tv After Words with George Melloan CSPAN September 3, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm EDT
c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite providers. >> next on book tvs after words, former wall street journal writer and editor george melloan describes the papers role in shaping america in his book "free people, free markets: how the wall street journal opinion pages shaped america" he is interviewed by rana foroohar , financial times global business columnist and associate editor. >> thanks so much for being here george, it's a pleasure to be discussing your new book "free people, free markets: how the wall street journal opinion pages shaped america" . i have to say oneof the most interesting things about this book to me is its breath . that you got such a long time
period that you are looking at. the wall street journal was started in what year again? >> in 89. >> host: a few years after the financial times where i work but it's the same era, gilded era. >> guest: started in london, you started in new york. >> host: and you are the home team but i want to come back to that because i think the parallels between that era and this era are actually very interesting and something that i think about as a business journalist but first off i wanted to note a point of connection you and i both have, we are both from indiana. in my case rural indiana and you are from ... >> i'm from a town called whiteland indiana which i wrote about in a book that came out last year called when the new deal came to town. and i wrote a book about how the new deal affected the real people in this little farm village which is back in other days. >> host: fascinating.
>> guest: anyway, we're not talking about that book, we are talking about this one. >> host: but it's relevant because where people come from influences their worldview and i'm curious, how would you say that growing up in rural indiana has influenced your opinions and that of the journal opinion pages? >> i think growing up in a small town, actually a village, we only had 406 people, you have a lot of contact with other human beings, you know them. you actually know their secrets and which is one of the drawbacksof a small town . >> you can also catch them at the grocery store. >> you learn a great deal as ajournalist because it makes you see things in terms of real people rather than statistics or , i thought i was it was a great way, you go down to the local barbershop or you argue politics, that's how ilearned to argue . >>.
>> host: in a barbershop. >> so it was a great way to become, start out to become a journalist. >> it's interesting because from myperspective, the midwest is an interesting place. on theone hand you learn the values of community certainly , on the other hand you learn the value of independence , self-sufficiency and that's something i think very much you acquired today in the political debate and i noticed from reading the whole hundred plus years of coverage that you look at that the journal has always taken that position around individuality. although it's changed over time. i was fascinated going back to the 19th century to learn the journal defended the right of coal miners back then. tell me a little bit about how conservatism itself has changed or how we think of conservatism based on this hundred year plus period you
are looking at. >> guest: i think conservatism is something ofa misnomer . because yes, the journal editors over the years have been what you would call conservative but as the book or the title of the book indicates, basically they were advocates, defenders really of free markets and free people. and the incident you were telling about, with our founder charles dowell, one of our founders, three of them but he wasthe intellectual one of the bunch , charles was a very strongly believed in free markets, free people. that's why he wrote an editorial which i'm sure was very unpopular at the time, over 100,000 coal miners out of work.
they were on strike. and he wrote in an editorial defending the coal miners. which probably wasn'tterribly popular on wall street . they were losing money on mining stock and all that sort of thing but he was defending their rights that workers have just as much right to organize as investors to organize business corporations. so that was one of the points i make in the book is that kind of philosophy, just that kind of fundamental philosophy has carried on pretty much through the history of the wall street journal, that's pretty much really where it is today, defending markets, the journal today is going to defend trade , trade agreements. and defending people as we've had to do over many years of defending people against the various tyrannies of the world.
a fellow who some of us still exist like hitler for example in venezuela so that's kind of the thing that interested me was that continuity, despite and in norma's change in the world. particularly in technological terms. but the journal has remained constant over those years and by the way, some of the leading people over those years were from indiana. >> really, that's interesting. >> barney kilgore and casey colgate, casey whole gate came out of the paul and he was, he took over from clarence barrow and in about 1928. and then he hired another boy wonder from depaul named barney kilgore and barney kilgore was the creative guy who set the wall street
journal on the course that turned into a huge publication it is today so you raised a lot of interesting topics, foreign coverage which you were a part of, we're going to come back to that. labor relations, the nature of defending individual and corporate rights but let me ask you a more personal question since you also are bringing up some of these past editors and stories, who personally are your favorite editors to work for and can you give us any sort of details about the inner workings of the journal and how it changed over time? >> i mentioned barney kilgore and he was a remarkable man. he seemed just very natural and he had a slight tick. he went in like this sometimes and so he had this little beef that made him seem human. and he was.
he acted very human, he was very nice to people. but he was brilliant, he the started at the wall street journal when he was 23 years old, started dissecting the new deal over various aspects and he became ceo in the late 40s. and as i say, designed the modern wall street journal. >> host: you have seen several eras of journalism, and go and we are in what many people would call a incredible period of disruption. do you think journalism is better or worse today than when you started? >> certainly it's far more diversified. you have all these blogs, anybody can be a journalist today and maybe a gatherer re-funneling and there are all kinds of blogs, i have no idea how many but as you
know, they compete with in the wall street journal is one half of our circulation of the wall street journal's circulation is electronic now, i would think even the ft and so it's extremely diversified and professional journalists, people who are hired reporters on the staff of well-known publications kind of resent that competition but on the other hand, i think it might be good for them because sometimes these amateurs coming up with pretty good stuff. >> host: so i'm glad you remain true to the tenets of competition and free market and supporting blogs. to go to your point about the journals maintaining this view of free markets above all else, i can see when you
are writing in the book many great examples of that. i can also see sometimes particularly in the modern era under murdoch where to meet it seems like there's a more partisan environment, is that something that a lot of blog american readers worry about is that the media has become too partisan. what's in your experience with these debate journals? >> the journal, i've been on theopinion, i started out as a reporter in chicago and then went to detroit , we went one foreign correspondent but when i joined the editorial page in 1970, i've been in the opinion business, we are partisan. we make no bones about it. we are partisan. >> but partisanship about ideas sometimes is what people criticized both on the left and right. the times will come into this criticism as well. >> i can see your point and i think it's become a problem. i think that some people are just kind of wearing their hearts on their sleeves and just winging it because they
are just so anti-trump, for example to quote an issue here and i think it has done some damage to the quality of journalism. particularly when people are just full of anger . and you know, i'm not sure that's justified. i think journalists should at least even opinion journalists should try to remain cool and analyze things and you never can be quite totally objective but atleast you should try to be intellectually honest . >> host: yeah. i want to sort of come back to some of your favorite stories and more personal stories in a moment but let me link together a big financial topic just in the news for the past eight or 10 years which is quantitative, which has been done following
the financial crisis for the viewers who may not know that dumped about $4 trillion worth of money into the us market. this is something that a lot of folks for the journal i know were unhappy about. i wrote a number of articles myself even though i'm more on the liberal side of the spectrum saying that i thought it was not going to fix what was wrong in the economy. it's interesting because you in your book mentions several other points throughout history in which there was the problem of government papering over essentially fundamental problems in the economy with monetary policy and i wonder if you could take us through of the historic lessons that you see their and how things might end in the next few years? >> of course, one of the classic cases from history was the silver act of the late 19th century. and the journal was against that. and basically that was an act where the western mining
interests wanted congress to monetize silver so that silver would have more value. and we were on the gold standard at that point so that would be a bimetal centered. well, the journal argued i think correctly that that would be inflationary. that it would benefit the silver miners and of course william jennings bryan made his big speech about the cross ofgold and all that sort of thing . >> and the populists of many eras, there are different kinds of populists but many eras have a lot of easy money. and so the journal has had to fight that over the years, and try to encourage government, money is always,
government is always in flux, there's no such thing as the gold standard was about as near as you get but the journal supported the federal exchange act, again with the idea that this would stabilize money at that point , local banks could issue money against gold, supposedly they had in their vaults. they created a national currency, the journal supported that but then in the 1920s began to have second thoughts. >> host: i wonder why. >> guest: at any rate, the journal and martin royster who wasone of our editors , and i probably written about 50 editorials about inflation and he wrote the editorials over and over again about how
your money depreciates if the central bank or the government inflates the currency. and this gets a little more complicated then many people understand but basically the point is that the issue of currency is what causes inflation, it's not producers, it's the currency. >> so it's interesting though because critics, frankly i started writing columns that were critical several years ago but a lot of people who immediately thought that by now we be starting to see more signs of inflation and we are not. what do you think, is this time different? is there something going on? >> i wish i knew but i'm just as puzzled as you are. and the quantitative easing,
we were certainly againstthat . the government spending or the federal reserve actually which is really more of a branch of the government than most people realize. spending these enormous funds to buy up government securities. in other words, basically giving in a sense the government free money. because the federal reserve returns its earnings on bonds as you well know of government bonds to the treasury. so it takes out its own expenses and returns everything so the government is actually at these low interest rates and with the fed buying enormous amounts of federal paper, the government was getting money free and they took advantage of it. they doubled the national debt in seven years.
so we were against that. and let me get back to your question which, i don't know how we managed to, i know how we did it. i don't know how the fed did it, the fed basically just borrowed back the loan, created reserves in the banks and then held them by giving the banks interest on reserves, you know all about that but that's how they managed to avoid inflation but there was still an enormous dispersion and that's what i have written about as well as you have. >> host: we are waiting to see what the impact of that will be in five years, 10. it's interesting because if you take it in the international context there's still a lot of money being pumped into the system by japan so we are not really through that cycle yet. it's interesting because not
only has the government taken advantage of easing money but corporations have actually and in fact we have a record corporate bond level right now. what's the journal's feelings about that, what's your feelings about that? is that something that keeps you up? >> guest: my feeling is consistent with the journals although i haven't been there in a while but i still write for them. and we worry about this. that has consequences. it's not just corporate debt but consumer debt is now getting very high and it went down after the crash went down, hit the low in 2010 as everybody pull in their horns and then it's been growing ever sense and now we are getting up to the point where all the loans are outstanding are very high, credit card debt is very high. >> host: student loans. >> guest: student loans, that might be a write off. that's 1 trillion.
and so you know, it has consequences. borrowing from the future. and someday you have to pay for it. >> you think grandfather get his due? >> i agree with him on some things and other things i don't agree with. >> is interesting because i'm coming back to our mutual indiana roads here. i'm definitely a liberal but one thing that's always puzzled me is that why folks on both sides of the democrat don't think more about the consequences of debt levels for ordinary people because of course everybody borrows in this society. we have a better society and consumer credit is grown dramatically over the last 40 years, credit has grown, there's any number of reasons for that, one of the reasons i think is the tax code subsidizes certain kinds of unprofitable and unproductive debt.
what has been the thinking? surely at the journal and particularly on the opinion pages you must've been thinking over the last several decades about why have we become such a debtor nation? what would it mean to go back to a country that incentivizes and encourages savings versus debt? i know that's a big question but just to throw some. >> guest: that's a big question, it's an interesting question. i thought about that a lot myself. i think probably at one point we were too conservative, it was probably harder than it needed to beto get a loan from a bank . and of course one thing that changed all that was insurance which came out of the new deal and i kind of like that. oh, there's a big argument about that on monetary
economists , some of them think well, let's allow the banks to be more risky. i tend to think that no, probably it actually seemed to stabilize the banking system along with some other things.and i think the banks needed to take more risks and so i think that risk taking has become more thought free and people are more willingto do it . and that's good in some sense because it keeps the machinery of the economy going. it finances production and as i say, that does have
consequences and this little girls that we have have now for very long time , it may be permanent just simply because we had such a large net overhang. >> that's interesting. >> because so much money has to go back into servicing the debt that there's not as much available for both. >> host: yeah. >> guest: that's one of my crackbrained theories . >> host: either think certainly some people would agree with that. as we are on the topic of debt i'm concerned, you have a chapter in your book that deals with post-la environment and some of the obama administration decisions that were taken. if you can find more facts 2008, what do you think that we should have done differently.? >> i think the bill which was
the bill out of the banks, they worked out okay. and the journal actually supported that but there was a lot of internal discussion about that . >> only about that, what was the pro and con side? >> some people on the editorialboard , they didn't find it as likely as i did but that's a loss, they made that kind of decision. >> the critics would have been using the moral hazard argument? >> critics would have been saying you know, let them take their lumps and let them , let's give them a little less than sound banking. >> but paul and i are looking back i think paul is right because giving them this next, paul argued that this wasn't just a banking problem, it was a social problem because everybody was borrowing in the 2000 and.
>> corporations consumed. >> we had a huge credit with them. and the fed had keeping interest rates down or to the extent that they can control interest rates but they apparently can to some degree. and so paul was right. and actually it worked out okay because the banks pay the money back and the big problem i had was with the so-called stimulus. i don't much believe in fiscal stimulus. >> because as many people have argued, you don't get
much stimulus when you are robbing peter to pay paul. the liberals would argue well, you robbed the rich people and you pay you the poor people and causes greater monetary consumption, monetary turnover and so forth. i don't much believe that. first of all i don't believe in demand economics pretty much. >> i am a supply cider, i believe in stimulating production and demand will figure itself. >> so the obama administration spent very large amounts of money getting up fairly close to 1,000,000,000,800 and what they got, whatever. it's a huge number. >> on passing out money, and the evidence the feds stimulated anything very much is not there. because we had a very slow growth even after recovery in 2009. >> so and i don't believe in moderation stimulus. >> and we were getting that
as well. from the fed, they were keeping interest rates down but the problem with that is that yes, you make a case to borrow but you also denied favors, pension funds, recent return on their investments. >> i'm against both. >>. >> in good libertarian fashion. right, so let's think about the sort of interplay between fiscal and monetary and i think the point of monetary and i agree basically you end up stacking up the stock market the vast majority of americans will keep most of their wealth in their homes . that's not limited in fact for individuals, very good for investors, good for people like all of us that have 401(k)s and it didn't really fix main street. it's interesting though, the
supply-side argument has come in from some challenges recently. not only amongst liberals but among some conservatives that are concerned that all right, tax cuts, so supply-side did help during the reagan era but in the last 20 years, you saw the bush tax cuts in 2001 2003, you didn't really get too much growth on the back. but obama, the administration today is keeping to the line of tax cuts and regulatory cuts will fix growth. we still abide back? and if so, is going to give us a point or two of the kind they are talking about, the really big up to three or four percent? >> let's get back to the fundamentals. so supply-side economics, it we trace it back to a guy named ibn kowloon who was a 16th-century liberal philosopher and it's very simple. >> supply-side economics, i think i alluded to before but
what it really means is you have to produce something before you can consume it. >> and african countries, some in places like zambia or or, obviously consume, they consume and they like to consume as much as we do but because they don't produce, because they haven't had the know-how, they don't have the know-how to produce more advanced marketable goods, they are getting there, they're making progress. >> but you have to produce something, you can't just stimulate demand. you have to create an environment where people will use their creativity and their energy and their work to actually produce goods that they can sell to other people. >> that's the price of economics, just the basic
traditional economics. >> cans came along in the 20s and 30s and they came up, it's been totally misunderstood and misquoted for many years, mainly because they came up with a new idea every day and so you never knew what gaines really was selling but the thing that really caught on, gaines was john maynard teens who was an english economist, actually not an economist but he was a philosopher in economics and. >> he thought you could actually moderate business cycles by the government stepping in and spending and you know all this and it was a very, very popular theory because it gave congress,
politicians intellectual rationale for doing what they want to do. >> thinking taking money from taxpayers and spending it on their constituents. and it also gave economists a great boost because the economists are suddenly advising the politicians on how to spend the money. >> so it was very popular and what we did in the 1970s was sort of bring back this classical theory, and i believe it was a journal in the book, >> i want to hear about your take on the lessons. >> that we basically, what we were trying to do was bring back exactly the classical. that you had to produce, you have to create an environment for people to produce and one thing that you don't do is
put a huge tax on the successful people who are actually producing something. >> and you don't over regulate them necessarily. so that's what we preached back in the 70s. we had guys like art laugher. >> part is still around. >> part is still around. >>. >> and laughter came up with the famous laffer curve which was basically that application of the law of diminishing returns that if you get taxes too high, you get less revenue. and you lower them, you get more revenue. that happened with the reform of the capital gains tax in the early 1980s. >> and believe it or not, we got more revenue. >> so it can happen and jude
and are made that laffer curve, rather famous there's a lot more supply-side economics in the curve. >> just to stay on the tax point, i want to make sure you're on the topic but he makes the argument and i would agree with this that you had much higher tax rates on corporations and individuals in the period of the 1950s, 1958 when the us was growing much more strongly than it is now. evidence in the last 20 years that tax cuts really haven't created the kind of growth so as something fundamentally changed? what would you say to the heart people who would make the opposite argument mark lacks absolutely everything has changed. it's like all things being equal, all things are never equal. and the 1950s and 1960s we were recovering from world war ii.>> the dollar was king.
>> all the other countries were flat on their backs. and we were investing over the american corporations were investing overseas, to rebuild the factories . and the dollar was very much in demand and it was strong. of course we had growth and we did have, we had postwar policies that had this discarded through eisenhower. that had discarded a lot of the oldnew deal . innovations, the new deal had an excess tax even in the 1930s. which just practically killed industry and that's why we had a crash and 37. and so we were making a big comeback during those years. and we actually when things kind of got screwed up in the 70s with the price controls,
nixon was responsible for that but calls congress also did. and so ronald reagan had to kind of straighten things out again and he was famous for his supply-side policies and he picked up, we had booker did his job of killing inflation and we had this down to currency. >> host: he deserves a lot of credit in my opinion. he was a federal reserve chair that would stand up to political forces . >> guest: carter hired him because carter knew he had a real problem, inflation was getting close to 15 percent and that was serious so he hired this tough guy from the new york fed called voelker who to do something about it. >> host: injurious, with that in mind a lot of folks
see the 78 financial crisis and its aftermath said putting aside what you think government should or shouldn't have done that there was a need for more strong people in these rooms telling bankers here's what you're going to do. a regular like paul volker who says we're going to stick to this plan, i'm not going to bed. do youthink there's an argument to be made around that as sort of i guess the great man theory the ? >> guest: i don't care much for great men theories, it's just cause a lot of trouble over the years. >>host: we will get to autocrats in full foreign policy in just a minute . >> guest: volker was a special guy, he knew what he was being hired to do by the president.he got that job for, he knew what jimmy carter wanted him to do which is kill inflation which was, there's a big political problem and volcker knew how to do it.
he was a banker and he, i'll give you a little story about that. he called bob barkley and me over to the new york fed right after he was hired and it was a nice lunch and then he said okay, when there's blood all over the floor, will you guys support me? i held up my hand first, and we both agreed yes, we would. >> and there was blood all over the floor. we had a sharper sash in the latin american companies that were borrowed and they were in trouble, farmers were in trouble they over borrowed and there was a lot of blood on the floor , and we stopped by him and when it was all over after the sharp recession, we got economic growth again. >> that's a great story. taking a blood on the floor, you spent a lot of your career overseas at the foreign columnist, reporter.
give us some of the highlights. what was it like being a foreigncorrespondent back then? i'm always jealous of that era. i feel like you guys got to do incredible cool things . >> guest: you could be because it was great fun. you shouldn't call all these things great fun but i wasn't always doing terrible things. i had, it was very nice to work for the wall street journal because you were doing basically in those days we were doing special story, i went to africa once to get a story about missionaries and it was fascinating. >> host: what was the story. >> guest: i met a woman named mary bill taylor who had started her school for nurses up in the mountains of cameroon. and one day a bunch of gorillas came into town with their 37 sons and she stood
in front of her school and told these guys don't touch any of my girls and they didn't . she just had the authority and so that goes back to one of my stories but it was great fun. i covered the old soviet union, that was fascinating and it took, talk about a place that screwed up, it was. the six-day war, the african war and so yeah, a lot of times i was covering terrible things but most of the time i was just had a good time covering interesting things that were going on like the 1968 strike in france where everything just shut down. >> host: tell us aboutthat . >> guest: it was rather remarkable because as i say, everything did shut down.
so i was in london and i flew to brussels and rented a volkswagen and drove down to the border and bought myself a jerry can at street market and filled it up with gasoline and drove down into france but i didn't have enough gas to get back. and roger rickles was already there, one of our reporters and so roger and i at the hotel maurice, one of the finest hotels in paris they didn't have any cash but they were no longer on strike and the place was being run by a few managers and sir roger and i went around to the obion theater where there was a nonstop 24 hour discussion of revolution going on. the french are always fascinated by this revolution that they had once and didn't quite work out and how to do it again.
and that's what they were discussing and so we met some young men in one of the dressing rooms who was apparently had something and was organizingall this except he claimed he didn't. and i asked him , what are you protesting against? he said i suppose we are protesting against our fathers. and ithought , that's an interesting facet. i think they may have been protesting against charles cole, it was kind of the father of the country and i think that was probably the best theory. >> just while we are on friends, what you think about the elections and you think that this is a turning point for neoliberalism in general, that they had its mojo back? >> as i mentioned earlier i'm not much for great men theories but i think, that's a good positive development for france. i think mccrone is at least
going to try and i think his own people into theassembly , you've got these, all these young amateurs area into the assembly so they did have kind of a strange little revolution. >> and he's going to try to fix the labor laws which are a big problem in france because they are so demanding of employers that people don't want to hire them. >> if you make a labor law, it's too tough but they don't hire people. and it also causes some stability problems and competing in the international economy. and so he's going to try to do something and he will probably have some success. >> interesting because he will be at the same time he's got to do all this stuff internally you got to work with germany to figure out if the eu is going to be sort of the united states of europe
or not. >> what's in the journals position over time on the creation of the euro, the formation of the eu and where do you think the eu is going? >> are we at the endpoint moment? >> i don't think so. we've been all for it. we are, we were pretty much supported the creation of the european union. we supported the creation of the euro and in fact one of our supply-side writers bob mondale. over at columbia, he actually advised the europeans on creating the euro. >> and we supported that. >>. >> and i think the euro will be around, it's not going to disappear. and as to braxton which is kind of the key issue here, yeah.
there were some good reasons why britain decided to split off and it is true that the european union created an enormous bureaucracy in brussels. >> and they were making work for themselves, they were interfering in all kinds of policies that they shouldn't. they should be involved in. >> like the federal government in this country interfered in a lot of policies. >> that they were not empowered to do in the constitution but they did it anyway. and the brits finally got tired of that so they voted brexit and now they're going to try to figure out how to implement . >> host: my column martin
wolf argued that he thinks britain is going to be poorer and meaner for this, would you agree? >> guest: could be. it depends on the terms they work out. if they are really smart, your if europe, micron and some of them are really smart, they will try to create the terms that are reasonable. so that britain can continue to contribute its production, its trade. to the european community. >> and you know, it depends a lot on where britain goes from here.>> whether it goes into something we're able to set up a community, the terrace between the us and britain, canada, that's a problem but in other words,
if we can avoid protectionism creeping back in to what has been an amazing lowering of trade barriers, all kinds of barriers, trade, monetary, integration.>> those things all happen under the european community, creating a more integrated and a more fluid economy which i think has been beneficial for europe. >> it's interesting because you could say it's been the most excellent kind of globalization. >> that the world has ever known. >> because you're talking about new kinds of communities being formed, protecting a transatlantic alliance of some kind.
i keep in mind what you said earlier, if you are a supply signer, you believe that you have to supply things in order for people to consume them and you referenced also that you need these skills and peaceful to do that, you need high-tech industries and you need to advance manufacturing, whatever it is, you need to be at the top of the food chain in a rich country like ours. there's a debate going on right now about whether or not globalization itself might be altered in some ways to encourage this by targeting regional blocks, having maybe europe be one thing, britain and america, maybe some kind of new configuration with canada be more integrated with shorter supply chains, just sort of a just-in-time for production and the same with asia, do you think that's going to happen and would that be a good point? >> i don't think it would be a particularly good thing. it might happen.we do seem to see some retardation in the thrust for globalization.
there's always been globalization, it goes back to the early dutch traders on sailing ships. but after world war ii, there was great impetus towards globalization. for all kinds of reasons, first of all the countries were devastated and they needed to be rebuilding. and we had the kennedy around, we had various multilateral flake trade negotiations with doha which had a few problems but so there has been kind of slowing down of that impetus towards globalization but look at what is created? it's created a whole planet of multinational corporations.
>> every big corporation is multinational today whether it's in the us or england or germany or wherever. they operate all over the world, their supply chains are all over the world. so we have globalization of corporate organizations. and i don't think we are going to repeal that. it would be terrible if we did. >> host: this is an important point. i agree and i think history has shown that tariff barriers and china's trade has bad repercussions for the national economy but you raise an important point which is that small companies are globalized, there is kind of an economic globalization that has moved way i had of political globalization.
that creates these natural tensions in some ways that potentially have led to the kind of populism you're seeing not just here in the us on both sides of the aisle but in places like france or some of the nationalism you're seeing in the emerging markets so how does one square that circle? how do we make sure not to lose the game a conservative free-market viewpoint? how do you not lose the gains of globalization that have happened because of the popular backlash? local populations sort of feel like hey, i'm not getting mine in this conversation. >> it's an interesting conversation and the way the ideal way to solve the problem would be if government, get government out of a lot of these things. in other words, as governments takes more control over an economy, the politicians play a bigger part in making decisions. and they start making those
decisions that are mostly make those decisions on, based on a certain kind of populism. >> and so i think that's one of the reasons why the journal, i particularly have argued in favor of reducing government power, government involvement. >> and so i think those two things go hand-in-hand. the government becomes more important, things become more political rather than just letting big corporations like general motors do business making cars. >> it all becomes political. >> talking about state
capitalism because it's not just us anymore, it's china and brazil and these countries that don't have barriers really between the private sector and government. i remember actually being in china once during round about the time the soviet leaks were coming out and i met with a tla general asking her about industrial espionage and these issues that a lot of americans complain about in china. she said of course we are spying on everyone, corporations, other countries that there was no division but on your end, what's the highest growth is coming from areas that have a fundamentally ideology about capitalism. how does all that play out for america? >> china has come along way, you have to think about where china was compared to where it is today. it doesn't have free-market capitalism in our sense but it sure has come a long way from maoism and china's in
some trouble. >>. >> they are, absolutely. and that's because they've never quite made that transition from a command system to a private free-market system, capital system. >> capitalism and there's quite a bit of free market activity and a lot of free-market activity in china. >> in terms of business corporations and business activities. many of these are good business people and but the government still uses the back to as a channel to channel money into state old industries. and it's very hard. i was, i interviewed somebody
from bank of china in 10 years ago and they were trying to figure this out. and it's very hard to do because we state owned industries employ a lot of people. you know the story and it's very hard to cut them off from what you have are by some estimates you probably heard these estimates but the banks in china may have something like 30 percent nonperforming loans that don't really pay anything. >> host: i'm remembering another story, unlike you i spent some time there, about 10 years ago after the financial crisis and i remember interviewing the head of the icbc and he, i said how are you all going to cook. >> so we're going to lend more. and when you're trying to use a chinese backer and
everybody says linda, everybody raises their hand and lens but do you think some of those loans are going to go bad? he said yes, probably 20 to 30 percent and i said that's a plan. >> but it's going to be interesting how they can within the confines of the political system. in the last five minutes or so be that we have left i want to hear the more personal anecdotes from you. i would love to know the op-ed piece that you hold nearest and dearest to your heart, what's your favorite piece of meaningful piece that you've ever written and why? >> that i've written? allowed. i wrote a column for 18 years so there really are a lot of pieces but i think some of them, maybe just more general, i think some of my best writing has been about finances, about monetary policy.
>> i've been critical over the federal reserve, i've been critical of quantitative easing and those kinds of things. >> and i think those are kind of, that thing has proved out. with these are complements as you mentioned earlier. we still wonder why we didn't , why were not using more inflation. >> and at that point, we haven't talked to much about technology but let me ask your thoughts on the incredible sort of digital revolution that we are going through and why are we not seeing this figure, i'm forgetting the same quote about the, i think it was so low that you can see sort of pivoting everywhere except in the figures. >> are we miscalculating something? is our economy booming and we just don't know it? where's all the technology taking us.>> the
productivity numbers are a derivative number basically. >> you divide number of hours worked and production or something like that so i think something is kind of write about what it actually measures and doesn't measure. but they certainly do know that the digital revolution has changed the world and you know, there are all sorts of new things coming down the pipeline. health monitors of various kinds, you might be able to see in the not-too-distant future. you might be able to look at your wrists and find out if your heart is okay and with a monitor and so it's been revolutionary. whether, i wrote something about this a long time ago about computers generally about whether they were adding to productivity. >> and they didn't seem to be at that point. but you know maybe robert
borges is right. >> just look at computers, my goodness, what they do for us now. >> so what do we really mean by that? >> and technology has just been incredible. and it still is, it's still going forward. and that's the creativity, that's what i talk about the supply side economics . leaving people free to create , to go on facebook for example, just wanderingaround , looking at various people on facebook and you find out that they're creating all sort of things, doing all sorts of things, people, americans are enormously creative and you just well, that continues having it. >> it's interesting because certainly in. in many ways in which the journal began. >> incredible creative destruction and creativity. and lots of challenges, lots
of opportunities it's been a pleasure talking with you today about your book and i which you success with it. >> guest: thank you anna. >> host: thank you. >> c-span: where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> here's a look at some authors recently featured on c-span's after words, our weekly author interview program. wall street journal writer and former editorial page editor george melloan offered his thoughts on the publications influence . warmer breitbart news editor milo yet topless explores the
limits and freedom of speech and arizona senator jeff flake called for a return to the corporate schools of conservatism. in the coming weeks on after words, harvard university professor danielle ellen will discuss how mass incarceration has impacted her family. progressive policy institute senior fellow david osborne will examine the charter school movement and offer his outlook for the future of public education and this weekend on after words, radio host mark levin warns against government expansion. >> this is something i struggle with all the time, i think you do and a lot of people do which is that we reach the point where we can't get back. and we now are overwhelmed with the culture and politics and media. this progressivism, centralized government, ego materialism, of thesmothering of individuals , as it becomes so entrenched in our
institutions. that there's no way to rip it out. we have to do everything we can to debate it, to explain to our fellow citizens what's taking place. we simply have no choice. >> after words airs every saturday at 10 pm and sunday at 9 pm eastern and you can watch all previous after words programs on our website, booktv.org. now on book tv we are live with author and radio host eric texas. he is the author of many books including everything you always wanted to know about god but wereafraid to ask . on hopper , faster, smarter, profits why and if you can keep it: the forgotten promise of american liberty. >>. >>