tv Book Party for More Human CSPAN May 29, 2016 10:00pm-10:31pm EDT
history in this country up under evaluating the work that involves serving people and caring for people so we now have a working class that is much more female and much more people of color than the industrial working class was and that very definition of who is working class is one reason why i think we have seen a real disappearance of the idea of the working class in this country. ..
more human, designing a world where people come first. the former senior advisor to british prime minister mingled with guests and spoke informally about the book. prior to the party he did interviews with several news outlets. >> we are here at up party at juliana glover's house. this is the u.s. launch of your book, more human. tell us about this book and where the idea come from. >> it was really born, when i worked for david cameron in the u.k. i had been living in america for four years. i've been living out in california. i've been observing what's going on. i have a technical startup out in california.
ultimately i think putting real competition in the economy, they don't allow corporations to it you might this. that to me is a problem. [inaudible] >> thank you. it's lovely to see you. it's very loud but it was great to see you. >> i was on my way to london and i was trying to taxi. [inaudible] [inaudible] >> we met here and then. [inaudible]
[inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] but now he is beginning the process of really diving in with both feet to the u.s. clinical movement and being a player with the evolution. i will handed over to steve now. i couldn't be more delighted to have him talking about his interest tonight. it's just really appropriate. >> thank you very much. i'm not sure you want to hear about my issues. we'll leave that for another occasion.
i just want to thank you very much for hosting tonight. and the other host, they were so numerous i had to write them down. thank you to everyone. i don't know how they got them all on invitation. it's pretty amazing. i think were heading for a record were there more be more people hosting the book party than actually host the book. it's great to be here and it's great to see such a great crew. it reminds me of something i wrote in the book and i'll just read you a little snippet. here we go. it's from the first chapter on policy. when the lobbyists, the pilot petitions in the journalists and authors of books like this all go to the same parties all live in the same neighborhood in washington, new york and san francisco it really precipitates
regardless of who's in office, the same people are in power. it's great to see you all here tonight. the thing is, when i did my book party in london the prime minister showed up. so i'm very let down. [laughter] it's not quite the same stature. what does he have to do that's better than this? he's probably just back at the white house with john boehner. what did i say? you know, what is the point if you can't make that joke? but it did make me think, being here and diving into the political debate of being a brit in america and coming at this very important time. many years ago, i moved to
another country for a while and there was an acronym for what i did. it was actually hong kong. there's an acronym for people who leave london and go and work in hong kong. it's called failed in london, try hong kong. i'm thinking what might be in an appropriate acronym for what's going on with my entry into american politics at this very interesting time. can you guess? >> donald america looks desperate. so here i am to help. i hope i can do my bit. i don't know whether there's much chance of making an impact in the immediate days ahead but i do really hope to get involved in the political argument here. i think i've been here for several years working on my
startup in california. this book, more human has just come out. i don't don't want to spend too much time talking about it because i would love to have some opportunity to hear your question in response to those. i'll just give you a quick scene center for what this book is all about. i start with the story that the book open with because it does get to the heart of why i wrote the book. there's a story in the beginning of a mother's experience traveling on jetblue and it's an experience detailed in the book. the conclusion that i draw from it, she said why can't we just treat people with kindness like human beings. i just thought that was a very profound thing to say about not just her experience on jetblue that day, but all of our experience in so many areas of
life, whether that relates to our experience with government or businesses and our daily life, so much of it has become too big and too bureaucratic and distant from the human scale. it's the systems and structures that are at fault. that's the argument i make in the book. it reminded me also of something that was said when she was thinking about the holocaust and how it was that normal people could behave to other people in such an in human disgusting way. her argument was that it's not them, it's the structure, it's the bureaucracy and the system that make people behave in terrible ways. i'm not comparing, just in case the lawyers amongst you are getting ready to act, jetblue, but i am arguing that whether that's how we think about government, about how we run schools and how we do healthcare and how we try to help families in poverty but also looking at the economy, the way businesses have become these giant
corporations that have captured power in such a concentrated way that they can make decisions that are so distant from the people that are affected by them. in all of these areas, we have designed and built a world that has become in human and the central argument, i think for political reform needs to be how we do something about that and how we make the world more human. that's it for the moment. i would love to hear what you think and any questions you may have. [applause]. >> i love the title more human. most great ideas have to struggle and compete against others. i'm interested in who the enemies of your idea. you could go out and buy every copy of your book and beria, who would that be? >> i think the think the central
theme in many ways is the nature of power and the concentration of power. lyrical power and economic power. those who have the power, what i want to do is take the power out of their hands and put it in the hands of the people. in government, that means, decentralization and decentralization of a kind that we've never seen, not just from the federal government to the state which has been discussed a lot, but right down to the neighborhood level. that of course affect those who currently hold the power. in the economy and with the structure of capitalism, i think we need to do a concentration of economic power in the hands of a smaller number of big corporations. i do genuinely think that means breaking them up, not just the banks that we hear about all the time discussing a breakup, but the other sectors where you have these incredible powerful corporations abuse the system
today. the telecom specter with health insurance and food and agriculture companies, all these areas you have these giant things that need to be broken up. the ceos of the companies wouldn't like that. i think the enemy of those who currently hold power. >> speak an american accent. >> i can't do that. >> talk about how this happened politically. a philosopher or one set everyone's in favor of a decentralization of power. >> we work together in government and i think that has impacted as well. >> yes. >> the trouble is, the people you want to give power to are in
the structure at the moment. they don't have a way to bring about the change. all the people who are currently in positions of power, talk about the politics of this? >> that such a great question. i don't want to give a flippant answer, but the truth is what you describe, i completely agree with your characterization of the problem. therefore, i think, and i really i really reflected on this when i was writing it. i'm a practical person. i've been in government and i tried to implement change like you have. it's not a theoretical book. if you get a chance to read it you will see that there's an idea underneath that but there's a very practical idea about how we change things. how are we going to change things? the answer that i got to was that we need to change the people in the system. we need people who believe in
these ideas, literally we need them to take over the reins of power. therefore the conclusion of the book, the very last bit says if you read this book, if if you believe in this and agree with me then this is the first step. this is what you have to do. you have to run for office. you have to run for office if that's what you think. that is the only way we are really going to bring about this fundamental change. that connects me to actually what i've been doing with a company that makes it easier for people to run for office. it's a crowd funding type of office. if you want to run for office or nominate someone you can quickly start raising money and get into office without depending on the big party machinery that tends to trap people. they have to argue whether
that's business on the right or labor on the left, it's the same old power structure. that way getting a fresh generation for people to run for office at every level who truly believe in this kind of centralization, i think it's the only hope. that that might not be much of hope, but that. >> people need to take power in order to take away. >> exactly. >> so there's a wonderful quote that you had a year or two ago. when you finally left government he said they didn't like you very much and they didn't like you and you said it was a mutual divorce in the end, when when you left, but they're still there. they're still there doing the same thing.
it was very similar to what you were trying to do and hands up leaving because they weren't willing to go far enough. it just feels like when people like you and mike and others come in and try to push for train change, eventually the push is really strong against them and people move on. it's the people who are trying to protect the status quo who are still there. >> i think that's a very accurate characterization. all said in the book and i want to say here, almost every other person i've met in government, on an individual level, was good and well-intentioned, smart, serious person on the individual level. it's the system and the structures that are the problem, not the individual people. were talking about battles in
that sense. it also might be something that tony blair told me before we got into government, as part of me trying to learn about what it was going to be like and think about how i was going to prepare, i went to see people in government including tony blair and his chief of staff. one of the things that tony blair said was you won't believe it until you get there how strong is the sense on the part of the civil servants that they really are the ones were entrusted with running the country. the politicians and their advisors are just here today gone tomorrow and their job is to wait them out. you will not believe how strong that senses and you have to do something about it. he said we didn't take that seriously enough until i learned that lesson. this is why i ended up in a position where i took the view, and it was a pretty controversial one that in the end, to do something about this
the only serious answer was to drastically cut the number of servants. there are no bad people are underperforming, but simply because of the scale of the operation means that they inevitably grew the structures in the system and the bureaucracy and their incentives are to make that growth. there's only one thing to do so my analogy which started off as a bit of a joke, but then it took on a level of seriousness because i really meant it was about a building in london called somerset house which was the administrative center of the british empire. it's a very big building and it's now a space for restaurants and so on. it did run the british empire.
now, you're not talking about the british empire. you're not even talking about britain. i said how many people could fit in that building that once ran the empire. the answer was about 10000. we actually reduce the number to 10,000. what would we do, how could we run the modern state much more in scope with the british empire with that number people. it started off with intellectual and experiment. the more time i spent, the more i realize that really is the answer. he was a nonexecutive advisor and i could tell this is what i thought we needed to do. it was the number one