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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 30, 2014 7:30pm-7:46pm EST

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you come in and when you leave the next day just leave the cash on the kitchen table and my cleaning lady will pick it up and give it to me. and as an economist i found this very alarming. [laughter] my first thought, well that wasn't it wasn't my first thought but i'm thinking of different scenarios. one would be what if when i got there i had a really good time and either said paying two nights for one doesn't seem fair i will just leave one night worth of cash or better yet i might say let's leave zero. and when the cleaning lady doesn't find it and goes and tells the landlady that i didn't pay i will just say the cleaning lady stole it. who is going to know. that's a scenario number one. number two, i believe the cash, the cleaning lady puts it in her
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pocket and says it wasn't fair. she calls me and says you didn't pay. i say yes i did. we have a problem. third possibility, i pay pay and she gives it to the landlady and calls and says i never got the money. by the way the fourth possibility is i leave the money before the cleaning lady gets there and the horse in the front yard comes in with the doors unlocked and it's the money for a stranger wanders off the street and takes the money because it is unlocked. the morning we left, and i still have this on my photo, i had way too many $20 bills. i fan them out on the table and stupidly i took a photograph so that in case she said i didn't get the money i could show her the picture, which of course isn't very good to take a
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picture and put the money back. [laughter] but i took the picture, walked out the door door, drove down the hill, went up the coast and everything went great. she took the money to make it to the landlady, she got it, no problem at all. that does not have been in every country in the world. it doesn't happen in any culture in the world. in many places opportunism is normal. to take advantage of somebody is a good thing. and if you don't, you are a sucker. but unfortunately in a lot of places of america we are blessed to be in a country where you can often trust people. another timeline in new york city at a fabulous camera store selling used equipment. he opens up the box, looks at the camera, closes the box come up with everything away and is
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going to give me a check. i said aren't you going to open the others and he said no if it wasn't in there you couldn't sleep at night. new york city. he's right. he didn't know that i had read adam smith though. i would have slept very badly to have empty boxes hoping he wouldn't open and i would say i forgot i'm so sorry. but that's not what i did and it worked out great. when we can trust each other which we do constantly and in our liturgy just world -- looking just world, there are still numerous things that are always left unspecified and as a result we trust and have certain expectations and we usually meet them about the condition and equipment of the house that we sell and how we behave in those situations. that is a glorious thing. it lets us spend a nice time in california and it lets me change my camera equipment and access
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interactive people commercially and socially in a wonderful way. where does that come from? the answer is we have got into a world of people honor honorable people and are disapproving of dishonorable people and that creates an expectation that most of us want to meet. and what smith says, i see it this way, just as each of us is irrelevant to the price of apples, we are in a relevant. if i double my consumption of christ of prices unchanged. if a triple, clutch rubalcaba tenfold increase, if every person in this room after giving a passionate speech about the importance decided to start eating two or three at a, there would be no impact on the price of apples. so, each of us is a relevant for the price of apples but if every person that eats was in the world to put their consumption, come it would revolutionize the apple industry.
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there would be more trees planted and apples picked. the price would go out for a while and come back down but all of them would be set in motion in our actions, so the as a group determined the apple market. no one decided individually. that is called a extraordinary thing that we do not appreciate and smith is writing about that and the wealth of the nations but in the sentiment he is writing about the social things that we produced together. so, my good deed or unfortunately my sometimes not so good deed has no impact on the culture. if i had taken those $20 back and stuffed them in my pocket righteously, wrongfully but self righteously righteously to put into the story the culture in america. it would be an angry landlord maybe she would have done something to embarrass me or take me to court but the impact would be virtually zero.
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but if we all do that we live in a horrible society. so, all of us together have a stake in the culture of trust and honor and we all sustain it every day when we do good things and when we honor people who do good things and we destroy it step by step when we do bad things and when we fail to disapprove of people who do bad things. and that is an incredible vision of the two pieces of our life, the commercial part and for cultural part that was understood as well as anybody. i want to close with smith's last insight into society. smith warns us of the hubris of the kings and politicians. he calls such a person a person
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with hubris a person with a vision that he or she wants to impose on the society. the calls that person a man of the system. he says, talking about the man of the system he says to imagine he can arrange the different members of the creed society with as much ease is the hand arranges the different pieces on a chessboard. he doesn't consider the pieces upon the chessboard have no other principal emotion besides that which the hand impresses upon them that is but that is a great chessboard in the human society every single piece as a principle of motion of its own which in the the legislature might choose to impress upon it. at the grand level about the dictators he is also warning about the unintended consequences of the baath policy. bad policy. and the challenges of the national policy that enhances our lives or not. you can go further as i try to
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end debate and argue that politics is not where life happens. here's what i say. the legislation and government affect our lives and all kind of way is good and bad that we have much to do outside of that world. if you want to make the world a better place, talk to your kids come and go on a date with your spouse without checking your e-mail, read adam smith and jane austin and the direct judge report, smile at someone you don't know or like, be nice to your parents because you can never repay them for what they did for you. they don't help pay the bills, they are not on our to-do list sometimes so we don't get the satisfaction of taking them off at the can go by and nothing will happen if we don't do them that i think that they are the stuff of the good life. you might be tempted to say this has nothing to do with economics but i'd like to think that it's helped to account to get the best out of life. to get the most out of life you
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have to use your time wisely and economics is all about trade-offs and that if we do one thing we can't do another. the other deep inside of economics is that we as a group do things sometimes without anyone's intentions that are good and bad. the example we determined how many apples could produce and we determine whether we live in a culture of trust. economics is crucially about how we spend our time in the ultimate nonrenewable resource. we only have so much of it. we will be wise to spend that time wisely. and some of that i it i would suggest is best spent with adam smith. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. we do have time for questions. we will have the other microphone and i have one here.
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anybody have some questions we just want to remind you we have a little bit of a late start tonight. doctor roberts is good to be upstairs after we finish and will be signing copies of the book which i'm sure you will all want to purchase. >> for every 40 people i sell about one books. i don't want to put any pressure on you. that can be pretty easily made so don't worry about it. disconnect i apologize in advance for putting a crimp in your sale but i do want to acknowledge to the audience that you are a deep religious man of the boston red sox. [laughter] >> that's true. i was being polite when i said he might be the greatest baseball player of all time. >> a franchise in the other league, yes. >> i was in 1967 world series in
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the bleachers. we won that one and lost the next one. >> justice was done in. >> i was there. >> you said something about politics at the end. in the most recent book, charles krauthammer, his book on things that matter about politics and the importance of doing it and i tell people that it was truly an approach he talks about why it's important to do politics while. why it's important to engage in the system politically. >> as you might guess from that last part, when my daughter was
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little different of ours said when she grows up she could eat an activist and i thought no, not an activist because to me and activist if not careful can be part of the problem of the system from an activist could have a vision to impose on the rest of the world. so, my first thought was i would like to live in a world where the politics are less important and i understand the appeal of politics as a sports fan. it's fun to root for your home team but here is the truth. i realized they are really not any better emotionally or psychologically than any of the other teams in baseball, but i don't always act that way. by the way i was any in england
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and its fascinating every team is the new york yankees. i went to a game and i told an author who i was visiting a very dignified, respected, successful writer i said are you interested and he said i would rather have my eyes scratched out and i thought okay he is not a sports fan. i didn't know. i think that he wanted to give me bad directions to get to the game. everybody hates every other team like the yankees. they are decent people. we know that. i have two sons. all of my children were born in st. louis and i cannot choose
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them over the cardinals because it makes them sound. >> we had a ridiculous emotional connection with our team and we worked at the out the other team as really bad. it's awful and we do that in politics. we say their it's true. it's all good people. the other side i saw this fabulous internet thing that said how we see our politicians have a picture of obi-wan kenobi and how they see that their politicians have a picture of darth vader and then it was what they are both like and it was joe joby's. he's a goofy looking guy or
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creature. that's what politics is. we create a partisan dislike for the bad guys and sometimes it's true that i think that can really corrode your soul if it's not true, some i know the politics matters and i know that it's important. a big part of me wants to kind of keep it at arms length. and i'm a pretty -- my attitude is i'm never disappointed. but republicans and democrats, they think they are better than everybody else and they put their pants on one leg at a time. another question. >> i would like to know obviously this book struck you personally and i wondered

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