tv Tyler Cowen Big Business CSPAN May 4, 2019 6:50pm-7:51pm EDT
call me a craftsman in other words saying i'm slow. [laughter] to watch the full program and past events with robert caro visit our website booktv.org, type his name in the search bar at the top of the page. here is a look at tonight book tv primetime schedule which begins now. tyler callan argues that large corporations play an important role in our society. valerie dared recount her past to the white house. sonia purnell during world war ii, stanford university perfect under professor jennifer eberhardt discusses bias. and then adam schiff and mark meadows are joined by washington post reporters to discuss the mueller report. that all begins now on booktv check your cable guide for the full weekend schedule. here is george mason university tyler cowen on big business.
>> tonight i am pleased to introduce tyler cowen to politics and prose. callan holds the l harris chair in economics at george mason university. he is a bloomberg opinion colonist and has written regularly for the new york times and contributes to a wide number of newspapers and periodicals. his previous books include the complicit class in the great stagnation. in his new book, big business he examines the tension between americans lack of trust and big business. and big businesses in the american economy. he argues that corporations despite americans ambivalence towards him are essential in a balance productive and progressive society by spurring innovation, rewarding talent and hard work in creating the bounty on which americans have come to depend. walter frick, deputy editor of harvard business review rights
he writes a compelling defense of finance in the tech industry. both their critics and the defenders would benefit from reading this book. he will be joined in conversation tonight by edward luce, u.s. national editor for financial times and author of the retreat of western liberalism, please join me in welcoming tyler and edward. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you very much for the introduction, it is a delight to be here with tyler. i am not a neutral and personal observer, i have met tyler a million times and we've been friends for a million years, we don't always agree with each other, but i think i can confidently say that he is not just an example of disagree without being disagreeable but disagree without being disagreeable being far more knowledgeable at the in and when you begin. that's the case with tyler. we do agree on something.
but i'm going to get into productivity a little bit. but let me quickly emphasize tyler's productivity. we've had the great stagnation, wonderful short book that came out in 2011, we had your book about food, your board book, the complacent, even average about one year? >> about one every three years, it speeds up as we get older. >> my arithmetic further, anyways, that is another book, one thing i will say, tyler's unusual for an economist, most economists wait the data and they wait in the way in the weight and then when the data comes in the portrait sufficiently until it convicted of her case they are making. he is very different, he leads just as much books on history as he does on economics and he uses
it. which i know a lot of economists, i hope you stick to the intuitive this evening. so let's start by imagining a town called 50th century brazil in pennsylvania or ohio and most of the jobs already gone to china, their main street has been hollowed out they've got to talk to walmart out of town but walmart is now pretty spread because everybody used to work there and now they are not happy campers, they got people who they know the joy 50 miles to the amazon fulfillment and they were there, there always tired don't get much feedback, they can't join a union, they have to get permission to take bathroom breaks, tell me why
should the people of the 20th century will pennsylvania love big business? >> i will start with some data actually. if you look at per capita income in west virginia it's about the same as in sweden. so we out here think of middle america is completely devastated but that is not quite true for the entirety of it. i would stress the point that the most distressed areas are generally those that are lacking in big business, all of those regions will never come back, i don't think there's an answer to never solve the east germany problem, migration does work, i'm all for federal policies to encourage migration. so i think people, if they can they want to reach areas where there is a lot more business and that's the case for big business for them. >> what would you say to those who are ready on main street, not just the people who visited them but the people who ran
them, might it cost a bit more, and i guess it would be whether the consumer shows, and that the result of preference, of what makes a community? >> keep in mind, most societies based choices that they can do things and left costly waste in their transition costs or they can stay put. we see many countries in the world which decide to stay put or you can vary the transition cost, grow, to virtually all consumers and especially as time passes you have a better healthier richer, probably politically more secure country if you're boosting the size the china shock, i think there's recent studies, we have overstated how big that was, some of the is automation of course, some of it is rebalancing. california or new york, and the
capital flows to those pieces. >> in your book you make a very strong case. the even though -- you make a very strong case that although there is more market concentration, you don't see signs of abusive monopolistic behavior of price gouging and so forth by these companies, but let me mention a few statistics that might not be exactly precisely roughly. in supplies market you got 80% of the market, can actually give north of the market, and car
rentals you think you have a lot of brands for all of them are owned by her in enterprise, in washington and trent entered washing machines you think you have 50 friends for 70% of them are owned by maytag, the market is pretty much sector by sector need to mention strong annual health hospitals and health insurance, but the market, the american economy is getting more concentrated and quite severely concentrated. 86%, you are seeing real concentration of power, why isn't that of market power, why is it that about in question were. >> if you look at prices or quantities purchased by consumers, what you find individual markets is more competition, not less. your bigger national brands, amazon and walmart for the examples but large print in general lowering prices so it is
not like the old monopolies, if you simply look, what are the sectors of the american economy prices have been out of control. it is basically healthcare in higher education. each of which is fairly business impoverished. so i think we've allowed too many hospital mergers but most of the things you buy, the selection and prices over time have done phenomenally well. if you look at your lines in each individual market there just as many carriers as before, number of air miles traveled is going up as restrictions, we could do better yet by allowing foreign airlines and domestic u.s. markets, that the government restriction on trade that was probably removed. more and more americans are able to fly each year. so healthcare aside, i don't think it is a story of race and monopoly, and the numbers bear that out. >> we will get back to that in a moment. but let's get to the heart of
the book. when i looked at your numbers about trusted business in america, i was delighted to see that it is lower than them trusted media. it's about 2% lower. it% of america's trusted. that might be a false distinguish. is this only exceeded by congress' belief? that's correct. >> how does that happen? and talk of little bit about what do you think it is about big business that americans in the abstract think they hate about and why? . . .
>> you see the vulnerabilities of everything, everything is talked about and it's hard for large-scale institutions and institutions with high u.s. trust rating is the military and it's striking to me at the time where military is not in the news that much. abstracting out there. >> it's gone down quite a lot. >> is there another element to that? >> we rely on businesses to do
more things. it's highly effective. simply the more you talk about something, the easier it is for that something to acquire negative tag and also we evaluate businesses by the standards of people, so businesses are not your friend. they might sell you wonderful books in the case here, at the end of the day, you need to evaluate them in inpersonal terms, job where they are improvingproving the economy ano they act like friends, and i think resentment toward business -- >> you mentioned where you might suppose looking -- >> individual.
>> yeah. i'm sure everybody can here that united story of american airlines or the delta story. the feeling is that this is certainly not competition in terms of the quality of service and maybe that's because we as individual discovery drive costs low. that's what we are really after. in terms of competition, that's not a competitive market, right? are you blaming government for that or -- >> airports and airports do not have real markets. my colleague has written about this at great length. airlines have created and ever divide, we take that for granted. lying used to be dangerous, for a lot now it's safer than driving. it's amazing what we have and don't appreciate anymore.
>> it's more expensive. >> fewer people flying. there are more connections, we put in high-speed rail in california. they have whole burden removed from the system. i think the american airport system is one of the world's greatest transportation networks and it actually works surprisingly well. >> and corporations? >> mitt romney said that, corporations aren't people, don't personalize them. companies themselves, we are your friends, buy from us,
they're not that loyal to them. it's a kind of trick. so, again, be a little bit cold-blooded and ruthless and ask yourself the bottom line question, you will find some sectors, most of the services we consume, the record of companies, private companies is part excellent. >> what is it about is it a train wreck? where markets go wrong, where businesses are acting badly, what is it about that market that's gone wrong? >> i don't think we understand why for profit higher ed is so fraudulent.
some of it government loans. but surely isn't all of it. you're learning trade, how to be hair dresser, trying for decades, but the attempt for for profit, get people supposedly degrees, it hasn't caught on and it's been worst than just mediocre seems to me. >> trump university. [laughter] >> i would have to but i would say for profit education is a broad concept. the store is for profit. apple. they work perfectly well. the reason they don't understand like 2 or 4 years, that's much better for nonfor profit.
for mediocre or destructive ways, you could spend the whole day manipulating the facebook page. it's not going make you more innovative. might get a spillover, you also look at how it connects people with common interest and people doing research together trading ideas together, people getting ideas to start companies although new technology, rough and bumpy, typically we learned how to use them better. they can happen automatically or media early on, they all do, but i think the key is to stay focus on the ideas being communicated, recognize that intellectual data has to be rethought. don't blame companies, don't blame companies that sell you the radio, realize that that takes for granted your favorite ideas will reign supreme and new
set of new technologies comes along you have to get your taste all over again. people dislike that. >> small business creation in america. >> that's correct. >> the number of people roughly speaking to work the businesses that are a year old or less have gone down by about 1 and 7 americans. >> sure. correct. >> what explained it according to you, big business, your job creation occurs with entrepreneurialism and small business creation. is this due to market concentration? >> here is what i think the the most likely answer, the biggest decline in business formation by
far is areas of retail and you're much more likely to buy your retail from a brand and brands that are much longer lived. so a company such as nordstrom, they have good data and what people want and what they don't want. they can adjust relatively effectively compared to 1980's, stab in the dark, old and antiquated, and then some dynamic new company comes along and eats their lunch. now the established companies with much better, better data, they are keeping up with the market. i don't think that's necessarily bad for consumers. you might think long erosion of true innovativeness, possibly so, but, look, the biggest retail store amazon, that's completely new and remarkable in terms of price, i'm not worried that retail hasn't progressed at
all. >> e-book sales. a lot of the sales that occurred which is innovation. i liked it. i'm not comparing about that at all. it's massive, massive powerful country whatever the president says about amazon and jeff bezos, it's a very powerful company, google in its base search is equally powerful, facebook in social media equally powerful. i guess apple, of course, they're not directly for the most part competing with each other, they are buying up smaller companies and absorbing whatever technology they've invaded, but that innovation tends to stop, constricted and
acquisitions. >> a lot in there -- >> my question is, tell me that this is innovation track here, no abuse power going on? >> we can talk about this company by company. you look at google, it's fine. i actually prefer google. i use google. if i'm in china there's no google. it's fine. there are many search engines. google has not stop innovating the notion of driverless cars. google is the leading player in that. you're g mail, very largely used e-mail service. google was major innovator
there. google took it over, got rid of all, made the comment section believe it or not, tried to get rid as many copy right violations, youtube is service. arguably the greatest educational institution in the world right now, it's not what the media meant to be. google hasn't stopped innovating at all. >> antitrust action? >> not against google, absolutely not. >> what about facebook? >> there are many social networks and sites, first of all , there's fortnite which out of nowhere tens of millions, there's snap, network of people, twitter, should be done. there's the list of contacts. different ways and for me highly
contestable. probably seen facebook -- >> good for amazon, good for america? >> unconditionally, no, has amazon good for america, absolutely. i've spent so much money on amazon and now whole foods, it's em -- embarrassing. typically i buy on amazon, i'm sitting, keep in mind, the number of independent bookstores, used to be reuters and barnes & noble, barns&noble are making comeback. independent bookstores, so i understand where independent bookstore is unhappy with
amazon. >> is the state of virginia and maryland and others spending taxpayers money to get amazon to move here, good way of spending taxpayers' money? >> no i don't think so, amazon would have gone anyway. i'm opposed to them. in the broader calculus of things, small relative to the benefits of the company. i don't think we need to do it. if amazon says i would like to come i used to call it crystal city, what's the new name, my goodness, you need to upgrade subway, i think that's perfectly justified. we probably should do that anyway. maybe a benefit of getting amazon, but just to give them cash to come, i wouldn't do it. >> you write in your book that washington, d.c. is subsidiary of big business.
>> sure. >> and you pushed back very strongly. >> right. >> against that, one of the things you cite, big business isn't really spending, proctor&gamble spends double that in advertising. you have to measure or is or tha measure of how cheap it can be bought? [laughter] >> keep that in mind, i think some areas like policy dominated by business, sometimes nominated by business. clearly numerous cases you can point to but most of the money spent is spent as voters desire and you look at man in the white house, president donald trump, what he's doing on trade, i very much disapprove, most american businesses disapprove. what he's doing in terms of
predictability and the rule of law, most businesses are against. what hoes doing and trying to do on immigration, most businesses are against, so the idea that businesses are putting all the strings is trump trying to peal to his base, trump keeps it all, demonizing, of course, doesn't approve of that either. i think it's a mix picture. >> several things trump has done trump tax cuts, businesses spent a lot of money on tax cuts. trump hasn't done a lot of things on other things, one thing was massively beneficial to business, they spent a lot of money. >> business tax cut to 21%, keep in mind oecd average is 22, 22%, we brought ours in the range of that, the obama administration also wanted to cut tax to 28%, in my opinion, 21% probably is
too low, i think something like 23, 24%, but if the one major thing did was push out direction the democrats also wanted to move in, you can blame businesses, even trump's advisers, 21% is too low and trump is just stubborn and wanted it to be very low. i'm not sure business, trump feeling stubbornly that it has to be very, very low. >> you mentioned disapproving the payments in 170, -- 1970. the argument you make which i agree with, is that profits were like happiness, if you aim for that and that only you will miss.
have we reached a point where the companies must be reformed? >> it depend what you mean what i favor is competition, a lot of different models. capitalism and having other values in your mission, but i don't think there's any single right answer for all companies. if you're producing from selling into wal-mart, probably your real is profit maximization, if you're doing something that you interact more with the environment or the fiscal world, we need a broader range of conceptions of what a business should be about. you need it to make money and to stay in business and i think overreacting to people of his time that wouldn't see it and he's trying to go too far. >> in a momently get to questions, i have two more questions.
>> absolutely. >> other question that i wanted to ask you is getting back to trump, fortune 500 companies strike me as being very different creatures to the trump organization or the koch brothers or privately-held, privately-held companies not listed, don't have hr departments, political reaction, social media, hr department to do. trump prefers to hang out with people like trump and if you look at the mar-a-lago i don't think there's fortune 500 companies, very, very different creatures. business cooperation to this, should we be using term, should we be sub dividing what we mean
by business? >> i think we've made it too publicly traded. some of that is regulation, some of that is perhaps the demands of investors or shareholders to focus on measurable numbers and as you know more and more companies have been going private and at times accelerating rate. i think there's companies more than before are very concerned with diversity and hr departments, so some of the differences are at the same time, privately-leld companies grow larger and more in public eye, they are nonetheless in some ways becoming a bit more like the publicly-traded markets and the liquidity of the markets, those are now real markets, they are not publicly traded on the stocks exchange but actively traded before they go public, so in some ways we are seeing emerging and differentiation, the important thing competitive framework or a lot of different times the companies have a chance to
compete. give a quick explanation as to why. comcast. >> i love comcast. give me internet service, cable tv which i don't have the time to watch, but the nba finals are approaching. i do think it's phoney capitalism in there. charge higher price, maybe then it's optimal. for a long time restrictions of cable television, satellite television, the future which we have 5g and much more active satellite supply live television
. that to me is a short list. you don't have to buy it. believe it or not, there's people that grew up without cable tv and they turned out to be okay. >> tesla. >> very underrated or overrated. we don't know yet. i've been a skeptic all along so maybe actually underrated and i think they will take off. maybe first from china. my goodness, they are the pioneer and everything elon musk has done with rocket launches, my goodness, that's remarkable. i don't know if it's underrated but very impressive. >> alibaba. >> i've never used alibaba, chinese-internet company.
they are ahead. >> pete buttigieg. >> i'm not sure how he's rated. i like the mayor being president, someone who is solving party, not just voters of the party, i would like to see him be rated, a lot that i don't know. i have seen encouraging signs. >> game of thrones? >> you neglect my wife and i sat down and we said we finally have to try and for the very first time we watched one episode. fantastic production value, better than the movies, struck me as too complicated.
i didn't care. kind of retro almost vaguely offensive. i didn't love it. i can see why someone can get into it. i will give it a pass, overrated. [laughter] >> let's go to questions. we have about 24 minutes for questions. if you could state who you are and speak clearly into the mike. >> thank you. >> my question is we have been talking about people as consumers, so for people to consume they have to have income, the richest man in the world, jeff bezos, pays his workers nothing at center, they get $10 an hour, $12 an hour, very limited benefits, they are supervised with all the cameras, they are supervised to how many
boxes they fill and if they don't fill enough boxes for 2 hours in a row, the buyer, sometimes lowers the wages. >> the richest man in the world? most of the people who work for amazon, get better than where they were. for the most part higher than before. always greater chance of promotion. yes. >> a lot of those people don't work for amazon, they work for contractors. >> you're taking the job better than the job that was held. >> okay, thank you. >> okay.
>> comprised large portion of s&p 500 market capitalization and market s&p 500 index funds are in virtually every 401(k), but the product in some cases are using artificial intelligence to erode privacy or are being used to increase division in, you know, social division, political division and they're all running on devices that are electric and are fueling a demand for probably more coal, fire, electricity. so i'm wondering about the tension between betting our retirement incomes on the future profitability of these industries and the other risks
that they present and whether solving those other risks will be slowed down. >> there are many issues behind your question. i would say our whole industry is dying in any case with or without tech. they allow a lot of things to happen. privacy i consider to be a genuine concern. i am very open to the notion of regulating that more. i haven't actually seen a good plan that does it effectively. one issue is most users don't give a damn about online privacy and it's hard for regulation to work when the people that use it don't care. maybe that common sense to you is correct. i would consider surveillance on widespread basis.
i do think concerns of privacy should be respected, but when i think, it's on my list. so a lot more we would say about issues, it's a few points i would offer in response. >> my name is ben miller, how do you think of generational changes in the trend of perception of big business? >> certainly the data young people are especially skeptical. some of them having come of age in a time where age growth is slower than in some area period, some of that i think is internet age and in some ways skepticism, young people today, i think, also care more about more things, largely a positive but if you care more about more things, you are more easily
alienating or opinions about institutions. i don't mean as negative. i think we are correcting a lot of social injustices at pretty rapid rate, does mean you will have a lot of targets for criticism. it's a trade-off. .. .. so one of the names floating around, i believe his name is stephen moore. he recently said something along
the lines that people use capitalism to be a more important system than democracy in this country. i was wondering if this was something you agree with, and if so, why? and if not why not? >> my deal is capitalism and democracy go together, contrary to what you hardware there is solid statistical evidence that democracy grows 57 higher rates of economic growth. the most successful capitallest nations tend to go democratic. and the wealthy nations that have a lot of oil they strike me as a mix of not so free, wouldn't want to live there, weather is too hot and no saw stable. so i think democracy is about living better together. >> wasn't -- a student of yours briefly? >> yes, steven was at george mason. >> is he a good economist.
>> he was virginia state law that prohibits us from comment ing on people we have taught. >> i was trying to be mischievous there. let me guess he wasn't a very good student, and he's not a very good economist, and that the real issue is not what he thinks about democracy because he's not being put in charge of the federal reserve board of democracy. it's management policy. and the real threat there is to -- if an institution is going to be independent, then you better make sure that the people running it are very, very qualified and competent. and i have no idea whether he's a good or bad student, i was being mischievous, but i suspect he's not a good economist. >> >> minimal i wanted to see your reactions so thank you very much >> i am a freelance journalist, you mentioned trade and president trump, so a question on the ongoing trade were between the united states and
china. when you see these massive enterprises, say was way supported by well founded state driven technology espionage, and other anticompetitive majors, coming to america, with very genuine nation of security concern, would you still say the free trade approach, the free market approach which would not be doing much, or even doing nothing would be appropriate in dealing with this kind of challenge, especially when our national security experts, and agencies they tell us we should be doing something. >> i think it is a national security issue. i agree with president trump that we should not be using them to build our 5g network, i am greatly disappointed that much of europe is not supporting that move. i think they're making an enormous mistake that could end
up challenge the foundations of the western aligns. you have to wonder if they're even serious about the western alliance. i believe completely in free trade on economic grounds. absolutely i would entertain extensions for reasons of national security. i think that's one of them. i think those exceptions are remarkably few. but absolutely. i don't think we should have waw ui being a part of critical segments of our critical communications infrastructure. >> name is harass harris, i'm a lawyer for a lot of victims list ed in your book. is there a reasoning in your prior book that describes a group of people that gets to a good place and spends a lot of energy protecting its own good place in society, and that way it makes sense people think these businesses have provided us good stuff so far but they're just getting positioned to create something good for themselves and we can't really
trust them to keep doing what they've been doing. >> that's a good hypothesis, but i still find it striking that small business is so popular, and small business pays lower wages, smaller benefits, it's more likely to be biased towards minorities or not able to accommodate them for reasons of cost, and small business is so much more popular than big business, at the end of the day there is still something about that i just don't get, but ed, would you like to comment on that? >> no, no. >> guest: my name is claire, i'm a college student in dc. my question is this reminded me of a letter that the ceo of black rock wrote around last year about how it's more and more necessary for companies to create a sense of purpose, and a socially conscious idea of the company and is the greater public. and i think he said something like purposes now tied down to
the bottom profit margin. and you mentioned mackey as well , and i was thinking, do you see something like b-corps, or benefit corporations or more socially conscious businesses as a way to combat what you're describing as this anti- capitalist sentiment growing, for especially people my age. >> tyler: i'd like to see more experimentations, maybe in the old days co-ons didn't work well , but now with the internet many new things are possible. but i would caution them when a lot of corporations say they're for socially conscious this that or the other, often it's a con. it's cynical. they're just trying to get good headlines. the example is the -- of norway, saying they will not invest in any fossil fuel company because they want to be more green. and beware of hypocrisy. so a lot of businesses do care
about more than profit and that's great. but the ratio of ones that say they do, and ones that do you need to be very careful there. >> guest: hello professor. my name is brandon. i work in federal government so i wanted to touch on the comment mr. loose made about how cheap it is to buy washington, and maybe the metrics in terms of lobbying, dollars spent may not be the best metric to see how successful it is, and i wanted to pushback a little bit on the idea that what set upped broadly is popular. most of what's done is mostly un known. and i guess the question would be when you look at things like all the various financial services bills that come through congress every year, it doesn't take much money for a wall street lobby to basically compete against consumer groups which shouldn't be surprising that the dollars are low.
and i guess i would push more on one bill that was pretty much known was the senate banking bill that rolled back some of the protections that -- frapping that was broadly unpopular, and was somewhat known but obviously past overwhelmingly. >> the rollbacks might be a good idea. they might boost economic growth so when we ask what's popular people have preferences across policies but they also have a preference things go well. don't always assume when an un popular policy is passed that politicians are doing something unpopular. here's the best way to limit the influence of business, and i am 200 percent for this. far more money to congress and congressional staff. the real influence of business very often is not lobbying but the scarcity of resources in congress, and business comes in and supplies the so-called expertise, and writes parts of bills, or sometimes each much of the bill, and i think that's a very bad system. there are many countries that give much more money to staff of
congress itself so congress would have strong expertise. i am a strong advocate of that, it would limit the influences we have right now. >> guest: as someone who works on the hill, i support that idea >> guest: good evening professor i was curious at the pentagon there's a big push to have small business, particularly with high-tech early r&d, early stage , that's data rights payment terms what have you, is it worthwhile to make that push to try to get small business or have the market speak for itself 23467. >> tyler: i don't think i have the expertise to address that question, much less answer it. it does seem to me things are broken in procurement, the cycle can be 12 years in a technology cycle 2-3 years. and shine china is doing this better than we are. i have looked into this a little bit, but i don't know how to fix
it. it seems to me it's one of the most important problems we finish. but the ratio of how to treat small vs. large business how that fits into the recipe for fixing it i just couldn't say, i guess you will figure that out. >> guest: i'm rob, i teach at a software a boot camp in town. i have question of the asymmetry of information in hiring practices. it seems like big business as a whole seem to know more about how people are paid than small businesses or employees themselves. it seems like there's something that reconciliations like collusion between big businesses when they're setting wages sort of the idea of paying for a market price limited employs from being able to negotiate having norms in place, where staying at a company for shorter than a year is like a bad look on a resume. do you have a thought on whether that's restaurants some sort of real collusion or inefficient
market, or whether that's contributing to wage-growth slow did you know. >> tyler: there are anecdotes that it might. i think there are pending cases. i'm not sure what the final correct answer is, but keep in mind these are the companies paying much more than other companies to start at a top-tech company, you can very quickly be earning p #-$400,000 a year if you have strong skills. so if there is some element of collusion, well we should consider fixing that, but in terms of where that is on the rist of our nation's problems that the person getting $320,000 would have otherwise been getting $380,000 their third or fourth year to me is not that tragic. it may be happening. >> guest: do you think it's happening wide across businesses than just a few companies. >> tyler: by far they're the strongest in this country, and most of the world in rural areas
the best anti-monopoly policy is to make the cheaper for more people to move into big cities, and business dense suburbs like virginia, maryland, those polic ies i would change that will do more to fight monopoly then what you think anti-trust policies should do. >> guest: thank you. >> guest: i'm steve silverberg, i'm an employment lawyer, i represent workers and victims of big business. i always have been bothered by the ethics of big business. i don't want to see it black and white but if government didn't stop business from polluting, would they pollute it away because they saved money. if unions didn't pay -- left to their own devices would they take into account socially conscious factors or is -- you know they said they pretend to be your friends, not really.
are they more socially conscious than they were, or is the bottom line profit maximizeation pretty much -- >> tyler: there's a number of different issues in what you act i would say the clean air act of 1970 was a very good thing, it passed as a cost-benefit test by orders of mag newitude, not just slightly. even just regular old air pollution it seems the tighter standards would still very easily pass the cost-benefit test, and i would do that. so, you know the claim is not you should always let big business do whatever it wants. my claim is if you look empir ically at the performance of big business how monopolistic is it, how much do the tech companies harm you, that the reality is much more positive towards business than the public rhetoric. >> guest: is that because they're forced to do it. >> tyler: sometimes yes, that's part of the system. you want institutions that are
strong enough to withstand the force and actually help us clean up the air, like maybe tesla will do, or maybe toyota with their priuses. that was why businesses are good , inso far as governments are readily identifiable, directly libel easy to spot agents tasked with fulfilling certain goals is very often a better way to go. >> guest: thank you. >> guest: ron rhonda, retired labor lawyer. my question is if corporations are more productive than ever why are wages still stacked. and i'm not talking about the small percent of the population that is earning $300,000 a year. >> tyler: wages are -- i've written about this in my book " great stagnation." i think it's not innovative
enough. innovation has slowed down, and i can we ought to look for ways of liberating businesses. i think we need more scientific breakthroughs. more government funding of science, greater competition in science. progress is indeed slowing down. i think business is partly at fault there. i don't view it as the main villain but i think that is absolutely a genuinely correct criticism of business. >> final three questions bear in mind we have about a minute each for the questions and the answers. >> guest: i wanted comments on income ineconsolidate and expansion on the last. you see the business -- it doesn't really have responsibility for growing in come equality. -- are there opportunities for business to work on that problem , or should the solution to the problem be government through income transfers or --
whatever, i don't know income transfers. >> tyler: huge question, i just point out there are two kinds of income inequality. one is the thinning out in the middle, which i think is a failure of our education and training systems, which i hope bebusiness will do a better job in helping us fix. a lot of that rests on our actual schools which are not businesses. the people at the top earn so much more. a lot of that is globalization, you sell to the whole world, i sell to china. that i think is positively a good thing. i don't think all income in equality is bad, i think some of it stems from bad causes. that's my fraction of a minute response, obviously there's much more -- >> guest: i have a question about healthcare, you mentioned healthcare and capitalism don't work well. at the same time we see every single democratic candidate coming up with their own medicare for all plan with slight newances, can you talk more about how you see that market and what can be done. >> these are the easy to answer in a minute questions.
my favorite healthcare system is singapore's which is mandatory savings but you have to spend your own money for smaller expenses. single pay payer for catastrophic. yolk we'll ever get there or to single payer period. the americans who have good private health insurance are happy enough with it don't want to give it up. there's a strong inertia and status quo tts we. need to piecemeal what we have, and make innovation more easier to achieve. i am willing to take more risks to do that. right now we have a healthcare crisis obviously, it's almost 18 % of gdp. and outcomes are pretty mixed depending on your income and education. >> guest: final question. my name is veto. i'm the author of a book last year called -- which the financial times classified as
one of the twelve best books of the year. well i want to give you two statistics and ask you to comment on them. the first from inneddia, which is obviously not u.s. but india has been growing at about the fastest rate in the world. 7-8% two or three days ago statistics on happiness came out , and the happiness just collapsed in india. it's at the bottom of 160 countries so the first question is the link between growth and happiness. you comment on west virginia, implying that economic growth is always associate would well- being. other statistics come from washington which is even more shocking than that, and that's that between chevy chase, a few steps from where we are, and --
the difference in the living standard life expectancy, is 30 years. it's absolutely shocking, within the same rich city, nine miles apart you could have and the zip code you could have this difference. now the question to you does thy does the government have any responsibility in relationship to those activities. >> tyler: let me take money and happiness. first don't trust the data, second in the short run they're hardly correlated. in the long run they're massively correlated. people want to live in the wealthy countries. people want to go to poor places to denmark, germany, not the other way around so it's a tight connection only over long time horizons, thank you ed, and thank you all for coming. >> guest: let me point out that
tyler is a deserving small business, and do buy it, it's really good tories. >> we have copies of the book available at our register. please form a signing line at the table. >> you're watching book tv on c-span 2. for a complete television schedule, visit booktv.org. you can also follow along behind the scenes on social media. at book tv on twitter, instagram , and facebook. >> good evening, i'm tony c