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LETTERS

Economics vs. finance

November 19, 2005

Eric J. Weiner's commentary, "A legacy of deregulation" (Opinion, Nov. 14), lumps economics and finance as identical disciplines. Weiner sees Alan Greenspan as "the oracle of the nation's economy" and also as someone with a commitment to "reshape the financial community."

As chairman of the Federal Reserve, Greenspan concentrated on the flow of money and credit, which represent wealth (although not with great accuracy). That's a financial task. He virtually ignored economics, which deals primarily with the extraction and use of the planet's resources -- the world's real wealth. The two disciplines overlap, but they are far from identical. We could better understand the health of the planet if the terms "economics" and "finance" were used more discretely.

ROBERT SOLLEN

Carpinteria

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