tv Book TV After Words CSPAN March 2, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm EST
portions of it still exists. >> can watch this and other programs on line netbook tv.org. see up next on booktv "after words" with guest lillian cunningham of the "washington post." this week former editor of foreign-policy magazine, moises naim and his latest book, "the end of power". in it he argues that power no longer lies with the leaders of strong stable governments or the heads of large corporations. the former venezuelan minister says the potential for widespread -- is greater today than ever before. the program is about an hour. >> host: it is my pleasure to interview moises naim for this episode of "after words." you are a noted columnist on international economics and globalization. you are also a scholar at the carnegie endowment for international peace and formerly editor of foreign-policy magazine and former trade
minister of venezuela. so, all that said you have also now written a new book called "the end of power" and that is what we are here to talk about today. let's start at the beginning, which i think is how did you come to write this book and how did those various experiences inform what went into this? >> guest: delighted to be here and thank you. you encapsulated many of -- redoing all of those things that you mentioned, i arrived at having an instinct, an intuition about what was going on with power. we all know that power is shifting from west to east, from north to south and from very big companies to startups and from people in presidential palaces to people in the streets. we know that is happening in the world and that is nothing new but i detected that there was
something more profound happening to power. power was experiencing a stagnation that had to do with power meaning much less than it used to in the past, that people with power could do less with it that doesn't mean that they are very powerful. the pope in the head of the pentagon and the president of china or russia or the united states, very powerful people but they are more constrained in what they can do and therefore i started looking at that. it also coincided with a period -- i have been the editor of foreign-policy magazine as you said for 14 years so i was trying to distill what did i learn in those 14 years? what are the important trends that came into my mind as i was trying to summarize that experience. >> host: why don't we stop for a moment and why didn't you tell me a bit more about how you define power, because i think
the definition you lay out in the book is central to your thesis and how it's declining and it's different from how we talk about power conversationally today. >> guest: right, and as you know power has been discussed and there are as many definitions and they can get is complex as you can develop the idea. for the book and for the conversation power is the ability of one actor to make someone do or stop doing something and influencing, power and influence are interrelated and influence in the book, use influence as the ability to change the perception of the situation in order to moderate people in terms of moving in a certain direction or stopping doing something and power and just creating incentives both
sticks and carrots in order to get people to behave in a certain way. >> host: how exactly is it declining, because i think if you asked a lot of people today they would say okay maybe there are new ceos at the top of our organizations that they are still making enormous paychecks and yields a lot of power and we see more and more countries that seem to be emerging as strong players on the global stage. so how is that not just a shift and a redistribution of power? how is what you are saying actually declined? >> guest: each one of the players you mentioned, well paid ceos and heads of states and new countries that are displaying the geopolitics of renowned and have a large say, all of these have power but they have less power than before and they can do less than their
successors could do. pick any one of those and you will see they are more constrained. think about the ceos of the banks after the financial crisis. there were a few banks that came out on top and they were the banks that navigated through the crisis and their ceos became the top leaders in the financial set there. many of those today, just a few years later have lost their jobs. others are quite constrained. all this has been implicated in the scandal that has greatly reduced their ability to do things and as i have said, others are out of a job. the well paid ceos continue to be extremely well paid and have a shorter tenure. it's very slippery at the top both in politics and the corporate world and almost every other arena. it's almost -- very hard to stay
on top in their statistical evidence of all of these things. >> host: there is the scientific principle that it was neither created or destroyed. it was just transferred. so you would say that applies to power as well? >> guest: all i'm saying again, i would never deny that power continues to exist, but there are some very important layers. it's a very important powerful player. vladimir putin himself five years ago or 10 years ago -- so the power is there but power is easier to get, harder to use and far easier to lose. >> host: what is driving this decline? >> guest: the common wisdom about this is that the main driver behind the erosion of power or the more fleeting has
become is the internet in social media and tweaking and facebook and all that. we have seen that in other aspects. of course i don't deny that. that's important and the internet is a powerful transformation of tools that is altering the way power is acquired and used and deployed, but there are other things going on. the internet very often is just a tool. i'm thinking for example of the increasing the size of the middle class around the world. there is a very important restructuring of social structures, of socioeconomic distribution around the world, both negative and positive in the rich countries. in some countries is expanding very rapidly so all of that is driving, it's one of the factors
that is driving the shift of power and then i talk in the book about three important resolutions. >> host: do you want to talk a bit more about those? you have the mentality resolution, mobility and more. >> guest: the more revolution is we have more of everything, there are more guns, and more computers and there is more income per capita and more wealth. there is more trade and more containers. more people. importantly. more political parties and more ideas and there is more of everything. if you have more of everything and try to rein -- retain power it's more confiscated. it's easier to wield power and keep control when there is not so much of everything then when there is this explosion of everything. so that is the first thing. the second revolution, the more
revolution, the second revolution has to do with the internet, cell phone and social media but it's also migration. it's also trade and the constant movement of ideas, people, mone. that mobility then combines with the more so not only do you have more but it makes it harder to control. thirdly, the one you mentioned first is the mentality revolution. all of the strength of the rise of the middle class, more information, changes in the way people think, the way in which authority is treated, the way in which people relate to elders, two traditions, to customs and change. and so the first revolution, the
more revolution undermines or overwhelms, sorry, the barriers of power is just too much so more overwhelms. the mentality then circumvents the barriers that shielded the powerful from rifles and the mentality undermines it. so those are three forces, three baskets of theories of factors that either overwhelms and circumvents or undermines the barriers that allowed allow the powerful to stay in power. >> host: let's maybe take the arab spring as an example. you mentioned a lot of people have focused on the role that social media has played, programs like twitter and facebook that has led activists catalyze change but you talk
about in the book and what you just talked about babil are much bigger, slower building of more important forces that are at work underneath them. so maybe if you could just take the arab spring as an example and talk about what's really going on there. >> guest: the common wisdom is the arab spring was driven by social media and the facebook in google and tweeters, but think of where it started. it all started in tunisia and we know the story. in a small town in tunisia as food vendor sells mo legs himself. he sells mo legs because he was not set up and the local government was limiting his ability to make a living. if you think about tunisia you discover that tunisia was a country in north africa that had
the fastest economic growth, but has the fastest expansion of the middle class and the most stable economy, that has -- the most homogeneous in terms of religion and other demographic characteristics and social characteristics so it was a very probable place for this eruption dab in. that is where it all started and then it spread. what happened there was that it was essentially a story of a group of middle-class that was rapidly expanding. educational opportunities have been expanding very fast. you had a whole class of perfection i'll's but couldn't find work, the head expectations and where they were nurtured by their educational attainment and their knowledge and their information.
that created a strong -- of course when that happened, other factors played into the explosion. the wikileaks where they learned that their government was very corrupt as was the family and that was -- created it called for in of upheaval that ended up in the overthrow of their parliament. that example then moved to egypt and to libya and elsewhere and we know the story. there is a very interesting recent study by a think-tank in washington called the u.s. -- for peace. the tweeter track these revolutions and they discovered a lot of the -- was taking place outside of the country.
it was people tweeting about what was going on. that was the bulk of the exchanges and social media. the people in tahrir square, of course they were tweeting and facebooking and it played a role but there was this far more important seismic shift that was taking place that created the conditions that enabled the tweeters and the facebook and social media to play the role that it did. >> host: so given all of that, what do you see as the implication for leaders today, not just arab leaders but if you look across from heads of state to heads of business, military is another example you give in the book. if you sat at the top of the big institution today, what would you be thinking about doing? >> guest: look at the periphery and have a bigger scope.
your competitor will come from places that you can't even imagine. and there is a tension between highly focused and specialized and good at what you do. it requires a dogged attention to that highly specific, highly concrete set of things that make your company or organization successful. it's very difficult to then start looking sideways or behind you or up or down to see where is it coming? words that challenge coming from? the first is to pay attention to the balance between how specialized and attentive you have to be to your core competency in the things you do well but at the same time do not neglect the forces that are behind you or around you. that can surprise you. that is one. the second is to be aware that
people like you lose their jobs very often. >> host: do you think that good leadership looks different today or tomorrow from what it looked like 10 years ago? >> guest: i think so and i think there is a lot of -- in your own work you have highlighted that. leaders now are leading by just the sheer force of authority and just trying to get things done because i say so is not bad except it anymore. you are dealing with employees and competitors and clients and customers and suppliers that are far more reactive and less prone to be accept being, passing the acceptance of order so hierarchy and authority have declined as the main features of how to
deploy power in organizations. >> host: and what about, can you think of specific leaders who you would say you know you look out across the country, across the world, you think they are getting it right, or others that you could point to and say they really -- >> guest: the classic example i think and it almost has become a cliché but deserves to be repeated is nelson mandela. this is someone who when he was freed from decades of imprisonment, the first reaction was not to use revenge to his followers but tried to have a view that was inclusive and was not based on the use of force.
he ended up being a very powerful influential and an even interesting and even cunning way. >> host: and, what do you think about within organizations themselves, have you seen anything about mostly when we are talking about business leaders being effective, we are talking about within the industry that they are in and among other players but have you seen anything in trends within the organization of a leader who is more about our less effective at managing the people who work for him or for her and is that dynamic changing at all? >> guest: it is a broad question. in some sectors you have the steel mill, the culture there is
far more determined by technology, via the distribution channels, by the structure of the business. if you have a startup in silicon valley, just compare instagraming. it's a web-based photography site that was just bought for a billion dollars and it had a few years of business and not many employees. compare that with kodak that but just went bankrupt and at some point kodak had almost a monopoly on all the photographic equipment and all of that. just compare the difference between this. just imagine how different the culture, how different the ways of behaving and how different i am sure the way in which the ceos treated customers and competitors and thought ahead
and use technology and capital. >> host: and going back to your nelson mandela example, consensus and coalition buildine book is as well and is being really important aspects right now for being able to come, in a world where power is declining to actually be able to get something done. could you elaborate a little bit more on the role, the increasingly important role that something like coalition building use today? >> guest: yes and that's a very important aspect of a conversation and the implications. i mentioned that there are something like an inverted u and all of these in which there is a lot to celebrate in the decay of power and the way power is now shift doing and spreading and
new actors are coming into the fray and you have less dictators and less monopolies. you have less authoritarian ways of doing things so there's a lot to celebrate. so if you move in that inverted u curve you have benefits to society. the inverted curve has the king of power in the axe axis but society and the vertical so you move up. the more you move the more dissemination and dispersion and of power being distributed the better it is for society because you move away from monopolies in concentration and all that and you get to a point in which more of that dispersion, more of that dissemination of power becomes neck it is and it starts sloping down. it's because of what you said. imagine a situation in which you
can't do anything unless you have coalitions and you have to consult everyone and everyone has the power to veto what is proposed that no one has any power to dispose of you. you end up with giants and you can see governments around the world and politics around the world. some companies in which you have the distribution of power between different shareholding groups and management groups in which nothing gets done or nothing gets done with the speed and the quality of the decisions because you don't have someone that can make things happen. i don't worry as much about that is i worry when that happens in government and we are sitting here in washington and how difficult it is to make decisions. we are talking about decisions that are really going to stop
the u.s. government from working or imposing very very negative automatic cuts that are quite irrational. everybody knows that shouldn't happen and the ability of making the right decisions. i think that's because we are overdosing on checks and balances. we have just developed this wide array of checks and balances that make decisions, they postpone decisions and kick the can down the road. decisions are looted and you find the comments of nominator that pleases everyone does not solve the problem. you find the decisions that really are and -- ineffective and create the illusion that decision and that in fact not much is happening. >> host: some of that idea, overloadeoverloaded with checks and balances and i would like to stay on congress for a moment. capitol hill is just a few
blocks away from here and they are so much symbolic power but if you look at the definition of what it means to have power which is to actually get something done, it seems like one of the most powerless institutions we have right now. so, what is going on there with that dynamic and how much of the dysfunction we are seeing in congress is attributed to these deeper systemic highs in the decline of power and how much of it is just that we don't have great people on the hill right now? >> guest: i think you put your finger on the essence of the story and eight do believe what we see now in the u.s. congress is a manifestation of the three revolutions and many other forces that i discuss in the book. essentially we have this
organization that is very powerful, but seems unable to get anything done and in fact the american people recognized that the levels of support and respect for u.s. congress are at all-time lows. and so, it has a lot to do in the book discusses and is one of the centerpieces of my concluding chapter, it has a lot to do with trust and the loss of trust. if you don't have -- if you have a loss of trust than you feel the checks and balances into troll essentially make it impossible to take initiatives without including everybody else to scrutinize and constrained with the powerful are doing. in turn we also make a deal out of the decline of the -- of
political parties. >> host: do you want to returned to the concept of trust? if we elected better leaders right now and put them in congress, do you think we would see it function better or something at a deeper level that needs to change? >> guest: i am always suspicious of hoping or looking for a proverbial mythical leader the notion that things will get sold if we only have better people. we have the people that the american people elected and that has been the case for a while. so i think there are more powerful forces at work there that defines who gets interested in this, who gets the call? who wants to run for congress in who wants to be a senator or a congressperson and then what
does it take to get elected? those are forces that are far more powerful and defining the kinds of leaders that we end up getting. rather than looking are hoping that we can get good leaders out of some magic process, it would look at the process of incentives that determines who gets interested and who is willing to spend his or her life in congress and what does it take for that person once he or she decides to run to really make it? >> host: hewed mention in the book though that this decline in power is opening up more opportunities for bad leaders to get some foothold. even though we can't search for mythical great leader, do you think we have more of bad options out there as well these
days? >> guest: yeah and i referred to causes that have been out there for a while and that is the -- these are leaders that come up with ideas or one-liners that capture the imagination and the support of the people and that are very bad ideas. we have a bunch of them around. you see them resurfacing. you see them becoming embraced by people and voted by the people. i think it's very important again to create institutions and processes that will limit that. again that is my point about political parties. i think what is happening in the decline of the political party, i would like to explain what i mean by lack of competitiveness of the political parties. it's very important there is
trust and limiting the influence and potential of the -- and limiting the gridlock we have. >> host: what you mean by the lack of competitiveness? do you mean we should have more parties? >> guest: i mean we need to have better parties. the parties need to learn from office successful organizations. imagine that we are in front of a group of 20-year-olds and police say i am launching an organization that is going to try to save a butterfly in indonesia that is end danger of extinction. raise your hand and those who are willing to help. you will find among the 20-year-olds and others, you will find people doing that which is great. then you say who wants to join me in a political party? who wants to join the republican or the democratic 30 and you will see far fewer would be
willing to volunteer their time and their efforts and their passions in joining a political party. i think political parties need to modernize and need to become more attractive to young people and young professionals because political parties are the essence. the idea that you can have democracy without a strong political party. >> host: we are going to take a short rake and then we will be right back.
>> host: you say in your book that political partners need to learn something from the occupy movement and even from al qaeda. what exactly do you mean by that? >> guest: just think about how effective al qaeda has been in recruiting young people and making them do horrible things. and you know i'm not suggesting that political parties have to become cults or followers is suicidal murders. not at all. what do they have? what does al qaeda have that is used to provoke new thinking about how to recruit and energize young leaders and followers? the same thing happened with the occupy movement. he saw this very large group of young people taking to the
streets around the world and in some places you had some consequences by an expression of anger and anxiety about the situation but the fact of the matter is, apathetic and disinterested political individuals became highly politicized. i think there is something there in a political party that wants to be more competitive and wants to attract and retrained -- retain young people and we can learn from those examples. again, it has to do with the fact that the last decade has been horrible for political parties around the world and very good for a number of organizations. >> host: how powerful do you think the position of the u.s. president is today? >> guest: there is no doubt that it's very powerful and one
of the most powerful presidents of the world. all i would say on the basis of my research in the book is that it's less powerful than it used to be. there is a recent reason interview with president obama in which he explains that he was reading a story, i think it was president reagan, and decided to build a -- somewhere in the white house. president obama reflected how difficult would that become today, not just with the opposition of all the parties but the scrutiny of the media and the commentary. and what would become an important national debate that would distract things. that was i thought a powerful example of how far more constrained a very powerful president is. all presidents are powerful but
i think the range of things they can do on their own is restricted. >> host: we hear a lot today about if china is going to be the next superpower and isn't overtaking the united states? you point out that is really not the type of conversatconversat ion we should be having when we talk about power. what is it that you see is fundamentally unhelpful about that way of thinking? >> that is what i call the elevator approach to policies. who is up and who is downed? their rankings in the horserace and it's someone is up and affect for example you lose sight of the fact that china is a very powerful company that has very important programs and challenges that are hard to tackle.
we lose sight of the fact that the power of the chinese leadership is also constrained. more constrained now. if you just think about the power that leaders like mao had or some of the successors, the people that the leadership in china that gave economic reforms in china and brought china to a global economy. i don't know that the current leaders have the same ambitions because they know know there are far more constrained. again the chinese -- i'm not saying that the chinese leaders are not powerful but they can do less today than their predecessors were able to do. >> host: let's turn to al qaeda for a moment and the topic of the military. and some of the big changes that we are seeing in the way that
wars are fought today. right now there is a conversation about cutting the defense budget which is you know potentially a moment to take a look at the way that we as a country have thought about how we invest in that power that we hold. what are you seeing as the way that war takes place now and for a country like the united states that has relied on this big hierarchical institution that is the u.s. military for so long, what could it or should it look like five years from now or 10 years from now? >> guest: i wrote a whole chapter on the military and what is happening to military power and i think, let's start with a small example. the pirates in somalia on the coast and the gulf of aden,
these are people in boats with very primitive guns and they go out and they hijack some of the largest ships in the world. the international community has reacted to that threat by the deploying the most, the largest and most -- in terms of technology, a very modern fleet. everyone is now patrolling those seas and you have the european union and the chinese and the japanese and the united states, the russians, everyone is trying to stop the pirates from hijacking the ships and they have not been able to do it. so that tells you, that example shows you where we are not even talking about what has become common which is that symmetrical war in which you have groups and
one of the challengers, very powerful challenges and asymmetrical way. it's an example of that and then his symmetry that every war is becoming far more problematic but it's a bigger example of how you have a lot of works that are no longer fought between formal armies that represent nations states but you have a different kind of combatant and a different kind of technology and are capable. they will never defeat those big armies that they can get away with doing what they want to do and constraining the options that the large armies have. we saw that in iraq and afghanistan with the use of improvised explosive devices
that created the largest source of casualties for the united states military in those places and coalition forces and the united states has had to spend billions of dollars in trying to see how to limit the damage created by these improvised devices. we still -- some progress has been made that we are not there. another example is the drone. our conversation in the united states is what are the rules and the framework for the use of drones? while the united states is consumed with that debate which i think is very important and very valid drones are becoming becoming -- everyone can have a drones. a lot of armies and a lot of
groups around the world now, drones are now very inexpensive. that again is an example of how technology is becoming far more available around the world, not only the state sanctioned groups but also terrorists, insurgents and other kinds of combatants. >> host: and one of those constraints for something like the u.s. military is that there are constrained as you said i rules, that there are now all these players emerging who don't sort of respect or care about the rules of war. >> guest: that is part of a symmetry. you not only have the weapons and weapon systems but you also have a symmetry in terms of the framework in which you abide.
>> host: so if you were incoming secretary of defense, what do you think you would be looking at for how to make a big institution like the u.s. military attacked to all these changes we are seeing? >> guest: what is very striking is how much thinking there is in the u.s. military about transformation. i have been talking to u.s. military planners and senior officers and it's quite impressive the quality of their thinking and how they know everything. it's not a problem of lack of ideas but lack of of the power to implement them and that's another example. it's very very hard to convert the ideas about how to make the american military more nimble and more effective and less expensive while at the same time
retaining the ability to protect the homeland. those ideas are there. what is not there is the politics to keep them. >> host: moving away from military, you mentioned something that seemed troubling that comes with this decline in power and other things like assets and improvements. what is at stake really? what are we looking at in terms of what we stand to gain and what we stand to lose because of this seismic shift? >> guest: my biggest worry about what i describe is that the national level and i already described my concern about countries like the u.s. and checks and balances to the point in which everybody has an initiative then no one can
impose it in getting moving so that is one but one really striking and the most worrisome one is when you take that at the lower level. an ability of the international community to make decisions. what we now have is a situation in which globalization and country's independence on all of that is going on with integration, international integration of economies and societies and so one and individuals is creating a great need for collective decision-making that transcends borders. international, beyond one border and while they need created by the organization to deal with problems that no country can tackle alone is moving the ability of the international community to work together and
deploy effective responses to problems. >> host: let's take as an example climate change and the copenhagen summit where we saw first-hand the inability for countries to come to some sort of consensus to work together toward a big pressing global issue. you know, what would help push past those challenges? >> guest: in the book i proposed an idea that i call many ladder listen. you are trying to get 119 countries to agree on something that has some bite and can make a dent in the problem. in order to get that you have to get the common denominator and you have a variety of views and
>> when we include anyone, 92 countries, nothing happens. if i have to choose, they're both bad but i would rather have one bad with part of the solution they and the inclusion very high the democratic system where every single country has one vote even a small island has this a vote as china and nothing happens but i would
rather have things happening because of the problems are becoming a crisis. >> host: let's say everyone got on board with that idea, who could put for that idea? sorry, we care about you but you are not the list to be involved in the decision. >> guest: that'd is specific which countries you would invite is different with climate change they and a global pandemic or the global financial crisis or immigration flow or intellectual property. there will be some countries
in a lot of these but the problem is defined by different types of countries. it just takes some governments and the populations to demand the government does something. government is run by politicians and they are sensitive to the signals the voters sent. nothing will happen until the of citizens demand action to be more effective with these global problems. >> host: that brings us back to trust. you mentioned in the book one possible path for bird to helping us in power some
institutions, as some groups over others but, why is trust the linchpin? why is that important to capture not just dissolve into 1 million checks and balances? >> in many ways, a trusting your readers to do the right thing is writing a blank check. you don't do that to someone you don't trust and in order to know them, you have to interact and be cognizant of the issues and dilemmas. one of the problem of the political party, and no governmental organization or social group can have one
issue like the example of the butterfly in indonesia. you cannot afford to worry about that butterfly but with a political party you have to have opinions of economic policy, a preschool, agriculture, use of drugs, a political parties are important training places for leaders especially young people. that is more you create the knowledge of all the issues come to bring people to understand very often in government you don't choose between a wonderful and horrible option but between of bad option in even worse. and those dilemmas need to be better understood and trust the people it is not making everyone happy not by
choice but the alternate was worse. we're now confronted with those terrible decisions that cutting the size of government and increase taxes will mean making terrible choices a bad option and a worse one that is where the public will be confused by the demagogues that tried to distort and confuse the issues. >> host: for the average citizen confronted with this , how do know who to put your trust in these days? we are both in media and there is a proliferation of information and misinformation that making
those informed decisions is not getting easier for citizens. >> guest: there is not a silver bullet but for people to make their homework, i get better educated. we have too much information and it is hard to know who is saying the right thing and who was distorting it. but if you do your homework homework, you will find guides the you can trust who don't necessarily have a vested interest that can guide you. also to become more active active, a sitting at home and complaining doesn't solve anything. people need to be more active and purchase of a tory by getting engaged in
then they understand more of the issues and who to trust and the policy options ahead of us. >> host: on the other side for the jurors who are looking to repair or build the trust, any advice for them on how to do that? >> no. i don't have a seat -- silver bullet but transparency becomes very important and honesty is even more important. italy's was but there are many, many reasons why those in power scrutinize and the leaders believe they can get away by a model and an clear
it will be hard. now they have gained a lot of power. >> host: we are getting near the end. your book is called "the end of power" and you described a trajectory of power and concentrated from big institutions at the end of power, a dissolution or anarchy, where on that spectrum do you think we are right now? >> guest: in the political system of the united states, we're in a bad place where government is limited with the decisions it can make. we desperately need to move the needle back to those who
govern us are powered to make decisions that are needed. what is bad or worse is the global level we have a huge need of this expanding list of problems that will not buy a in a country acting alone will be solved, or super power. we don't get it because those governments, our humble giants and are limited constraints become a bringing back hour to make decisions is the most urgent task ahead. >> host: it has been a pleasure talking with you. the book is "the end of power" i wish you all the best with it. >> guest: thank you very much for a great conversation. >> host: thank you.
>> understand all founders primary concern, number one, it numero uno was national security. what would they say about a companies such as lockheed? i am under the opinion based on the other instances, they would grudgingly favor a bailout of lockheed because it favored with the top fighter jets and reconnaissance airplanes ready to make an argument they would support the bailout of chrysler in the