Skip to main content

tv   Deirdre Mc Closkey on Socialism  CSPAN  December 8, 2018 3:01pm-4:22pm EST

3:01 pm
as this weekend on "after words," fox news host tucker karlson and elitism in america and the national review's richard brookhiser recounts the career of supreme court chief justice john marshall, and that's all these weekend on c-span 2's booktv, for a complete television schedule advice >> good morning. i'm david burton, senior fell of of economic policy here at the heritage foundation. her subject today is, is it humane to be a socialist? highly relevant subject it is. today's event is the fifth in a speaker series we call free
3:02 pm
market, the ethical economic choice that provides a moral and ethical critique of socialism and make this case for the moral superiority of a free economy. i want to bring to your attention the next two events in this series on november 15th, george giller of the discovery institute, will give a talk called, capitalism is an information and learning system, and on november 30th, miningmonger of duke university will give a talk, if poverty is the real problem, then capitalism is the only solution. i would also like to bring to your attention an event that is not part of the seasons but may be of interest to you, on november 16th. gregory may will talk but his book, jefferson's treasure, how -- saved the new nation from death. galanin is a seriously understatemented figure, he cut taxes, reduced the national debt by half, one-man omb and find
3:03 pm
both the louisiana purchase and the war of 1812. he was both jefferson's and madison's secretary of the treasury, and their answer to alexander hamilton. it's his statute statue that is at the front of the treasury billing. on to todays event. my pleasure to introduce dr. deidre mccloud ski, a -- since the year 2000, -- mcencloses si has been a distinguished prefer of economics, history, english and communications at the university of emat chicago. trained at harvard and -- which we won't hold against her -- as an economist, shes has written 16 books and edited seven more and published 360 articles on economic theory, history, philosophy, rhetoric, fell system, ethics and the law, dr. mccloskey has the chat
3:04 pm
length task of teaching my price theirry at the university of chicago. that was any good fortune. she was also a professor of economics and history at the university of iowa. dr. mccloskey's many boxes are unusually well-written, particularly when it comes to economics, which is written isn't always a discipline that has the very finest writing, although lawyers do pretty bad, too. spending time with these books is always both deeplied identifying and a genuine pressure, and i want to bring a few to your attention. first, the huge would trilogy, the mow recent bourgeois equality, how ideas and capital, not capital or institutions enripped the world, bourgeois dignity. why economics cannot explain the modern welder, and the first,
3:05 pm
bourgeois virtues, written in 2006. theseburgs argue that new ideas are the explanation for the great enrichment from 1800 to the present. liberty and dignity for ordinary people. classical liberal jim, led to an explosion of what she calls trade tested better: she argues that material explanation such as capital, humiliation, exploitation are mistaken. she makes the case that a virtue ethics celebrating huge would or middle class virtue isson and central to our society's success other. book outside might find of value, the --al significance, how the standard era cost us jobs, justice and lives. the rhetoric of economics. knowledge and persuasion of economics, if you're so smart, the narrative of economic
3:06 pm
expertise, second thoughts, myths and morals of u.s. economic history. and, last but not least, the applied theory of price. we use the applied their of price while i was at chicago. it's now available online for free at if you want a good price theory book. i if you have not read a price theory book, you. so the core analytical power of economics, in my judgment, is priceless. after her presentation we'll have time for audience q & a and a copy of her remarks or at least an outline, perhaps, is a better term, will be available to anyone who wants it after the event. please join me in welcomeing deidre mccloskey. [applause] >> thank you very much. i have a speech defect which
3:07 pm
you'll have to grow accustomed to or run screaming from the room. it's stale free country, even after yesterday's election. i had to make a joke about the election at this institute. that price theory book you speak of, i intend to do a third edition of when i get the time from the other thing is want to do. and among the things i want to do and is the -- one of the core ideas and the trilogy that david mentioned, is to undermine the attractions of socialism. now, socialism is attractive but the title of my talk is "socialism, its ethical at age 16, not at 26 or my own age,
3:08 pm
76", and when i was 16, a child of a harvard professor, therefore upper middle class, by birth, i was a socialist so to speak, someone unscholarly one. it was the age of folk music so i call myself a joan baez. the oldest socialist. someone who is not a socialist by age 16 is not a heard. someone who is still a socialist at age 26 has no brain. now at age 16 with the background i had, socialism looked -- you could say was
3:09 pm
ethically defensible. if you grow up in a family -- and i take it everyone here did -- you grow up in a socialist enterprise. the mom and the old traditional family, which is thankfully slowly declining, was the central planner and indeed had her own little homework factory. my grandmother could make all the girls clothing, could cook for 40 hours a week, everything from scratch, so there was economic production in the home that she did, which then her husband win off to be an electrician and electrical contractor, and the people in the house and certainly in mine,
3:10 pm
where my father would good off to the office and do god knows what, and then come home and he'd come with fall like manna on the household. that background makes for socialists. i mean, it's still more for people like me who haven't done honest work in her entire life. i've been an academic belief u -- academic life. i was good so i stayed. i if you go to college and live in a dorm as i did, and then go to graduate school and live in a dorm as i did, and then get married and then you have a central planner to take carr -- take care of you and then you, and then you, and then you, particular live your field is english or history, as mine
3:11 pm
systems is, you're going to emerge at age -- i don't know -- 27 or something as someone who has always lived in families. and you're going to view the mark as a strange, foreign, indrugs of the idyllic scene from each according to her ability, to each according to her need. of course, if you grow up in a firm as very, very few americans do now, 1800, over 80% of americans were on farms, now it's about 1%. then you know where meat comes from, and you know, as we say, the value of money, you know that your parents -- you worry about your -- the price of hogs or soybeans, so -- or if you
3:12 pm
grow up as some of you surely did, over the shop, so to speak, with a small business on the ground floor and an apartment upstairs where the familiedlived and you worked as a child in the family, or if when you were a child you had a paper route or something like that, there's variation in the organization of paper routes, i learned the other day, and some of them are more entrepreneurial than other, depending on the size of the newspaper. so, it's no wonder, considering that those occupations, those families, are declining in weight in the american economy, most particularly agriculture, it's quite enormous -- that
3:13 pm
socialism survives in people's minds. young people's minds especially. david and i were speaking how straining it is that on tv you see these kids'ing interviewed and they say earnestly i thing we ought to try socialism. as though socialism has never been tried. let's change the system, people say. which is my own experience with changing the system is it doesn't work. one version of the golden ruling is, those who have the gold, rule. under whichever -- whatever system we have. it seems to me -- i wonder if
3:14 pm
you agree -- that one's political convictions tend to freeze sometime in one's 20s in. and most people acquire their politics in their early 20s and then don't ever change. so bill remarked once that as a youthful adolescents toes skiist him was more scholarly than i was about any trotskyism, he tried it hard to shift to be some sort of conservative. and so far as the ethical questions concerned, we're dealing with here, of course the age of reason and the age of reason in each of, each of our lives, we're supposed to use
3:15 pm
reason, and it's decidedly unethical not to and thinking about the politics that we're going to impose on our neighbors. and it's striking in my experience, being once a socialist, now a free market advocate, i call myself a humane with libertarian or bleeding heart libertarian or a christian liberal. it's striking that my socialist friends with whom i have a great many, resist reason. resist the reasonable claims that this book that david plans to come out of these speeches,
3:16 pm
have -- the claims of reason against socialism. the claims of sheer experience that would be historical reasoning. the people who advocate severallism now -- i'm fond of saying that bernie sanders and jeremy corbin, both of whom are about my age, we shared the same views in 1960, but they didn't change since then. you hear speeches by bernie sanders and they sound like 1960s socialist speeches, and it is striking they haven't learned from history at all. jeremy corbin, my friend the economist goes, praised chavez
3:17 pm
and now -- in venezuela in the coverage of the venezuelan catastrophe. it's notable that the journalists -- again i'm sure innocently. there's no conspiracy. they're not bad in that simple-mined sense -- covered as of the it were a national disaster, as though a hurricane hit venezuela and for some reason you couldn't get any food or medicine at the store, and for some reason you had to take wheelbarrows full of money to buy bread. if these socialist friends are mine or marxist and most of them d. in fact most of this in the way from he 1890s have an marx
3:18 pm
oid. notices resistance to my three wonderful books which are available on, cheap and even in spoken books so what are you waiting for? are -- have a marxoid theory of history, which is that the history of all his are toe existing society this history of class struggle. when i read that in the communist man cities stow i thought i didn't have to read anything more because i have the formally like the norm form la in economics. but if we're all in a sense -- we're un're sueded by the independent force of ideas and what is strange about this fact
3:19 pm
of intellectual history, especially in the west, is that the people saying it, saying, i do something -- all that matters is interest, my former colleague, george zigler at the university of chicago is among this, and murray rosburg, another acqaint tense, and i call them both america's leading vulgar marxist because they talk this way all the time. it's interest that determines idea etch when they were purveyors, they were making speeches just like the one i'm making now. there's something strangely inconsistent about this materialist preposition, but my marxist friends to to get back to that sentence, are -- they walk by the evidence, the
3:20 pm
evidence that reasons, the historical evidence, the economic evidence, i think one reason for this is that the progressives, assume that people like most 0 of the people in this room are evil, look to your left, look to your right. there's an evil person there. which means that you don't need to pay attention to what they say. why pay attention to hitler? come on. extreme case of this is the egregious professor nancy mcclain of duke university, written an astoundingly ignorant book about james buchanan, a great liberal economist, attaching him for no good reason, though she didn't interview anyone to do this --
3:21 pm
wants to do it with calhoun theories of racism. or a charles koch for whom i have worked so i'm the enemy. she has a rule, actually, which she articulated this year, which is that nancy well -- she is in the history department -- nancy will not speak to anyone who has accepted koch money. and indeed she won't speak to anyone from any university which has accepted money from charles koch. now, the problem with this is that duke university has accepted considerable money from charles chop, so nancy can't speak to herself, which perhaps explains why her book is so shockingly bad. we libertarians and
3:22 pm
conservatives by contrast -- i speak at least for the the libertarians, assume that the progressives, who say socialism, we ought to try that, are just misinformed. and that if we teach them that the tariffs are ideaotic, which they are, or that stopping people from starting businesses, is a bad idea, they'll say, oh, yeah, you were right, ihunt thought of that. you're right. surely, but they don't. now, what is the evidence against socialism? that people at the age of reason should be listening to but don't. after they've put away their
3:23 pm
natural and childish emotional toys of socialism -- by the way that hypothesis and the argument i made but the family is the highly testable proposition. it's a piece of sociology that i wish some sociologyis would fine out bowl. argued in the trilogy that david mentioned, that the the rise of income per head in the country has adopted a -- what you can properly call historically liberalism, free markets and free minds, has since 1800 increased -- hear this -- by
3:24 pm
3,000 percent. that's income per head. and indeed income of the poor. as you know there's a lot of anxiety but inequality, it's become apartment of the cant -- become part of the cant of tv but in fact it was the poor who benefited the most from this gigantic increase in income. if you ask people, even quite well-informed people, even employees of the world bank sometimes, as the great hans rosling, you most find his videosow would ask people how much has income increased in finland or japan since 1800 or the united states?
3:25 pm
and even well-informed people would say, well you know, i don't know, 100% maybe. maybe 200%. but you know it's all again to the rich. poor people haven't benefited. even though the poor people went in 1800 from having nada to having large apartments, air conditioning, refrigerators which most americans didn't have as recently as certainly 100 years ago, they had ice box iches they were well to do. automobiles, et cetera. excellent health care by the comparison to 1900 when going to the doctor was very dangerous. so, they think, oh, it's 100% or 200%. no, it's not. it's a factor of 30. i had the embarrassment to ask in a speech i gave on this more or less the same subject two weeks ago in cambridge, england
3:26 pm
to an audience of all people anthropologists, of explaining to vary eminent anthropologist, i won't give his name, it's embarrassing -- who stood up afterwards and said, i i agree with your claim it's a factor of 30, since the olden days, very eminent historical anthropologist but this 3,000 percent is wrong. and i didn't say, oh, professor, 30 minus one divided by one is 29, multiplied by 100 to get a percentage and you have 2900 which is roughly 3,000. i couldn't do it. so, i see what you mean. good point. but that fact is extremely important to acquire as dewey
3:27 pm
used to say, on your pulse. you should really get this into your head and your heart and grasp that free markets have increased income per head by 3,000-per, percent, and then do it for the entire world. there's no racial or cultural reason why sub-saharan africa can't be as rich as the united states. and as indeed the case of china and india show very plainly. when i was a young, a beginning student of economics, i was told by my teach hes, my distinguished teachers at harvard that things were hopeless in communicate because they're on con con confuse shoes
3:28 pm
and it's hopefully, the cast and india some china will never grow, then in 1978 in the economy, the chinese government started to introduce liberalism and in india, 1991, the world's largest democracy, they started to do the same thing and since then basic growth has been from five% to 10% a year per capita. and under mao they were zero% per capita under what the india callings the raj, neru and the began diz was 1% in a good year 2%, 5% per year, solves a lot of social problems and is since
3:29 pm
1991 in india. now, the argument from our progressive friends dish keep saying, i use that phrase not in contempt but because i do have progressive friends, and i do talk to them, and i do love them. they say, oh, no, it was caused by the government, this rise since 1800. bit weariers me bit but guy through the argument wife it was not caused by the government. i have a distinguished colleague in the history department at the university of illinois at chicago, man of the left and a labor historian, and i said to him casually that the eight-hour day wasn't cause is by laws. it wasn't caused by struggle on the picket line or at the voting about. it was caused -- he was start
3:30 pm
el by this assertion and didn't believe it -- contentious of the very idea -- of course it was caused, it says so right in the law. no, i'm sure work more than eight hours a day. what more to you need? you conservatives, he called me. but of course it's not true. we have an eight, hour day law, not law, custom in the united states, because people don't want to work more than eight hours a day, and indeed, for a long time, the standard work week froze. it went down from 12 to 10, to eight. by custom and by law, but it seemed to have frozen, but it actually continued going down because people live longer, retirement, they good to school, longer. the amount of time people spend not working -- i am myself
3:31 pm
retired, though i retired in order to work -- is not because of laws but because of the immensely increased productivity of the economy. indeed, the effective welfare state, which takes quite a while to emerge, is of course partly because of the spread of the right to vote but also that legal source, but it's also because, as our economies get more rich, we feel we can to use a noneconomic word, afford a welfare state, and indeed more generally, wages are not determined by bargaining. there's a kind of theory on the left which i see of interest in lots of news stories and peaches by politicians, that the bosses have piles of gold in the back
3:32 pm
room and that the job of us progressives is to extract the gold and give it to the workers. and they believe this especially in france where one labor law after another is imposed on french -- at the french economy. on the idea that the only way the workers are going to get better off is by going after that gold. and it's not true wages are determine, as economists have in other words from the late 19th 19th century by supply and demand for workers and the amount of evidence for that is just -- using the word overwhelming doesn't express its strongly enough. it's gigantic. now, why did this happen? if we're going to convince our
3:33 pm
socialist friends that socialism is not the way forward, we have to convince them that capitalism is. but one of the troubles is that the word capitalism eme embodies a scientific error. it's very foolish word. unfortunately it's been dominant in economics, not since mary, marx never used exactly capitalism but since the late 19th century but it suggests very strongly to both the left and the liberals and the conservatives, that the modern history of the economy is about the accumulation of capital. i have many other friend, not on the left, who still believe
3:34 pm
this. it's -- but the capital is necessary as is the rule of law and private property for this fact oroff 30, this 3,000 percent, it's not the spring of the watch. think of that. a metaphor here. the springs that make it grand slam -- grammatical are ideasing their capital and rule of law and peace and whatever are the gears or even the clock face that shows the result of the spring in the gears and is not itself in any sense causal, and i think we need to ponder this
3:35 pm
metaphor because i think it's apt and i think it focuses on what is important. what's important is a society in which ideas can flourish. as the austeran economist -- i've been an austrian -- a socialist, i've been a chicago school economist, social engineer, a man, i've been everything. as the sauce treen economist says that's their discoveries alert entrepreneur notices as she walks around. they are as israel kushner says the mass of free lunches that made up -- the idea of electric lights, the idea of cameras, in
3:36 pm
the old days that camera would have to be much larger than it is. this idea roof projectors, the idea of nice wood, maybe -- i don't know -- but that depends on the band saw, on the carpeting, this cheap, inexpensive carpeting, very attract tv carpet neglect room, the steel that makes up the chairs, those are all ideas and indeed, the idea of a think tank, which this building embodies, is itself an idea. that my absolutely favorite example is, malcolm mcclain, no relation, i think to nancy, who invented in 1956 container rization, you have standardized steel boxes, you have seen hundreds of them.
3:37 pm
either 20 feet long, 40 feet long, that can be stacked on top of each and put on ships and the number now of ten thousand 40-foot containers per ship. at the highest. level. 10,000 40-foot containers. that's a lot of 100 car trains. and which radically reduced the cost of ocean transport for nonbulk goods. at the same time, boat carriers, oil tankers in particular, got larger and larger and larger. no science was involved. containerrization is an organizational idea like think tanks. or the modern university invented in berlin in 1810.
3:38 pm
combining research and teaching. these are -- so, the ideas are not necessarily mechanical or electronic or whatever, but they get tested in commerce. they keep altering that phrase that david mentioned, trade tested betterment. i'm calling it simply commercially tested betterment. that's the test. the test is, does the container make money? and of course, the left used and socialists view the money, the profit as just kind of a tax. so, robert -- a brilliant
3:39 pm
passage in his wonderful elementary book on economics, says, well, okay, suppose profit is just a tax, to tax necessary, he says, and we even our socialist friend would agree to call out the enterprise that makes for containerrization or the steam engine or whatever, and it's about, what, 15% of national income, maybe 20. okay. about that. on that order. whereas that's considered socialism. the tax in socialism, comparing east and west germany. a more extreme case, south and
3:40 pm
north korea. 50% or more, okay, class, which system do you want? the one with the 15 or 20% tax or one with a 50 or 90% tax. so, this commercially tested betterment made us rich and reasonably good. it didn't corrupt our souls. that's a claim that has been common in all cultures since the beginning. since the beginning of specialization there have been -- towns, that is there have been middlemen and the middle men are always bad. bankers, for example. bad, bad, bad. says everyone else, while buying from them. while taking loans from them.
3:41 pm
but i in my -- the first book of the trilogy i argued at some length, 500 pages if you want to know -- against this idea that commercially tested betterment is just essentially corrupting because as a christian, this is an issue -- an important issue for me. what does it matter if someone gets the earth but loses her moral soul? i really believe that. if i thought that i actually started to call it info victim -- if it lost its mortal soul aisle be a socialist. i would say social jim is great. let's good for it. if i thought that socialism would do a better job nor soul, and i think the evidence there is overwhelmingly it doesn't.
3:42 pm
in fact, the 70 years of communism in the soviet union wrecked the ethics of ordinary russians. and it's not just the high level stuff, the containerrization, when mcclain invented containers, he just wanted to do a few of them so he started small, but so did ray kroc start small. so did bill gateses. not so small, bulletly. but it's also the ordinary people having a go. the ordinary woman who decides to open a hair dressing salon in the neighborhood and puts their heart and soul into it.
3:43 pm
the ordinary guy who goeses to the oil fields, moves to the oil fields of north dakota, and in its oil boom. where did this confidence come from and this confidence in having a go? humans have always been innovated tonight some degree but it's very striking how much more innovative they become in countries like england or france or the united states or italy or japan after 1800. how did this happen? well, it came from what adam smith calls the obvious and simple plan, the liberal plan of equality, liberty, and justice. i wish he meant equality of social standing, the kind of
3:44 pm
respect that all americans accord to each other or should. liberty to open the hair dressing salon or invent the internet, and equal justice before the law. it's an egalitarian proposition, this liberalism, and here i want to quarrel with some of you in the audience who might be traditional conservative, who don't believe in equality. i don't believe in what i call a friend style e -- a french style equality, who bestows equality after the event, cutting down poppies but i believe in equality in the sense that adam smith spoke of.
3:45 pm
equal rights to open, equal rights to venture. so, at age 26, certainly by 76, you're supposed to know this kind of thing. supposed to know that social jim has not historically worked, there are sound reasons, that it doesn't work, even though it works in small societies, among friend, you're dividing up a pizza, with the obnoxious is your so cold friends said i paid nor pizza i should get most of the slices. that's friendship destroying. you want to do that. among friends, as erasmus said, all things are held in common in his great book of lat latin tags. that what's first one. but that's among friends, not
3:46 pm
among strangers in the great society. i bought a couple of years ago, a little accordion, and i'm trying very slowly to learn it because i won't practice. it's a problem. old joke, how too you get to carnegie hall, practice, practice, how do you get to the cat skills? stop practicing. so, they ought to know that in the great society you can't have from each according to his ability to each according to their need. st. paul said. st. paul said, he who does not work should not eat. he who is complaining by correspondence that his former friends, who thought that the messiah was but to come again, decided why work if the messiah
3:47 pm
is coming tomorrow. he said, oh, no. the great motto of the month from the fourth century on was, to work is to pray. now, is it ethical to go on with such misal preparations? -- miss of hennings? of course it's net ethical responsibility of an adult to know what is going on you've should know it when we vote or when we're in business or in our marriages or whatever. what are the ethic is believe
3:48 pm
in? as explained in the book is think that the best way to approach ethical questions is through so-called virtue ethics which is the oldest impulse in about ethical thought. it's common east and west and south, you can find pieces of it in confucius or hinduism or buddhism, in islam, the abrahamic religioning and there's an old joke parked vice, how to write well, how to write well. be good, then write naturally. be good and then write naturally. and i am suggesting that the named virtues, prudence, justice, courage, to temperrens,
3:49 pm
faith, hope and love and the greatest is love, with their libraries of cultural products on each of them, should be and models for behavior, florence nighting nightingale, oden disus, et cetera, this should be our guides, not the an distract rules that -- abstract ruled that became unsurprisingly popular in the 18th century. abstract rules like contract to -- hobson lock or cant, not can't but cant, justice elevated to the one ethical principal, or jeremy benson, with prudence elevated to the one.
3:50 pm
no, no. as adam smith said, when i do this in russia, i always do it the other way. as adam smith said in his greatest book, which you must read, called the theory of moral sentiments of the left, edition, the great guide to behavior should be the virtues arranged together. that is off you have in your heart is justice, you lack love. i all you have in your heart is love, you lack justice. and so i end with a summary of how these rules turn out, which is a combination of our
3:51 pm
conservative heritage and the liberal abrahamic egalitarian promise of equal souls. all of the babylons laid in the first century beat -- said do not do unto others what you would not have them do to you. this negative form is like the lib be tear an -- this is the libertarian nonaggression axiom. it's masculine, so to speak. leave me alone. don't tread on me. i have autonomy. whereas another jewish sage, early in the first century bc,
3:52 pm
jesus of nazareth said, do unto others what you would have them do unto you. this positive way of saying it is so to speak fem him in, although i -- feminine, i don't want to make some argument, me least of all, be a good samaritan. don't cross by on the other side. be nice. and i think we need both i think socialists society we will not have both. reminds me of still another old joke. someone who wrote on the wall, scribbled on the wall to do is to be. decart. and a the next person wrote to be is to do, kirk could guard.
3:53 pm
third person wrote, doobie doobie do, sinatra. and that's about right. to do and to be, to be the kind of person who does good, you need to live in a free and responsible society such as i think everyone here advocates. thank you very much. [applause] squeak we have spun with mics, try to keep the questions brief.
3:54 pm
yes, ma'am. >> a simone gal from -- i have three questions. first, what do you think -- one-by-one. right. thank you so much. my first question, i what do you think is the deepest flaw of socialism and what is the cause of it that flaw? >> well, the deepest flaw is the notion that an economy can be run from the top down. this is a point that hayak made and other people, but it -- when martha hamburg retired as the head of the federal drug administration, she was interviewed on npr, and the
3:55 pm
reporter said, with apparent delight, that hamburg had been in charge of 20% of the american economy. you think, what, 20%, one person? yep. food and drugs. and it is a persistent error that the economy is easy. that's another of the socialist axioms. that it's easy to do. we don't need discovery. we don't need to learn if the neighborhood needs another hair dressing salon. what is the second question? >> this is a followup for the first question. why is this theory wrong? top-economy. wrong from the. to why is this wrong? >> logically. it's possible there's a world, perhaps an alternate universe, in which top-down management of the economy is fine, and instant
3:56 pm
deed, is a said in a family, that is how it's managed. top down. the -- the con fuss believe believe they take me model the family and apply it to the who society. from the point of she view from 16-year-old who doesn't know anything but is sure she does, he sure she knows everything, it sounds fine but it's not -- and indeed, anyone with any experience at life knows a family can't be govern he very well. think of your offbring, your children. think of mine who hasn't spent to me for 22 years. >> you were just saying it's proven wrong. it's not --
3:57 pm
>> yeah, it's proven wrong because there's no logical proof. this is an empirical fracture. that's why it comes with maturity -- in the case of bernie sanders it didn't but that's okay. i comes with maturity or reading. if you open your mind, think, gee whiz, things didn't work out well in at the soviet union. >> [inaudible] >> but even that ultimately is empirical and that's the socialists in the eye bait of the 1920s and 30s took it, took the alcohol thrown get more computers, to get smarter and smarter people at the center, and then we could -- everything would be fine. i have a friend, colleague in iowa, who was asked to go to a -- one of the soviet republics
3:58 pm
to advise them on transport of agricultural goods, and he's from iowa, they figured he could tell them about that. he said we have trucks and grain elevators and ships and barges and so forth. and then someone in the audience said, but who is the commissar? who is in charge? and gary said, no one is in charge. accomplish they stopped believing -- and they stopped believing him. they thought he was hiding a state secret. what's the third one? >> he halved his hand up earlier, this guy did. i go for eager-beavers. >> i'm pat and i work for senator ron johnson. you used the term inovism. i wonder this, who what stint this charm of socialism a feeling by people that somehow they could be protected from
3:59 pm
somebody else who is going disrupt them with an innovative idea. >> that's absolutely true and its evident in the -- it was evident yesterday, and the appeal of the -- this is something that bernie sanders and trump of course agree on, protectionism. and i understand that the disturbances of new industries what was calledcracy creative destruction --...
4:00 pm
it comes from progress. because -- all central planner would allow the chinese and now the vietnamese before the japanese, before that, the germans. to specialize in low-wage industries. a central planner would under this socialism so it is progress there objecting to. not neoliberalism. and is very clear and hungry.
4:01 pm
where hungarian agriculture is not a good prospect for the future of hungary. so despite enormous subsidies from the common market, it's not doing very well. so you get support for fascism like another form of socialism. it's very depressing. i'm 22. do you think socialist ideals such as universal healthcare and for education, you think they mutually exclusive? >> i don't think so. i think education should be subsidized on taxes but paying
4:02 pm
for it is not the same thing as providing it. and there is a deep confusion about this. beulah said we have to have the education. all right, and i'm willing to be taxed to provide it because i don't think people do enough if it is not free but i want it to be free. the same thing in a more radical way, when we speak to the convinced status which is a more comprehensive term but certainly covers socialism, you say well love, we are to have a smaller government but they say you want roads? can you imagine a world and suddenly all the roads disappear. and i said, i want roads but i want them to be provided privately as they were in the united states and britain. in the 18th and early 19th
4:03 pm
century. then in a way that would make an interesting dissertation in history, they became defined as public -- i think it is a piece of municipal socialism. in a case that now, it is trivial for roads to be armed privately. you put a transponder in the vehicle and you can pay for the roads that we pay for your gas bill. but it is very hard to get people to change. an island, there is a proposal which sounds very reasonable even in such a place to water. it's become such a political issue they say the hell with that. i don't want my water metered. i don't want it running 24 hours a day.
4:04 pm
go away. is the ideological battle on point like this and here is the cheerfulness. we did win once. henry david, by the way there is a sensationally good biography, i can't remember her name. from university of chicago press called henry david. -- [laughter] but he said, i fervently support the proposition that the government is best that governs least. he was not a socialist. yes, dear? >> hi i am diane with heritage. that was very interesting we had to say about the new family
4:05 pm
and its impact. i have to wonder though, is -- to become with some altruism that over experience becomes tempered? >> we do. humans among the great apes, actual careful experiment, humans are unusually cooperative. between chimpanzees in even even the nicest of the two. and we cooperate all the time. i think it's inclined with language. what we need to convince people is that specialization and ownership of property and its outcome results in massive
4:06 pm
cooperation. i did not quite finished mattel about buying my accordion. i forgot to give you the punchline. and i bought this accordion from czechoslovakia. it's a beautiful instrument just wish that i could play it. so i have to make my own accordion? in fact, the logical reduction of protectionism of any sort is all right, let's protect illinois. all right, chicago. all right, printers row. all right, my own house. and then i will have plenty of jobs. so yes, cooperation. here is another version of that
4:07 pm
point. you'll always hear enterprise called well, non-private enterprises always identified as being nonprofit. it is not that it is something especially virtuous peter presumption of virtue unless they are called the heritage foundation. in nonprofit institutions, but come on, this system of markets is the most altruistic ever designed. people do work for each other incessantly. i get very annoyed. what's become the current about admiring people for their military service and they do it on msnbc as well as fox news. thank you for your service. what are you talking about? someone who makes toothbrushes is doing a service.
4:08 pm
stop it! [laughter] i get all excited about this. >> is a question all over here? >> we don't want to ignore the left. [laughter] >> yes, john, competitive enterprise thank you so much for being here. you talk about innovation and in your writing you say what changed like really in the 19th century and early 20 century with innovation was as much of the innovations and one phenomenon drove each other is the way society viewed the innovator and the inventor instead of somebody as common as that of the crackpots all of a sudden they were visionaries. benefactors of society. what was, i mount thoughts about this but what you think was responsible for this and is there hope in that you know you can still get a progressive admiring steve jobs. you know they want to redistribute his wealth but they still admire the
4:09 pm
invention, the innovator. >> well, the -- the characteristic figure of this is benjamin franklin. who held only one patent in his life. at age 43 have become the most successful in the colonies he sold his business. and became a public inventor and scientist. none wanted to be a gentleman very much in the 18th century. so he was, he want to climb the existing hierarchy. but that's right. it is a change in attitude towards benjamin franklin that matters. it's not, people have only read the titles in my books after the title of the first of the trilogy. i think they mean that there was a change in that business
4:10 pm
people became more virtuous. in the 18th century. it is the same way they feel if they have not read any of my books on rhetoric and they think i am advocating more fancy language in economics. i am saying that there is a change in social attitudes. why, you ask? you evidently have not read the third book of the trilogy because that's where i answer it. and you must. you must run down and get it. thank you, dear. and it says, the causes were accidents in europe. nothing deep about europe. my argument is not as so many of my conservative friends want to make it a story of the deep superiority of people, i called
4:11 pm
them -- it is not about the deep innovativeness of europe which wasn't the most innovative society in the world in 1492 as china. it had the best chips, it had the best agriculture, the best science, the best mathematics, whatever you want to talk about. the best painting. china. now it was the accidents of a bunch of accidents. not just one. the reformation, the, dutch revolt against spain. both of them reasonably successful. the english civil war 1640s and in the 1650s, the great, the
4:12 pm
glorious revolution, the american revolution, the dutch revolution and the french revolution. all of these accidentally made ordinary people bold. protestant is in. what's important is not my protestantism or lutherans, so-called magisterial reformation which kept a hierarchy in the church. my priest is chosen by the bishop of congregationalism which the name implies, the congregation chooses the minister. orth still more radically coming out of the 1640s in england. the society of friends. the quakers in which no one is a minister and woman are allowed to speak in the meeting. and the northern dutch, they
4:13 pm
had thorough 16th and 17th century, this gives them the idea that they can have a go. and this is crucial. who's next? >> this gentleman and then this young lady in the back. >> thank you. i am dave, i'm retired. it's a good thing. >> thank god! >> it's a good thing isn't it? >> i would like to get to your definition of socialism. as i understand it, and capitalism everything is owned by somebody. and then feudalism which is everything owned by one person. and in capitalism, if you own a house, a step of your property, your on someone else's property.and they charge you
4:14 pm
to use it or -- >> a trespass. >> right. a smidge of public highways, roads and stuff like that. then you have socialist. right now we live with socialism have a mixture of public and private property. everything becomes public property or community property, that's communism. >> yes or something like that. and socialist theory communism is the -- >> when everything is publicly owned. owned by the commune or and in-state communism everything is owned by the state. if the state is controlled by one person, then it is not really communism it is feudalism. because one person owns everything. so the soviet union was not really communist. it was futile.
4:15 pm
and my question -- >> i don't actually agree with that analysis although it has elements of which i agree. >> that is what i was going to -- i think by the way about the accidents in europe was basically the end of feudalism. where it wasn't all owned by one person. >> that's wrong. >> that's going to ask you what is your definition? >> here is the key point. one of many reasons i don't like the word capitalism is that people think it is a stage of history. we are all marxist now. and that is wrong. ownership property markets are pervasive in society. and also have been one of the earliest archaeological sites is a cave in south africa. and at the time the area where these people lived was 100 miles from the seashore. and yet, they found that 70,000
4:16 pm
bc, they found a necklace. made of seashells. they did not get by walking 100 miles in them walking hundred miles back. they must have been trading and is dangerous in some circumstances to walk over to another hunter gatherer area you're likely to get in trouble. is one of the earliest but there many evidence of trade. so not true that exchange or property is new. property is in fact, characteristic of some species of butterflies. that will take up a position in a sunny area of a forest and defended against other butterflies. property is commonplace in the animal world and the vegetable
4:17 pm
world. so this whole idea is something about so-called capitalism. it is wrong. what is new is in over his him paired was new -- the incredible amount of innovation. that is new. and that is what we need to explain, not this matter of the stages of history. which is wrong. >> d -- time for one more question. >> my name is sicilian -- my name is cecilia. the economist and philosopher -- has recently written about capitalistic places like california who attempt to over estimate wave when they benefit from the market. and they tend to vote towards more social policy.
4:18 pm
i was wondering if you can talk a little about that. and how, what effects it has like the very capitalist -- >> you know, all we can cannot sims a chinese government camps which they're doing on a massive scale which as we speak. we cannot do that. but all we can do is preach to them. and actually, probably better than academics like me preaching to them, is popular culture. there is a great movie called joy. about the self squeezing mop inventor. it is terrifically, basically pro in over -- pro innovism.
4:19 pm
there is a movie about the founder about ray kroc. he failed in business over and over again then figured out that you could take the mcdonald's brothers model of assembly line and production of hamburgers, i mean i was watching the hamburger guy this morning. had to get retrofit at the train station. and he was wonderful to watch him. but of course, he couldn't do the volume that an assembly line can. and that was their discovery which okay look, more rock music with free-market themes. i think country music. i'm not much of a country music fan. i like it but i don't know much about it. i think country music is a really good place to look for pro in over -- pro innovism.
4:20 pm
you know that whining that happens when a come in a country music, when you run a country music tuned backwards, the guy gets back his girl. [laughter] his gun at his pickup. [laughter] but it is popular culture. that is where the rubber meets the road to use the country music expression. that's where it is. and it always has been. ideologies are formed in the high and low culture. they are not formed -- look, hollywood produces endless pro socialist movies. actually, here's what's so absurd. anti-corporatist movies produced by massive corporations with corporate offices hanging from the ceilings.
4:21 pm
it is ridiculous. >> thank you all for coming. [applause] if you would like a copy of the outline, i will leave it here. and just one final reminder, the next event in the series is november 15, george gilder speaking on capitalism. thanks again. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. [applause] [cheers and applause]


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on