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tv   Book TV After Words  CSPAN  December 19, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EST

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response is you cannot retract facts we're just showing your legislative behavior and but you have benefited from. there was also disparaging things said by nancy pelosi to me to various other people so this was the book and is subject they did not want to come out and my hope is that the book is just the beginning that the steps that we took to research this is time consuming it and cover some but anybody can do this. ..we did not get to research and investigate all 535 members i hope people look at their elected officials in their financial transactions but there was a lot of pressure brought to bear "60 minutes" in "newsweek" were unwavering truly committed to the
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journalistic story in my publisher as well was willing to face legal action from very powerful individuals and washington there are many people across the country, and i'm thinking about tea party activists in particular who would love to research their own member of congress, but feel overwhelmed. do you have a website? this is a template, where you go to do the research, and i guarantee you there'd be an army of people out there to do the work. >> i think that's a great point. yes, i do have a website. i don't have the template up yet, and also, andrew, on his website, biggovernments, has been running a lot of stories and there's going to be template there as well. very simply, you can go to
12:02 am it's not a website i run, so i'm not -- it's run by an organization called center for responsible politics, go under finances there and look at the pdf files there, not at the summations by the organization because sometimes there's slight clerical errors, and look at the financial disclosures. i look at times when something dramatic was happening, the final crisis in 2008, health care reform in 2009, but look at your legislated representative, and look and see, are they a stock trader and do a lot of deals? if so, look at the stack transactions and see, you know, are they on the senate banking committee and buying and selling a lot of bank stock. you know, if there's some sort of crossover because that's, i think, where you get access to really sensitive information if you have oversight over a particular area, and then i'd look at, you know, there are real estate holdings, not required to list their
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residence, only other holdings, and look up the real estate and earmarks at, i don't run the website, but may map the earmarks and what they are for. they run a building in the case of nancy pelosi, and they own a commercial building, and low and behold, she secured federal money to build the light rail system that runs right by that commercial real estate, and it's in the sweet spot. i mean, realtors tell you you want to be two blocks away. that's just perfect. it's two blocks away, and so this goes on with both parties in both cases, but look and see at the earmarks and see if there's a pattern. i encourage you to contact your elected official, what they think of the stock act, whether they'll vote on it, and that's a law that now has 174 co-sponsors. before the book and "60
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minutes," it had six. you can see the response there. you can say it's against the federal law for congressional insider trading, and then look at a second law called the restrict act which has been introduced by congressman duff my from wisconsin, a chief party guy who won recently and that would give elected officials an option to put it in a trust, or if they don't do that, disclose all trades within three business days so you'd have pretty much instantaneous, and i think that's a great bill. i'd ask them to support those two bills or something related to those two bills. >> okay. >> all right. great. thank you. [applause] >> of course, we we have copies of the book. if you want to sign them here, it would be just as easy. they are for sale outside, but i know peter would talk to you further. he's not a bit enthusiastic
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about his topic. [laughter] thank you all for joining us today, and we'll see you again on a future occasion. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> for more information, visit the author's website, up next on booktv, "after words," an hour long program inviting guest hosts to interview authors. this week, report guest and his book "borderless economics" arguing that cheap travel and internet communication make it easy for immigrants to stay in touch with their home countries and that connection creates
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powerful cross border networking fostering growth worldwide. the editor of the economist magazine talks with this phenomena with washington post reporter celiakong. >> host: robert guest, thank you for joining us today. >> my pleasure. >> host: this is a fascinating book, "boardless economics: chinese sea turtles and the new fruits of global capitalism." the book is loaded with great antedotes and economics. explain what migronomics is. >> guest: the most interests people move from one place to another, and there's an awful lot of them, about 215 million first generation my grants and
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more if you count the children. if they were a country, it'd be the world east 5th and probably the most dynamic. the nature of the migration changed profoundly in the past generation or so. i mean, it used to be immigrants got on a boat and sail from one place to another, and they'd setting there, and they really lose touch with the places they came from because back in the old days the transatlantic and it was impossible. now they get on a plane, they land, and as soon as the plane lands, they text their mothers back from the place they came from, and communication is just much, much easier than it used to be, and immigrants stay in touch, and that means they form networks, and that has profound effects for business and politics. >> yeah. communications in the role of
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technology in forming the migration economics is definitely key in describing the subeconomy, if you will, submay not be the right way to describe it, but if i could step back and ask, how did you come across this idea? you have been a foreign correspondent, in europe now, business editor for the "economist," and you lived in many countries. talk about your observations of the world and how the idea of this book came about. >> guest: okay. i traveled to, gosh, nearly 17 countries now with generally someone else paying the bill, and i've just noticed how much ideas move from one place to another inside the heads of people who are moving, and so, i mean, maybe if you cut back and say what happens when people are not allowed to move? i remember one time i was in north korea, a country where people are not allowed in or
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allowed out. it took me a long time to get a visa, and so i was at this exhibition of north korean technology, and they were showing me the north korean -- >> host: that would be fascinating. >> guest: software with it named after the great leader. >> host: what year, robert? >> guest: in the mid-90s. i was a bit suspicious, reached board, and hit the off switch, and it flashed up texas instruments on the screen. it was completely bogus. i went to a library there and talked to the librarian, what books were popular, and he said, well, obviously the works of the great leader kim il and his wonderful son, the leader, kim jong il. any other awe -- authors that people read? he couldn't name a single one. that captured why it is the closed society of north korea is 17 times poorer than south korea
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which is an open society, and you look at what happens when people move, and the book is full of examples divided into sections, and this is the business side, the technology side, the politics side, and i can go through them if you'd like. >> host: absolutely. i love the example of north and south korea, though, the antedote of the most isolated country in the world and bordered by another speaking the same culture and same language in the same way and strong vibrant economy. i wonder in some ways if south korea's success is because one could argue that after the war, there's a very authoritative regime in south korea, helped really boost what you see as the economy today, get it jump started at least with the president then putting a lot of
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focus on certain industries and companies, and, you know, if you can tease out the idea on how south korea became open from that point of view, and the migration economic that came from that. >> guest: south korea, i mean, it did have that bad period where it was, you know, a military regime, but it's generally been pretty open to the outside world and generally thought in terms of, you know, can we make things that other people in the outside world want and sell them to them? north korea's never done that. they allow people in, a lot more people in now, and, you know, you see the rate of intermarriage there has gone up dramatically. south koreans married people from other countries in the past decade. they study abroad. south korea has the highest rate of people who go abroad to study, and when you do that you find new ideas, you know, the best of what's going on in the outside world, and you bring those ideas back home if you
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come back home, or if you don't, you find that you're someone who people inside korea never talked to before, and the information passes that way as well. >> host: okay, terrific. can you give an example, robert, of some of the best examples -- you have great examples of migrationomics to silicone valley, for example. when i was there looking for the news, i took a trip to taiwan, to taipei, and they knew what school regions to live in because it was such a well-trod path back and forth, and as you describe in the book, there's a boardlessness, a seamlessness of people traveling back and forth not only for family connection and education, but for business. do you have some examples? >> guest: sure. i have an example of a chinese woman to came to america a
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couple decades ago with an outsider's eye. she made a couple observations. she noticed that americans throw out a lot of waste paper, mountains of old catalogs and, you know, heaps of junk mail, and vast piles of unread copies of the sunday edition of the "new york times," and she thought, okay, that's interesting, and the other thing she noticed is there was a lot of ships coming from china to the u.s. fully laiden, but going back half empty because, you know, the things that america exports to china are not bulky. it's more intellectual property and iou's from the government. she thought, i'll load the waste paper on the half empty ships, send it back to china, and recycle it there. she used her contact back in china to set up factories,
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recycle it into card board boxes and you put the tvs in those boxes and send it back to america. she's now a billionaire in china and straddling both countries, and she's able to link the two. >> host: did she face -- what was the approach or the response by the chinese government in her setting up the factories? did she find any red tape? were there any hurdles to doing that? >> guest: i'm sure there was quite a lot of red tape, but, you know, very often in china, if you want to do business there, it's not a simple, you know, there are a bunch of laws, and if you follow them, you are okay. it's a lot more about knowing the right people and knowing who you can trust and who you can't, and that's one of the sort of fascinating things about the rise of emerging markets. i mean, a lot of places like china, india, many countries in africa are getting much bigger, and you can't rely on the rule of law there like you can in
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rich countries, and so business is much easier if you have personal contacts and know who to deal with and trust, and that's why you see a staggering amount of businesses done with china, it's done through the overseas chinese, and, in fact, it's about 70% of the foreign direct investment in china passes through the chinese diaspora, outside mainland china because, you know, they know what to do. they now how to put you in touch with the right people, and you find that american companies that hire first generation chinese-americans find it much easier to do business in china without the joint venture, so they make more profits, and the fact that america has so many immigrants from china, india, and other places makes it much easier for america to thrive in the new global economy. >> host: and does this -- does this sort of borderless economy, this immigrant spirit and the economics rippling from it, is
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it a first generation phenomena? what happens when they have children? do they carry it on? >> guest: it's not just first generation. i mean, we're relatively new to the information age, so we don't know how it's going to pan out with the next generation, but we do know that as a rule, the children of first generation imgrants have the same drive, the same -- they are taught about how to stand on your own two feet and how to thrive and there's portions set up by them or their children and think of the founders of google. they didn't choose to come here themselves, but as kids, so they are the children of first generation immigrants. there's lots of examples of that. >> host: and, well, maybe you can tease us with examples because one thing i found fascinating reading this,
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robert, is about your discussion on that tribe. there's something about the people themselves. maybe it's a select group of people who maybe have a little more gumption, have a little more -- what is it about the people? >> guest: two things. one is like you said gumption. it takes get up and go to get up and go. it's an act of courage to leave the country that you were born in where everything's familiar and where, you know, grandmother's always there to hold the babies, to leave that comfort and go somewhere new. that's really difficult, so it is a select group of people doing this, but there's more to it than that. there's a lot of very interesting psychological research that suggests that the agent of living abroad makes people more creative. >> host: oh. >> guest: that's intuitively making sense because if you move abroad, you have to learn foreign languages, you have to constantly make sense of new
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situations, and if you constantly have to make sense of new situations, you naturally become more adept to doing that. there was an experiment that people did where they applied the donca candle problem, a test of creativity. they took mba students, mostly identical, but had lived abroad properly, not just holiday, and some of them haven't, and they asked them to do this experiment where you give them a box of tacts and a candle, and some matches, and you tell them, all right, you got to stick the candle to a wall, and it's got to burn in a way that it doesn't drip wax on the floor. now -- >> host: what a challenge. >> guest: the way you do it that is empty the tax from the box and put the candle in the box and pin the box to the wall
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like a scones. they discovered a large majority of the kids living abroad could do the problem, and those who did not live abroad could not do the problem. there's more examples like that. >> host: it's a great example. it's very interesting to hear. >> guest: exactly. there's creative there. it's not about just the individual creativity going on one one person's brain, but it's also about collaboration and lot of scientific progress, a lot of technology progress, and a lot of business depends on collaboration because there's too much information out there for a person to keep up with it, keep it all in their brain, so what happens is that my grants, you know, rather than having a small network like most people do around where they live, they have a global network knowing people far, far away, so it's easy to swap information with them. an example of that -- >> host: please.
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>> guest: the indian government decided quite recently that they wanted to give everyone some kind of id, you know, like americans have special security. they wanted to give by yo met -- biometric identities to everybody in india, which is a huge undertaking with 1.2 billion people in india. many cannot prove they exist. many don't have identity, don't have bank accounts or access government services, and when this idea came out biometric identities to everybody, they said it's not possible. you can't do it. the government is incredibly slow and inefficient, and, you know, it's just not going to work, and so there was a software billionaire and he said, well, let's see if we can tap the indian grapevine. let's ask what the indians who live outside india can help. he called up his clever friends
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in silicone valley who called their friends., and then before you know it there's a bunch of brainy indians who have done things like designing the number crunching software for the new york stock exchange and setting up big online medical companies, and they get excited about the project, jumped on planes, and set up a white board in a represented apartment, ordered junk food, and started brainstorming. they worked so fast because they are people people trained in silicone valley, and they are used to setting up a company fast, and before you know it, they came up with this incredibly robust software system for enrolling everybody, and the enrolling is underway and on schedule at the moment, and it's an incredible gift to the whole of indian they give a billion indians an identity done through the power of the diaspora connections.
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>> host: interesting. is it a for-profit mission? you see a lot of philanthropy outside of india towards them which is interesting leading to the next question which is who ben benefits from migration economics? is it always mew -- mutual and examples where one country benefits more than others? who benefits from it? >> guest: people who most benefit from it is the my -- migrants themselves because they make the decision to move because they feel they would be better off in some way. clearly, they think they will be better off and if they are wrong, they can go back again. they are the main beneficiaries, and the level of that benefit is enormous. i mean, it completely dwarfs, for example, foreign aid.
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i mean, we spend billions and billions on foreign aid, sometimes extremely dubious value, but the amount that you can benefit people from poor countries by allowing them into a rich country is staggering. there's a ten-fold increase in how much they earn. those are the main beneficiaries, but my argument is that pretty much everybody benefits from open borders. completely open straight away. that would be somewhat disruptive, but substantially more open than they are at the moment, and the reasons they benefit partly is because of the network effects i was mentioning. the fact that if america, for example, which is the favorite destination of immigrants in the world, having lots of immigrants in the country means that america has better contact with the rest of the world. it also has sort of legions of unofficial ambassadors, boosters, deal brokers, ect. than the rest of the world.
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it has official ambassadors. look at gary locke, the knew ambassador to china, the chinese-american, and he is this rebuke with the authority there. the fact he doesn't speak chinese is the fact he moved here when he was very young, but they chinese see him as a chinese guy prepared to stand for election. he was governor of washington state, so that completely underminds the notion that sort of democracy is alien to chinese culture, but he also is very permly modest guy standing in cues. he stands in lines and waiting for things. travels and does all the things that the chinese political elite don't do, and so he's become a massive hero in the space of a few months in china, so much so that the chinese government is so frightened of him they told the news agencies there to play down anything that he does and not give him too much
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publicity. >> host: fascinating. i wonder if that was strategic on the u.s. point of view. you had many statistics to support the idea of who benefits. one was a 2005 world bank study that estimates if rich countries allowed a 3% rise in the labor forces through easier immigration, it would deliver $300 billion in benefits to the world's have-notes. there are definitely government policies that can facilitate or impede. >> guest: governments control the borders. i mean, it's very difficult to stop unskilled people coming into the country if there's a land border. you can build a wall with mexico, and i read a study that showed if they keep trying and really determined to get across the border, the success rate is about 98%. they all get here eventually if they want to. the only way to have a decline is to have a recession in the
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building industry. they are coming in order to do something useful, not to sponge or anything. we have skilled migrants coming from further away. you can't stop them. if you make the visa process for indian engineers and chinese accountants and so forth and make that difficult and humiliating, make them hang around for ten years, not able to change jobs because that would mean they have to reapply from the beginning, not able to go home and visit parents if they are sick back in the old country for fear they will not be let back into the country, if you do all of those things, which america is doing at the moment, then after awhile, you know, the people have choices. they go to canada instead. >> host: to put things into context, robert, what is the united states of america's policy like? are we open? tighter? we're going through a period of lots of debate and discussion right now, but -- >> guest: it is more open in some places and more closed in
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others. what's striking about america's immigration policy is first this is a country entirely build on immigration. in the absence of immigration, america would be nothing but paradise, and a midget on the world stage. second is the fact it's tremendously cumbersome. they just don't make a decision, yes or no. they just sort of put you through incredibly long hoops, and next thing is it's one of the of the countries that pays the least attention to skills and knowledge. the amount of green cars are 85% begin on the basis of family reunions, and that's great and family's very important, but you have really highly skilled people in american universities. you have people who are srb -- who have advanced degrees in
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engineers, graduate, and then are thrown out of the country. which is what my your bloomberg, the mayor of new york, described as suicide. it's crazy policy. canada, australia, and new zealand say, okay, we'll have these people. there was a report the other week saying that the majority about 60% of the extremely wealthy people in china are actively looking for a foreign passport or are thinking about it. >> host: why are they? why is that? >> guest: you don't have the rule of law in china. say you are reasonably prominent, made a lot of money in china, you have no idea when there's going to be a change over of government next year, whether the people in power are going to take against you. you know, the guy who is protecting you, and you can be arrested and lose all your property. they think, they don't want to
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leave china, but they want the option of living in two countries or maybe they would like to leave or have their children grow where the universities are better. i think you should welcome the people because they bring connections and money, and they are the elite of the elite. most of them will be clever. >> host: one thing, in terms of sheer numbers that astounds me, is the fact that the sort of migration connections that the chinese have, i think chinese have had over not just the recent history, but over centuries really with the diaspora being part of the experience for so long, lo the sheer population numbers does not seem to dilute this, or does it? the sort of clean networks and other chinese and use networks and people you know and the trust aspect? >> guest: it's huge. i mean, the chinese, the
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diaspora and the way i measure it coulding everybody living outside mainland china and ethnic chinese, about 17 million of them in the world. you see different numbers because people say, oh, you know, taiwan is part of china which i don't want to get into the politics of that, but, you know, it's a large group of chinese people living entirely outside the control of beijing so they act like they are part of the diaspora. if they were a country, they would be bigger than france, and they are completely global, and in almost every country, and it used to be that. i mean, when china was closed, when, you know, under mao and everything was going to hell, then the overseas chinese, they were basically refugees from a place that had more or less collapsed, and they would link their trading networks one foreign port with another, maybe link thailand with indonesia, but now that's completely changed now that china opened
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up. suddenly they link china to the world and the world to china. there's a bridge between china and every other country in the world and that's how china figures out what's going on in the world or the people find out, and that's how people in the rest of the world find out what's going on in china. it's fantastically useful. >> host: interesting. do you think ethnic chinese outside influence chinese politics to make them open up quickly? >> guest: it's one of the fascinating areas because you had this enormous foreign study movement and if you're a member of the chinese elite, one thing you want your children to have 1 a foreign university education. you have something like a half million chinese people who studied abroad and then gone back to china, most in the past decade, and these children are either clever people with
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scholarships or very wealthy to afford foreign university fees, and it's extraordinary the influence that they have in modern china. they completely dominate the technology industry in the big tech companies, and they have huge numbers and founded by attorneys and have huge numbers of them working in high positions, and they completely dominate the think tanks on practical policy, and the most interesting thing is there's starting to be a big force in the come mewist party -- communist party itself. there was one at brookings did a study of what proportion of the central committee of the communist party are educated, and it's going up and up and up, 6% in 2002, and up to 7% -- sorry, 10%, nearly doubled by 2007, and he reckons with the
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changeover next year, it will be up to 15% or 17%, so it's getting larger. this is crucial because you have a lot of pressure in china, a lot of, you know, 70,000 demonstrations and violent protests every year, and it's almost 300,000 labor disputes every year, and the system is creeking because it's not democratic, because there's no way for people to express their views, and to change things without violence. within the dop of the system, there's a people who have firsthand experience of what a democracy looks like, who understand, you know, not just how elections work, but how the rule of law works and how people get along with each other in an advanced democracy, and i predict that when china finally goes democratic, it's because these people were there to reform it from within. >> host: fascinating. how much in your experience,
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robert, those individuals who are so instrumental economically, how much are they participating in larger, global political efforts in diplomacy discussions? the u.k. government, the u.s. government, are they culling ideas from folks on the ground and bringing migrationomics into and from china? >> guest: the chinese government has a conscious policies of sending bureaucrats to foreign government on how they do things. they send people to singapore to find out how to make a tax system that's corrupt, send people to europe to handle environmental policy, send some to south korea to look at how you have a big government that sill works, and the idea is that they will just bring back ideas,
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that they will just stick to, you know, fixing the plumbing, but you can't separate these things if you spend time in the clean democracy and the air is cleaner and the people are happier and the government doesn't arrest them for no reason. the ideas have to seep back into china, and obviously the people in whose heads those ideas are traveling don't make a big strong dance about it at the moment because they would be arrested or lose their jobs, but there's ideas going back, and it's definitely happening. >> host: one thing, robert, one of the examples we just talked about right now, the card board industry boom, the billionaire woman from china, the founders of allybaba and other tech companies in china, the indian billionaire technologists helping with the id program in india, this requires a high level of skill and education. can you talk about the role of
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education in success of these migrant communities and what they bring, what they create, the wealth they create for themselves and for others? >> guest: if you're a migrant, if you showed up and you're a minority, your starting point has to be that you don't expect to get handouts from anyone. you don't expect to walk in into any kind of job on the basis of who your parents were, and so, you know, what all my grant groups from the jews, many, many years ago through to the lebanese in south america and west africa today, and you get educated, rely on yourself, and that means increasingly in this world, you have to learn stuff that is useful for other people. you know, if you're an engineer, you're never going to starve because people always want bridges not to fall down, and likewise if you're a doctor. you'll be fine. i think, you know, i think they have a homework ethic if you'd like.
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there's a lot of people who say to their kids, you know, you got to study very hard because that's the way to succeed in life. that's, i think that's a wonderful thing to spread around the world. >> host: interesting consistent pattern you see. talk a little bit about -- we focused on asia and you spent quite a bit of time in asia in your career, but how about other regions and examples. you mentioned lebanese and latin america, for example, and i see examples of sort of the immigrant communities in washington, d.c. from ethiopia start off as collecting, working in garages, and then owning garages, parking garages, and then their children become educated. i don't know if there's a success story there, but it looks like the beginnings of a pattern. >> guest: it's a huge success story. look at people coming to america, and one of the great things about america is that because it has by far the largest stock of immigrants
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from, you know, in any country, if -- no matter where you come from, you can always find a niche, something that's reasonably comfortable for you. for example, suppose you are an ethiopian, and you want to go somewhere where you can listen to the radio, east ethiopian food, hang out with some other ethiopians while at the same time learning english and attending a church where there's preaching in your own language. well, you can find that place in america. in fact, you know, you have a choice. you can do that in a suburb setting in northern virginia, or you can do it in an urban setting in washington, d.c., and there's plenty of other places as well. wherever you come from, you can find that niche, and you can probably find someone who is a friend of a friend when you show up, and that's a tremendous comfort for migrants, and so
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that's one of the reasons why america, if it chooses to, has the pick of the world immigrants. you can pick whoever you want, and large numbers of them, and i think as the global population stabilizes, which it will sooner than people think, how large the population of each country is is going to depend more and more on whether people want to live there so you can very easy see if you look at the highest u.n. projections over the next century or so, you can see there's 500 million americans by 2050 or a billion by the end of the servelg rich countries. you can see there's -- century, you can see there's more american people by the end of the century meaning the american era is far from over. >> host: oh, fascinating. where does, along those lines, where does national identity fit into this? is it important? does it matter, you think?
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>> guest: it's very important. a lot of people have a sense of who they are and where they come from depends on their culture and roots. people have roots. the thing is what i think people don't necessarily understand about national identity is it's possible to have two. that's perfectly possible to be a loyal american and at the same time be deeply attached to your sort of ancestral chinese or nigerian culture. it's like you can, you know, you can love your wife and memory. >> host: yes, and do you find that immigrants you've talked to, you talk to so many, do they feel comfort or tension? >> guest: depends where they are. generally in america, they feel some tension -- >> host: sure. >> guest: but by and large people assimilate much better here than say in europe, and i think the fundamental reason for
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that is that in america, basically you have to work. you can't just come to america and start claiming enough welfare benefits if you're an able bodied young male or something. you have to get a job. in the workplace, people have to get along. you know, if you're all in the office together, it might not be the people you would necessarily choose to socialize with, but you're trying to pursue a common objective, get the work done, and that means you have to behave towards each other with a bear minimum of politeness and understanding, and that means you get along, and the workplace is the most integrated part of america i think, and it's a huge contrast to europe where you can sometimes just show up and be paid not to work for your entire life, and that's why you have all of these angry idle youths in the sort of slums around paris who never integrate or find work, and also don't contribute very much because the
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society's not letting them. >> host: specifically the society of those not familiar, the society is not letting them because there's not jobs, policies that are bias towards others, but why is that? >> guest: well, mostly is because of the welfare systems. if you pay people not to work, and then withdraw those benefits when they start working, you create a huge disincentive to working. there's also discrimination as well, but i mean, discrimination is in all societies. the point is if you pay people not to work, you get less work. >> host: very interesting. can you talk about europe? i'm fascinated. we hear so much about vast migration from the middle east in africa into europe, and you hear about tension spots, you know, discrimination, but what are the economic effects of these communities today? are they participating in migrationomics in the same way as the u.s.? >> guest: not in the same way. there's a lot of beneficial
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effects of migration to europe. the main type of migration in europe is stuff you don't think about so much which is the completely free movement of labor between european union countries, and that's been a huge success. i mean, that's people moving from rich countries to rich countries, but, you know, there's been an awful lot of that, and that's been tremendously successful. the movement of people from poor countries to europe has been partly successful, but there's the welfare problem i mentioned. >> host: yes. >> guest: there's some religious tensions as well, more politics in europe than you find here. >> host: sure. >> guest: there's not antiimmigrant parties here. there's people within some party, but, you know, europe's in this awful position at the moment because if you look at the debt crisis and the euro crisis there, i mean, that's basically a demographic thing in
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the short term, and they stopped having babies meaning there's not enough working age people in europe to pay pensions for the older people. if you're like america, you can solve a lot of that problem by letting in a lot more young, energetic immigrants to make the population more useful, but because they pay them not to work, it doesn't work that way. >> host: interesting. for all the successes we talked about and, you know, europe has the hurdles it presents now, what are some examples of failures that you've seen? any sort of stories or antedotes of communities where really using the network did not pay off for those who participated? or they got burned? are there examples? >> guest: gosh, well, when networks -- >> host: i mean, as you
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mentioned in passing the madoff scandal -- >> guest: oh, right. of course. when -- yeah, the advantage of a network of up finty is -- infinity is that you trust the other people because the consequences of for them of breaking trust, you get kicked out of the network, and that can be abused, and that's one the reasons he trusted him so much because he was a pillar of the global jewish community and american-jewish community and thought, good old bernie, doing wonderful stuff with our money, and he's above suspicion, but he was a crook. there was prominent jewish-americans and charities who lot -- lost a lot of money, so, yeah, trust can be abused. >> host: is that an egregious
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example? the scale of that abuse. >> guest: look at this this way -- almost all the examples that you see in this are where people trust each other, and it works, so, for example, talking to a nigerian guy who runs a soap factory in nigeria, and he needed to get machines, soap making machines, and he needed to import them from china because that's where the cheapest ones came from. it's difficult, not a particularly big business, doesn't speak chinese, can't fly to china to buy a new soap machine every time, so what he did was rely on nigerian middlemen living in china, from the same tribe as him, and he would meet them at trade fairs saying if you hear someone speaking this language outside of nigeria, you have to go up and talk to them.
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they would do that thing. they'd look at the machines he'd seen on the interpret and check they were okay and the deal was handled cleanly and take a little cut from it, and he knew he could trust the people and if they cheated, news of that would spread immediately on the network of those living in nigeria, and no one would do business with them again. the people relied on their reputation, and that stemmed on them being part of the ethnic network, and that's how it works and how trading networks work and you have a chinese trader in indonesia see as gap in the market for cheep umbrellas or something, and he can then call the cousin who runs a factory saying we need cheap umbrellas and because they trust each other, they close it with a single phone call, and they move fast. business is about moving fast.
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>> host: absolutely. one thing i find sort of interesting as a child immigrant is how once you are in a -- when you do migrate, your family, you can associate -- you can associate more with even those that might have been enemies back at home, maybe different tribe, there's -- in the u.s. there's a pan-asian idea, free masonry among immigrants sometimes, feeling we're all sort of one. within sort of broader communities, does this work, this idea that you're talking about? the infinity networks, or does it tend to be most successful when it is more specific? >> guest: well, you know, the tighter the community, the stronger the ties, but i mean, it's possible to have a mixture of ties, you know? you can have both very close intimate friends and a much wider circle of acquaint
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answers. you -- acquaintances. you can do them both at the same time. say you're an indian working why silicone valley, and we know from surveys there's great stuff done at berkley and other foundations in kansas city, and they've just looked at how much time, you know, or what proportion of what chinese and indian entrepreneurs in silicone valley share information with their friends back home, and what proportion of returnees, so you have the engineers working in silicone valley for awhile, learn a bunch of stuff, and then go back home to set up new businesses. now, almost all of them will ring back to their acquaintances, their friends, their contacts in silicone valley. you know, every month, swapping information about, you know, what's happening on the investment front, what ideas are out there, what are the cool ideas going around?
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who is spending money on things? they swap tips about technology and business, and that's how business happens faster. you know, when business happens faster, people make more money, and the world's a bester place. >> host: certainly. one thing you wrote, i think the quote was that made me think -- culture shock makes you think. so clearly, somebody who visited 70 countries, lived in many, you seem to be an advocate of, you know, exploring beyond your borders. >> guest: well, absolutely. i mean, you have to think, you know, i've -- i'm sort of a migrant of sorts in that i lived in a bunch of different places, and when you deal with unfamiliar situations, you have to figure out new ways of coping. you know, i used to live in japan as a penniless student remember thinking how on earth will i find enough to eat, and then you discover the japanese
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people throw away the crusts and bread and you go to the bakery asking for a bag of crusts. you get a huge bag for free. i used to go around africa and occasionally had to deal with a lot of roadblocks by the soldiers or police who were interested in, you know, maybe extracting a little bit of money from passing traveler, and if you carry an open pact of cigarettes in your shirt pocket and offer it to everyone, you meet -- that tended to pass demands for money because it put them in a good mood. >> host: it's a good survival technique, for sure. >> guest: you learn these things. >> host: i want your thoughts on other things. i'm a child immigrant, mu husband is as well, and one thing my parents and husband talk about is what would have
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happened if we stayed in our country? there's been so much prosperity in korea. my husband's from turkey. turkey is undergoing a great boom in some way, not immune at all to the global economy, but, you know, compared to other parts of europe, it's quite strong, and he's seeing his peers do fabulously well. my parents see their peers from college do fab fabulously well, and not to make it about my family, but everyone is quite good, but my point being is there's always this sort of what could have happened? the idea of, you know, you know, my family had others i talked to who talk bow through the myth of the american dream and the immigration dream and how it's not quite as what what it's chalked up to be. sometimes moving, taking the big
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risk doesn't pay off, not as bad as the madoff scandal, but the dream and making it in the u.s.. what's your general thoughts on that? >> guest: i mean, obviously there's opportunity costs of moving. if you go to one place, that means you didn't stay in the other place and maybe things wafer been different and you can always, particularly if you look at the most successful examples of people that you left behind, then, yeah, some of them might be more successful. you've also had a bad recession in america recently. now, my argument in this book is that america's going to bounce back, but, sure at the moment it's incredibly painful. the thing is that you don't have to -- it doesn't have to be a one thing anymore. it's not that you make one decision, i'll leave this country to live in another country. people move around. five years here, five years there, ten years here, move to one place and back. i mean, you meet indians, for
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example, who have done 20 years living in america, had a great time, and maybe their parents are getting a bit older in india, they want to look after them, they go home and look after them, but then they probably leave some family back here or send their kids to university here. you have these border straddling family. i talked to one where you have the grandmother in bangalor, was teaching classical indian singing via skype to her grandchildren living in texas, and the world is a smaller place than it was. it's possible to be in more than one place at the same time. >> host: full circle back to the beginning of the conversation in the role of technology and what this does to facilitate the networks or just these boardlessness, if you will. >> guest: it's not just that technology makes networks more powerful, although it does, but
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it's also the migration allows the technology to come into its own. if people, you know, if people were all just sitting in their same place and communicating with the people they knew within a circumscribed area, the technology would not be as useful as it is, but because of all the people having need to contact people who are far, far away, but close to them in their hearts, they use the technology, and it's extraordinary how much that's transformed the world. >> host: that's interesting. also, it's just cheaper to fly. >> guest: it's not more comfortable. >> host: that is right. if you were a business, if you were a fortune 500, owning a big business, what would i want to learn from your book? what are some lessons to take away if i'm a business leader? >> guest: i think the lesson to take away is that you want to be aware of what you don't know
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and how much you can add to your organization by bringing in people who know about parts of the world that you don't. >> host: right. >> guest: if you want a global business, if you're a big business, you want to have people who come from the countries that you're investing in, and if you're an american business and you want to do business in china, you want to have second generation chinese-americans working with you because they will know more stuff about what's going on there, and if you want to do business in india, you want to have a bunch of indias. if you want to do business in latin america, but you want people on your side as well which is why the immigration is so important because they understand both countries. that's one thing i think people should learn. i mean, another thing is the fact that you can set up a very small business. you can have a multinational these days consisting of two people. you know, you can have one
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immigrant sitting in maryland, for example, and her cousin or sister sitting in china and one of them understands the american market, and the other one is doing the operations in china, and you can start a multinational like that with almost no capital. i talked to someone who lived quite near here who runs a candle making business, and business is much larger than that now, but started off with just her and her husband living in maryland, and her sister back in china, and it's now grown into a bigger business where they do -- they do a lot of it through the cleverrist design work closest to the customers. they do that in america, and then they do the manufacturing of the capped les in -- candles in china, and china's moving up the value chape, and they are doing some of the basic design work in china and moving
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manufacturing here. they moved some of manufacturing here to be closer to the customers and get things really fast to market. the thing here is the understanding of the, you know, the american department stores, the american market and whatnot. >> host: that's right, and stocking shelfs in target. >> guest: right. it's gone it a million dollar business in not very long. it's about border straddling and good taste in candles. >> host: it's a hard market to break into. retail, thin margin -- >> guest: oh, yeah, very hard. >> host: it's a hard market to grow into. how do i as a business owner, a business leader, who knows -- let's say for example i'm a tech company, and i know obviously there's great talent to be had in india, china, korea, and other places. how do i tap into these
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networks? >> guest: unfortunately, one of the things you have to do or the industries have to do collectively is lobby the government to start giving people visas again. you know, the supply of visas to highly skilled people in this country is so small that it's put people off from applying. people have almost given up and so they'll go somewhere else. there was a survey from duke university where talking about highly skilled sciences, science majors many american universities from china or india, and the number of them who thought they simply would not get a visa to stay so they might as well go home was a large majority, and that's absurd because these are valuable people. >> host: yeah. just to remind the audience, i think the whole debate over h1 # b highly skilled visas stems


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