wasn't that they thought they were going to get away and nobody would ever suspect the united states, it's just that they were, they wanted enough deniability to hide behind that really so that khrushchev wasn't put in a position where he had to escalate, you understand? because if it was too obvious that the united states was behind this, khrushchev would have no choice for his own political reasons but to escalate probably in west berlin, and then john kennedy would have no choice for his political reasons to escalate somewhere else. so that's how this worked. it worked on so many different levels. i mean, if there's one thing i learned writing this book, it's that you don't want to be a president certainly during the cold war. be. ..
>> the problem was that it was a very difficult thing to do. and it -- and the way they did it was not the right way. and now you know what the -- what the answer should have been still isn't really clear to me. should john kennedy have thrown in the u.s. military entirely into this? well, we can say to that. then we have to ask what would have happened afterwards. what if marines had gone into cuba? in april of 1961, it's hard to know how that game would have played out. what we do know is what
happened. and what happened was a tragedy. thank you all for very much coming tonight. i really appreciate it. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. up next on booktv, ted fishman. he appeared at the 2011 to talk about the book "shock of gray" of the aging of the worlds population, young against own, child against parent, worker against boss, and nation against nation. this is about 45 minutes. [applause] [applause] >> hi, everyone. i'm jerome mcdonald, i host
wbez. it's on during the week. i've become friends with ted fishman. we can "china ink" and now this one "shades of gray." i'm delighted to be here. >> delighted to be here. worldview is one of my favorite shows. my friends listen to it on the web. >> that's great. the "shock of gray" is an outgrout of "china inc.." how did it get you into it? >> people tell me i'm a demographer. i'm just the guy that wants to read a book like this. when i wrote "china inc. "it is
the benefit power house. it struck me how over and over how flush with youth. you'd come home in the american city and fly in to the place that was big and vibrant and it's the city on the make. it seems like a little older, a little slower, and then the employment statistics in the u.s. and in europe, elsewhere in east asia tell you that, you know, there's a huge employment problem with older workers. they are not old people, but they are older workers, 50 plus. i was wondering whether the youth that was pouring into the cities, you know, on the trails of a trillion or maybe now it's $2 trillion of foreign capital flying into china to attract young people to chinese cities. to work in factories that serve the world has to do with the disenfranchise of olders workers elsewhere mt. world. i was interested in the question. was there a kind of massive form
of age arbitrage going on around the world? where the places that were expensive to employ people because they had the age-related expenses. higher salaries, big benefit, that the worlds capitol was finding a way to shed that burden and move it to places where you can get hundreds, literally hundreds of millions of young people. china seemed to be that place. it was so successful at attracting young people to the cities. you know, maybe now it's 200 million people have come off of the chinese countryside into the cities. you go into the chinese factories. there are hundreds of factories. the thing that seems like the most essential bit of employment is whether you are under 25. >> how can china stay young with the one child policy? they are manufacturing themselves to a grayer society. >> yeah, well, china right now is one the worlds youngest
places. but it's also -- ironically, it's one the world most rapidly aging. so demographers do talk about this one statistic which is the dependency ratio. how many people are working as compared to how many people need support from those working people? and there's also the age dependency. how many people are working for older people that need support. china is one the lowest in the world right now, especially among industrialized country. there's one to 12. 12 workers for every person that needs support. it's also is is about a generation into -- a little bit more than a generation into the one child per family policy. the birthrate in china has been driven very, very low. which is the things that make your country age the fastest. china is now a very rapidly aging country. sometime in the century, you know, we'll go from the one to 12 ratio to having about 30% of its population over 60. huge and very, very rapid change.
far faster than japan went through the change. it's about four times the rate of change. >> this ratio is not going to be unusual as we will see it play out in many countries, you mentioned japan, but spain is another and lots of others. >> yeah, it seems to be almost a deterministic thing. you know, these -- often the places we think of as flush with youth, you know, developing countries, are really quite rapidly aging. mexico will be an older country, demographically than the united states about 2/3 of the way into the country. if everybody goes the way we expect it to. and i was just at this event in aspen, aspen environmental forum. and the head of the u.n. population division was there. and she went through the u.n.'s numbers which were just announced a few weeks ago. about 40% of the world is far below or enough below fertility
-- replacement fertility. which means families are small enough to put them on the replacement curve. just under 20% are growing. so this means that, you know, 40% of the world is on its way to where japan is today where older places like spain is today. 40% we don't know, and then all of the worlds growth, population growth will come from about 18% of the worlds population. there and japan has eye popping statistic of being the first modern nation to shrink unrelated to war or disease. that's amazing. >> it is amazing. it's amazing while you are there. young people talk about it. if you are a young person in an aging japan, you feel like you have to do everything that you can to separate yourself socially from the aging country. so, you know, tokyo is huge. here we are in chicago, the metro area has around 9 million
people. tokyo has close to 40 million people. there's a downtown chicago for every kind of age group in tokyo. there's a downtown chicago for people 16 and under. and in the book i talk about, you know, the kind of radical fashion statements that young people have in japan to separate themselves from anything that has to do -- and it's several standard deviations of beyond lady gaga. and then there's the downtown chicago for the people over 70. you know, and it's a long walking mall where all of the curbs have been smoothed, where the street is smooth, shopkeepers have been briefed in how to be patient as people recount the change. that's the only mcdonalds in japan where you can bring your own sandwich. [laughter] because if you can't let people bring their own sandwich, nobody
goes. now they go and sit and sit and sit. lath lath >> this -- [laughter] >> this is what can happen. as the place shifts. it happened in japan as the same reasons elsewhere in the country that really aggressively assert that they are profamily. you know, the family means everything is is part of our values. so in east asia, in southern europe, these are the places that when you talk to people they say, you know, we put family first. family is always first, every weekend is with family, we reserves sunday with family. but the places that are the most pro family also put the most burden on the women in the families. so when women have an out from those burden either as daughter or daughter-in-law, through education, through the accessibility of birth control, through the job market, they tend to take them in any way they can. so japan did this very early in
the surprising way. following world war world war ie japanese were married that mixed marriages could create a mongul race. they allowed for abortion laws. when they went into effect, japanese women took advantage of that possibility for themselves. and the japanese baby boom, unlike every other baby boom, postworld war ii, it only lasted four years. that's why japan is ahead of the world in terms of the aging. because the baby boom was so much shorter. >> i guess the thing that strikes me as really scary about japan is the way they don't have any immigrants. and in this country, if you go and look around at who's taking care of our elderly, that really need help, it is lots of immigrants. and we're importing nurses and doctors and everything in between. in japan, they don't important
anybody. they rely on their family members. this is crushing the whole situation even more. >> that's exactly so. they do have robots. and part of the japanese robot industry is designed exactly to serve the lack of younger people who would otherwise fill in in these care jobs. there are lots of household robots that will feed an older person at the table. you see its lift it's robot arm and weight and person goes for it. they have all kinds of household systems that monitor people. but the immigrant situation in japan is peculiar. because politically you can't be pro immigrant. politically, you have to be anti-immigrant. when you drill down boo the companies and walk into a japanese fact -- factory, or the fields, you see the stealth. they have a trainee program that allows people to be there i think it's five years.
they incentivize them, if you learn japanese after three years, the government will give you a payout, or the company that payout that taught the trainee. they bring in first ethnic japanese from other places. you see these people that look sort of japanese, but sort of don't, acting asthma sheenist in auto parts. they have red hair and speak portugese. but they are part of japan's previous attempts to ameal rate the threat. when sons of large families had to move to brazil, peru, the united states to alleviate the demographic pressures of that time. you also see indonesians, filipinos. you know, i lived in indonesia, i speak indonesian. so when we were out in the fields north of tokyo, i saw all of them hanging on the line, on the hillside. i said those are baateaks, are there indonesians there?
there was a guy that have giant fields in mongolia, they have younger to work, he said, yes they do. we got out and talked to some of the indonesian girls. yeah, the japanese guys are really interested in us. [laughter] >> one of the things about your book is demographics are so interesting. and what's going on there. you can really get drunk on the numbers. and the trends, and the wongyness of all of this. but in your book, you go to great lengths to personalize all of this and to tell stories about people, your family, all sorts of individuals who were experiencing what it's like to live really long lives. how did you balance the wonkiness and person storytelling? >> thank you. that's exactly what i'm after.
i do believe we often are in a position where we live these big global trends. you know, like the emergence of china or the demographic shift. we only read about them in the vocabulary of numbers. these are the trends that we are changing ourselves. you know, from the ground up. so in my own family, you know, i like to think about my dinner table at a big holiday gathering. you know, when i was a kid, you know, thanksgiving had the giant rowdy table of 20 kids or depending on who showed up. then the small sad table of people over 50. >> they ate on the china and everything was nice and clean. >> right, they were talking about their ibm stock. and we were having a lot of fun stealing each other's food and running around the table. now when i go to thanksgiving, it's like there's this really fun table of young people over
50 and the small table of the children in the family. and then when i go around the country and say how many people have this -- why don't we do this test right now. how many people in the audience have fewer sibling than their parents had sibling? raise your hand. i don't know if the camera caught about. about 2/3 of the hands. if i said how many of you, your parents had fewer sibling than your grandparents, raise your hand. okay. that didn't work so well. that was about 1/3. and it must be a lot of immigrant families in the room. but that's the story -- that's the story of the world. you know, we are in all in kind of shrinking pyramid. and once you start thinking about this, you see the change in your family, you see it in your workplace, they are trying to shed or depending on the workplace if it's a high knowledge, it's trying hard to keep them because they can't be replaced. you see it in politics, here in
the city, you know, is the city inshake or any city in america, is it going to continue to attract young people in a world that is not produce more young people. the proportion of the young people saying constant. you see it in geopolitics. the arab spring, for example, we see huge squares of people filled with young people. then americans start to get nervous. i wanted to get to the bottom of that by talking about the people who are living the change in every step. you know, from your own life all the way to geopolitics. >> and it's interesting that -- i mean people are living longer so even though there are places that are shrinking, the number of years humans are living on the planet is going up expotentially. it's kind of crazy. >> i don't know if they are going up expotentially. but they are going up
impressively. americans added one and a half to two and a half years of life for the last decade. that's huge. one the things hard to understand about an aging world, it's also an growing world. as the places where we all live are on the aging trajectory, the world is still going to add around 7 -- three billion people to the seven billion on the planet. i learned that the u.n. projects the clock will turn on seven billion people on halloween. it seems like the frightening scenario. we have $3 billion to go. one the reasons for this is that we add years of life. it's not just that we are adding people, but we are adding years of life. if you take the cohort that living on the planet now, and you compare them to a seven billion people who might have lived at the time of the see --
caesars, we are now living around 280 billion years. think about that, 280 billion and life span is still growing. sometimes you wonder whether we need another planet to support it all. >> while we are living so much longer, it's an amazing thing to think about. i've been reading about the woman that gave all of the money. 100, still doing pilates. one the statistics in your book, if a couple lives over 63, the odds are one of them will leave to 90 or beyond. >> that's right. that's right. and i'm going to live to 63, but the odds are my wife will live to 90. [laughter] >> yeah, these are the statistics that we have to live with. one the thing that is really
strikes me about this aging dynamic is first of all, it's the best news the world has ever had. we are not going to give back the gift of extra life. you know, we're living, you know, twice as long as our forbearers did, nearly all of human history. and we're living that long for good reasons. because we have better health because we are educated, because we are literate. literacy is one the biggest life giving things that it has because it gives you access to information about how to live longer. those are all fantastic things. but, you know, just to prove the challenges in the aging world, i lost track of the question. >> well, i was -- i just asked about basically he's, you know, older and doing pilates. >> in aspen, there are all of
the young women running around with really perky breast that have plastic surgery done to make their faces look old. [laughter] >> maybe there's a new longevity sheet going around. [laughter] >> but then you think about who's there in aspen. you need money to live in aspen. usually it comes later in life. but people with hip replacements, knee replacements, they are hitting the slopes, skis down like olympics champs in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. it's pretty amazing. as medicine gets democratized, it's going to be a factor. the tragedy that we have all of the active years at our disposal. but the workplace doesn't want to see them as valuable. there's a big disconnect between when you are old in life and when you are old as a worker. that's one the tragedies that i
explore in the book and how to over come that. >> different countries of different solutions, it seems like. there's a lot of countries that do employ people older. japan people stick with their jobs until they are older. other -- europe people get out. >> yeah, so you are right. there's very, very big differences. so japan, you know, people do retire. they retire in large numbers around 60. but they retire with too little money to live on. because they are going to live longer than anyone else in the world. they are fearful. they look for ways to reentry the work force. because there's a dearth of younger people, employees are anxious to employ them. but it happens like this. you work in your japanese company, and i was at the company called tisae, a wonder japanese company that makes auto parts for the nissan cars on the bus drive. you get to 60, you retire, you get your lump sum retirement,
you get all kinds of thank yous. you go home, sit at home. japanese men when they retire are called rotten garbage or stinky leaves. [laughter] >> by their wives. >> because their wives have very busy social lives. and the husbands were attached. hey, how would you like your old job back? old friends, colleagues, responsibilities? the guy says, oh yeah i'd like my old job back. then they say, great, we'll have you. but you are going to make half of your pay. you have your pension and with pay, you'll be close to even. and the workers take it. japan has of the g20, japan has the highest older work force participation of any country. korea actually has a little bit higher. >> that is a sneaky good deal for the company. >> it is. and it's happening everywhere in the world. it is the conversion of the work force especially in developed
countries. you know for the first time, 50% of the worlds work force was contingent labor that have lost the salary, come back in as contact, hourly, seasonal. and in an aging work force, this is what older people need and desire. they want to work longer, they need to work longer. but it's not always on the terms that they want. and employers in order to compete labor elsewhere in the world are very willing to have great workers who are older and have to wage. >> you've got a section in the book on rockford. and rockford is really trying to compete, and make itself viable again. and one the gigantic unemployment rates in the country. they are really trying to noodle this whole competition thing. they have older people. but they are bringing in immigrants, they are bringing in people who are former refugees,
i think there's a burmese population. >> that's right, i think there's 1600 burmese in rockford. midwest best burmese restaurants. well, rockford is emblematic of a kind of city that's all over the industrial world now. it's -- the mid sized city that really couldn't keep up with the tides of globalization. it had a robust economy filled with companies that took advantage of the deal that the rest of the world offered them. they could move jobs out, hire low cost, energetic workers, unendumbabled by age related expenses elsewhere. sometimes it's the american south, sometimes the south of china. but they lead places like rockford. when the jobs leave rockford, young people don't like to stay in that kind of town either. they go to other metropolises,
maybe they are thrives other places, very often bigger places like chicago or minneapolis. and then the town begins to feel old. and in rockford, the of majority white population, which is more than 70% of the population will tell you whenever you talk to them, rockford is an aging town. the problem is we have to reverse our aging. they elected a young mayor to turn it around. he ran on the platform of rejuvenating the town. underneath, underneath the surface, they don't talk about the young rockford that's taking shape. the immigrants coming to fill in what the young natives have left in the care fields, even in industrial jobs, so the minority population in rockford is quite young. even when you come compare? >> and the growth rates are good. >> also they recruit.
they sent recruiters to the philippines to bring back 100 nurses to their health care, which is in rockford and elsewhere in the state. and they got them. now rockford has churches that are filled with young filipino families. you go there and it's a very different picture. if rockford overall feels like the world of yesterday, when you delve into that community, it feels like the world of tomorrow. it's one the features. it doesn't just move money around, it's capital and people. >> you were showing me a video before we came in here about grand rapids. and it was deemed a dying town by what magazine. >> "newsweek." >> "newsweek." >> which itself was a dying town. [laughter] >> so they wanted to make a statement they aren't a dying town. >> yeah, grand rapid was identified in the pages "newsweek "as one of america's dying town.
i've been through grandland. there's a lot of dying towns that would kill to be grand rapids. it has an apple store. and grand rapids answered with the wonderful video, put in grand rapids and american pie. it's the nine minute video where the whole town is lip syncing bye bye, miss america pie. it was shot on may 22nd, on the web on may 27th. amazing. done by a 22-year-old. which shows you the value of keeping young people in the town. it was a polemic to say we are here. we are vital. we are thinking about our future. you know, one of the things in an aging world that is so clear to those that love our town, the
tides of globalization can sweep through and move jobs away very, very quickly. we live in a very flexible world as you know. one the works against this is making your place as special as you can make it. what are the industries, what are the educational opportunities in your town? what are the civic virtues, the cultural virtures in your town that will make people want to say there and come there. and interesting enough, "shock of gray" one the big audiences to me and speaking around the country has been the economic development. they call and say your book is about us. it's not something i really consider when i was writing about it. how so? everyone in your town is talking about the aging. and your book is how do we, you know, combat it. how do we protect our economy? and to me this is, you know, very desperate if -- very gratifying. because i do believe describe in the books ways in which communities have to realign the
priorities in order to combat the forces in the world that really work against those workers over 50. >> and it seems like a creativity is such a big factor if it's with grand rapids, singing song or just having the imagination to get yourself out of it, like the rockford mayor, just trying to rethink everything. even in detroit, nobody wants to be detroit. every once in a while, you go and see the urban gardening. i like it. i think that's a good way to use your empty space and land. and that's attractive. and they paint entire neighbors, and there's interesting things that can happen in even the worst places. >> remember during the super bowl where chrysler had the ads. this is what we do. you know, it's in detroit. that is what we do. of course, chrysler is owned by fiat. >> so fiat does. >> yeah, this is fiat does.
but it's getting at the idea that what you do is what other people cannot do. and a lot of times people think too much, you know, about their own in the past. what were we? and i hear this when i go to places and talk to people about their town. they talk about the former virtues. can we build on those? those are very, very important. but there are creative elements in a community that sometimes aren't regarded as cree itive elements. in rockford, you know, the engineers, the high proportion of engineers in that town. this is one the coor -- core creative spheres in rockford. they lose their job and go on to start new businesses, find new business. i talk about one gentleman in the book, his name is john elliot. he lost his job at a manufacturing company that made things for the power sector. things that controlled the flow of water through dams. he lost his job, he felt deeply
betrayed. he was working there since 18. he had a lot of job in the company. he went out and bought a dairy ice cream place. he saw his own creativity. he had been governing the flow of water through dams. he knew everything he needed to know to services machine that governed the flow of soft serve ice cream through ice cream machines. what he knew on giant projects served him and became a really, really popular diary. it won the best ice cream award. some former friends of his called and said all of those things you use to make and service, they are not being made by the company. they need to be serviced join our consultancy. here's a guy that never left rockford. he finds himself on top of dams and completely reinvented his life. it was started with three people and now employs 75 people. it was really just him allows
himself not to feel betrayed, assess his assets, look for the network, and recreate himself. and that's -- i hate to say it, but this is what we are all charged with doing in the shifting demographic. >> and we want to take some questions, and if i want to come up to the microphones, we wanted to that. but quick tell the story about -- i mean a lot of people might have heard about kalamazoo offering a free education. >> kalamazoo, it was hit hard similar to rockford. it has the great characteristics of the town. they built symphonies and big things for their town their size. they got taken over and kalamazoo lostly nearly 2,000, it might be more phd level jobs left the down and the people left with them. the downtown got gutted, city
wondered if it was going to get it's ump. and some other industrialist, they remain anonymous, people seem to know who they are, started the program of the kalamazoo promise. everyone ought to know about it. it's a model for what we have to do. the promise is local philanthropy, if you finish, the fund will pay for your full education in a state university in michigan. now the education is broader. families are moving into town to take advantage. i heard just today that signs
say take advantage of the promise on the for sale sign. hopefully they are moving to a bigger sign. this is the combination of all of those things you were talking about. it's creativity, it's love of your place. and it's the feeling that your people have worth and all they need to do is have a path to unlock that worth in the changing world. >> we've got a few minutes for questions. >> you commented earlier about the -- the divisions in japan between the different generations. in the book, the woman wrote never say die. she says even the aging people are prejudices against the much older aging people than they. what observations have you made about that. >> you know, i reviewed never
say die in "new york times" book review. i thought it was a very thoughtful book. i differ with the author. i'm much more hopeful about what to do with ourselves than she might be. you know, one thing about age discrimination, and i think susan wrote that book is right, there is no age division in age discrimination. the older people don't want to be regarded as old themselves. and they don't necessarily want to give important task to other older people in their lives. i remember the moment when i was in sarasota which was the community. it's one the greatest places in the world to be an older person. i was at senior center there. and there was a dance going on. all of the 70-year-olds there were dancing to the music of their ere a. you know, pretty swinging music. and they were pretty swinging crowd, and there was a crowd in his 90s up on the balcony.
bob was trying to say get down there. look at how was fun they are having. he goes, not my group. [laughter] >> unemployment for people in their 50s or 20s? >> that's a fantastic question. it's related. is there low unemployment for people in their 50s or 20s? i would say it's both and related. so for people in the 50s in the united states, unemployment is higher than it's ever been since it's been tracked. it's getting close to 10%, which is close to the national average. it's a little lower than unemployment overall. that has to do with peculiarities in the way it's counted. look at job search of the way that lose their jobs, it's far longer than any other age when they go looking for jobs.
t -- it is getting close to a year. right now it's 51.5 weeks. when they do re-enter, older workers tend to come in for between 20 and 50% less than what they were being paid before. if you are an employer looking around and you see the huge pool of older workers that are experienced and yeted as workers who have some skills, know how to show up for work, and you are measuring them against a young job entrance who's teens and early 20s who you know will probably have four jobs before they are 30 once they enter versus who do they hire. do you hire the older person for half of the wage who has been honed as a worker or do you hire the new person? for lots of employs were particularly industrial employers, they are going for the older worker. they are related.
the disfranchisement of one related to the other. with the high value, low paid workers everywhere. not only young americans, but younger workers abroad too. >> here's the frequent contributor with the cultural arts organization here in chicago, the iranian group. >> hey. hello. thank you for a great presentation. if you can correct me, please, let me know. but i think you are kind of hinting at a sensible immigration policy. being needed both in terms of urban spaces or introduces longer vitality. am i wrong? >> i usually agree with you on everything. but i will correct you that i'm not hinting at it. i'm more industry -- strident
about it. of course i'm for a sensible immigration. immigration is really part. one edge that the united states has about every other western industrial country and the other powers is that we are younger demographically. but all of our demographic advantage is from immigration. all of our demographic advantage is from immigration. >> what do we do? >> we have a sensible immigration. >> we do? >> no we ought top interestically enough when you are in chicago and professor, we have -- i think there's people in the audience who i know here who can correct me on this. i believe we have a higher hispanic than even some of the border state that is have contentious immigration states. i believe there's more hispanics in metro chicago than arizona.
we don't talk about the immigration. it's like welcome, come. we need you. you are part of our history, you are part of us. then you to to the border places. it's like they are -- they are cutting off of their nose to spite their face. this is the great advantage. >> they are the growing group in our city in chicago. it's the grower population. >> i think chicago is the second largest mexican city in the world. >> in your book, you talk about the seasonal of aging and usually i say to my friends, that's the one thing i quote. we're all in denial. my friends say we are not old. would you like to comment on that? >> first of all, thanks for reading my book. i hope you found it rejuvenating. it's nice to be in denial of
aging. a lot of the things people sign on are negative. one the deep points of the book is that this is something irrefutable. one fact about the aging world that it's more diverse world than ever. if you take any age cohort, pick a decade, people tend to be like each other. in terms of cognitive, health ability. but once you get to 60, things start separating. there's a big group of the population where bad things start happening right away. there's a big group that are great in dynamic and healthy for decades to come. and this is why, you know, cookie cutter solutions really don't address the problems that we have. you really have to have a sophisticated network of policies that -- and personal practices which address the realities of an aging world.
>> it's interesting to me the scariest chapter of your book is where you go through the decades and what's going to happen to people as they get older and what they cannot avoid really. >> yeah, well -- when you start answering your moderators question and you forget midway what you are talking about. [laughter] >> so there is the chapter in the world that i refer to it as the ladder. it's like all of the things that can happen decade by decade of life. they accumulate by one another. it's just a way to start seeing the nuance of an aging world. and you have to over lay this perspective over any discussion of policy. or even when you are think of your family or what might happen to you in the future. >> but reading it makes you -- made me kind of try to have a more honest assessment of my own situation, you know? one the other things i was left
with from your book was where you walk out with the physician who cares for older people. you go around and look at the people. he kind of tries to predict what their situation is how long they will live. and he's kind of ruthless about it. and he's very clinical and he likes the fast moving older people. and as a big kind of slow moving guy, i guess like darn. i'm not moving fast enough. i got to be snappier and move. and i'm -- so i'm envious. >> you are speedy. >> pessimism, perhaps the large debt or deficit that we have and highway it will impact entitlement which affect the elderly, especially strongly as
they mentioned, and as you say the population is escalateing quickly. how that affects the carbon footprint and so forth like that. it doesn't seem to me that -- it seems to me there's really some very negative things lying in the future that didn't get mentioned. >> i do talk about each of those things in the book. the book is global book. so the collusion to all are often dependent on the local reality of a different place. i don't want to go into those in too many retail here. one the goals of the book is to get people to see this age shift as one of the under gourding die ma'am -- dynamics. we tend to think from climate or environmental or climate change.
and i would say the over riding argument of the book, before you talk about all of those things, you ought to understand the demographic shift too. because it's driving all of those things. in terms of entitlements, i am hopeful. i think there are ways to reengineer the economics of this country and nearly every place else so that we have life course planning. until you get people to think about what i describe in the book, you are not going to get there. one the things that really stands out to me in the current political debate is that -- maybe it's particularly true on the conservative side, but not only the conservative side, there is no discussion, no, zero discussion of retirement security. there's all kinds of discussion about fiscal responsibility, how we are reconfigure the policeman to -- program to save money. nobody is talking about facility. the number one fear working in people, according to recent
gallop survey, they will run out of people before they run out of life. if we're not talking about retirement security, we are not talking about what matters most. >> one of the things that took my breath away, they rely exclusively on social security. >> half. >> that number has gone up since the book has come out. >> i don't want to end there. >> darn. [laughter] >> we all have the great gift. it's taken the maximum intelligence of us all to get here. if we apply the maximum intelligence, the gift will get better and better. >> all right. thank you very much. the book is "shock of gray." [applause] >> every weekend, booktv offers 48 hours of programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. watch it here on c-span2.
>> when the deepwater horizon exploded on april 20th, 2010, i was in houston with a group of oil activist who actually -- not activist is the wrong word. but a group of people that lived in oil impacted communities around the world. nigeria, angola, kazakhstan, alaska, california, texas, mississippi who have all come together in houston for chevron 's shareholders meeting. they came to explain what it means in a chevron impacted community. while we were there, it had been a couple of weeks during the course of our time, after the explosion, after the loss of life of 11 men, after the oil started flowing, when we realized that this not only was an enormous lost of life,
enormous disaster, but a crushing reality to people like myself who had spent a significant amount of time setting the oil industry who had spent a significant amount of time being in places where oil operations take place. something dawned on all of us. the oil industry had absolutely no idea whatsoever what to do about a deepwater blowout. none at all. they had said they knew what to do. they had said they had planned to know what to do. the reality was that what they knew how to do is somewhat deal with a blowout at 400 feet. for most of the time since really the 1970s, most deep, deep water drilling meant drilling at 400 feet below the ocean surface. this well and what deepwater drilling means now is drilling at 5,000 feet below the ocean surface. and that's just the ocean is here, the ocean floor is here,
it's 5,000 feet below. the well -- this well was another 13,500 feet below that. actually the first -- it isn't even anymore. well slightly further out, not even the deepest is another well that is as far down as mount mount everest is up. they were trying to apply secnology developed for 400 foot wells to a 5,000 foot well. and they didn't know what they were doing and they weren't able to stop the gusher. not only that, but they had guaranteed us that were there to be a blowout, and everybody knows there can be a blowout because that's what you plan for, the gulf of mexico is one the most difficult places to drill in the world. one the reasons why is it's very gassy. there's a lot of gas there. it bubbles up, kicks, makes drilling very difficult.
everyone knows this and every plan that's written says that we can handle kicks, blowouts. blowouts has been increasing in the gulf, happening more and more frequently. the people on the rig knew that this rig was having a difficult time. in fact, this was the second rig to try and drill this well. a previous rig, the mariana had been kicked so hard, it was kicked off of the well and had to go home. the deepwater horizon was a replacement. it was $100 million over budget, many, many, many days off schedule, and the people on the rig knew that they were in trouble. and they knew there could be a blow out. and the industry has promised that it could imagine an oil spill were it to happen of 300,000 barrels of oil per day. what we found out is that likely at it's worst, this spill was
80,000 barrels a day. and yet they had no capacity whatsoever to deal with it. they did not have ships ready to contain the oil, they didn't have under water vehicles to address the blowout, they didn't have boom to protect the shore, they didn't have skimmers to skim it up. they aren't prepared. not only that, even though after the 1987 valdez, they had been committed to, responsible for, legally obligated to invest in research on what to do if they have an oil spill and prepare for it. they hadn't. none of them. we were using this exact same technology that utterly failed to clean up after the valdez where only 14% of the oil was cleaned up. today in response to this. now to put this into scale, what happened because they didn't know what to do and they spent three months walking around, that's not fair concern they were trying hard. they sat around the fable, they were trying hard.
there were scientists hard at work. they wanted to stop, but they couldn't for three long months. what happens in the course of that three month months. that's just the time in which the gusher was flowing. they finally did figure out how to cap it. in one felt secure that well was closed until five months later when something else happened. that was the drilling of the release. what they know how to do very well is drill. what that means is they know how to do is drill. if we have another blowout, there's no reason to assume that a cap will just be able to be applied. because the only thing we are sure that worked was the relief well. if there is another blowout, we should anticipate five more months worth of oil. what we know, member this is new. going out this far. there's only 148 operations in the world, they have been going on for about 20 years.
they are pushing out this far because there's a lot of oil out there. what we know about the deep water is that when you have an accident, it's a long way to go to get to it and there's a lot of oil. and then put the amount of oil into context, we've all been hampered from being able to explain and grasp put into words the significance of the size of the spill. and that's because we can't say the words that would make it that much more dramatic. which is the largest oil spill in world history. but there's only one reason why we can't say that. that's because saddam hussein intentionally in the most blatant way possible used oil as a weapon in 1991. and intentionally opened up oil pipes and tankers to attack american and british troops with oil in kuwait.
that pans down the largest oil spill. because they did it intentionally. had no not happened, it would be hands down the largest oil spill. 200 billion gallons. when i started and when it happened and we learned it was going to be bigger and that the 11 men who died, the story wasn't going to end with them and with their families. it was going to spread. and it was going to spread to all of the people across the five states who live around this, the ninth largest body of water. it was going to affect the sea life and everything that lives in the ocean. the thing to know is everything that lives in the ocean is part to everything that lives on the land. it's part to all of the people and livelihoods and being and understanding of the community. and the effect on the sea is the effect on the people and the livelihoods in the communities of those people. and what i learned in going down in just the first couple of
weeks in the first couple of days that i was there is one there was a huge story. two, transparency was difficult. getting information was difficult from the first time i went down, private security guards, police officers, sheriffs were keeping us off of beaches. you couldn't look. you couldn't take pictures. you couldn't record the event. one the things that happened was controlling the story became very important, of course, to everyone involved. one tool that bp utilizing that was very powerful, you saw the pictures, i hope you saw them in the beginning that john was showing. he took such important photographs of this event. not just the work they did, but the photographs that capture it. they are used throughout my book to try to make tangible the story. capturing the photographs became more and more difficult. the one reason is because if
you'll remember in the valdez, it was those photographs of the oil soaked birds that captured people's souls. and people organized aggressively in the response to valdez. they shut down the stations, they protested, they demanded policies, and they got out of the bush administration, the bush senior administration a critical piece of legislation, the oil pollution act. similarly in 1969, off of the coast when an oil well blew, they organized, they galvanized, they were ready. they saw imagery. and years later, they got earth day, clean water, environmental protection agency, and 11 long years of organizing later, they got a moratorium on off shore drilling in some places. what happened here is the photographs, particularly the brown pelican soaked in oil,
state bird captured people. captured our hearts and minds. the pictures started to go away. the they assumed the pictures were going away because the oiled birds were going away; right? less oiled birds, less images. in fact, as the number of oiled birds were increasing, the photographs were decreasing. the reason why we started being threatened to be thrown in jail if we went within 40 miles, no, 40 feet of boom. if we went on to beaches where there was oil. i was trying to go out on boats to take pictures and to talk to people to go out into the water near boom, and when the person found out, they wouldn't take me because they said i'll get a $40,000 fine and you'll get thrown in jail. i went on to beaches even though it meant risking being thrown into jail. i did what i could to try to tell the story.
we all did our best to do it. the story became difficult to tell. i knew that was going to happen. that's where i decided early on this was going to require more than an article, more than a few days. it was going to require a full book of investigation, and it was going to require spending as much time as possible in the communities most effected. and i basically spent my time and i also realized my previous books for those of you who have read them are really policy books. my background is public policy. i've worked for two united states members of congress. my masters from georgetown. this is going to need to be a very different book. it's really a book that is the human story of the human impacts and the people who are impacted on all sides. i talked to people employed in the oil industry, oil executives, fishers, environmentalist, policymakers. i spent a good deal of time in washington,