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tv   Bourgeois Equality  CSPAN  September 10, 2017 10:48am-11:03am EDT

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i am being shown a wrap it up sign, so i think this is all the time that we have today. i really appreciate all of you come in on this rainy saturday. thank you very much. [applause] >> booktv is on twitter and facebook, and we want to hear from you. tweet us, twitter.com/booktv, or post a comment on our facebook page, facebook.com/booktv. >> and now booktv want to introduce you to author, professor and winter of a hayek prize in 2017, deidre mccloskey. personal who was friedrich hayek? >> it was an honor and powerful. it was $50,000 in which as a poor retired professor i'm delighted to have.
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but hayek was an economist, winner of the nobel prize who was an austrian and who in the first world war had become an economist because he saw spontaneous order. he saw people cooperating who didn't speak the same language. he saw societies more important than government. so he wrote a great number of books. he taught at university of chicago for a while. he ended up in his hometown of -- tha at his hometown, that's n germany. freiberg which means free city, which is perfect. he wasn't a conservative. he was a liberal, a libertarian. >> in your most recent book, "bourgeois equality," you talk about him as young hayek, middle-aged hayek and older hayek.
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>> well, he was -- >> did he change his opinions? >> not too much. here's what happened. he was an economists economist or give one the leading economist in the world in the making 30s and 40s. he was commonly thought by edwin as john maynard keynes equal. and, but later in the '50s and 60s and 70s, he turned to philosophy, to political philosophy. so i think that's a big change. it's not that he changed his opinions about what we unfortunately call capitalism. he thought it was a good thing. he thought that socialism is hard to impossible to make work. >> host: in your book, professor, you write that there is a great difference between
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classic liberalism and contemporary libertarian. give us a definition of both of those. >> guest: i'm not sure where that came from in the book because i'm not sure i believe it. but i believe that there is -- a friend of mine calls it liberalism 1.0. liberalism of voltaire and adam smith, jon stewart mills, who believes that the key to a good society was to let people have a go as the english essay. and that persists in modern libertarianism. what is different is that some of these modern libertarians, especially the americans, how can you say this? they are somewhat harsh.
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i call them brotherly, whereas my kind of liberalism or libertarianism is sisterly, in the sense i want to include both among the virtues that is a side at the interested in. whereas my male colleagues among libertarians tend to say no, all we need is maximizing profits. don't tell me about loans. i'm not against them. i just think that they need to grow up a bit. >> host: where does milton friedman fall in all this? >> guest: milton friedman was a classical liberalism 1.0 type person. i was a colleague of his for 12 years at the university of chicago where i taught. milton inspires a lot of brotherly libertarians, but on the other hand, he was in most
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ways a nice guy, and concerned with poor people. but you know, my friends on the left think that a libertarian, and liberal like me hates the poor, if it only you're a democrat or a socialist, as i once was, do you care for the poor. for some reason it's kind of an implausible psychological premise, but they think people within the classified on the right, which would include libertarians, although i would argue with this, they say you people don't love the poor. you just love the rich people. why anyone would love the rich people i don't know, but anyway that's what they say. but that's not really the case of a classical liberals like milton. he believed, as i do, but the
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best way to help support you to have a prosperous economy, a dynamic, growing economy. that comes from letting people have a go. >> host: what's the definition of bourgeois? >> guest: it is simply a word for middle class. in fact, it was interestingly and english in the early 1700s it wasn't the usual word for what then became middle class. middle-class is a more vague term which came into wide usage in the early 1800s. that's all i mean by it. i mean mostly town dwellers, although american farmers, for that matter french farmers were bourgeois in that sense because they are running an enterprise. but mainly urban, and my claim is that urban middle-class is where most of the progress comes from.
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and if we plant it, prevent it from doing stuff, and we're all worse off, everyone, the poor, especially the poor. >> host: this is your third book with the word bayous? >> guest: yes, it is.? again, when i say my friends on the left, i am sincere about it. i have many friends who are marxist. i was once a marxist and i love them, but there swear word is bourgeois. you are so bourgeois. your transposition means you can't possibly have an opinion. and so i purposely and kind of sticking them in the eye, my first book was called bourgeois virtues. sounds like a contradiction in terms. second one was called bourgeois dignity. how can that be?
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"bourgeois equality", that can't be right. how can you have bourgeois equality? i think all three opinions are wrong. you can the ethical. you could be encouraging human dignity, and you can -- income inequality through what we unfortunately call capitalism. >> host: a couple of years back french economist hit the book world. what did you think of his -- >> guest: i didn't pay much attention to it. i was asked to do a review and i ended up doing a 50 page review. i know that britain especially as the anti--- the bbc tried organize a date between him and me, and, of course, he wouldn't do it. why would you bother with a retired professor from the
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midwest when he sold to many copies? it's a brave book. i don't hate him. i don't think he's stupid. i think he's concerned with something that might be a serious problem, except that it's not. >> host: what does he get wrong? >> guest: he gets a lot of things wrong. one thing, he gets the numbers wrong. the book is mainly quantitative. for someone who's not an economist or doesn't have -- an account, it is an unreadable book. you can read the first chapter and stop. it's not true that inequality has increased. the only countries where it has our britain, the united states and canada. the reasons for the somewhat moderate increase in inequality
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has nothing to do with the forces he says. his book is called "capital in the twenty-first century," and it's about the prospects picky claims we are doomed. the owners of capital will take everything and that's been wrong factually and will be wrong in the future. that's one thing, the other thing he does on the matter of the numbers is he a doors human capital. the skills that you and i and other people have in a modern society. and that's gigantically important as a source of income. and so do not include that the accounting is a big mistake. and then more fundamentally, i think he has an ethical problem. he hates the rich pic and i don't think that's the way to go. i think the way to go is to love
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the poor, as i do. i got into economics to help the poor. i told you i was a socialist then, at ostrich alerts of economics, that's socialism is a good idea for helping the poor. and his book is very much about in the towards the rich pic and i think -- in the -- i don't think in the is a good social cause. because it is insatiable. i can in the you because you're a good interviewer and you can envy because i'm so beautiful, you know? we can envy people endlessly and so you can solve the problem of poverty but you can't solve the problem of envying the rich. >> host: what is it, this is in your subtitle, ideas over capital? >> guest: well, the main theme of the book is kind of anti-economics. i'm an economist.
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chicago school economist, an austrian economist but i have been riveting. i been a keen, a social engineer, blah, blah, blah, every kind of economist. my claim is, what most economists think is that in order to explain what are called the great enrichment, which is an increase in income of ordinary people, poor people since 1800, places like japan or finland or the united states, by 3000%. sounds impossible. ..
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.... .... .... >> why not a roman empire or ancient egypt? because the causal idea wasn't such. the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice he called it.
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they got this fantastic idea and the ideas encouraged by a free society made us free which is just as important. here as it the book called bourgeois equal. professor, author and high prize winner. this is booktv on c-span2. booktv television for serious readers.

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