tv Book TV After Words CSPAN May 27, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm EDT
>> host: it is my pleasure to interview moises naim for this episode of "after words." you are a noted columnist, international economics and globalization. you are also a scholar for the 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. so, let's start at the beginning. which i think is how did you come to write this book and how did all of those various experiences and form what went into this? >> guest: thank you and you encapsulated many of -- by doing all of those things as you mentioned i arrived at having an instinct and intuition about what was going on with power. we all know that power is shifting from west to east, from north to south, from very big companies to startups and people and presidential palaces to people in the streets. we know that is happening in the world. i suspected there was something more profound happening to power. power was experiencing augmentation that had to do with
power would buy much less. that doesn't mean that they are not very powerful. that -- the pope and the head of the pentagon and the president of china or russia or the united states are very powerful people that they can do less. they are more constrained in what they can do and therefore i started looking at that. it also coincided with the period, i have been the editor of foreign-policy magazine as you said for 14 years and 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: so, why don't we stop for a moment and why didn't you tell me a bit more about how you define power because they think the definition and layout in the book is central to your thesis
of how it's declining and how it's different from how we talk about power conversationally today. >> guest: right, and as you know power has been discussed since the memorial and there is many definitions and a cam bit -- yet as complex as you develop the idea and it has become very complex. for the book and for the conversation it is enough to say that power is the ability for one actor to do or stop doing something and influencing, power and influence are also interrelated and influence in the book, i use influences the ability to change the perception of a situation in terms of moving in a certain direction or to stop doing something and power is creating incentives both sticks and carrots in order to get people to behave in a certain way. >> host: how exactly is a
declining because i think it declining because i think if you asked a lot of people today, they would say okay maybe they are there are new ceos at the top of organizations but they are still making enormous -- and wield a lot of power and we see more and more countries who 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 we are witnessing actually declined? >> guest: is one of the players you mention. well played mentioned. well played ceos, heads of state and new countries that are coming into play in the geopolitics arena and have more say than before. all of these players have power and they have less power than before. they can do less with it than their predecessors could do. pick any one of those and you will see that they are more constrained.
think about the ceos of the banks after the financial crisis. there were just a few banks that came out on top. they were the banks that navigated through the crisis and bought all the banks and became the -- their ceos became the top leaders in the financial sector but any of those today, just a few years later have lost their jobs. others are quite constrained. all this has been implicated in scandals that have greatly limited their ability to do things and as i said are out of a job. there are well paid ceos that continue to be extremely well paid to have shorter 10 years. it is very slippery at the top both in the corporate world, and politics and in almost all other arenas. it's very hard to stay on top for a long time and there is statistical evidence in the book about all of these things. >> host: and so there is that scientific principle that mass
is neither created or destroyed, it's just transferred so you wouldn't say that applies to power as well? >> guest: no, i am saying -- all i'm saying is again i would never deny that power continues to exist, that there are some very important players. vladimir putin is a very important powerful player. but vladimir putin today has more constraints than vladimir putin himself just 10 years ago or five years ago. and so the power is there but power is easier to get, harder to use and far easier to use. >> host: what is driving this decline? >> guest: the normal conversation, the wisdom about this is that the main driver behind the erosion of power or how fleeting it has become as the internet and the social media and twitter and facebook
and all of that. we have seen that in the arab spring presumably and in other aspects, and of course i don't deny that. that is very important. the internet is a very powerful transformational tool that has altered the way power is acquired and used and deploy it. but there are other things going on. the internet very often is just a tool, the new realities have made more important. i'm thinking for example a he increasing the size of a middle-class around the world. there is a very important restructuring of social structures, of socioeconomic shrinking and import countries expanding very rapidly. so all of that is driving, it's one of the factors that is driving shifts of power and then i talk in the book about three important revolutions.
>> host: do you want to talk a bit more about those? you have the mentality revolution, mobility and more. >> guest: we have more of everything's. there are more is. there are more guns and more many things. there are more computers and more income per-capita. there is more wealth than there's more trade. there is more everything, more people importantly. more countries and more political parties and more ideas. there is more of everything. if you have more of everything you did you try to obtain power it's more complicated. it's much easier to wield power and to 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 and the more revolution, the second revolution is well-known and that has to do with the internet, cell phones, social media but it's also migration and it's also trade.
the constant movement of ideas, people and money and that mobility then combines with the more so not only do you have more but you have more and it makes it harder to control. the one you mentioned first is the mentality of the revolution. all of the rise of the middle class, more affluence in general, more information, changes the way people think, the way in which authorities are treated and the way in which people relate to their elders, their traditions, to customs has changed. and so the first revolution, the more revolution of the mind,
it's just too much. so moore overwhelms. the mentality, the mobility of a revolution prevents and shield the power from rifles and the mentality undermines them. those are the three baskets of a series of factors and each one of them that either overwhelm circumvents her undermines the powerful to stay in power. >> host: let's maybe take the arab spring as an example. as you mentioned, a lot of people have focused on the role that social media has played. programs like twitter and facebook that hath you know activists have catalyzed and changed but you talk about in the book in what you just talked about now are much bigger you
know slower building but more important forces that are at work underneath that. so maybe if you could just take the arab spring as an example and talk about what is really going on there beneath the surface. >> host: the common wisdom is that the arab spring was social media. but take where it started. it all started in tunisia and we know the story. in a small town in tunisia a street vendor, a fruit vendor he self immolated because he was fed up with the abuses of the local government and his inability to make a living. but if you think about tunisia, you discover that tunisia was a country in north africa that had the fastest economic growth, the
fastest expansion of the middle class, that have the most stable economy, that had, was the most homogeneous in terms of ethnicity and religion and the democrat or -- demographic and social characteristics. 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 officials that couldn't find work. they had expectations and they were nurtured by their educational attainment and their knowledge and information that created a strong instability.
of course when that happened all the factors played into the explosion. through wikileaks they learned that their government ben ali was very corrupt as with his family and that was creating a cauldron of upheaval that ended up in the overthrow of the government. that example then moved to egypt and to libya and elsewhere and you know the story. there is a very interesting recent study by a think-tank in washington called the u.s. institute of peace. they tracked the twitter traffic and they discovered that a lot of the twitter commentary was taking place outside those countries. it was people like us tweeting about what was going on. that was the bulk of the exchanges and social media. in tahrir square, of course they
were tweeting and facebooking on their own that there were far more important seismic shifts that were taking place in society that created the conditions that enabled the tweeters and social media to play the role that it did. >> host: so, given all of this, what do you see as the implication for leaders today, not just arab leaders but if you look across from heads of state to head to business, military is another example that you give in the book. if you sit at the top of a big institution today, what should we be thinking about doing? >> guest: have a vision. have a bigger scope and look. your competitor will come from places you can even imagine.
if you are -- and you know there's a tension between being highly focused and specialized and good at what you do and requires a dogged attention. highly specific, highly concrete set of things that make a company or organization successful. it's very difficult to then start looking sideways or behind you or up or down to see where's it coming? where's the challenge to your position is coming from. so the first is to pay attention to the balance between how specialized and attentive you have to be to your core competencies and 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 humility. just 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 in your own work i think you have highlighted that. leading by a sheer force of authority and trying to get things done because i say so is not that effective anymore. you are dealing with employees and competitors and clients and customers and suppliers that are far more reactive and less prone to be accepted and accepting of orders. 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 look out across the country and across the world, you think they are getting it right or others that you could point to and say they really are trapped in the old mode? >> guest: the classic example i think and it almost has become a cliché but deserves to be repeated. this is someone when he was freed from decades of imprisonment, the first reaction, his first instinct is to build consensus, not to use rage revenge to fuel his followers but to calm his followers and try to have a view that was inclusive and that was not based on the use of force. he ended up being a very
powerful and influential enough very very cunning way. >> host: and, what do you think about within organizations themselves, have you seen anything about you know, mostly when we are talking about business leaders being effective , we are talking about you know within the industry they are in and among other players how adaptive they are or not, but have you seen anything, any trends within the organization of a leader who is more or less effective at managing the people who work for him or for her? is that dynamic changing at all? >> guest: it is set or specific grade in some sectors you have the steel mill culture there that is far more determined by technology, by distribution channels or the
structure of of the business than if you have a start up somewhere in silicon valley and just compare instagram. that is, these web-based photography sites. it was just bought for a billion dollars and it had a few years of existence and not many employees. compare that with kodak the just one bankrupt that at some point kodak had almost a monopoly on all of the film and photographic equipment. just compare the difference between that behemoth that went down and was bankrupt. just imagine how different is the culture, how different are the ways of behaving and how different is i am sure the way the respective ceos treated customers and competitors and thought ahead and use technology and capital.
>> host: going back to your nelson mandela example, consensus and coalition building. you talk about in the book as well as being really important aspects right now for being able to 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 place today? >> guest: yes, and that is a very important aspect of the conversation. i mentioned that there was something like an inverted u curve and all of this in which there is a lot to celebrate in the decay of power and the way power is now shifting and spreading and more at yours are coming into the fray and you have less to tatars, you have less monopolies, less
authoritarian ways of doing things so there's a lot to celebrate. so if you move in that inverted u curve you go out in terms of benefits to society. the inverted u curve has a decay of power in the x access and benefits to society and the vertical so it rules out that the more you move towards more dissemination and dispersion of power being distributed the better it is for society because you move away from monopolies and concentraconcentra tion all of that until you get to a point in which more of that dispersion is done dissemination of power becomes negative and starts sloping down. why, it's because of what you said. imagine a situation where you can't do anything unless you have coalitions and you have to consult everyone and everyone
than has the power to veto what all of us are proposing but no one really has any power to all e.u.. therefore you end up with governments around the world and politics around the world and in some companies in which you have a distribution of power between different shareholding groups and management and management groups in which nothing gets done and nothing gets done with the speed and the quality of the decision because you don't briefly have someone that can make things happen. i don't worry as much about that essay worry about the government we are seeing here in washington and how difficult it is. we are talking about decisions that were either going to start the u.s. government or imposing very very negative dramatic cuts that are quite irrational.
everybody knows that shouldn't happen and the difficulty of making the right decisions. i think that is because we are overdosing on checks and balances. we have just developed this wide array of checks and balances that make decisions to postpone decisions and they kicked the can down the road. their decisions are deluded and you find the men around, and nominated that uses all the people. you find decisions that are ineffective and create an illusion of decision-making that in fact not much is happening. >> host: i love that idea, hate that idea but that we are overloaded with checks and balances and i would like to just stay on congress for a moment which capitol hill is just a few blocks away from here.
once the seat of so much symbolic power but then if you look at this sort of definition of what it means to have power which is to be able 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 that we are seeing in congress is attributed to these deeper systemic tides 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: right, now i think you put your finger on the essence of the story and i do believe what we see now in the u.s. congress is a manifestation of the three revolutions in many of the forces that are discussed in the book. essentially we have these organizations that are very powerful but seems unable to get
anything done and in fact the american people are recognizing the levels of support and respect for the u.s. congress are at all-time lows. and so, it has a lot to do and in the book i discuss it and 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 this loss of trust than you feel the checks and balances and controls essentially making it impossible to take initiatives that are quite significant without including everybody else to monitor and scrutinize and limit and constrain what the powerful are doing. and in turn, i also make a big deal out of the decline of the competitiveness of political parties. >> host: do you want to return to the concept of trust but first i am curious if you think
if we elected better leaders right now and put them in congress, do you think we would see it function better or something, something at a deeper level needs to change? >> guest: yeah, i am always suspicious of hoping are looking for the proverbial mythical good leader. the notion that things will get solved if we only had better people. we have the people that the american people elected and that has been the case for a while. so i think there -- the more powerful force at work is the structure of incentives that defines who gets interested in this, who gets the call, who wants to run for congress? 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 kind of leadership we end up getting in congress. so rather than looking or hoping that we can get good leaders out of some magical process, i would look at the structure of incentives that determines who gets interested, who was waiting 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: you mention in the book though that this decline in power is opening up more opportunities for bad leaders to get some foothold. is that, i mean, even though we can't search for a mythical great leader to you think that's still true though, that we do have more bad options out there as well these days? >> guest: i referred to a concept that has been out there
for a while that i think is very important and that is the concept of the terrible sympathizers. the leaders that come up with ideas or one-liners that end up capturing the imagination and the support of the people and they are very 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. so i think it's very important to again, institutions and processes that we limit that. again that takes me to my point about political parties. i think that what has happened, the decline of political parties and the lack of competitiveness and i would like to explain what i mean by lack of competitiveness for political parties. i think it's very important both in building trust and limiting the influence of the terrible simple fires and eliminating the
gridlock we have. >> host: what you mean by the lack of competitiveness? do you mean we should have more parties? >> guest: we need to have better parties. i say political parties need to learn from all this successful organizations. think for example, imagine that we are in front of a group of 20-year-olds and we asked them, i am launching a nongovernment organization that is going to try to save a butterfly in indonesia that is is in danger of extinction. raise your hands those of you who would like to help in saving that butterfly and indonesia. you will find among the 20-year-olds, you will find people interested in doing that which is great. then go and ask the same group, who wants to join me in a political party? who wants to join the republican party or the democratic party and you will see that far fewer would be willing to volunteer
their time and their efforts and their passions in joining a political party. and that is very bad. i think political parties need to modernize. they need to become more attractive to young people and to young professionals because political parties are the essence. the idea that you can have democracy without strong political parties is a very bad idea. plus that thus that we are going to take a short break in we will be right back. you say in your book as well that political parties need to learn something from the
occupy movement and even from al qaeda. what exactly do you mean by that? what they -- should they be taking? >> guest: just think about how effective i'll 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 transform their appalled -- followers into suicidal murderers, not at all. what i'm saying is what is there? what does al qaeda have that can be at least used to provoke new thinking about how to recruit and energize and retain young leaders and followers? and the same happened with the occupy movement. you saw these very large groups of young people taking to the streets around the world, and in some places you had some consequences and all of this was
just an expression of anger and anxiety and disappointment about displacement but the fact of the matter a lot of erstwhile unpolitical individuals became highly politicized. and i think there is something there in the political parties that want to be more competitive and attract and retain young leaders, young people ought to learn from those examples. and 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 her nongovernmental organizations. >> host: how powerful do you think the position of u.s. president is today? >> guest: there is no doubt it is very powerful. it's one of the most powerful places in the world.
all i would say on the basis of the research and the book is that it's less powerful than it used to be. there is a recent interview with president obama in which he explains that he was reading a story of a think it was president reagan that decided to build a pool somewhere in the white house. he couldn't get it done and president obama reflected how difficult would that become today, not just with their position and all the parties but the scrutiny of the media and the commentary. we have become an important national debate that would distract from other things so that i thought was a powerful example of how far more constrained this very powerful president is. all presidents are powerful but i think the range of things that they can do on their own is --
>> host: we hear a lot today about is china going to be the next superpower? is it overtaking the united states? to point out that that is really not the type of conversation we should be having when we talk about power. what is it though that you see is fundamentally unhelpful about that way of thinking? >> guest: that is what i call the elevator approach in politics. who is up and who is down? it also happens in companies. the rankings in the horse race and someone is up and in fact for example you lose sight of the fact that in china it is a very poor country that has very very important problems and challenges that are very hard to tackle. you 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 his successors, the people the leadership in china that mast and opening of china, economic reforms in china that brought china to the global economy. i don't know that the current leaders can have the same ambition because they know they are constrained. again i'm not saying the chinese leaders in general are not powerful. i'm just saying that they are less powerful and they can do less today than their predecessors were able to do. >> host: let's return 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 force and how to use it and 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, 10 years from now? >> guest: i have as you know whole chapter on the military and what is happening to military power and i think, let's start with a small example. those are the pirates and somali, on the coast. these are people and rickety boats with very 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 process, that threat by deploying the largest and most influential manner in terms of technology, a very modern fleet and everyone is now patrolling those seized. you have the ukrainians and the european union and the chinese and the japanese, the united states, everyone is trying to stop the pirates from hijacking the season they have not been able to do it. so that tells you, that example shows you we are not even talking about what has become common which is the asymmetrical wars which have groups. one of the challengers who is
far less in very powerful that challenged us in a symmetrical way, the most powerful party. an example of that and asymmetric war is becoming far more common but it's a deeper example of how you have a lot of wars that are no longer fought between the formal armies that represent nation-states and we have a different kind of combatants and different kinds of technologies. and then are capable of succeeding in what they are doing. they will never defeat those big armies but they can get away with doing what they want to do and they are constrained in their options at 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 of military and those places and for coalition forces. and the united states had to spend billions of dollars in trying to see how to contain, stop and limit endowments created by these improvised devices. still some promise was made but we are still not there. another example of courses drones, both our conversation in the united states is what are the rules and what is the legal framework for the use of drones and while the united states is consumed in that debate which i think is very important, drones are becoming -- everyone can have a drone. people have helped drones now and a lot of armies and groups around the world and a lot of -- around the world, drones are now
very inexpensive. that again is an example of how military technology has become far more available around the world not only to the military but state sanctioned groups and also to terrorists, insurgents and all kinds of combatants. >> host: and one of those constraints for something like the u.s. military is that they are constrained as you said by rules, by rules of war that there are now all of these players emerging who don't sort of respect or care about those rules of war. >> guest: that is part of the asymmetry. you not only have the types of weapons and was the weapon systems that you have the legal frameworks by which you abide in order to conduct war.
>> host: if you are 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 adapt to all these changes we are seeing? >> guest: what is very striking is how much good banking there is in the u.s. military about transformation. i have been talking to the u.s. military planners and senior officers and it's quite impressive, the quality of their thinking. they know everything so it's not a problem of lack of ideas. it's a problem of lack of power to implement them and that is another example. it is very very hard to convert the ideas about how to make the american military more nimble, more effective, less expensive while at the same time maintaining their ability to protect the homeland.
so those ideas are there. what is not there is the politics to keep them. >> host: so zooming out a little bit from the military, you have mentioned some things that seem troubling that come with this decline in power and other things that seem like assets and improvements. so what is at stake really? i mean 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 both at the natural love -- national level in the already described my concern about countries like the u.s. that are overdosing on checks and balances to the point in which everybody can veto an initiative in no one can impose
its moving. the one that really is frightening and the most worrisome one is when you take that at the global level and the inability of the national community to make decisions. what we now have is a situation in globalization and the declining of countries and all of it that's going on in terms of integration, international integration of economies of society and someone and individuals is creating a great need for collective decision-making that trathat trs more international, international, beyond one border. while the 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 the problems.
>> host: so let's take as an example climate change and the failed 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 and you know what would help us push past those challenges? >> guest: in the book i propose an idea that i call unilateralism. instead of multilateralism where you try to get 192 countries to agree with something that has some bite and that can make a dent in the problem, in order to get that you have to get the minimum common denominator and you have a four idea fuse and nothing happens as you said and copenhagen was an example. but what if you bring 10 or 20
or 15 or whatever the number, a small number of the biggest players both in terms of causing the problem and also being part of the solution and trying to get an agreement among those? climate change for example, that number can create a huge change in the world is two, the united states and china. instead of getting 192 countries, why don't we push for two countries to reach an agreement on how to move forward which is the united states and china then hopefully bring in india and brazil and south africa and indonesia and see if these smaller numbers of countries can get things moving. that would be announced as antidemocantidemoc ratic and exclusionary because you are in a country that is not invited to
the table. why are you deciding about the future the world and climate change without including me and they are right. but when we include everyone, 192 countries, nothing happens. so if i have to choose between which -- they are both bad but i would rather have one bad but gets part of the solution going rather than having a very inclusion ari highly democratic system in which every single country has one vote and even the small island of 100,000 inhabitants has the same boat as the united states or china and nothing happens. i would love to have a very inclusionary system but i would rather have things happening because all of these global programs are becoming a crisis. >> host: so how could -- let's say everyone got on board with that idea. how would that actually play
out? who could put forward an idea like that but says, sorry, we care about you but you are not on the list of people who get to be involved in the decision? >> guest: that his issue specific. the number of countries that you would invite and which countries you would invite to deal with climate change are different than the types of countries he would invite to deal with the lower pandemics or the global financial crisis, or immigration or migration flows or intellectual property. there will be some countries that will be in a lot of these tables but the problems are defined by different types of countries. and so you know, it just takes for some governments and not just governments but the populations of the countries to demand that their government
start doing something. governments are run by politicians and politicians are very sensitive to the signals that the voters take. not the voters take. nothing is going to happen until the kitchen tables and the homes around the world, the citizens start demanding action to deal effectively or more effectively with these global problems. >> host: so that i think brings us back to trust, which you mentioned earlier. and you mention it in your book as one possible path forward to helping us in power some institutions, some groups over others really, but i guess let's start with why is trust the lynchpin there? y. z. what's so important to capture rather than to find a
way to dissolve into a million checks and balances then need action? >> guest: in many ways it means trusting your leaders to do the right thing and giving them the ability and the power, writing a blank check. you don't write a blank check to someone you don't trust and in order to trust them you need to know them and did order to know then you need to interact with them and be very cognizant of the issues and the dilemmas. one of the problems again, and they bring back political parties, no governmental organization or social group can center on one issue on one issue alone and have some sort of combination. my example of the butterfly in indonesia, you can afford if you are part of a group just to worry about what is happening to that butterfly but if you're in a political party you have to have opinions about economic policy, agriculture and preschool and the use of drones
in the military. political parties are very important training places, especially for young people. that is where also you can create the knowledge about the issues. you can bring people to understand that very often in government you don't choose between a wonderful option and a horrible one, that in garland very often you have to choose between a bad option and a worse one and those sorts of dilemmas need to be better understood. and you need to have more trust and understand people of the government are making a decision that are not making everyone happy is not by choice but here in the united states we are now confronted with those terrible decisions in which we need to pick, cutting the size of government and budget cuts and the increased taxes that we are
talking about will mean making terrible choices between a bad option and a worse one. that is where the public will be very confused by this terrible simplifier's, the demagogues that are trying to distort and confused and muddled issues. >> host: as an average citizen who is confronted with all of this, how do you even know who to put your trust in these days especially i mean you know we both are in media abed and their is such a proliferation of information and with that misinformation that making those important decisions it seems is not actually getting any easier for citizens. >> guest: there is not a simple way but there is the need for people to do their homework,
to get better educated. it is true that we have too much information and it's very confusing and it's hard to know who is saying the right thing and who is distorting what is happening. but if you do your homework and you spend time, you will find guides, people that you can trust that don't necessarily have a vested interest but are looking for the truth and looking for a more objective take on the situation. the other thing is to become more active, just by sitting at home and complaining is not going to solve anything. people need to become more activated and more participatory in politics and getting engaged and by getting engaged, they will understand more who to trust and they will understand the policy options ahead of them. >> host: on the other side of it for leaders who are looking to repair or build that trust, any advice for them on how to do
that? >> guest: i don't know, no, i don't have the silver bullet about that. what we know today is you need to be -- transparency becomes very important and honesty becomes even more important. it was always important but now there are many many reasons why those in power are scrutinized and the leaders that believe that they can get away by muddled and unclear, it's going to be hard. even though in recent years we have seen instances in which the teller -- terrible sympathizers have gained a lot of ground. >> host: all right, so we are getting near the end of time curious. her book is called "the end of
power" and you have discovered this power among the few institutions to at the very end of power dissolution and entropy are anarchy if we get all the way there. where on that spectrum view think that we are right now? >> guest: in the political system in the united states, we are in a bad place. we are in a place where trust is not there and government is limited in the kinds of decisions they make, and we desperately need to move the needle back to a situation where government is empowered to make decisions that are needed. but as i said before, if that is bad what is really really bad and worse is at the global level where we have a huge need for this booming list, this
expanding list of problems that will not be solved by any country acting alone, even a superpower, that require collective action and we are not getting it and we are not getting it because of the governments of have to make those compromises are hobbled giant to many times in limited and constrained. so bringing back power to make decisions at the global level is the most urgent task ahead. >> host: at its been a pleasure talking with you. the book is "the end of power" and i wish you all the best with it. >> guest: thank you very much for a very good conversation. >> host: very good, thank you.
>> so this is a poll from quine you where he is buried in turkey. ,,, whoever you are wonder worshiper lover of reading, doesn't matter. ours is not a caravan of despair. come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. come yet again. a couple of reasons this is meaningful to me it's actually in the book sacred ground and i say whenever the kit the statue of meaningful to me it's actualy in the book sacred ground and i say whenever the kit the statue of liberty, this beautiful woman of welcoming the inscription is bring me your tired, your poor your huddled masses. it's this notion of america in a radical opening and openness.
wring your traditions and plant the seeds in american soil and the then grow into institutions and congregations that are welcoming and open to others. that spirit of welcoming and openness that i think is at the heart of the american tradition i think is that the heart of islam as well. nobody articulated that better or more beautifully than in this book. >> i need to confess that i get emotional when i talk with people about the issues we are addressing tonight particularly the issue of interfaith relations and also the issue of the idea of america. right after 9/11, several of us, a lot of us gathered at the mosque near usc and i heard a sentence that changed my life and it was this. to be religious in the 21st century is to be interreligious
and it is that dedication that draws me to the way he thinks. i am going to apologize only once for being emotional about these things. if i get choked up you will just say -- chalk it up to that but one of the great moments in his book is his telling about a genesis moments in this book. >> thisthis is ramadan 2010 ands august of that year so i'm waking up at 4:00 a.m. and having my last meal before i do my prayers and begin the time of fasting. it's at that point that as muslims do i like to read from the koran or additional time of meditation. believing that god listens extra closely during those hours. instead remembering what happened in august of to 2010 it
was the crazy discourse they were having around cordoba house at the ground zero mosque. i'm not reading the koran, i am literally reading right-wing hate web sites trying to get the typical story of the day. everyday there are new attacks on the founders of the cordoba house and a new word about this being a terrorist command center etc. etc. and these are people i've known for many years and people who live it mired who have spoken of building an institution supported by the muslim community that would be of service to the entire nation. the cordoba house was the fruit of their vision. ..