Volcker, Paul Adolph

Volcker, Paul Adolph,

1927–, American economist, government official, and banker, b. Cape May, N.J. After working as an under secretary in the Treasury Department (1969–74) and as president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank (1975–79), he was appointed the chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve SystemFederal Reserve System,
central banking system of the United States. Established in 1913, it began to operate in Nov., 1914. Its setup, although somewhat altered since its establishment, particularly by the Banking Act of 1935, has remained substantially the same.
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 in 1979. He pursued a restrictive monetary policy to combat inflation but was forced by a stagnant economy and high unemployment to support increased monetary growth during the mid-1980s. Volcker was succeeded as Federal Reserve Board chairman by Alan GreenspanGreenspan, Alan,
1926–, American economist, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board (1987–2006), b. New York City. Influenced by the philosophy of Ayn Rand, Greenspan is a strong supporter of the free market and an opponent of government intervention in the economy.
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 in 1987. He subsequently was successful as an investment banker, retiring in 1996.

In 1999 an official panel he headed that investigated Swiss banks' handling of the accounts of Holocaust victims issued a report that was critical of the banks but did not recommend any changes in a settlement reached in 1998 (see HolocaustHolocaust
, name given to the period of persecution and extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany. Romani (Gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the disabled, and others were also victims of the Holocaust.
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). Volcker was chairman of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation from 2000 to 2006 and, in the wake of the Enron bankruptcy, headed (2002) an independent oversight board at Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm that was responsible for auditing Enron. He also chaired (2004–5) the UN's investigation into wrongdoing in the UN oil-for-food program for Iraq. In 2009 President Barack ObamaObama, Barack
(Barack Hussein Obama 2d), , 1961–, 44th president of the United States (2009–17), b. Honolulu, grad. Columbia (B.A. 1983), Harvard Law School (J.D. 1991).
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 appointed Volcker as the head of the new Economy Recovery Advisory Board. Volcker is the author, with Toyoo Gyohten, of Changing Fortunes: The World's Money and the Threat to American Leadership (1992).


See biography by J. B. Treaster (2004); biography of his professional life by W. L. Silber (2012); study by W. Greider (1988).