you can see from this 1985 commercial, Alan Greenspan was shilling the Apple IIc computer at a time when he was considered a competent financial mind. In the ad Greenspan can be seen touting software that allows you to check bank balances and pay bills — the most futuristic uses of home computer technology in 1985:
I suggest an Apple IIc, and an Apple modem. Then you can call up your bank and see how much money you have. You can even pay off your bills automatically. If you have any money left over, congratulations, you’re doing better than the government is.
What a zinger. But apparently it didn’t offend Ronald Reagan, who became president in 1981. Greenspan was appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve just two years after this ad was released.
As it turns out, Greenspan’s worldview was better suited to selling computers than it was to ensuring the strength of the American economy.
“I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms,” Greenspan said in 2008 after he helped enable a collapse of the American financial system through decades of anti-regulation policies.
“You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well,” Greenspan said.