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tv   Bhu Srinivasan Americana  CSPAN  December 16, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm EST

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that each of them have branches or franchise franchises that cre enormous challenges seen in the past couple of weeks and for example we have the military forces deployed. .. the silence your cell phones and follow us on social media. today we are here to talk about economics. don't worry i won't give you a lecture. i will leave you in the hands of our guest author, mr. bhu srinivasan. in his new book, "americana" he takes us through a 400 year-long journey through american history
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of capitalism highlighting some of our industry's most important inventions from the rival of the mayflower to the inter- workings of the mafia to the early days of silicon valley, mr. bhu srinivasan presents an eye-opening perspective of an american history of capitalism that i am sure he's excited to share with you all today. mr. bhu srinivasan is accomplished a media businessmen to expand digital media, pop culture, technology, publishing and financial contents and arrived in the us with his family at the age of eight and as a child he's limited, rust belt, southern california in his book is available for sale in the bookstore and he will appear afterwards for a book signing, so please help me welcome bhu srinivasan. [applause]. >> thank you for having me and this is only my second ever book events, so i'm very glad that
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you took a chance on coming out and hopefully based on how this goes i will get to do other events or never again. i hope you are a good audience. as a racial pointed out i came to this country at the age of eight. my mother had a phd in physics and had gotten a role at roswell park memorial institute which is a cancer institute in buffalo, new york and a post- doctorate position there and was going to make the sum of $14000, which met in india we were going to be very rich when we arrived in america. after my mom or-- mother had done six months in america having left in india she came back and got as and when i was eight years old i was sent to live with my aunt and not far from here went to school in richmond virginia 40 months and buffalo new york and onto california in the northwest and my own journey in america in
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many ways mirrored that of the american and journey and i didn't quite understand how much it mirrored it until i was fortunate enough to take a freshman history class from richard white but acclaimed historian at the university washington who is not sanford. in his class, the final essay was to eating connect your family's history into the context of the american narrative and since i was taking this class in 1995 and i have been here for a total of 11 years i did not quite heavy device through which i could weave a narrative because we had such a short amount of time here , so the major events in american history i could not connect our family history so i had to ask what we can do to allow me to fully express myself in the context of american history and we had stumbled upon this divisive economic, so the rust belt in buffalo new york. my family's westward migration, my mother ended up with a
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position at biotech startup in seattle took seattle was booming with technology, microsoft at that time was a large company. still is, but at that time it had a scorching growth rates, so connecting all of that over 11 years into this essay gave me a perspective on american history that i didn't have before and i got this from a notable historian and it served me well pure going forward, however, the gold rush of the internet was hugely a lorene in seattle and san francisco at the time and i had been lucky enough to participate in the gold rush at least as a early employee at some companies and then as a founder of the venture backed startup in a news amber is it-- aggregation, coat-- so scarred my perspective and the next big things are basically transform society rapidly, so just to
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hammer everything looks like a nail these economic questions have always driven me to assemble everything i know about american history, and put it in this framework. about 10 years after that i started thinking about every biography i would read, every history i would read with somewhat evade these economic questions which i think are central to the american experience and if you think about mexican immigrants i come to this country many undocumented and undocumented immigrant obviously leaving the privileges of mexico to come to this country to live a stateless noncitizen, so why would someone come here to live a stateless noncitizen? if they are leaving democratic privileges in mexico behind, so what is that motivation and you can look at it and say it might be the allure of some form of american capitalism. it's some allure or perspective
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they might have some access to prosperity and prosperity is a relative thing. someone might have-- someone might think a new change of clothes, being able to buy whatever closure one is prosperity and others might think access to air conditioning or renewed television is prosperity and someone might be denied the ability to buy a car which is a big luxury item in the entire third world as it was in india and is still is for hundreds of millions of people, all of those things represent prosperity and i still believe that the ease with which you can access this prosperity is the primary lure for millions of immigrants that come here, so tracing back from that i wanted to look at the prosperity if it was the motivation for my own family and other immigrants i come here and in deed i can make that case, how did-- how far
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does not go back? obviously to the irish, for the italians, lithuanians, germans, then i tried to trace it back to the mayflower and the mayflower gave rise to a question that-- to some degree struck me and i wondered how was it in 1620 that persecuted religious separatist would afford a giant to ship? how would they be able to charter one and if i told you a hundred people in central america that wanted to come to this country charter day 737 you would think how could that happen, that's a strange set of circumstances they knew weave in and ask questions about how the mayflower was financed and you go through a great primary document, william bradford, plymouth foundation and in its much of it documents the financing of the mayflower, how
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they shouldered cheers to a group of adventurers and how the pilgrims had shares and how it was a seven-year terms and provisions where the pilgrims who spent four days on the collective venture, two days on the -- for themselves, one day for god and how the terms changed to six days for the collective venture in one day for god and how it was a sticking point when they were about to embark on this voyage, so you start looking at economic motivations in question how much the financing happen and how at the end of the transaction it two to 25 years for the transaction to unwind itself and from there i started assembling a series of next big things, when did steal have a big impact on society, what happened with oil, automobiles, with food, the meatpackers in chicago and all of these different events and biographies and trends and started putting it into a mosaic
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and ultimately it came together where i thought 400 years of american capitalism you can start using the backdrop of the next big thing where you have something like the internet browser leading ultimately to the smartphone. obviously you would not have a smart phone if people were not used to an internet browser. the smart phone allowed to access internet browser, so internet browser created great demand for the computer. even in the '80s pcs were not in the majority of households. computer growth in the household took off at the internet, so these next big things compound and that's the connective tissue i try to identify in the book and many times the connective tissue is it separate threads altogether, but deeply interwoven with politics and i wanted to have some examples of deeper threads were several next big things are so connected where you might not think of them as connected. one is the gold rush. the gold rush starts with to
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some degree happening during the tail end of the mexican-american war, 1848 in the final days of mexico actually owning the territory days before its official surrender someone discovers a sawmill worker in a river in california and discovers there are gold plates on the ground and so this is a serendipitous discovery or doesn't take great skill or culture to find gold but they did and great lucky find at the tail end where the us comes into possession of california almost at that time almost as if providential and find gold. almost instantaneously the californians-- the rush happens and then california wanted-- is clamoring for statehood and because california is in possession of vast wealth it accelerates that process and by 1850 californians want to
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present themselves as the 31st eight of the union. at this time there are 15 a slave states and 15 free states and it's the one marker of legislated balance that the sutherlands are able to hold onto because in terms of representatives free states have more representatives in the house, but in the senate they have 30 senators and the free state has 30 senators said to introduce the 31st state would change that equation dramatically so you have the compromise of 1850 which is triggered by california wanting admission and one has the fugitive slave act which is the enforcement of the fugitive slave law from the constitution setting off the idea behind the fugitive slave act that it had been force with concert-- that a slave ventures into a state in the north that they could summon local magistrates in the north to return the slave to the south and that is something that. beecher starts writing and uncle
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tom's cabin gets serialized and captures the imagination of abolitionist sentiment and uses a fictional story to humanize slate-- slave experience and throughout the 1850s that starts becoming a major dividing points and you start seeing in 1857 you see slave prices actually went up so quite a bubble inflated prices where at auction you would have the prime field hand, someone maybe in their 20s, strong with no history of running away and stellar representation you would need to make if a slave whatever runaway so you see the average price of slaves throughout between $700, $800 on the whole, so that
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imputed value of $3 billion to $4 billion for the slaves in america, 4 million or so. to some degree in my book i note this is an irrational valuation because a lot of credit was there and to purchase a slave you can do-- can borrow two thirds of the value, so much of the sentiment evaluation of slaves that was decoupled from the price of cotton which many historians, walter johnson's go into, so connect the gold rush with slavery and some of the sentiments that precipitated the overconfidence on the part of the south triggering a humanizing novel from harry beecher and those are the type of connections i try to weave in throughout the book where it's not just celebration capital,
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gray biographies, but synthesizes the democratic forces that clash with markets many times throughout american history. that you will find later on as well as a strong theme as the rise of william jennings bryan's candidacy in 1896 and against the backdrop again of business persons in the country being very pro- terror so at that time you did not have income tax and because of that the federal government was financed by either tariffs or liquor and tobacco taxes both fermented and distilled spirits, so because of that reliance on the tariffs business interests often had a friend in the federal government where they could protect industry and when they protect industry you institute a terror from the the terror of the mormon the federal government can collect and at the same time the industry in the us that would find overseas competitors to take market chairs in america
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is protected, so one of the men that gave voice-- andrew carnegie in his autobiography talks about how the field and tariffs were instrumental for developing the steel industry in the us, so until the income tax was made constitutional by the 16th amendment you had this reliance on tariffs where businesses often times even if the federal government didn't quite need it were very pro- tariff and was the income tax became instituted is when you could have prohibition because the federal government was no longer reliant upon taxes from alcohol and both distilled and fermented spirits and it wasn't reliant on the tariff as well so you start to see connections and that's how the story came together throughout, so the next big thing from that point starts
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tracing to the automobile to suburbia, roads and how roads gave way to fast food with lots of anecdotal examples and biographies, but the main theme of the story is how democracy clashes with the interest of market and how american capitalism is the synthesis of social, cultural, economic and democratic forces. so, wanted to open up to questions and hope i have some good ones. [inaudible] >> that's during prohibition. this is something-- it's not a major theme in the book. i think it's a smaller theme, but the mafia is one of those things that you have this unintended consequence and you see lots of unintended consequences through policymakers, but one was you had right after prohibition you had a brand-new business because
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alcohol-- beer especially was the fifth largest business in the us. great fortunes were-- in heiser bush, so fortunes of alcohol and all of a sudden i would became legal you had a brand-new opportunity for all kinds of lawless men to be able to take advantage of a whole big market, large consumer market, but other unintended consequences is out-- as well. you had something called the grape grower and in northern california where you have-- people are-- wine had a sacramental exception to it and you could also buy syrup and allow it to turn into wine in the home so you have lots of different economic opportunities and that economic opportunity gave that rise. >> how do you rate capitalism do you-- [inaudible]
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>> in terms of rate capitalism, it's like rating democracy. how would you rate something like democracy? that's one thing i discuss on npr earlier today which is that it doesn't have a moral quality or if-- in moral quality, if the neutral construct. if you want to sell your kidney you could. there's nothing in capitalism that intrinsically says no or yes or encourages or discourages it worked its up to society to imbue it with value and that's always been the case throughout, so like when you are asking me how to rate capitalism, how would you rate democracy. for 80 years slavery was tolerated and for another 80 years segregation was tolerated, so i think a neutral philosophy that you can have whatever value
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you want and it's up to society to shape and enforce. i also brought up-- [inaudible] >> i do. it's a constant evolution for one example i use the rise of school, the rise of public school, so if you go into even a staunch republican community and let's say in texas or a deep red state and you ask them what is the great thing about your community or society can many times you will hear the things they love most and they brag the most about is their great public schools and here it is a social institution that they would take great pride in as one of the first thing that makes your community a community. of they would say our neighbors can't get in, so that's one of the things people don't necessarily identify as capitalism and democracy colliding, but it is and the
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person that argued for public education and universal education back in 1848 was karl marx and that communist manifesto he talked about he produces a 10-point plan for developed economies are developing economies to become more fair and one of the things he argues for is abolition of child labor and institution of universal education and we have that and he also argued for progressive income taxes, so even american capitalism is a hybrid. it's not an extreme ideology and what i try to do is separate the ideological argument from it all together and think about it as an operating system rather than an ideology. >> out of curiosity what was the final investing of the mayflower investors? >> they lost money.
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took 25 years for the debt to finally be repaid your kit was equity first because they were shareholders and after a few years they realized that they wanted to converts at the end of the seven-year firm they need to do something with the equity because you would have to have a pro rata distribution of the assets of the plymouth and they did not want to do that so the equity was converted into a transaction and private equity and other areas like that and for a long time the debt could not be repaid or serviced by the fur trading revenues and ultimately what happened was the group of men in plymouth as they call themselves the undertakers and these undertakers assumed the debt from plymouth colony in exchange for all of the first trading rights and so these group of nine men of solved click plymouth colony of the debt and finally used by men negotiated with investigators--
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investors and it took 25 years and by this time england also was in the throes of civil war, so 1620 to 6045 was not an easy time in england either and a lot of the many needed their money back and didn't make it and a few descendents had still held on to the original investment. be keeping our current climate and current administration, how do you think capitalism will evolve from where it is now? where do you see it changing? >> interesting question. obviously the fact these rust belt states like michigan, wisconsin, ohio ended up being the swing states for you would not have predicted they would go to trump or even become red especially michigan. obviously it tells you there is something in the air and especially i think that the ban
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an argument for protectionism is something you would not have expected to see in republican dogma, but free trade is a big question as to what the republican platform will seek to do with free trade because it's not clear at all. swing states for them now are on board with unlimited free trade, so i think that will have substantial implications for 2020 as well. anymore questions? okay. i think we are wrapped. thank you so much. [applause]. >> c-span where history unfolds
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daily. in 1979, c-span was greeted as a public service by america's cable-television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> sunday night on afterwards, washington examiner editor on his book banning always the rebel. is interviewed by republican texas representative louis gomer. >> he spent a lot of time with steven bannon. you have heard his goals, talked about what he wants to do, what odds do you give him for being able to help reach those goals? >> so, you want me to be utterly honest or hopeful? i did come to agree with a lot of what he says. i think there's a decent chance
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because i think steve bannon believes the electorate has already changed even in the general election. despite obvious flaws in trump, not a perfect person and trump would admit that himself and despite a lot of controversy they elected him, so i think with steven bannon believes is that already the longing for populism in nationalism is there he believe it is already victorious among the base. where it has not changed is washington. where it hasn't changed is in the leadership in some parts of the republican party, particulate the senate and that's what's driving him. >> watch afterwards sunday night and 19 eastern on c-span2 book tv. >> on book tv we want to introduce you of russell riley of the miller center and the university of virginia and his
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book "inside the clinton white house and oral history" russell, what will we learn in this book? guest: i think the biggest thing you will learn is what it looked like actually to be inside 1600 pennsylvania avenue during one of the most consequence of presidencies of american history with wonderful stories that people who work there can tell us and over a 10 year time we interviewed about 130 of the seniormost officials in the white house and what i've done is poulter about 800 hours of interviews to bring you the greatest hits of those oral histories in a single moment. host: what was the spark that said i think i have a book your? guest: good question. the miller center has done a presidential oral history back to general ford-- gerald ford and this is the first time we have done a narrative history out of those interviews, but i think largely it was because of the breadth and scope of the interviews we conducted as well as the
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depth and color of the interviews we were accumulating and so it became clear after we had thousands and thousands of pages of these interviews that it was possible to create a narrative of everything from bill clinton's upbringing through to his two-parter from law in a way that's compelling and gives you a fly on the wall understanding of what it's like during that white house. >> why did the miller center start to do these oral histories? when did that come about? guest: in the late 1970s and for some time the records administration have been doing presidential orts-- oral history, but they got out of the business and my predecessor was from georgia, had an interest in oral history because he had been at columbia where lead oral history had been embedded and he walked the halls of the carter
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white house and the final days of that administration and they started doing interviews with senior carter administration after they left office and what we discovered was you can find out a lot about presidential administration by talking to people when the pressure of offices over. and they aren't overly concerned about press leaks or subpoenas any longer and they can sit down and reflect on what went right and what went wrong and that's why the miller center has had the success it has had in collecting interviews. >> are they available to the general public? >> absolutely. i'm trying to sell books so i would prefer to people by this volume, but it's supposed to be a gateway to the archives. if you go to miller you can read all of the interviews in their entirety including sessions with people like tony lake, some interviews from his time as national security advisor. i went to prague to interview him about his experience with the president clinton and
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the entirety of the interview you can find on a website. >> here is russell riley curated book at some of those interviews inside the clinton white house and oral history is the name of the book. >> you are watching the tv on c-span2, television for serious readers. here's our primetime lineup. 6:00 p.m. tonight journalist david nine reports on the rise of the altar right in america and the 7:15 p.m. scientists looks at virtual reality and our ever-growing relationship with technology. 8:45 p.m. former cbs news anchor dan rather shares his thoughts on the founding principles of the united states and what it means to be american. on book tv afterwards at 10:00 p.m. washington examiner senior editor reports on the life and career of steve bannon
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and his role in the trump presidency. we wrap up our primetime programming at 11 with former white house photographer who reflects on her time covering first lady michelle obama. that all happens tonight on c-span twos book tv, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend or. television for serious readers.


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