tv Book Discussion on Saving Capitalism CSPAN November 15, 2015 4:00pm-5:16pm EST
people being shot. i am assuming your title, a guest at the shooter's banquet. >> first of all let me say, father patrick correct? he has been around for years and he has just now hit mass media and i'm so glad because he has been doing this work for a long time and it is extraordinary. at one point i wanted to volunteer for him but the work of my own book was too demanding and i could not. i will give it all away, but but the title of my book actually comes -- first of all let me say when two below vic tell me about this banquet i thought he's a poet, port, poets exaggerate, i couldn't believe it. i cannot it. i cannot imagine it to be true. i went to a very well-known historian and lithuania who i
spent many hours with, he is a very astute historian and very quick to dismiss that which, you can call it historical gossip. size talking to this poet and he mentioned there is this banquet, this look came over his face and he said, well actually it was quite common. after each of these shootings there would be these parties, or gatherings for the shooters. i later found out of what should my grandfather was chief, he was present both at this banquet and add another one. and he is the guest at the shooters ..
staff, john sununu, discusses the achievements of the first bush administration. then at 8:00, biographer john meacham and george w. bush talk george h.w. bush's life and career and then on afterwards patrick kennedy discusses mental health and addiction with congressman jim mcdermott. then at 10:00 eastern, a look at the american revolution through the eyes of the marquee delafayette. and a manfester for faith, family and politics. that happens tonight on c-span2's booktv. >> robert reich, secretary of labor in the clinton administration, weighed in on america's current economic system held at the book festival
in madison a few weeks ago. >> good evening. my name is barbara, your former lieutenant governor and so excited to be with you tonight. i want to tell you. [applause] >> i may speak really fast because i'm anxious to hear from robert reich, but i want to just set him up because he is so important and so important we hear from him. robert hutchins said the death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. it will be a slow extinction from an the, indistance, and undernourishment, but not with a library in reach. tonight we applaud the madison public libraries and their foundations that bring us this book festival, a literal --
fiction and nonidentification, sweet and savory, a feast to stimulate and satisfy all our reading appetites, a -- and tonight we have special luck because in this moment in this moment in the thick of presidential primaries, in this moment that reveals to us the depth of the political divide across our country and also reveals an emerging pop ulift movement, and too many of us have been moved to the margin and don't see it, and in this moment, where there is widespread hunger for the truth,
it is our pluck -- an economist who has served presidents from both parties, who as secretary of labor, authored the smla and then took his leave to spend more time with his family. i love that about him. a thought leader whose skins of -under general -- sense of urgencies for all of to us get it right, drove him to write 14 books, and he is the only leader i know at the helm of a major citizen lobbying organization, common cause, who knows politics from the inside. he was a gubernatorial candidate in 2002, and he was the first statewide candidate for anything to support same-sex marriage.
he shows us that whenman strips people of the -- when money strips people of the power necessary to make democracy work, we are denied the right to self-governing. he take us bass to the fundamental tenets of a democracy and said human freedom depends on the integrity of the process. so as you listen to him and hear the relationship between that human freedom and the notion of a free market, and capitalism, and money and politics, you will hear a tutorial in the literacy of power, essential learning for all of us. wnyc asked, can robert reich save capital limp? if we work with him. no one i know of has greater potential than robert reich to bridge between the good citizens on both the left and the right,
who understand this moment, the urgency of this moment, and he, as man of great dignity and grace, insists with respect and good humor, that the truth be told now. robert reich, author of "saving capitalism". [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. >> it is so good to be in madison, wisconsin. it's so good to be in wisconsin. this is -- wisconsin is the
source, the beginning, of progressivism in america. you know that. fighting bob laplette. but it's not necessarily entirely progressive now. there are cross-currents, right? this is sort of the epicenter of the american battle between the progressive forces and the regresssive forces of america. is that fair way of putting it? i don't want to disparage and i don't want to sound harsh, especially because i'm here at the invitation of this wonderful wisconsin book festival to talk to you about a book. i'm here because i want you read my book.
if you buy it, that's even better. let me -- i'm going to talk about the book and work in economics and politics and then take your questions. all right? i'm going limit my remarks to three hours. i'm not going to speak beyond -- is that okay? because i don't want -- i mean, it's late and we don't want to good too late. no, i'm going to be 45 minutes or 40 minutes. we'll see. but this is a book -- here's the thing. it's called "saving capitalism" the many, not the few ," and i've got two different reactions from people to the title. some people say they're kind of offended by the title and say capitalism doesn't need saving. it's just perfectly fine as it is, and then there's another
group of people who say, why do you want to save capitalism? so, it's a perfect title because nobody likes it. but actually most important aspect of the title, the subtitle, which is "for the many, note few," and that really the issue here, because we do have a problem. there is a problem. let's face it, there's a problem. in fact, i rely not just on polls to test what public opinion is about our political economic system. i kind of undertake a free floating focus group. happened today. i was on my way from san francisco, through denver, here to madison, you ever do that? ed dicome the right way? somebody dish was talking to somebody. they said you went through denver?
why didn't you go through chicago? anyway, i went through denver, and in the denver airport, earlier today, somebody came up to me -- this happens to me a number of times. somebody who i don't know, they came up to -- i think it's because i'm kind of conspicuous looking, and this person looked at me and said, what are we going to do? now, put yourself in my place. i don't know this person. a similar thing happened to me about two weeks ago. i think it was in st. louis, and somebody -- again, somebody i have no idea who this person was, came up and said, can you believe it?
now, again, put yourself in my place. you're walking through an airport. somebody stops you and says, can you believe it? what? what? now, what people i think are talking about -- if i have time i do talk to people -- what people are talking about my free-floating focus group, they're very concerned. they're very worried. they're worried about both the economy and they're worried about our democracy, and these are people who are not necessarily democrats or republicans. in fact they don't even draw a sharp distinction between the economy and democracy. they -- or politics and economics. it's just the system, and what they worry about is that the system is not functioning. it's sort of malfunctioning. economic terms, we have a recovery that is in its sixth year. most recoveries, as you know,
last five years. this one is sixth year, but most people don't feel like they are in much of a recovery. most americans have not actually done all that well in this recovery. the median household income, adjusted for inflation, is now below what it was at the start of the recovery. i mean, average incomes have gone up, but don't mistake averages. averages and median -- there's a difference between the average and the median. you understand the difference? some of you do. shaquille o'neal, the basketball player, and i, have an average height of 6'2", 'are you with me? do you get my drift? you see, people who are at the top, they pull up the average. what you want to do is look at the median, that is, half above and half below, and the median
household, the median individual, the median wage, certainly the immediate yap of the bottom 90%, has not done well at all. in this recovery, and in fact hasn't done very well adjusted for inflation in 30 years. the united states economy is almost twice as large as it was 35 years ago, and most people, again, adjusted for inflation decision have to adjust for inflation just like you have to look at the median -- the typical worker is not really doing much better than he or she did 35 years ago, adjusted for inflation. yet the economy is so much bigger. where did all the money go? class? now, here's where -- did somebody just accuse the top one
percent -- this is the tricky bit. this is where people get a little bit nervous because if you start talking about where the money went, then you can be accused, as i have been, of being a class warrior. now, i am not a class warrior. i'm a class worrier. there is a subtle difference between warrior and worrier, and here's what wire about. i worry, number one, the economy really can't function unless you have a large and growing middle class, and unless the poor can aspire and get into the middle class, because you don't have enough purchasing power in the economy to keep the economy going. if all the money is going to the top, people at the top north going to spend very much. they save and it their savings go around the world to wherever they get the best return. so you need just aggregate demand, all the purchasing power to keep the economy going and
that's one reason this economy has been, and this recovery has been fairly anemic. particularly relative to how far down we went in 2008. you expect a big, big bounce back. and it wasn't that big a bounce back. many people have not bounced back yet. so that's one big problem that comes out of not having a large and growing middle class, and having almost all the economic gains, income and wealth, going to the top but there's a second big problem. and that has to do with what got in this book, and it has to do with power. now, let me just explain. because for about 30 years now, i have been writing and teaching and commenting and even sect of -- secretary of laboring and
laboring over the issue of widening inequality, and most of the time i and most other people who have analyzed it, focus on two big factors. one is globalization, rarely has a term gone so directly from obscurity to meaninglessness. without any intervening period of coherence. as globalization. what i'm talking about is just the integration of all sorts of different production systems around the globe, so that almost -- there's almost no big american company anymore. they're called american companies but they're global. they're all global. they sell and hire and put their money and pay or don't pay their taxes, all around the globe. and that what we are calling globalization, but there's another factor and that its technological change, and technological change means a lot
of people get displaced by technology. this is in the new. just that the -- this is not new. just the pace of technological displacements faster today than it was before. so for the last 30 years i've been talking about globalization and technological displace, and i've been saying what i genuinely believe, still believe, if you have an excellent education, you are likely to be on the winning side of the great divide in terms of technology and globalization. they're working for you. and if you don't have such a great education, then you don't have the connections to go with a great education, you're likely to be on the losing side of the great divide, which is globalization and technological change, at least what i've been saying, and i steve bailiffed a point. i still believe education is terribly, terribly important in terms of investment. i want you to know i honor teachers.
can i just say that? [applause] >> teachers have been scapegoated for too long, and they don't deserve it. but beyond globalization, and technological change, and the related issue of education, there is this question of power, and that what i wrote this book about, because it cannot be ignored. let me explain what i mean by power. because as income and wealth go to the top, so also does power, political power. you can't divorce the two. even louis brandeis said, we have a choice in america. he said this at the early decades of the 20th century. he said we have a choice. we can either have great wealth in the hands of a few or we can have a democracy, but we cannot have both.
now, what did -- what was he talking about talking about -- this is way before that shameless and shameful decision, citizens united. we're talk about early 20th 20th century. louis brandeis understood because he was within mitchell memory of the first geld i would page and he knew money in the happened of the few you have great political power and you have the ability to change the rules of the economy to benefit the people at the top and if you can tilt the playing field, the economy in favor of the big corporations or the big banks or the big billionaires at the top, well, then they have even more resources. for the next round of politicking. or campaign contributions, and
lobbying, and for even propaganda. and so you get into kind of vicious cycle of compounded wealth and power. and louis brandeis saw that. everybody who lived through the first guildded age was aware of this, but a it's something they saw. they knew. they saw the robber barrons of the 1880s and 1990s, and saw what they did. they used to play such a lot of the income and wealth out of the entire society, and they used their own accumulated wealth and power to corrupt the political process. it's what their lack questions literally put stacks of cash 'on the desks of compliant legislators, and we had inequality that was even worse
than the inequality today, and we had urban and rural squalor, even worse than the squalor we have today, and if we were meeting in 1900s, instead of 2015, many of you would be saying to yourselves like you're probably already saying, can it get any worse? what are we going to do about it? like the people i meet in airports their strange people who is don't know, come up to me, desperately, and some very cynical, but then what happens in 1901, there was sudden lay progressive era. the lone voices, like robert follett,-ricco chaising -- wreck co says acrossmer, and teddy roosevelt gave license to a progressive era. that fendmentally changed for --
fundamentally changed for the time the economic. changed capitalism from it open excesses. then after the great crash of 1929, we had no choice but to save capitalism from it own excesses, and that again had to do with reorganization and re-organizing the power structure behind the economy. because arguably, arguably, by the late 1920s -- are you still with me? i'm reading your faces and some of you have left me. try to stay here. this i important. i know i'm in history, but history does have a tendency to repeat itself itch want you to listen to this in 1928, the top one percent was taking home 23 percent of total national income, and that meant that everybody else, in order to just
maintain their lifestyles, had to go deeper and deeper into debt until that debt bubble burst, and there was a lot of -- well, you all remember -- well, you don't all remember. maybe you weren't actually there. i wasn't. but there was a crash in 1928. but interestingly, if you look at what happened in 1928 -- there was a crash in '29. you look at what happened in 1928 in terms of 23-1/2 of income in the hand offed the top one percent, when did that repeat itself again? it repeated itself again in 2007. when you have that much wealth and income at the top, once again, everybody else goes deeper and deeper into debt. you have a lot of speculation, and then you have debt bubbles and in this case housing bubbles explode, and then everybody has to start re-organizing. we didn't do quite the
re-organizing we did in the 1930s, or even in the progressive ear remark but there was some re-organizing. we'll get back to that. that's actually an interesting question. so in this book, i basically try to explode three related mythologies that have stopped all of us from understanding what we need to do together. mythology number one. there is a market that exists in the universe somehow separate from government and politics. thus is mythology. i am often called to debate a conservative, in texas -- in public irene naz and elsewhere, we could be talking about global warming, climate change, we could be talking about agriculture, talking about
marine biologiful doesn't matter what. within four minutes, we are in a debate about which do you trust less, government or the free market? and i want to suggest to you that is a silly and meaningless debate. you cannot have a market without government. markets don't exist in a state of nature. in the state of nature it is all survival of the fittest, the biggest, most powerful, like my playground in kindergarten. it was terrifying. i wanted civilization, and in a civilized society we have rules, rules. rules define the basic building blocks of the market. what is property? you might think that's pretty obvious. it's what is mine. property. well, no, it's not that obvious. it's changing constantly.
sometimes because of social norms. we used to believe and we had a civil war over this principle -- that some people could own other people as property. and now we have all sorts of legal maneuvers and legislative maneuvers around the most important form of property in our current economy, called intellectual property. and the question there is, what can be made into patents? or copy right? the genome? can you own the genome? there's a lot of litigation, a lot of government activity around that. can you own an atomic bomb? there are lot of questions about what can be owned. property is not just given. it is a decision, and a set of
decisions, or a contract. can you buy and sell babies? buy and sell sex? buy and sell boats? can you -- well, yes, some of these things are bought and sold regardless of whether it's officially, it's legal there are black markets but black markets are dangerous. the question is, what is legally enforceable, what is fraud? drew know what fraud is when you see it? it's interesting that in this country, in the united states, we define insider trading -- this is a matter of stock fraud -- fraud in terms of finances --ee define inside are trading in a peculiar way. right now, if i am a ceo and playing golf with my best friend, and i tell my best friend that tomorrow my company is going to do something that is going to dramatically affect the stock price of my company, and that is insider information.
it's confidential. you're not supposed to trade on it. but if my golfing buddy takes that information, tells his best friend who happens to be a hedge fund manager and doesn't tell him where he got the information, and the hedge fund manager just knows it's accurate and my golfing buddy said this absolutely, you can trust me and that hedge fund manager makes a huge bet and makes a billion dollars off the bet, that is entirely legal. no other country allows that form of insider trading. defines insider trading so broadly. now, what i try to show in this book, is that wherever you look in terms of the rules of capitalism, the basic building blocks -- even bankruptcy. bankruptcy should be something that -- are you still with me? yes. bankruptcy is something that ought to be in -- people say it's just bankruptcy. that's the law.
it's the rule. the market. it's not just the law. bankruptcy is designed in a very peculiar and particular way. if you are a major, major business, if you are presidential candidate, for example -- no, depressant want to get bipartisan but if you want to declare bankruptcy and protect your assets, you can use bankruptcy. on the other hand, if you are home owner who got caught in the downdraft of the great recession , for example, and you owe more on your home than your home is worth, can you use bankruptcy to re-organize your debts? no. or if you are a former student and you have a mountain of student debt that keeps on getting bigger and bigger and bigger, even though you're drying to pay it off crocker are still owing more and more and the interest keeps growing, can you use bankruptcy to re-organize your student debt?
no. now, what i've just described to you with regard to some examples, property, patents, contracts, fraud, insider trading, even student debt, bankruptcy, these are some of the rules of the market, and they are determined by judges, administrative agencies, legislators, and the question is, who has most influence over setting these rules? that is the issue. thundershower is not market versus government. the issue is looking at the system as an integrated system of political economy and that's how we should realistically took lat it. the only way to look at it, is this system designed to help most of us or is it designed to
help just a few at the top who have had the most influence over the rules? that is a rhetorical question. but you see, it's the basic question. it is a critical question, what we all ought to be talking about. we all ought to be upset, regardless of whether we call ourselves liberals or progressives on democrats or runs or conservatives or tea partiers, we all should be upset that the economy is rigged. and -- [applause] >> you're applauding because it's rigged? no. we should be upset -- look, here's the issue. it's not that anybody is doing anything evil.
everybody is doing everything out of their own self-interest. and the lobbying that one individual big corporation or one very wealthy person or one big bank or a few banks together, the lobbying, the campaign contributions, the kind of support for think tanks and for other avenues of public opinion formation, all of that is enlightened self interest? it is self-interest and be think self-interest makes the economy go. it's not a self-interest is bad. it's the compounded effect of all of that self-interest. ed behavior, particularly when you have so much inequality, and you have so many resources at the top. a compounded effect of that self-interest behavior is to unbalance the system even more.
myth number two. anything number one is you can't separate market from government. you have to ask who benefits and how do we get it back. myth number two. you're paid what you are worth. you laugh. well, you're paid what you're worth in the market because that's what you're paid. but usually when somebody says you're paid what you're worth, they're meaning more than that proctology. they usually are meaning something that has a moral content. that is, you are paid what you're worth in some morally justifiable way. that's the usual american meaning of, you're paid what you're worth. if you follow myth number one and the logic of myth number one, you see that if the market
is being created, the moral justification in the markets may not be there. in other words, you are not paid what you are worth in a moral way. you're paid what you're worth in a moral way only to the extent that the market is organized in a morally justifiable fashion. i mean, you have hedge fund managers taking ohm a billion dollars a year. are they worth a billion dollars a year? well, not in any moral significant way. they may be getting a billion dollars a year because they get all the inside information that you don't get. you have more and more people who are called working poor. that's a category of people, the working poor, that at least in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, '90s, we didn't have that many
people who were working full time and poor. our poverty population tended to be people who were not working, who couldn't work, who for some reason or another are -- were kicked out of the employment market or not able to work or disabled. no, now we have people who are working full-time and they are poor. and simultaneously, we have another group of people, not nearly as large, but they are also increasing, they're the nonworking rich. mostly heirs to vast fortunes. we're in the midst, according to many researchers, the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history from very, very wealthy people to their heirs. now, those two groups, the working poor and the nonworking
rich, those of them to some extent violate a very basic principle we all agree on. we thought we did. there's also the ceos. now, in the 1960s, chief executive officers of big companies were earning on average about 20 times what the typical employee was earning. now the ceo of a large company is earning 300 times what the typical employee is earning. now, are they worth that? well, they're not worth it in any other than the sense that's what they're earning. there's nothing that this socially worthwhile 300 times versus 20 times. in fact, one might argue that many of those ceos are now
createing to some extent, baas moment people are not prospering, maybe they're worth much less than they used to be. you get my point. the whole idea of use earn what you're worth is highly questionable when the market is under the influence and constantly being re-organized by people who are very, very wealthy and big corporations and banks and so forth, and now myth number three. i don't want to give -- don't want to give the plot away here because if i give the plot away -- i'm just giving you at bit. myth number three is that the most important issues and questions that divide liberals and conservatives have to do with how much we tax the wealthy and redistribute to everybody else. now, that is an important question. i grant you it's a very
important question. but by focusing on taxing and redistributing, we are missing a very big part of the puzzle. we're missing all of the what i call pre-distribution, upwards, from you and me and most people, to big corporations and the banks and their executives and major shareholders. what die mean? i -- what do i mean? i mean for example, you and i, and everybody else, pays more for the pharmaceuticals that we buy here in the united states than anybody in any other advanced industrial country pays. now, why is that? well, partly it's because pharmaceutical companies can take their patents -- i was talking about intellectual property a while ago -- they can
take their patents and extend the patents artificially by paying the producers of generic equivalents not to introduce the generic equivalent. it's called pay or delay. now, it is perfectly legal in the united states. it is not legal in most other advanceed industrial countries. but you see what that does, that means that you and i pay more and that is a predistribution upward. i see predistribution because it's inside the market. we don't even pay attention it to. we don't even know about it. it was a time not that many years ago when we could buy our pharmaceuticals from canada. remember that? anybody remember that? that wasn't that long ago. that is illegal now. can't do that. and i could give you more
examples what happened in the united states. medicare, big, big medicare program no, longer has the capacity legally -- no long legally allowed to negotiate with drug companies for lower pharmaceutical prices. now, all of this is the result of political power. this is the political power of the pharmaceutical companies and results in a direct redistribution from you and me upward. or to take another example, internet service. some of you groan. die suspect perhaps your internet service is quite what you want? you don't know the half of it. we in the united states pay more for our internet service and get slower service than the citizens of almost any other advanced industrial country. now, why is that?
it's because 80% of us don't have a choice of internet service provider. and when you've don't have a choice, guess what? you end up paying more and you often get lousy service. and why don't we have choice? anything to do with power? and politics? you bet. i took a plane from san francisco this morning. people asked me -- in my free-floating focus group, sometimes they come up to me -- this is actually about a month and a half ago -- somebody just came up to me and asked me, why are tickets so expensive? fuel costs have gone down. why aren't -- why is it still so expensive to travel when fuel cost has gone down? and i introduce myself, and i explain as i'm going to explain
to you that 15 years ago, we had nine major airlines. now we have four major airlines. and through many hubs there's only one or two. when you have that degree of concentration, guess what? you don't have much choice and they can coordinate, or a less polite word is, collude. and we can go through the entire economy. like what is happening to health insurance. they are merging. why are they merging? just economies of scale? maybe. some economies of scale. they're also merging because less competition gives them more power to set prices and also less competition gives them more political power. you get my drift. wherever you look, you see
redistribution upward. we are paying more, and even the example i gave you of bankruptcy, loads the deck. certain people can use bankruptcy. if you can use bankruptcy, that means you can get a better deal with you're creditors. if you can't use bankruptcy, you have no bargaining leverage with your creditors. that means it's a redistribution upward for you. and when you add up all of these upward predistributions, you get a total that is much faster, much bigger, than the redistribution that people are talking about they'd like to have downward. another way of stating, if you got rid of all the predistribution upward you wouldn't need nearly as much redistribution downward. but a lot of this is hidden, and a lot of it escapes notice because we don't talk about it,
we don't know it. we are too focused on the old ideological debate over market versus government, whether you get paid what you're worth, overtaxing and redistributing. if we could get around or beyond those old debates and really see the system for what it actually is, we might be able to actually have a constructive conversation about how we all re-assert our power over our democracy and over our economy. in fact if you wanted to be terribly conspiratorial -- you might say that there are some people or some groups or some
institutions, big corporations, wall street, others, 0 who might prefer that we not a make these kind of inquiries, who might like us debating market versus government, and paid what you're worth, and taxing, and redistributing, because that will keep us all angry at each other, and we won't discover our commonnallity. it's very easy to get into your own bubble. i know that. i used to teach and live in cambridge, massachusetts. its own bubble. an ideology bubble, blue city in a blue state. and then ten years ago i drove all across the country. i got a job in berkeley, california. and i, after driving across the
country, i found myself -- i got a house in berkeley, and i began teaching at berkeley, and guess what? i was in the same bubble. 3,000 miles apart, same place. better weather. by the way, i love to drive across the country. i don't know -- have you driven across america? it is a wonderful drive. it's an opportunity to get out of your bubble a little bit. and i drove ten years ago i was one of the first purchasers of a minicooper. and i drove my minicooper across, and i got to oklahoma, and there -- there were no minicoopers in oklahoma. there's not one. maybe one now but there weren't any minicoopers in oklahoma, and so i was actually in a gas line outside of oklahoma city,
waiting for gas, and i was in my minicooper, and these two truckers came up and they tapped on the window, and i lowered the window, and i said can i help you? they said, what is this? i said, it's a minicooper. and i said, how does anybody fit in there? and they said, how does anybody fit in there? well, i got out and i stood up and i said, no problem. they looked very stricken. i said, i'm from massachusetts. and everybody there is under five feet tall. we're all in our bubbles. there's actually -- if get out of the bubbles we might actually
discover -- it's possible -- we can discover there is more commonality. getting out of the bubble. also getting out of the ideology fixed debates. we might discover more commonality than there actually appears to be. the media doesn't help. i was debating a conservative economist about -- i don't know, not that long ago, on television, and we were actually agreeing. we discovered, because when you got under the slowingeerings and the prop began to stuff, when we got down to specifics we discovered we actually had much more agreement than we expected we would, and we came to a station break, and in my ear bud the producer said, you have to be angrier.
i said, i think we're modeling for the country something that is very useful and very important. the country can see that a republican and a democrat actually -- if you get down to details, there's lot more agreement than appears and isn't that good? she said, no, the producer said you have to appear angry. i said, why? and she said because you have the entire public watching television and surfing through hundreds of channels and they'll only stop when there is a kind of gladiator contest. people shouting at each other. i said i don't want to do that. i'm not going to be angry for no reason. i'm not going to shout. she says, you must, i said no she said we have six seconds left, you have to. and at that point i lost my temper. but you see, again, we -- a lot of this is for the camera. my first job in washington, my
first full-time job was in the ford administration. i was a republican administration. remember that? and my boss, my direct boss, was a man named robert bork. do you remember him? well, i actually -- he had been my law professor. i liked him. we didn't agree on the first, second, fourth, fifth, eight, and ninth amendments to the constitution, but we got along very well, and i -- when i was in college, is was an intern on capitol hill, and my job in college was, i was an intern for robert f. kennedy. i ran his signature machine. those were -- you had to just make sure all of the letters were lined up perfectly so the signature machine worked, and i got so bored halfway through the summer, i snuck in at night done
keep this in this room -- it could be a federal offense -- i snuck in at night and i wrote on his stationer, on robert f. kent's stationer iny now friend, dear mrs. -- congratulations on having the largest nose in the united states. robert f. kennedy. my friend still have these on their walls. and then one day, out of the senate elevator, robert f. kennedy actually appeared. first time i'd seen him. and he was surrounded by his aides and they looked very, very serious. just such -- my heart almost stopped, and he looked at me and he said, how is the summer going, bob? he knew my name. he knew my name. and i couldn't speak.
i just opened my mouth and nothing came out. but had he asked me to go on and work his signature machine for the next year, i would have done it. i was so inspired and enthralled. those were inspiring times in washington. they were not great times for the country. remember, '67, '68, no matter what people say about the romantic, wonderful, '68 and '67, it was a horrible time. and cities were burning and martin luther king was assassinated and robert f. kennedy was assassinated and then richard nixan was made president and vietnam wag taking a huge toll. a horrible, horrible, horrible time, but with got through it. there's much worse than things are now. but it was not nearly as partisan. there were people called liberal republicans. i know it's hard to believe but
there were liberal republican and there were very, very moderate, conservative democrats, and people socialized in washington with one another. now, not everybody was noble. not everybody had the public good in mind all the time. but it was not a city of anger. let me summarize a little bit, and i want to get to your questions. already have some people lined up. you've already lined up. how do you know what i'm going to say? you read the book. [laughter] >> i want to end on this issue of anger. because not only do people who stop me in the airport, my own
focus group, express a lot of dismay and confusion and worry, but there is a lot of anger out there, as well, and a lot of the anger has to do with the fact that people feel like they're doing everything they're supposed to be doing, and they're falling behind. and they worry their children will not do as well. and they're getting stirred up. you see, we are on the cusp of a real populist wave, and that is a cause of both optimism and also a cause for worry. it's a cause for optimism because as in the late 1890s, and as again a few times in american history, those populist waves, when enough people are riled up enough, give rise to
major political change. i mean, wrote this book long before bernie sanders and donald trump -- i'm sorry to use both names in the same sentence, but this is not going to be partisan. before either of them made an appearance, but i say in the book, the major division politically in this country next future, will not be democrats versus republicans or liberals versus conservatives. it will be establishment versus antiestablishment. it will be populist versus status quo. and i didn't think it would happen quite as fast. the good news is that it's happening, and it's happening not only in terms of bernie sanders' campaign, and to a different extent, donald trump and elsewhere, it's happening as i travel around the country, all over the country elm met with small farmers in minnesota who
are organizing against some of the big factory farms and big agriculture. i met in st. louis with small business people who were organizing against some of the big, big walmart type big box retailers, and amazon, driving them out of business. mitt with the fight for 15 people in several cities that are determined to get a $15 minimum wage. i've met with people who don't even know how much they have in common but they are organizing and they are organizing the same direction, creating whaton kenneth galbraith, the person to whom i dedicate this book, my mentor, once called countervailing power. john kenneth galbraith in the 19 '50s, wrote a book called "american capitalism: the concept of counter veils power" in which he posited that the main reason that so many people
were benefiting from the economy of the 1950s, why we were busily creating the largest middle class the world had ever seen, was because the legacy of the new deal created these sources and centers of power that counter veiled the big corporations-the big banks bankd the very wealthy. centers of a counter veiling power like local banks and regional banks counter vailed the power of wall street. small businesses and also farm cooperatives and also not the least, labor unions. and whaton kenneth galbraith saw was the countervailing power was critical to balance our economy.
and what has happened, if you follow my logic, is that we lost the centers of counter veils power, and the good news is they are beginning to come back. we're on the cusp of a fundamental political change. we may not feel it every day. some of you may be feeling a little bit beleaguered. but it is happening. the worry, however, is that populism comes in two different states. historically, in the world in the united states, one face is reformist populism. where people say, we are determined to save capitalism from its own excesses and save our democracy, rebuild the institutions, refashion it so-so
it works for everybody rather than the few. but when people are frustrated and angry, there is also a different form of populism. united states doesn't have this different form of populism all that often. we have, let's call it authoritarian populism. the kind of populism where there still is a great deal of anger and discontent and determination to overthrow the ruling class of the status quo, in the name of average working people, but the difference is that it is not founded on reform democracy. it's founded on a straw man who says, follow me, i will change everything. and by the way, your enemy is them. authoritarian populism has
scapegoats. it blames. the world has suffered a great deal because of authoritarian populism. america has not suffered that much. wisconsin actually has been the source of both kinds of populism. robert he follett, the great reformer and progressive, joe mccarthy. somebody different. blaming. scaring. using fear. as a device to build political power. we must beware of authoritarian capitalism, and authoritarian populism, but we will prevail.
we, the people. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. and now i hope that i have -- who are you? i know who you are. this is connor, and i want to thank you forking this wonderful -- thank you for inviting me. [inaudible] >> don't bother. thank you. [inaudible] connor wants to skip the questions and go right to book signing but i'd like to have a couple of questions. is that okay? just a couple. if you will promise me to come and have me sign your book.
yes? okay. let's do just a couple questions. you signed up and you bought the book, and i think you deserve to have a question. >> here's a country -- >> i'll preallot your question. >> western industrial country that -- a western industrial -- i don't think it's on -- >> i'll repeat the question or change it. >> germ -- germany is a done tray that did not outsource its manufacturing base. it has trade surpluses. their middle class works less hours you have free education for those who want it. you have free health care.
how is their society different than hours and how can we get there? >> the question is about germany, and you're pointing out the fact that germany is a more egalitarian society right now and not only does it have free health care and free universities, but it also -- you didn't mention but very important, it has codetermination. that is, workers are much more actively engaged in and responsible for the management of companies and there are many other features, meaning that the top one percent in germany, instead of taking home 20% of the total income in germany, as they do here, the top one percent get close to 11% of total income, and by some measures the median worker in germany is doing better than the median worker in the united states. how do they do it? well, one way they do it is they have had a very, very long tradition going back to bismarck
, that is a social democratic tradition, but let me be quick to jump in here and say, there is nothing inconsistent between capitalism and social democracy. germany is a capitalist country, denmark, sweden, norway, all capitalists. cappively, the basic economic system, even in communist china, capitalism is the basic economic system. the real question -- it's wrong to get involved inisms"" the real question is, why do they have a system that is working for so many people rather than for an oligarchy or aristocracy or plutocracy or whatever you want to call it at the top. thin lies a kind of -- thin theirin lies a culture or tradition that came out in my view, out of the embers of naziism and world war ii.
not so much the social democratic tradition going back to bismarck but really a much more recent sense. that they were all in it together. they had a social in a sense, responsibility to each other. although that social contract is being tested by a lot of immigrants. and let me be very clear on this point. we are nation of immigrants. almost all of us, except for the native americans and some people forcibly hauled over here, we know how to assimilate people much easier than almost anybody else. we understand that immigrants are not our enemies. that is fundamental to the american creed. thank you. [applause] >> thank you for your work and your writing and your comments
tonight. i just finished a masters degree in public policy at the robert school of public affair here's at uw madison. over the last two years i have had the opportunity to sit in on a lecture about the labor market. he went into great detail about how this recovery really has been dramatically different from previous recoveries, and some of the whys as well. we have the institute for research on poverty here that has established an excellent seminar series. so, what i've seen for the last two years is a lot of the data, the facts, that tell us just how broken things really are right now, and at the same time, as class worry 'er, you know this, there are tremendous number of
people out there who are deluded into voting against their own economic self-interest. >> who is is it that people vote against their economic self-interest? i don't want to anticipate your question. >> well, i mean, basically what i want to know is, ken who excelled in both academia and government at the highest level, what would you suggest -- what are your thoughts about this willing disregard for those facts and data that we -- i mean, part what makes me worry about which type of populism we get is people aren't really willing to pay attention. >> well, look it, one of the problems we get into is that non do we debate the wrong things, but we also divide around the wrong things.
that is, there is unfortunately a tendency -- and this is particularly true among certain politicians at certain places and certain times -- to create in the middle class or working class, a sense that their enemies are the poor or the immigrants or foreigners or union workers or -- however else you want to slice the pie so that we all end up fighting over a smaller and smaller slice of the pie, without even realizing the slice is getting smaller and smaller and that fighting is blinding people to the larger economic story. my hope, again, with regard to this book, my hope with regard to all of you, is that we can begin to undertake a dialogue, a -- that will enable people to see not only their economic self-interest but their interest
in a vibrant democracy. the number one issue, it seems to me, is to get big money out of politics. [applause] again, 2009 thank all of you. thank you for comping tonight. it was great, great privilege. thank you. >> booktv is on instagram, follow us. instagram.com/book underscore tv. >> republican candidate for president, mike huckabee, discussed his book, "god, guts,
grits and gravy" earlier this year on booktv z author interview program, after words. >> guest: here's the point of the book. there are three major cultural bubbles in america, new york, washington -- here in two of those -- the other one is hollywood. from those three cultural bubbles emanate fashion, finance, government, politics, music, entertainment, movies, television, pretty much all the things that set the american cultural table. but my point of the book is, there's a big disconnect between the people, the values, the attitudes, the lifestyles of people living in those three bubbles and the people who live out in what we often call the flyover country, all of that red area between the east and west coast, that if you look at electoral map, apart from a fewer ban centers, is vastly red, and in that great divide, that flyover country exists what
i call the land of god, guts, grits and gravy. and the book says to all of those folks through in the land of god, guns, grits and gravy, you're not alone and you're okay. you're not nuts, and it says to the people who are living in the bubbles, hey, here's who we are. you don't really know us. you don't know what drives us, what makes us think and what's important to us or why. so, read the book. maybe you'll find out these good old boys aren't so dumb after all. >> we want to hear from you. post your feedback to our facebook wall. facebook.com/booktv. >> book tv records hundreds of author programs throughout the country all year long and here's a look at some events we'll be covering this week. on monday, we're at the ronald reagan presidential library in simi valley, california forks
fox news owes greg gutfeld's talk on how the political right can persuade others to share their point of view. also at ucla for a discussion on why our brains are not wired for modern society. on wednesday, it's the 66th 66th annual national become award inside new york system watch for that ceremony to air on book tv next weekend. then on thursday, booktive will be in st. louis for a "boston globe" reporter talk on the development of technology to enable the movement of prosthetic limbs through thoughts. later we'll be at folio books in san francisco, for military historian bill's -- about the plot to kill stalin and churchill in tehran in 1943. on friday, history professors examine several events that shaped the united states over the past 125 years in princeton, new jersey. and next weekend, we're live
from the 32nd null miami book fair, with author programs and your called with peggy noon noon, pj o'rourke, and much more. and that's a look at some of the author programs become tv -- booktv will be covering. look for them to air in the future on book tv on c-span2. >> george gilder, how many books have you written? >> guest: 17. if you count that, it's 18. >> host: and what are the topics? >> guest: the topics have been politics, marriage and family, sex, money, wealth, poverty, technology, microchips, life after television, the telecause -- knowledge and power, which i really think is