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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 23, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm EST

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this is a vision that is born out of john's great and deep thinking. it is a vision that is forged out of the view of the interdependence of civilizations around the world. it is a view that is being driven more by brilliant people in this university and it's been realized in the campus already in abu dhabi, plans for other
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campuses, terms for sites in all the different world, with as great a deal to buy people meeting each other, discussing with each other, debating with each other, ideas and challenging each other about their ideas and prejudices that we can build a stronger global society and the future. so i am very privileged to have been invited first bulb by mike great friend rob shrum and by john sexton to be a small part in a great project, which is one of the past initiatives that is going to change our world for good over the next two years. and i believe the worst events in supporters and friends of new york university r&d privilege to be part of a project that is going to change just your country, but change the world. i started off as a lecture at the university when i was somewhat younger. and uni
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any use to go into the streets of london to try to rescue. and they raised what his real motives were. [laughter]
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and then we have a great prime minister in which virtue is probably the on the prime minister because of his own behavior. churchill presided in 1955 and he changed -- the resolution he made to winston churchill was never to drink before lunchtime. and when he retired, he changed it, that he would never drink alcohol before breakfast. [laughter] we have a prime minister called rosemary who would never raise, but a clash of the cabinet meeting, which is the biggest local calendar. but when he retired company said the greatest thing that happened in his life is nothing to do with politics. it was his horse winning the greatest racing competition at the base in britain, the grand national. so i decided i would do something far more project is. i would work with new york university. so i'm very privileged to be here today.
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caught mark [applause] when i was chairman we had meetings in washington. and this is what i wanted to speak about briefly before we have free to ask any question and to continue that discussion. we had a meeting a few years ago and never demonstrators outside the meeting and they were complaining about globalization and all the affects of it. and i looked around at posters of were being this late at that rally they were all all sorts of different representative, but one poster that stood out and someone had put on worldwide campaign against globalization. [laughter] and you understand -- you understand what people meant. in france they have an anti-globalization campaign, which was very simple. it said no to 2009. i was in 2008. the completely nihilist approach. but i want to say that would've
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been happening over the past two years and what is likely to happen over the last two years raises profound questions about the global economy, our global society and our role as citizens for the future. and in a great city, this is the greatest city of america in new york and integrate city is a profound question we've got to think about. the good news and bad miss is this. the difficult news for america and europe to accept is that for the first time in 200 years of industrial histories, for the first time -- for the first time even going to worsen depression and wars again come we've never reached a position where for the first time europe and america together are being coproduced by the world, particularly asia. uninvested, by these countries. it was hardly surprising europe and america 10% would stop being the continents to produce more than 60% of the good and
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manufactures and worlds exports beard and if you think about a single fact or come in this massive change from its restructuring of the world economy is taking place come he would probably be worried about the security of your job and the security of your children in the security of your savings and investments for the future. because we are seeing a massive shift in the industrial productive potential of different parts of the world. but there is a second change that is working its way through and really going to be seen over the next two years as perhaps the most powerful driver of world economic growth. the billion people who are producers in asia, and china, but also in the emerging market, they are not going to be content. they want to beat consumers as well. so the biggest driving force of the next 10 years will be the rise of the middle classes and all the different countries and continents that we call a
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emerging markets at the moment. and this is the huge opportunity for the world economy to grow again. this is the exit strategy for the financial crisis that we've got. this is the opportunity for american ingenuity and dynamism and innovation to show that it's producing good, custom-built goods, sophisticated goods, knowledge-based goods that are going to not only sleep markets of america and europe, but sweep those consumer markets of the future. the world economy can we balance. the world economy can create jobs. the world economy can create the future. the world economy can transcend the curses that was very deep and this massive structural change between europe, america, asia and the rest of the world. to do that come you cannot pursue orthodox policies because you're at a point of transition in the world economy. you cannot afford not to invest in education and trade in
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training and skills and to knowledge and science. if you do so, you will not have the goods on the services that will be the most sophisticated and the ones people want to buy. in america with its great inventive genius and his credibility to create companies that can fall to the world can be one of the great beneficiaries of this new era. you're creating a consumer market in asia this twice the size of a consumer markets in america. the second thing that's going to happen is if we trade freely with other countries and don't become protectionist, then we can get the pictures of these markets. there's a danger or protectionist sentiments at the moment. people say we've got a problem because of that imports imports from other countries. think of it the other way around. we got an opportunity here because we've got a huge export market that free trade can allow us to benefit. the third thing will happen in the future for going to make the most of these new opportunities that are unheard of since the industrial revolution is there's got to be global cooperation. if companies don't work
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together, the more fun the world will grow more slowly and more people will be unemployed and more people have lower standards of living than is possible that if we work together. and i think the biggest test of the next few years is whether america and europe and africa and asia can work together in cooperation to build economic policies that mean that you have sustained growth and environmental improvements, sustainable growth and create jobs. i estimate you can create 50 million extra jobs and this would help america with previous unemployment if we had coordinated policies across the world. so the message i have from my experience and learning from what we had to do to counteract the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 is that there are global problems and they need global solutions. you can't have financial stability and america if it's financial instability member country. you can't have the departmental
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policies and america that work if they're going to be undermined by bad environmental policies elsewhere. and you can't growth without trade. and that means you have to cooperate with other countries to do so. this week is the week of the nobel peace prize been awarded controversially as you know to chinese citizens. some of you may have heard the story of alexander bell, who is the founder of the nobel prize. he woke up one morning while holiday in print. he saw a newspaper that had wrongly an obituary of him, even though he was perfectly alive. it was a mistake because of his brother who had actually lost his line. he was one of the most notorious and mismatch be responsible for death than almost any other
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because he was a manufacturer of armaments and he sold them with impunity to the whole of the world and allowed army of to fight each other with his weapons. and novell was so impressed by this criticism that he decided to his mind and hence the nobel peace prize, science and to fix an intention to do something good in the last years of his life in the earlier years of his life. blake novell changed, the world can change and we can actually do things better in the future. one of the great things i've been asked to do in the last few weeks as it's 50 years this year since john f. kennedy was the presidency of the united states of america ague dehydration
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address that many of you have read and absorbed and been inspired by as i was as many other people. the migration address the many, many great phrases and sentiments and invitations to do good and asked what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. ever negotiate from fear. never fear to negotiate. the torch, the past generation in fact, richard nixon asked because he was in a presidential election, which of these he would have love to give himself as the president. he replies to manipulate prepared for the united states of america. i would ask people compiling if i would read some of the words from his inaugural address. and they asked people from every continent from india, to, latin
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america, europe, to dissection of the great inaugural address. this competitive from the list of international speakers, reading out this address in a new way for a new age. and the part i was asked to read was divided we will certainly fail. united we can work together to abolish the great evils of our time, hunger, illiteracy, conflict and war. and i think these are the sentiments that should influence us as we move forward. but just in the prices. it has ruined the lives of large numbers of people affordably. we can build a better global economy future and i'm suggesting one of the ways we can go about this. but we can underpin the economy by an ethical view of how different continents can work together, share ideas and benefit from each other's faith and traditions. there's nowhere better to start learning the lessons about the past so we can influence the
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future than this great university, which is accredited for president is now leading the first global network university of our time, the first in our history and one that is certainly going to change the world for good. thank you for the opportunity to address you. [applause] >> it was a great crisis and gordon brown has written a great book about it called beyond the crash, first crisis of globalization in which he touches on many of the themes he just sounded. in the interest of letting people in the audience be part of this, i'm going to ask one question and then we'll open it up to you. one of the most gripping scenes in the book is -- in the powerfully convey what he did in their flight back from america on september 26, 2008 as the
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world teeter on the brink of financial collapse. you just left a meeting in the white house on board that plane typically yielding the black felt phrase and on the second piece of legal paper wrote another phrase and those two phrases played a decisive role in rescuing the world from what could've been in a lot downward spiral. do you mind telling the story and telling how you got the americans to come around? nl, it was also frightening. if you think back to that. when lehman brothers had collapsed in the markets had frozen and nobody quite knew which was the next institution was going to pull, nobody quite knew how we are going to get out of this. people are crapping around for solutions because they didn't quite yet understand how serious the crisis was.
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and we have tried just about everything and so had the americans who tried to provide the quiddity or short-term finance for the banks on the grounds that this was simply a cash flow problem if you like, ordinary problems rather than a structural problem, we try to give the banks money. and we tried to persuade the banks we should get extra capital to write issues so they can issue shares and try and get people really successful. and all the time we were getting nearer the point at which banks would not be able to handle the cash to the customers because they just did not have the money coming in in the way that was necessary despite the fact that the bank of england and the european central bank were providing resources for a short period of time and i sense the problem was not short finance. an ordinary way.
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and i have people working of the last few weeks before that about what was the real position of the banks, what was the true position? because all of these assets bet on property that was really going down in volume so quickly. companies were collapsing and that's the whole value of these companies of the balance sheet. i realized we the situation that had the opposite of work and really thought the system is about. we have capitalism without capital's. the banks did not have enough capital. and one banker said to me, you know, i'm only beginning to understand the risks i've been taking. i thought that's a bit late. [laughter] another went dead his bank was collapsing and he needed williams of pounds of capital to underpin his institutions. cytec to george bush in the white house and a lot of thinkers and wall street and all the other presidents and prime
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ministers who are here in new york for the united nations meeting. and we couldn't get a consensus because nobody quite knew how bad the problem was. i realized we had to banks, actually three drinks that would've collapsed within a few days had we not acted. so i was coming back and sort of realized we have got -- we the government has got to recapitalize these banks. we've got to buy shares on these banks. we've actually got to semi-nationalized these things otherwise some appeal to keep going. if we didn't put n., nobody else would we can survive a short-term funding because they be unable very soon to pay out money to people who work on banks to do the service for them. as does bring back the plan plane is working with people who was one of the greater advisers which i would've rather done in a flight to the united states. so i wrote on the path we've got to restructure the banks immediately and we were going to
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put up we decided $50 billion, which is about 60, 70, $80 billion. we decided we had to do that. we set are quite persuade the banks they would deliver shareholdings, even when they were in great position under no circumstances would they get government and the quiddity. so we would have to give them an ultimatum. either you agree to our proposals or we will stop funding el. it wasn't that is no taxation without representation, but no recapitalization. and not very elegant. but that's what we had to do. and so in the next few days, we tried to persuade europe and try to persuade the americans that this was the way forward. america was doing top at that
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time. >> dying of disease assets. we thought that wasn't going to solve the problem. but gradually people started to realize this was the only way forward. we made an announcement. no one is going to find a debate for by the weekend, and europeans had invited me to their meeting said they agreed to do it and they realize they would recapitalize banks as well. and so, we managed to avert what would've been a think a situation of a few days where you couldn't have gotten your money from a cash point and certainly businesses wouldn't have been able to pay their employees because banks would've been unable to meet the commitment they had. it was a real crisis. it's only by understanding depth and severity of the crisis that you can understand the difficulties that president obama and others have been trying to get out of the crisis. it was so severe and so fundamental. the markets for is a completely that you got a long way back
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from a situation that was so desperate and so severe. so we restructure the banks and then we decided that we would approach all the other countries to do that. and then we decide to defect to refloat the world economy so you have resources in the world economy so it can stop and go again and that we move toward the april 2009 meeting where we have the g20 set up for the first time all over the country and underpin the world economy by trillion dollars of resources, never done before, never tried before, but i think these combined decisions about these countries, america, europe, china india as well meant we avoided what could have been the great depression. we certainly have got a great and terrible recession, but he didn't ascend into the great depression that we've had in the 1930s now. we've got a lot of lessons we've got to put the global financial system to work, but we've got to get back to work pretty quickly
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because you can't talk about an economic policy if you got 10% of your citizens which is not something any civilized society wants to tolerate if it can do something about it. and these are avoidable and with got to do something about. >> microphones and the i/o. people can just line up there. there's one up there. yes, sir. [inaudible]xxxxx >> -- do you think what we did in this country after the recessionx was adequate?xxx in the second question was less about economic policy than about anotherx part of global civilx society and that information. i wondered if you could say something about diplomacy and security leaks and security after which he leaks in the
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julian issam's situation. what kind of policies do we need to develop to do with situations like this? >> is quite difficult to talk about secret diplomacy now, isn't it? it's one of these terms that people will talk about with a bit more caution in the future. can i say first on the financial reform that but i feel is missing at the moment is that we do things in a coordinated way. i think one of the problems that caused the financial crisis was if you have one financial center, like new york or london that could be doing all the right things, he can easily be undermined by another financial center that is in a race to the bottom in standard. and so, there is no doubt that a lot of the problems arose in new york and in london and there's
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also no doubt that a shadow banking system developed, which was being operated from a whole series of regulatory and tax haven. and if you have a race to the bottom in standard, where people can move the money from a place that is to regulations and rules that make sense to a place that is lax and really competing for business on the basis of the laxity of the standards, then you've got a problem. so my plea would be for senate rules and regulations for the future, that america and europe in the major financial centers of the world could now include hong kong and the newport as well as the european and american centers that we coordinate our rules and regulations and standards in such a way and in a trance way that we don't have this race to the bottom that we saw in the past. because with british institutions, to follow the money you have to go to almost every part of the world and ended up in tax havens and regulatory havens that really were, if you like, lowering the
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standards we've got to expect if we are going to have proper financial stability for the future. so the lesson is not whether america and britain are doing the right or wrong things. i think they're trying to do the right ends at the moment. the lesson is we don't coordinate, than some other regime offer itself as a lax regime and cars were problems in the future. as far as diplomacy is concerned, you know, there is not and that has come out of these tapes that suggests that in most cases, america is not pursuing an honest and principled foreign policy. or certain parts to question, certain parts nobody will like, certain decisions that might look quite changed to some people. generally speaking, what we see is an america that is trying to plate and honorable role in the world in trying to do with past. it's of course the
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implementation of the sentiments that becomes the issue in so many different parts of the world, we are working for peace in the middle east, where you're working to get your troops out of afghanistan, much of a stable afghanistan we are working to make sure pakistan is free of terrorism, where you are working to see less nuclear proliferation, these other games by president obama's policy. and i don't think there's much i've seen in the e-mails and everything else that suggest that it's anything other than the wish of the americans to achieve. but obviously, they are embarrassments for me and other people and things that are set in effect got to accept that. [inaudible] >> -- ask your question. as you know, as an emerging market with great potential, chinese economies growing really spurs. so my question is, how will you
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command on china's role -- china's role on the road of recovery? and how we do command your personal experience with chinese leaders and china? thank you. >> i don't think there's any country that did more to stimulate this economy to keep the world economy as a whole moving forward than china. if you look at the figures, the amount of extra construction, the amount of extra investment company amount of extra stimulus in the economy was greater in china than in almost any other country in the world. and china has had the capacity over these last 30 years to take 400 million people out of poverty. and that is a great achievement. i know from talking to president who that they are where they proud of. now, we can have a disagreement with china about human rights and about the freedom ever
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press, but we must also seek agreement with china about the future. my argument in the book is that if china india, asia, america and europe and latin america coordinated our policy. and if they raise the consumption of goods and services and take people out of poverty more quickly than previously planned. and at the same time indonesia, japan and other countries are able to do likewise, you would have such a boosted demand that the american european companies can still move forward at an export goods to the rest of the world. and i would just say the biggest single change you will see in the next 10 years, and we party
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scene massive change to the product to be of the chinese worker and the asian growth we've seen in the last 10 years. but the biggest change you will see in the next 10 years is this going to more middle-class consumers wanting to buy goods, including the brand of goods, technology driven goods that we produce here in america and in europe. and i would be the biggest boost that could happen and that will create thousands of jobs in america because were in a position to export as his britain and europe to the rest of the world. so china is absolutely vital for the world of the future economy not because of what it can do for us, but because winning combination and a concert the rest of the world can do to boost world jobs. so we need more dialogue. we need more discussion. i believe that the best thing that could have been to push growth forward in the next year or two has china agree to
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consume more -- america invested more in education and to elegy for the future. europe tackled its unemployment and of course we've got africa and different continents of the world growing again. i don't think we're so far away from getting that idea onto the agenda is part of the major discussion. you can see how china's role in the future is. >> good afternoon, mr. prime minister. he and daniel, a senior at eastern school of business at nyu tonight the terrific privilege of studying for my year in london at bedford square. i hope you'll be all to drop by at some point as rowdy number six. >> with them to give us advice. could you come back and help? >> about to come back with you. i say on "the daily show" and i know you mentioned market. i couldn't agree more than 76. now for part of my senior
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research. i'd like to know from you what ethical principles drive you and if you have any advice for 21-year-old such as myself who holds a moral compass and hopes to be able to continue to hold it and modify it as i entered the workforce. >> that's a very good question. i do wish you well. much of what i say we need economists in britain at the moment. to think about coming to work in our country as well. you know, it's a central question of political economy. what is the morality that is going to underpin a successful marketplace? and you know, the city of economics is changing quite fast now. because in the 80s, we were talking about the efficient markets model. now people are talking about behavioral economics. try to explain why people don't always act rationally and why fairness, why, if you like fear,
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when irrational exuberance dominates the behavior you see in the marketplace. and i think we're going back to the study of political economy. and i think that will be something that any economics student would want to play the part in examining in future years. and as i understand political economy, it started with adam smith who happened to be a citizen of the town in which i grew up in adam smith put in this interrupt their has a two-mile dash can you hear me? and this two-mile esplanade, he would look out every morning and see ships coming in and out the retreating and this is the mental of the 18th century.
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and because he saw the trading taking place he then thought trade is the engine of growth and then he realized to trade you have to specialize. especially if you have a proper division of labor between those who do certain tasks than those who did others. his whole theory about the economy worked was built from this idea was actually transforming the whole economic landscape which he was born. adam smith thought the world sentiments, which was the book he also wrote was far more important than not trade, the wealth of nations. and he always said this was the most important thing that he was trying to contribute to this study of society. and underpinning the economy and underpin a market that had in his youth to be volumes that people hold to be important. and of course you value enterprise and value competition and you value the
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entrepreneurship that is absolutely vital to the success of the economy. but he also said you got to value fairness and the values in the everyday life. you don't admire people front of you who don't show integrity or you can't trust and are not responsible and don't do the duty and live off the backs of other people, rather than help contribute to the common good. and in the same way, she said the economy and the big multinational companies, if they don't exhibit the volumes, then there is a danger that we will have, as we had two or three years ago. markets adult self regulate, but mark is the self destruct. so i would say the volumes he wrote about in the 18th century are still the values that have got to guide our economy. and i think the 20th century was a battle between markets and
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state. what power should market have, what should government have? you up when payment markets ruled and the other side seam states ought to be far more important. the 21st century, i think people will say that markets and states can both become vested in interest. they can both take power in the expense of the ordinary citizen in the public interest and to control and temper and supervise the operation of government the market, they've got to be visibly underpinned by clear, apical volumes. you've got to test a markets are working and governments are working according to these volumes. are they acting responsibly? is their integrity? can they be trusted? are they operating in a fair manner? i think these are the volumes of got to look for any company and in countries we are operating as well as the volumes do you admire in the families and neighborhoods where you live. and that's the case i think for
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political economy becoming more important in the study of economics in the future. and that's why would urge everybody who is thinking of a career in economics and business finance to reach some of the great works of political economy, which showed that in an economy sustainably prosper only when there is trust, integrity, responsibility and where people except in response to them being allowed to do everything they want to do with their enterprise and in a competitive environment, they've got to exercise responsibility and not be reckless in the risk-taking at the expense of others. so these are the values that i think are age-old and come out of our experience of learning lessons from the crisis. >> thank you. you have my vote. [laughter] >> i wish we could stay for another whole hour. >> aire, thank you. i am from china, so i have one question regarding china.
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what specific suggestions or advice do you have for china to boost its consumption, which is very important, significant job for china to do and to adjust both in the megatrend of globalization? >> some of you may note that the amount of the national income in america and consumption of fish are a something like 70%. the amount of consumption in china as a share of national income is about 35%. so china is producing a great deal, but only a third of what it is producing is being consumed by its own citizens. and that's what china can do more to help the health and help the world economy. you know, in the 19th century, britain and america, which were among the first countries to industrialized germany and france, not one of these countries committed themselves during a period of industrialization to the reduction for abolition of poverty. they thought they might be
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something about it with welfare programs, but they were never late explicitly committed to the reduction of poverty. china, india, african countries are. as to the great credit that that is commitment. they're going to create a safety net so people have health provision. they're going to create a safety net so people are unemployed to have some form of income. you're going to create a safety net so people who are retired and elderly have some sort of provision for their retirement. and if these things can happen at the same time people are in a position to use some of two by wages that we take for granted and with large numbers of people and a position to buy consumers goods would hope not just chinese people, but hope the rest of the world because
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instead of america consuming more and you're consuming more, china would also be consuming a great deal in the demand and supply the world would be a balance, which is not at the moment. so i think the chinese government understands and wants to do more to help people who are going into the towns to take more people out of poverty. if we were to advance a more quickly in the next year or two and if we had an international agreement, which china felt comfortable about, that was part of the agreement that different countries would do certain things. visited the heat out of the currency war, the heat out of the balance of payments, which is the latest issue discussed in the 220. it would be china doing what it wanted to do, but a bit more quickly than perhaps they plan to do and it would be boosting consumer demand and exports and production right around the world. so china can play a major part
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in rebalancing the world economy but also indicating growth in america and europe. i think the events over the next 10 years or clear that china is going to consider if we can move that a bit faster than a lot of the employment were likely to see in the next two years can be avoided. >> unfortunate we have time for one more brief question. go ahead. >> my answers are too long. you might know. >> hi, i am a reporter with forbes and i'm wondering if youo could comment a little bit on the thought of the crisis as it's developing in europe. i'm wondering if you think the mechanisms in place, both the current fund for no mechanisms are going to be developing in portugal, spain and other countries. under other countries would recommend? >> for those people who are not involved in its european issues, let me just say that the euro is the single currency.
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its introduction was very, very controversial. britain was one of the countries that is responsible. we thought it was difficult to manage. at the same time, there's a huge amount of skepticism. in other words, people skeptical about whether to work in the long run. in fact, there's a lot of your skepticism in britain as well. there's one eurosceptic being interviewed is being asked why he was so skeptical and so hostile and so anti-euro what he was against anything european. the interviewer out of frustration several why are you so against it? is it ignorance or apathy? man replied, i don't know when i don't care. [laughter] and the euro -- the euro at the
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moment is undergoing a difficult time because greece has got a financial problem. they find it difficult to get tax revenues and and it's got a big publics that are. dana scott banks that really were over lending and particularly in the property sector, some that have been in america and particularly also an island as well, which is a huge problem because they overbuild property. as a result of them lending money to property develops that can never pay that money back. you've got portugal with a lot of private debt which is people outside. they ask if you got all these problems and it got all this help from his individual countries, can the euro itself survive? i think it's got to survive even though i did not want britain to join the euro. once you've made a big decision like reading a single currency,
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you got to make it work. there's three things that can be done to make it work. got to bring together the three difficult issues, the fiscal deficits, the bank liabilities have just talked about and the inability to grow. if you can only solve fiscal deficits, but not grow camille have massive unemployment. you cannot solve bank liabilities and you've got it, the problems ahead because banks will not be labeling money to businesses and you have low growth anyway. if you've got to have a meeting of leaders they get together. they've got to look at these problems and find a way forward in wentzville soup for dealing with these problems. i've got ideas on how to do this, but they've got to seize the initiative from the markets because countries are being picked off one by one. you hereby greece a few months ago in ireland a few weeks ago in portugal today in spain next and you've got to see the initiative from americas. one of the lessons we learned when we have the threat was that
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governments to enact together and lead rather than land by the market, then you will get into huge, huge problems in a downward cycle, a downward spiral you can't get out of. so my recommendation is the group get together to deal with its problems, which are all solvable, but have to be dealt with together otherwise you'll have continued crises in the euro area. so my recipe for the future is greater in your area to deal with what a real problem would arise as well as some problems associated with return of economic growth. we've got a point as well. 10% unemployment, 9.8% unemployment in america. this calls for urgent international action for all of us to work together because we're all facing similar problems with the resources of our economy, the people
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themselves are being denied the chance to realize potential in the workplace. one of the purposes of economic policy as it does not include getting people into work so they can be prosperous by their own efforts and not to have to rely in either social security or charity. surely the important element of the next stage is getting more people back to work in getting young people a sense of opportunity in the future. the next three? announcements. first in a few minutes, prime minister will be signing books in the green greenberg lounge. but all of you remain your places until he is left. secondly, he went to thank you all for coming. this is in a fascinating discussion, the beginning of something importunate gordon brown's lead here at nyu and around the world and why you. and finally on your behalf, and he quoted the person earlier, let me think someone who more than almost anyone and maybe anyone i've ever met exemplifies president kennedy's insight, the
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leadership and learning are indispensable. the world is undefeated from gordon brown's leadership and the world has a lot to learn from him and so do we here at this university. thank you very much. [applause] >> this event was hosted by new york university. to find out more visit and why s freelancero >> david axe has covered severa different wars.d he was a freelancer who worked for c-span in iraq and afghanistan. david axe, where else have yount worked? >> kumar, lebanon, chad, somalia, congo, off the somali coast. and maybe for forgetting a few.n nicaragua, you're in there. >> that doesn't sound boring. >> way. the title is meant to be war, lat ironic, but not entirely. i war, the modern experience oflof
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war, low intensity warfare is a lot of sitting around. a it's 99% weighting in tedium and boredom punctuated by 1% sheer terror. i thinkf that describes the porter experience of the typical soldier, but the same for reporters, too.distanceu have between the logistics of where you have to travel, logistics or being a reporter, arrangingnguad interviews and negotiatingot languages and cultural differences. you spend a lot of timed wheedling and maneuvering for the gold nuggets of excitement for the tiny little gem of alika good story. >> this is done much like a >> gue comic book. if a nonfiction. and you write here that i love how were they do appreciate thee little things. he said coming almost like ec popping ecstasy. what do you mean by that? >> and actually never done ecstasy, but i imagine that it
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feels ecstatic, hence the name. i spent a lot of time roaming around places like chad or soma somalia and it puts into, i perspective, what we have here in the united states and what we call problems. so one reason i enjoy my job as a freelance workhorse on it. enjoy is not the right word. one of the reasons i find ite os fulfilling his attic contextualizes the rest of my life. and i think i've come away frome my work as appreciating being af american more than before i did this kind of thing.doest >> when you read your book, does that seem like you can stay in . the states a lot you have to go back. >> that the irony. you need the contrast between home life and life in some lifea conflict zone in order to bacto appreciate the home life, then you have to keep going back to the conflict zone in order tocos maintaino that contrast so -- id
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don't know, that's the only way they can find peace andthestwo satisfaction was to move between these two extremes. the one made the other makes sense. >> david axe, what worked didue you do for c-span? >> i shot video and voiceover in studio interviews from and about the iraq war and the afghanista war, piracy, conflict in central africa or conflict in centralbe. africa. and that might be all.this. >> ptsd? >> myself? not formally diagnosed. in i had a rather scary experience in chad the summer of 2008 and came home feeling not quite lika myself and managed to come yout know, to the help of family and good friends and a lot of good e fear, manage to write myself, i guess. i don't think the trauma i've experienced compares to what an
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american soldier who spent 15oyt months on deployment in afghanistan orr iraq. my experience is dull compared to that. but sure, i've had some stress. >> were going to put numbers on the screen in case you would like to talk with david askedrns about covering war, how journalists cover war.hese these are pictures here -- these are drawings these is that you slept in quite late every morning, and you didn't look like you were terribly thrilled about anything. >> guest: you mentioned ptsd. probably the worst i've had was in 2008. prior to that i was in somalia in late 2007 and also a very difficult place to work. and came away from that, i don't know, with a rather bleak outlook and crashed, i guess you could say. i needed, i needed some time. and i took that by moving back home, you know?
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a 30-year-old man moving back home with mom and dad, and i did nothing for as long as i could stand it. and i think had i not done that, things would have been a lot worse. so, yeah, i slept in. played video games. [laughter] >> host: what were some of the worst experiences you had? this. >> guest: i was briefly kidnapped twice in chad. actually not covered in the book. hinted at at the very end of the book. in somalia i spent some time in the after guy ya refugee camp with, among -- surrounded by one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, made friends with somali reporters some of whom have since been seriously hurt or killed. that has been very trying. iraq and afghanistan there is always those bursts of extreme violence that rattle you. i think in the balance, though, somalia and chad have been my, the most difficult places to cover.
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personally and professionally. >> host: how did you get started in this line of work? >> guest: in 2004 and 2005 i was, i was a full-time political reporter in columbia, south carolina, for the local free times newspaper. and if war is boring, then peace is way worse. and it was driving me nuts sitting in on county council meetings and things like ordinances. so i had an opportunity to embed with the national guard in early 2005, took it, realized not only could i enjoy it, but i could do it. so i quit my job and began freelancing from conflict zones full time. >> host: 202 is the area code, 585-3885 in the east and central time zones, 585-3886 for those of you in the mountain and pacific time zones. where was the last place you've been? >> guest: i just got back from congo, and the artist on "war is
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boring," matt, he and i are going to collaborate on an entire graphic novel -- >> host: novel? >> guest: right. well, it's nonfiction, a nonfiction comic book about congress go. >> host: why? >> guest: congo's probably the worst war that most americans don't know anything about. no one is exactly sure about the numbers, but in the past 15 years at least 700,000 people have died in several overlapping conflicts. it's a gigantic country, lots of problems, and a country that really matters to the developed world. leaving aside humanitarian issues which, of course, matter on their own, congo's the source of horse -- most of the earth's rare minerals. without congo, we wouldn't have this high-tech society that we have. so conflict in congo should matter a lot more to americans than it does. we want to draw some attention to that. >> host: in iraq and in afghanistan, were you embedded with the military?
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what was your experience working with the military? >> >> guest: i've had really good experiences, i've had really bad experiences. the u.s. military is a vast organization, and everything sort of turns over every three years so it's a different cast of characters. once i inadvertently reported on a secret technology in iraq and was detained and then booted out of the country by a very irate u.s. army. that was probably the low point, but there have been high points as well. i've witnessed incredible bravery and sacrifice even on my behalf by soldiers in iraq and afghanistan. >> host: how did you find that secret technology? the u.s. army, and i was working as a freelancer for wired at the time. i said to this lieutenant, what's that? and he said, oh, that's a blah, blah, blah, and i said, oh, that's interesting, tell me more. so i was taking notes on this bit of technology, lo and behold, it was classified. i didn't think that, apparently
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the lieutenant didn't know that and, yeah, it got bad real fast. [laughter] >> host: david axe is our guest, "war is boring" is the book. fredericks burg, virginia, you're on the air. please go ahead. >> caller: hi, mr. axe. you commented on it -- >> host: fredericks berg, you with us? >> caller: yes, i'm here, can you hear me? >> host: yes, go ahead. >> caller: i wish you could expand a little bit, i've always been interested in how the unique military cultures of the marines, the army, and the special operating forces, what differences you may have seen in the fact that there's three branches that are doing this kind of work. >> guest: i don't really have special forces, but i have worked with the marines and the army, the air force and the navy and even the coast guard. i guess it's cliche, but honestly working with the marines is the best experience. there's a kind of culture of accountability and sacrifice in
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the marine corps that, while present in the other branches, is amplified in the marines. i guess they're able to hone that in a better way than with a vast organization like the u.s. army. so the marines have always taken really, really good care of me, and i'm grateful for that. >> host: emporia, virginia, you're on with david axe. >> caller: good afternoon. my question was, basically, being a war correspondent do you have to go through any specialized training at all to be in conflict zones? >> guest: no, i didn't. in the beginning of the iraq war, the pentagon rounded up some reporters and put them through a reporters' boot camp in anticipation of the invasion and having embedded reporters. but once the embed program had sort of found its footing -- because i didn't embed for the first time until early 2005 -- by then they weren't doing those boot camps. and i found that the military was, by that point, experienced enough in handling reporters that they were able to just
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accommodate me in the conflict zone and point out what i should and shouldn't do without putting me through a formal training program. >> host: who was or who is ahmed zia in afghanistan? >> guest: he's one of my fixers. as a reporter working in a conflict zone, you utterly rely on your local fixers to drive you around, to keep you safe, to interpret, and he was one of my better afghan fixers. there are good ones and there are bad ones. the bad ones will squeeze you for cash, the good ones will save your life. >> host: how do you find them? >> guest: networking. i find other reporters who have done similar work and get referrals and check out these people, cross-reference and then cross my fingers. >> host: you start to tell a rather homophobic joke with ahmed. >> guest: well, that's afghan culture for you. [laughter] >> host: you write that you came back from afghanistan with, basically, a low-grade anger. why? >> guest: i came back from afghanistan the first time in
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the summer of 2007, so by then i'd been covering primarily american-led wars for nearly three years. and it was frustrating to come home to a society that didn't seem to realize it was at war. certainly, soldiers and airmen and marines, sailers deployed overseas, they know they're at war. reporters who cover the conflict, we know we're at war. our elected leaders probably sense that we're at war. but it's easy to get the feeling when you're just walking around small town america or in many detroit or d.c., wherever, a lot of americas don't seem affected by these conflicts. i'm not sure who's to blame for that, but it's not healthy. >> host: "war is boring," is the book. cold spring, texas, please go ahead. >> caller: yes. i personally experienced post traumatic stress syndrome after my husband was district attorney
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in an eastern county, and what i found was i could not sleep for months and months and months, and i was just wondering since he refers to having post traumatic stress syndrome, did he have insomnia? .. i would go back and forth between home and iraq. i would wake at home in the middle of the night and have no idea where i was. and that is probably the most terrifying thing, the psychological effect that i suffered. so i was spring out of bed at 3:00 in the morning in utter darkness at home in south carolina and begin sprinted around my apartment, running into things because i had no idea where i


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