In the early seventies, young and righteous law students were given the chance to study how the law impacts everyday citizens with a new legal field called Public Interest Law (think: environmental and labor rights). That discipline’s founding was no happy accident. Philanthropic and activist organizations helped universities develop curricula and nurtured young lawyers to put the public good before their own big corporate salaries. Those same strategies are now being used to develop another new field: Public Interest Technology. Hear how a new generation of civic-minded technologists will be educated to become the public’s digital protectors… rather than build yet another food-delivery app.
63:45which this with this Chetty study has63:47established which I won’t belabor63:49likewise lack of mobility as such is63:53strongly related to lack of social63:55mobility if you’re between 18 and 34 in63:56the United States you are you are most63:59likely living with your parents it’s64:02more likely than any other arrangement64:04which means that literally you have not64:06moved right lack of geographical64:08mobility like worsening health like64:11shortening lifespans like lack of social64:14mobility works against a sense of time64:17which allows you to think that time is64:19moving forward right and so the time64:22escapes start to change now how does64:24this work in politics in politics it can64:29be it can be you can be channeled moved64:31incorporated exploited however you64:34prefer by politicians who talk in terms64:37of a different time scape so for example64:40make America great again is a time scape64:42which doesn’t refer to a better future64:44it’s a time scape which loops back to an64:46unnamed and mythical past right so now64:49there are studies now about what make64:51America great again means for Americans64:53for example Taylor at all in the Journal64:55of applied research and memory cognition64:57finds not surprisingly that Americans65:00define the moment when America was great65:02in the past as the moment when they were65:03young right65:08which is funny but I think it’s also65:14politically very significant because it65:16refers us to a certain political style65:18which I’m going to call the politics of65:19eternity or the government as being65:21rather than than doing because one of65:24the things about youth is that65:26government can’t give it back to you65:28right I mean whether wherever we are on65:31the span of like how much government65:33should do not do can we will generally65:35agree that government cannot in fact65:37make you young again right so this is65:40funny but it’s also revealing because65:43the pot what I’m gonna call the politics65:45of eternity the politics of cycling back65:47to the past rather than imagining of65:49future is precisely about defining65:52political problems in fictional terms65:54and therefore in irresolvable terms so65:58if what you want out of politics is to66:00be young again you might keep voting for66:02that promise but government is not going66:05to give it for you and can’t I will nowgive you a more serious example one ofthe things which distinguishes whitetrump voters from white Clinton votersis that a significant majority of whiteTrump voters in a very small minority ofwhite Clinton voters it’s an interestingdifference a significant majority ofwhite Trump voters believe that White’sface greater racial discrimination inthe United States than blacks do nowthat is interesting but it’s alsointeresting politically because that’s afictional problem if you are white andyou believe that your problem is thatyou face Greater racism then blackpeople do again that is not a problemthat government can solve right it’s anin it’s an because it’s a fictionalproblem now I’m trying this is not meantto be funny it’s meant to define adifferent political style a Timescape inwhich government doesn’t promise you abetter future but instead regularly in acyclical way mentions the things whichirritate you which are important to youwhich cannot be solved the politics ofdoing rather than being if that seemsimaginary consider the first year of theTrump administration there is nolegislation which is going to make anyof these kinds of voters it’s not goingto speak to what we would regard astheir interests or even to an ideologyrightum the two major initiatives are takehealth insurance away from people whichis precisely interesting because it’speople who needed the health insurancemost who were the swing group whichbrought him into office right that’s thefirst one and the second one is taxregression rightthe second major policy initiative histax regression precisely taking incomeaway from poor people and giving it toricher people that’s it in the landscapeof the first year those are the only twothings neither of those things can bethought of as creating a future rightthose things if anything only makes onlymake matters only make matters as onemight see it worse so where does thiswhere does this lead us to the firstthing is I’m gonna referring to to wherereception Dvorsky ended up it may not bethat the thing we have to worry about iswhether mr. Trump will fail I mean Idon’t think he’s actually after successin the normal liberal sense of the wordI think he’s after failure I don’t thinkthey intend to make policy which makeslife better for their constituents Ithink they’re moving very consciouslytowards a different kind of policy um Ithink it’s a mistaketherefore to refer to this as populismbecause in American tradition anywaypopulism means you’re against the elitesbut you still imagine the government isgoing to do something for you I thinkwe’re in a different territory I thinkwe’re in something which is moreaccurately characterized as Sadopopulismwhere you you are against theelites right but you don’t expectgovernment to do anything for you infact you kind of want government not todo anything because that reinforces yourbeliefs about the way the world works sowhere does this lead us this is my finalword where does this lead us on thequestion of of comparison right so whatI worry with when when people say wellit’s it doesn’t line up well to theinterwar cases there are differencebetween US and Nazi Germany what I were69:06with is about that is the implicit69:08conclusion that therefore everything’s69:10a-okay right everything’s not a okay69:12just because it’s not February 1933 and69:15thoughts of Germany I think the way to69:17understand the comparisons is more as a69:20source of normative69:22action right I’m not gonna make that69:24case now because it’s the case I made in69:25the book on tyranny it’s not that where69:27we are now is going to inevitably lead69:29to czechoslovakia 1948 or you know69:32germany in 1933 it’s that those regime69:35changes or the witnesses to those regime69:37changes give us useful and timely advice69:39about how to head off regime changes in69:42in rule of law states I think the69:44comparisons are most useful in that way69:46most useful is a general guideline that69:49globalization’s can crash69:51most of our comparisons are about the69:53first globalization crash we’re now in69:54the middle we’re now in the middle of69:56number two what I think is that we can69:59move away from democracy we can learn70:02away we can learn from other people70:04while we’re doing didn’t try to resist70:06it even though where we’re going is70:08going to be somewhat different I mean as70:09for me where I think we’re going or70:11where we seem to be going is is70:12something like you know oligarchy with70:14just enough fascism to get by as a kind70:17of lubricant and and the and the way70:21this would look would be not so much the70:23creation of something new but just the70:25dissolution of what we have right and70:27not I completely agree with the point70:30not mobilization but demobilization are70:33only very occasional mobilization like70:36very occasional marches very occasional70:38violence but mostly the mobilization at70:40atomization and what’s worrying about70:42that is that then you know implicitly70:45the people who in some of these70:46presentations were counted on to come70:47save us right the economic elites70:49whoever they are that the economic70:52elites can be on the same side that you70:54you can be an economic elite and you can70:56think in you know environment Germany70:58you can be the economic or in Italy you70:59can be the economic elites and you can71:00think rightly or wrong you can think71:02wrongly we can outwit these guys maybe71:05in America you’re the economic elites71:07and you think correctly you can outwit71:10these guys but the outcome still isn’t71:12democracy right if you continue to have71:15the kinds of drift that we’re having71:16with the outcome still to democracy it71:18might not be anything that has another71:19dramatic name but it’s not necessarily71:21democracy so the the point that I’m71:24trying to make is that we’re at this71:26historical moment in the sense that not71:28just that great things are at stake and71:30that in that in the actions and71:31Institute71:32that we take now make a lot of71:33difference but also historical in the71:34sunset the way people are thinking about71:36time is changing I mean if that tips if71:41that if we tip from one way of thinking71:42about time to another if I’m right that71:44there is such a tipping point then we’re71:46closer to dramatic change than other71:48kinds of indicators might suggest okay71:51thanks thank you for those amazing72:02presentations I think that probably we72:05could re title this whole conference how72:07scared should we be and this panel in72:11particular you know sort of how72:12terrified should we be and I think the72:14reason we’re seeing a lot of answers to72:17that question that kind of vary across72:18the spectrum from you know completely72:20terrified to only mildly concerned is72:23that we really don’t know I mean who72:25knows you know that’s sort of the point72:27no one knows how history is going to72:29unfold we’ve certainly been surprised by72:31it in the last year and not just in the72:34last year so the answer to the question72:37is not is not no and I like to tell my72:39students you know I asked them a72:40question I say that’s a real question72:42not a professor question you know we we72:45really don’t know and so if you’re like72:47me at all you you go back and forth in72:49your own mind over even over the course72:51of the day I wake up in the morning and72:52I think oh you know it’s gonna be okay72:54and then by you know 3:00 in the72:56afternoon I want to crawl under a pillow72:57and just you know be one of these actors73:00who’s stayed away from Rome for the73:02whole whistling period so so we have we73:07do have kind of a range of responses and73:10one of the inspirations for bright-line73:12watch is that you know you look for73:14signs of what is going to happen and the73:16last thing you want to do is see the73:18sign in the rear view mirror we don’t73:20want to be treating in retrospect at the73:23signs we don’t want to say well it73:24really was the moment when Judge Garland73:27didn’t get a chance to be confirmed or73:29it was the moment when you know fill in73:31the blank when things really became73:33irreversible and and democracy died or73:36became severely eroded in the United73:39States in a way that would be very very73:40difficult to recuperate over any73:43meaningful time period so73:46I have some some questions I remember73:49that you folks are writing down73:51questions and filtering them to headman73:53who’s standing over to the side we have73:55a few questions I like a two-door I’m73:57going to take some moderator prerogative74:01enact ask a few questions but I’m74:03mindful of not taking too much time74:05because I know that there will be more74:06questions from the audience and that74:07these were highly provocative and74:09interesting presentations so just just a74:12few questions for Nancy you and there74:19the concept of distancing which which I74:23took to mean and I’ve taken from your74:24early earlier work to mean that even if74:27my ally even if the person who I’m a74:30elite political actor and someone who74:33I’m in alliance with violates a critical74:36norm or constitutional feature I will74:42join the effort to punish that actor but74:46I’m thinking about another kind of not74:48distancing but let’s call it74:49constitutional action and I’ve I’m74:52thinking about this in part because74:54seeing our tutor this morning thinking74:56about his fascinating retrospective74:58considerations of what happened in Chile75:00there were moments in the sort of75:02slow-moving debacle of Chilean politics75:06where it went from being a long-standing75:07democracy to being a coup and a military75:11dictatorship that lasted for 17 years75:13and was extremely repressive and harsh75:16there there’s the sense of you know75:19moments when say the Christian Democrats75:21might have said it’s good for us if this75:24happens but it’s really it’s a it’s a75:26danger for Chilean democracy so that’s a75:29slightly different concept I think75:30that’s putting the long-term health and75:34viability of the constitutional order75:36ahead of immediate partisan advantage75:40and I wonder whether in the cases you75:43examined and more to the point in75:47American politics today you see room for75:49those kinds of moments of constitutional75:51action on it your presentation makes me75:56think that Trump is Fidesz and piece75:58right that we’re sort of we you walk76:02through the actions that those76:05governments amazingly parallel kind of76:07template’s as you described them and it76:10makes me think that we’re sort of only76:11halfway there so the courts are76:14politicized well you know Melania is not76:17making judicial appointments yes or I76:19guess it the real equivalent would be76:21mrs. pence so the media in the United76:26States is harassed but there aren’t76:28really formal constraints that have been76:30imposed for the most part yet76:33and the question then is again this this76:36issue of what are the signposts and when76:38do you see them in in Hungary and Poland76:422010-2015 was it predictable were there76:45you know forward-looking intellectuals76:48journalists concerned citizens who saw76:50these things coming or or were they76:53really surprises questions for sort of76:58this is sort of Susan and Tim but well77:02Susan mostly I it’s it’s you both raised77:07in your presentations the very important77:09point that what we are observing is77:11taking is unfolding in an international77:13context and what we do influence is what77:16other democracies do and likewise what77:19they do influence is what we do and I77:21guess I’m looking for any hope in that77:26so instances in which we might learn or77:29be or be forewarned or take actions77:34drawing on international contemporary77:36international events that that might77:39help with the situation here there were77:41I recall with the French election there77:43was some speculation that it didn’t help77:45lepen to have a Trump out there that77:48perhaps that gave that gave some french77:50voters pause Daniel you it was77:55interested in the so the the sort of77:59problems of lines being crossed of norms78:02being violated and the examples you gave78:05were pretty much on the Republican side78:07and I so our colleague Jacob hacker has78:12written a lot about asymmetric78:13polarization I wonder if you think this78:16is an asymmetric problem or if they’re78:18symmetric more along the lines of what78:20team or Quran was talking about this78:22morning if there’s a kind of symmetrical78:24equilibrium that we’ve that was sort of78:26a bad equilibrium that we’ve entered78:28into Tim I am it’s mind-blowing to think78:35about the you know the sort of social78:38construction of our sense of time and78:41and and how that influences politics on78:44the other hand I’m very struck by you78:46know the make America great again78:48narrative so that means he you know the78:52the the the slogan is collectively sort78:54of doing what you say we do as78:56individuals thinking that there’s a you78:58know there’s an adolescence or a teenage78:59period of early 20s sort of in in our in79:02our national so I’m equivalent to that79:04in our national history that is a moment79:06we want to get back to and that strikes79:09me as setting up setting the government79:13up for the setting Trump up for you know79:16greatly disappointing his constituents79:18for some of the reasons act reasons you79:20gave and although I take what you say79:23that perhaps you know the the the goal79:26is not success on the Ute and the usual79:29metrics that politicians use such as79:32high popularity when the next election79:34comes around in re-election so those are79:38some questions maybe we could just get79:39to them while while people in the79:41audience are filtering out any other79:43written questions that you want to have79:44a so yeah I I’m delighted that you asked79:49this question about distancing in the US79:52and whether there could possibly be a79:55different kind of distancing here79:57because I I was struggling with that way79:59myself as I was writing this the kind of80:02distancing that we saw in interwar80:04Europe where political elites were80:07facing fascist parties were engaging in80:09violence gave them a less ambiguous80:12signal than we’re getting80:14here you know if mobs are killing people80:17you know that wrong has been done if80:20you’re talking about violations of80:23constitutional principles or norms that80:26fight is is much much more ambiguous and80:30so distancing under those circumstances80:32is much harder and so frankly I’m still80:37grappling with the idea that how that80:40concept can be transferred to this kind80:44of system but there’s no doubt that80:47battles over the constitutional norms in80:50the courts would be a place to start80:53that would be an arena for distancing80:55but it’s going to be much harder here80:57except that I am assuming that money81:02still has a huge amount of importance81:07universe politics and that if you if if81:11the most dynamic sectors of our economy81:13can get behind some sort of distancing81:16and realize that they don’t need the81:18nationalism especially or the xenophobia81:21that’s embodied in the particular kind81:23of challenge we have which doesn’t81:25involve actual killing yeah81:27then I think that that it is still81:30possible but that the battles may take81:33place in the court and that’s part of a81:38historical continuity but not completely81:42so it was was what happened in Poland81:45and Hungary predictable um it was I mean81:47this is you know – this is basically the81:48death of a democratic there’s a81:51chronicle the Democratic Death Foretold81:53um and it was predictable because you81:55know the leaders were very clear on this81:56right they wanted not just to remake81:57policies but to remake the institutions81:59of polish and Hungarian democracy to82:01better serve national interests right82:03this was very much you know making82:04Poland and Hungary great again secondly82:06there was precedent right the82:08institution’s had not been impervious to82:10this before there’s been put the82:11polarization of the judiciary in the82:12past there was a previous attacks on the82:15media this was just a much more82:16concerted effort um and third I think82:18will response important was that these82:19are parliamentary systems and in times82:22past these fairly fragile governing82:24coalition’s I will kept these parties82:25from fully exercising their Prague82:27and now in the absence of either in82:29opposition or coalition partners they82:31were able to do exactly what he said82:33they would so serious question for me82:41was what basically what’s the hope from82:43thinking about this isn’t international82:45events both u.s. you deserve in other82:49countries in that other countries are82:50affecting the US and that was a very82:52difficult question I have lots of things82:54that I might say I mean one thing to82:56just note is part something that I don’t82:58think isn’t a viewpoint that’s it’s82:59going to be presented much at the83:00conference which is sort of Mia culpa83:03from some of the IR scholars with who83:05are really promoting open economy83:08politics Pro globalization stuff which83:11is just that you know the the embedded83:13liberal liberal liberal compromise that83:15we knew about and we have known about83:16for a very long time was not83:18successfully implemented in the US and83:20that that both economically and83:22culturally maybe maybe a fault and is83:25maybe something that policies83:26prescriptions could deal with right83:28their policy that others have have83:31potentially thought about I guess the83:33other thing that is not really hopeful83:35but I think something that I skipped83:37over in my remarks because I was 1083:39which has just said when I very much83:42interested in how countries react to83:45international pressure to look and act a83:47certain way right and so some autocratic83:49posturing that I think we are seeing now83:51might be for short term sort of applause83:55and political gain rather than like it83:57might some of it might sound worse than83:59it actually is which is not really that84:01hopeful but I do think that there are84:04incentives that that some leaders that84:06we see throughout the world to act you84:10know more more totalitarian more fascist84:13more you know they sort of take these84:15these dances that are that are quite84:16extreme because they know they will get84:18attention for taking those those dance84:21which is not entirely good news but I84:23think can be interpreted as something84:25that is maybe slightly less nefarious84:28and the extremely clever long-term long84:31game autocrats that it’s referencing who84:32are able to abide by the rules of the84:35game up right up until the moment in84:37which they they break with them right so84:39I think that that is a long term in the84:41long term I’m more worried about that84:42sort of strategy rather than the sort of84:45splashy head like grab bean you know84:47attacks in the media and that’s not sort84:50of thing which are consequential but I84:51think not quite as nefarious as some of84:53the other strategies that one could84:54imagine and that are harder to observe84:56unhappy yeah so two thoughts one85:00directly on your question on the85:01asymmetric polarization no I I mean I85:03think that the record shows that it85:04began on the right you know and you know85:07people often date this the Gingrich85:09revolution and kind of change tactics in85:11Congress and Orrin Mann and Ornstein and85:13the work on the US Congress have kind of85:16shown this but it you know it’s not it’s85:18not only Republicans who are vulnerable85:20to this I mean Harry Reid’s use of the85:21filibuster in the early 2000s against85:24Bush I mean this is clearly another85:25instance of this and that I guess that’s85:27what’s dangerous is that is that it mate85:29you know it doesn’t at some level you85:30know begins on one side but then when it85:32escalates and it becomes a kind of85:34spiral that’s exactly exactly the85:36dangerous scenario even the dilemma of85:38course is you know we should stay85:40high-minded and continue act with four85:42born before Barents in the face of85:43somebody who’s not I mean it’s like85:45going into a box you mean with one one85:47hand tied behind your back does that85:48really make sense and I guess my thought85:50on that is that as long as there are85:52Democratic channels still available85:53that’s the way to go I mean you know85:55this is the right answer but that’s85:57that’s that’s kind of how I think about85:59it I just wanted to say something also86:00on the distancing and learning because I86:02think there is actually something that86:03can be learned about other cases of dis86:05distancing and just you know just86:06recently in the last two years I mean86:08what’s striking about the Austrian86:10elections last year of presidential86:11elections and the French presidential86:12elections in both cases in the Austrian86:15case the Catholics didn’t make it to the86:17second round and they and a lot of86:19Catholic politicians endorsed the Green86:21Party candidate for president in France86:23fiown and endorsed that you know the86:26right86:26– right candidate endorsed McCrone86:28rather than lepen and so both cases86:30there’s instances of distancing kind of86:33on the right – against the far right and86:37so we can learn from that and I think86:38one of the interesting things is why in86:40these countries this has happened the86:41waters in the US this hasn’t happened86:43and I think part of the reason is in a86:45in a multi-party system in Austria and a86:48two tiers you know with a runoff system86:50and in France there’s a history of this86:51and in both instances people were in86:53Austria they refer back to Kurt Waldheim86:55and say well you know we have learned86:56from this in France there’s the86:58experience of father lepen and dealing87:00with father lepen and so I think you87:02know if the idea is that you know the87:03u.s. we just didn’t have we haven’t had87:04experience with this and there’s87:06possibility for learning and this is87:08kind of where you know human action87:09actually can make a difference so people87:10could learn from we can learn from our87:12mistakes and my guess is next time87:14around you know hopefully people learned87:17something right so there’s something I87:18learned from other cases as well okay so87:24there were the the question about any87:27hopeful things internationally and then87:29the idea of making America great again87:31it cannot lead to disappointment so87:33internationally I’m just gonna take a87:35step back and make the point that I87:36think the winning the Cold War both the87:40idea and the fact has turned out to be87:42very poison chalice for us so the idea87:45that therefore there were no87:46alternatives87:47I think stultified our political debate87:49precisely about alternatives and made87:51inequality much worse in this country in87:54the last quarter century and the reality87:56of the end of the Cold War was also bad87:57for us because one of the reasons we had87:59civil rights in the welfare state was to88:01compete with not so much with the88:03Soviets but to respond to their88:04propaganda and without that challenge we88:06drifted in another direction so that’s88:09just I mean that’s just by way of making88:11oneself conscious so that one can learn88:13things well could we have learned I mean88:15the book that I’m that I’m finishing now88:17is about this it’s about the last five88:19or six years not starting from us but88:21starting from Russia with the idea that88:23most of the things which happened here88:25which seem surprising to us are just88:27more sophisticated versions of things88:28which happened in other countries which88:30we didn’t recognize at the time so I88:33mean here I’m 5050 there are a lot of88:35things we could have learned for88:36Russia and Ukraine between 2011 and 201588:39but we didn’t learn any of them um88:42and the consequence was that in 2016 in88:44my world at least it was the Russians88:46and Ukrainians who were jumping up and88:48down saying you know Trump is possible88:50this is how it works in other people’s88:51worlds it would be the African Americans88:53but there are plenty of segments of the88:55pocket or the renegade Midwesterners88:57right there were various demographics88:58who said Trump was gonna win but the89:00Russians and Ukrainians said he was89:01gonna win and they had a reason89:02no um people there are people there are89:05positive exceptions like Peter89:06pomerantsev in his book nothing is true89:08but everything is possible which is you89:10know on its surface a book about the89:12media in Russia ends that book which89:15concludes in 2014 ends that book by89:17forecasting that that combination of89:20media unreality and political89:22authoritarianism is going to come to the89:24UK and to United States and then there’s89:27brexit and then there’s and then there’s89:28Trump so and then there are people like89:30pet rock Rocco in Hungary you know who89:32runs political capital who does who do89:34Studies on directed unreality right89:37foreign projections of unreality in the89:39Czech Republic and Slovakia and those89:41things are useful for us to read because89:43the things that were happening gotten89:46further in the Czech Republic and89:47Slovakia and Hungary then here89:50nevertheless started to turn up here in89:522050 so yeah I mean analytically we can89:54definitely learn from others and of89:55course civil resistance is something89:57that we can learn from other people89:58right we can swallow our pride and89:59realize that there’s been a lot of90:01successful civil resistance movements in90:03other countries and that the social90:05science on civil resistance is actually90:06very mature the second point on whethersome of these some of these voters willbe disappointed because they imagine abetter world in the past and they’re notgoing to get it I don’t think so andI’ll tell you why I think I mean therethere will be Republican voters will bedisappointed with Trump but that’s adifferent set of Republican voters thereare two sets of Republican voters thereare the ones who own house doesn’t havemoney in the stock market and are theones who don’t own houses that don’thave money in the stock market the oneswho own houses are gonna be disappointedwhen the stock market crashes and that’snot gonna have anything to do with thesenarratives that I’m talking aboutand I don’t treat them as the criticalbloc of voters because they went forRomney – right they did they didn’tchange anything but these folks the ninemillion people who voted for Obama andthenfor Trump or the people whose health isgetting worse but voted for Trump thepeople in Michigan Wisconsin WestVirginia Ohio Pennsylvania who swung theelectionthese folks I don’t think can bedisappointed in that way that that’s mypoint you know it’s you want to be youngagain but you know at some level you’renot going to be young again you’d likethe person who tells you look great butyou know at some level it’s not trueright and that’s how that no look foryou it’s true you’re like 15 but but Imean the general right you know it’s nottrue and that’s how this kind ofpolitics works it’s not by the deliveryof goods it’s by the regular delivery ofaffirmation as against someone elsewe’re where white Republicans become inpolitical science terms the slope theidentitarian subalterns who areexpecting to own the state but what theyonly expect from the state is that theyown itthat’s it they’re not expecting thatit’s going to do anything for them theother thing I want to say about makingAmerica great again that links back tothe other point is that the make Americagreat again does have a specifichistorical referent not for us for usit’s about being young again that formr. Trump it’s about the 1930s or the1920s it is a it’s a revision of the1930s as being a time where we didn’thave a welfare state and where we didn’tgo to war against Nazi Germany rightthat’s what America first means Americafirst is Deutschland uber alles inEnglish America first means we have morein common with Nazis than divides us andthere is you know the fact they did theycommemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day bysaying other people suffer besides theJews which is like commemorating thefourth of July by talking about Frenchindependence I mean it’s true that thereare like other possible references inhistory but like the holiday is for oneof them and there are a number of otherexamples of this how they’re trying toundo a certain American myth and what itcomes down to is that we used to thinkthe 1930s were a bad time to be learnedfrom and now we’re being instructed notjust in America this is international inRussia Poland Hungary and alsoimplicitly by the fullness and islandFrance said by the brexit movement inBritain we are we were being instructedthe 1930s were a good time to which towhich we should loop backI have some questions so this is aquestion for Susan Hyde and Anna G Bwhile the EU is powerless not able and93:01willing to move effectively against93:03democratic erosion how successful have93:06other regional organizations around the93:07world been to fight forms of democratic93:09erosion eg Mercosur a you just one93:19question at a time uh yeah I think so I93:21think we will see how far behind we get93:24on that yeah yeah I mean the so there93:26there’s some empirical work on this that93:28other people have done and and you know93:29it’s very hard to separate from the93:31international environment entirely right93:33so I don’t know who I should but93:36basically I I think that the the93:40European Union and other regional93:43organizations most of which in the world93:45have a stated preference to support93:47democracy have some ability to do93:50something right now right I mean there’s93:51no reason why the US needs to be the93:53only country that is willing to stand in93:56defense of democracy and and93:57increasingly I think others are stepping93:59into that role what can they do you know94:03not much but a little they can they can94:07sort of make clear that this is a value94:10that the groups of countries definitely94:12support I don’t know that they can do94:15anything for the u.s. specifically the94:17case that were most concerned with today94:19but in smaller countries they certainly94:20have made it clear that Jews are94:25unacceptable for example this is already94:27one of the biggest moments we’ve seen in94:28recent memory on this front is that most94:32countries that have coos many of them94:35have been pro-democracy coos right that94:37they’re not against democratically94:39elected leaders they’re against94:40basically authoritarian leaders we’ve94:42seen a few of these but even those have94:45been on pretty strict timelines for94:46democratic elections following those so94:48you know we’ll see I’m not super94:51optimistic that they’re the saviors of94:53us democracies certainly and I would say94:56that knew the EU shizuka-san was94:57familiar with isn’t captain some ways94:59responsible for the rights of the95:00populace right because and they run up95:02to you accession in 2004 there’s95:03basically this elite consensus among all95:05mainstream parties that the EU was this95:07fantastic good that premarket was95:09wonderful and free trade and everything95:10else have went together as a wonderful95:12package and the only parties that95:14criticizes consensus or the populist who95:16at the time we’re getting you know five95:18percent of the vote and it’s after the95:19accession when it becomes apparent that95:21neo maybe this there was some room more95:23for criticism95:24it’s the populace who make hay out of95:25every single95:27some deleterious effect of free trade of95:29the EU and so on and they’re the ones95:31who then come to power on the basis of95:33this elite consensus and now anytime95:34that the EU speaks against these parties95:36they point to it as this is further95:38severe negation of our national self95:39interests that the EU is prompting so we95:41now have to you know go to our loins and95:43defend against the EU okay this is a95:47question for the panel in general and95:50Nancy bur mayo in particular you say95:53that the tendency what can you say about95:55the tendency of citizens to vote along95:58personal political issues ie those95:59heavily influenced by cultural96:01predilection predilections such as gun96:04control or abortion rather than in the96:07interest of democratic norms96:13not much so what one thing I think that96:20we don’t fully appreciate that is that96:22at least going back to the 1930s96:23earliest opinion surveys thirty percent96:26of Americans are authoritarian I mean I96:28think you know if you look at who you96:29know father Coughlin had thirty percent96:31of the vote George Wallace had thirty96:35percent of the vote you know support in96:37opinion polls McCarthy had up to forty96:40percent support you know this is there’s96:42a kind of strand in the electorate that96:44I mean you know I this is a bit96:46provocative I you know I don’t have96:47details you know add an attitude data96:50but these they supported authoritarians96:52and so the issue is not what you know is96:54the American electorate becoming more96:56authoritarian the issue is how do you96:57prevent that portion of the electorate97:00and those tendencies from putting97:01somebody in leadership positions and so97:04until 2016 we had a presidential97:07selection system that kept that served97:09as a gatekeeping system and kept these97:11kinds of dynamics out of the top97:13leadership positions in the u.s. say a97:18few words about that but I think the97:20question is actually really important97:22whoever asked it all right because it’s97:26forcing us yeah I think you’re asking us97:31to to think about these small these97:35issues that seemed small in our abstract97:40discussion of democracy but actually97:42loom very large in the minds of97:43individual voters and gun control is a97:45wonderful example of that so political97:48elites to really have to do more97:52research on what makes certain issues97:55salient and what makes certain issues97:58Trump all of the other much more98:00important issues like health care at the98:03polls and motivate you know a trump vote98:06and but I just I think social science98:10can be an answer to that98:11first of all identifying those voters98:13and then targeting those voters and in98:16an alliance with moderate politicians98:18changing their minds and changing the98:21salience of issues in people’s heads I98:23think it can be done with the media98:25if we’re just not doing it so do you98:29disagree because I think you know gun98:30control or abortion our democratic98:32values right these are things that98:33political parties have traditionally98:35espoused I mean the Republican Party has98:36espoused it and there’s nothing you know98:38there’s nothing inherently wrong with98:39being pro-life or promotion or non98:43democratic about those stances right I98:45think you know what I’m more concerned98:47with is the the statistic that the98:48Daniell brought up which is that it’s98:50not just the United States if you look98:51at you know Poland or hungry or France98:53in the last elections there’s a steady98:5435 to 40 percent of the electorate that98:56is willing time and time again to plump98:58for authoritarian populist right-wing99:01nativist etc to parties and so the99:03question is how do you contain that yeah99:05I don’t think it’s I don’t think it’s a99:06question of persuading I think it’s a99:07question of containing well I certainly99:10don’t want to say that all of those99:11positions of the abortion position is99:13anti-democratic I’m just thinking about99:15the salience of99:17issues as someone approaches the polls99:20so they can say this candidate like99:23Trump for instance this candidate is99:29clearly anti-democratic and repulsive on99:32many issues but I really give priority99:35to anti-abortion and he appeals to be an99:38anti-abortion candidate so I’m going to99:39vote for him that’s the that’s the sort99:41of calculation that I think demands more99:43research and more thought on the part of99:45politicians but there’s certainly not99:46especially an issue like abortion that’s99:49not an anti-democratic issue I think so99:53this is a question for Daniel’s if lat99:56but Tim Snyder might also reflect on it99:59how and why were those norms of mutual100:02tolerance and forbearance built in the100:051880s through the 1900s what lessons100:08does that period have for for for us100:11today100:14ya know it’s it’s a it’s a tragic story100:17in fact and then and we dig into this in100:21our book and this is kind of more a100:23discovery after admit as somebody who100:24didn’t spend my life studying American100:26politics I think the norms of mutual100:28toleration and forbearance were built on100:31racial exclusion you know it’s the end100:35of Reconstruction 1890 the failure of a100:39voting rights bill the lodge act that100:43allowed Southern Democrats and northern100:46Republicans to get along so you know100:51what do we do about that I mean at some100:52level these so-mei I hesitate even to100:55call these Democratic columns these are100:56norms of stability100:57forbearance a mutual toleration so the101:00real dilemma I think we fit in at some101:02level one can think that you know the101:03post 1965 rule there’s one in which101:05racial inclusion of making our political101:08system finally democratic really after101:10only 1965 I would argue has generated a101:14backlash which now threatens those norms101:16and so the dilemma that Democrats face101:18you know with it with a small D is how101:21do you reconcile these things can’t can101:23a political system be built that is both101:25democratic inclusive as well as one that101:28sustains these norms because101:30historically they have not there’s a101:32tension that there’s really a tension101:37there’s a just following from Daniels101:40point we did the United States undertook101:42two experiments more or less101:44simultaneously and they were I don’t101:46think there were two experiments that go101:47well together the first was the101:49experiment which I think probably none101:52of us would call into question of101:54actually trying to make the country101:55democratic by allowing its citizens to101:57vote right 1965 is clearly an important102:00step towards American democracy which102:02again I would emphasize American102:04democracy is and remains an aspiration102:06but 1965 is an important step towards it102:09but not long after that about 15 years102:12after that we began the experiment of102:15inequality which we are still in the102:17midst of professorship gorski’s charge102:20of the gap which is from the economic102:24policy something it’s a102:25that this shows that the gap growing102:27from 1980 between productivity and wages102:30right and the experiment that we’ve102:32conducted on ourselves since 1989 about102:35what what it means when you say there102:36are no alternatives102:37those two experiments have been102:38happening simultaneously and so on the102:40American Left when I talk to people on102:42the American Left which I do know all102:44the time102:44there’s this constant disagreement about102:46whether it’s a race or whether it’s102:48inequality and I just I don’t see why we102:50have to choose between those two things102:52it’s both and the way they work together102:55is that if white people feel privileged102:58then they react to inequality laughs and103:01in a way which is louder and which might103:02be more disruptive of the system than103:04others but the inequality to the way to103:06which they react is nevertheless real103:09right so that the racism may be harder103:11to get a handle on and the inequality103:13may be more tractable by policy103:15instruments so we have lots of questions103:20unfortunately thing we’re gonna have to103:21do it just a couple of more so this is a103:25question for Susan Hyde you emphasized103:29the demand side of the information103:31problem but what about the supply side103:33how worried should we be about state103:36media like Tennant sorry I don’t think I103:40read that right media tendencies like103:41Fox and how do you compare to other103:44cases like Venezuela or Italy yes state103:48media tendencies media like tendencies I103:51guess yeah I mean there’s there’s an103:53abundant you know there’s an abundance103:56of information right now right it’s not103:58that people can’t access accurate104:00information it’s it their self-selecting104:01into inaccurate information and I think104:04one can talk about the supply side of104:06this issue as as a contributor to how we104:10got here but I’m not sure that it104:13matters in terms of where we go from104:16here if that makes sense so once you get104:20into a space in which people are just104:22unwilling to look at the same sources of104:24information and many people may be104:25unwilling to consider objective104:27information or know how to judge whether104:29any104:30piece of information is objective I feel104:34like the demand side is just something104:35we understand a lot less well than then104:38we understand the supply side so because104:40of the individual access to to the104:42Internet to lots of sources of104:44information and because of the lack of104:46trust in all institutions I think also104:49expert institutions right those104:50individuals that might be perceived as104:52providing expertise on any given topic104:55and I think that confidence in their104:57their opinions has also been undermined104:59already we don’t trust expertise we105:02don’t trust objectivity we don’t trust105:05science we don’t you know all of these105:06things are undermined that to me I mean105:08I feel like just the demand side is is105:11broken enough that fixing the supply105:13side at the moment is not going to105:15change that problem so I’m sort of105:17evading the question of it okay last105:21question and this is directed to Nancy105:23burr Mayo but others on the panel may105:25want to address it as well focus is on105:28importance of distancing by elites and105:30optimism is based on the idea that US105:32democracy does not present an immediate105:34threat via redistribution to elite105:36interests yet earlier presentations levy105:39she wore ski suggests that the lack of105:41progressive redistribution is105:42undermining confidence and democratic105:44institutions105:45is there an irreconcilable difference105:48here over weathered redistribution105:50counts as a threat or an asset to105:52American democracy I think there’s an105:55important distinction between105:57redistribution and actual property106:00seizure and revolution and we are106:03clearly in remedying the inequality that106:08we talked about in an earlier panel106:11would not require revolution if which106:14require redistribution of the old social106:18democratic component and I think that106:21folks in Silicon Valley are probably not106:23even worried about that I think they106:27could handle it and I think that I106:28haven’t seen survey research but maybe106:31some of you have done it I’d like very106:32much to look at the values of the young106:35entrepreneurs in the tech industry and106:37to see whether they would in fact halt106:40much more redistribution than we have106:43I’d love to see that data I sense that106:45there’s probably more room there than we106:48might anticipate and certainly more room106:50than there was in fascist Italy yeah106:54comments on that last yes there you go107:12no but it’s it’s just fall short of107:15revolution and it falls short of backing107:18anti-democratic action on the part of107:20truck so but it’s basically buying107:23social goodness sure well I want to107:28thank our panelists very much for a107:30fascinating session107:31[Applause]107:38[Music]
00:05very excited to introduce Rana Rana Zay00:08is the global business columnist and00:11natural times and CNN’s global economic00:13analysts previously she’s been the00:15assistant managing editor in charge of00:16Business and Economics at time as well00:18as the magazine’s economic columnist and00:20spent 13 years at Newsweek as an00:22economic foreign affairs editor and00:24correspondent and in her new book don’t00:26be evil which i think is a great title00:29Rhonda Chronicles how far big tech has00:31fallen from its original vision of free00:33information and digital democracy00:35drawing on nearly 30 years of experience00:36reporting on the technologies sector00:39Ronna traces the evolution of companies00:40such as Google Facebook Apple Amazon00:46into behemoths that monetize people’s00:49data spread misinformation and hate00:51speech and threaten citizens privacy she00:53also shows how we can fight back by00:55creating a framework that both fosters00:57innovation and protects us from threats00:59posed by digital technology her book is01:02already garnering widespread praise with01:04the Guardian calling it a masterly01:05critique of the internet pioneers who01:07now dominate our world so without01:08further ado please help me in welcoming01:10Rana for a heart to politics and prose01:16thank you I am so honored to be here01:19it’s really a pleasure this is one of my01:22favorite bookstores probably my favorite01:24bookstore in Washington and so it’s just01:27a huge pleasure I thought I would start01:30by just talking a little bit about how I01:32got the idea to write this book it’s01:33actually my second book my first book01:35makers and takers was a look at the01:38financial sector and how it no longer01:40serves business so I like to kind of01:42take on these big industry-wide maybe01:45take down so we’ve the word but kind of01:49look at an ecosystem and economic01:50ecosystem see how it’s working or not01:52working I got the idea for this book01:56probably two months into my new job at02:00the Financial Times02:01I was hired in 2017 to be the chief02:05business commentary writer so my my job02:08was to sort of look at the top world’s02:11business stories economic stories and02:13try to make sense of them in commentary02:14and when I do that I tend to try and02:17follow the money in order to narrow the02:18funnel of where to put my focus and I02:20had come across a really really02:22interesting statistic that 80%02:25of the world’s wealth corporate wealth02:27was living in 10% of companies and these02:30were the companies that had the most02:31data personal data and intellectual02:34property and so the biggest of those02:36were the big tech platforms that my my02:38book kind of tries to make icons of02:41we’re using all the candy colors here02:43the fangs Facebook Amazon Apple Netflix02:47Google so that was a pretty stunning02:50statistic and it was interesting because02:51I was thinking about how wealth since02:542008 had transferred from the financial02:56sector into the big tech sector and that02:59had happened really quietly without a03:02whole lot of commentary in the press now03:05at the same time I was starting to kind03:06of dig into this story something else03:08happened a much more personal episode I03:11came home one day and I there was a03:14credit card bill waiting for me and I03:16opened it up and I started looking03:17through and there were all these tiny03:19charges in the amount of dollar03:21ninety-nine three dollars five dollars03:22whatever and I noticed that they were03:25all from the app store and I thought oh03:28my gosh I must have been hacked and then03:30I thought who else has my password my03:33ten-year-old son Alex I see nods from03:38parents and others so I go downstairs03:42and I find Alex on the couch with his03:44phone which is his usual after-school03:46position and I say you know what what’s03:50up do you know anything about this and03:51he sort of stunned and oh yes oh that03:55yeah and turns out alex has gotten very03:58fond of a game called FIFA Mobile which04:01is an online soccer game and it’s one of04:03these games that’s dude that you can04:04download it for free but once you get04:07into the game and start playing you have04:10to buy stuff04:11in-app purchases it’s called our loot04:13boxes is another another name so if you04:16want to move up the rankings and do well04:18in the game04:19you have to buy virtual Ronaldo or some04:22new shoes for your player and nine04:24hundred dollars and one month later Alex04:27was at the top of the rankings but I was04:32horrified I was actually horrified and04:34fascinated in fact I mean as04:36mother I was horrified his phone was04:39immediately confiscated passwords were04:41changed limitations were put into place04:44by the way he now officially is allowed04:47only one hour a day on his phone he’s 1304:51years old the average for that age is 704:54hours a day national average now he04:57sneaks in an extra I think he probably04:58gets about 90 minutes because I can’t05:00police him all the time on the way to05:01the on the way to school but it’s I mean05:04to me that is a stunning fact that the05:06average American 13 year old spent 705:09hours day on their phone anyway so I was05:12horrified as a parent but I was05:13fascinated as a business writer because05:15I thought this is the most amazing05:17business model I have ever seen and I05:20have to learn everything about it and05:22right about that time someone had come05:26to see Mia a man named Tristan Harris05:28who’s one of the characters in my book05:29and Tristan is a really interesting guy05:32he was formerly the chief ethics officer05:35at Google and he was trying to bring05:39goodness and not evil to the company and05:42make sure that all the all the products05:45and services were functioning sort of a05:47human interest and then he realized he05:48was not having any luck doing that05:49within the company so he decided to go05:52outside and start something called the05:54Center for Humane technology and Tristan05:57had become really really worried about05:59the core business model that is it’s06:02particularly relevant for Google and06:05Facebook but is also a big part of06:07Amazon’s model and and it’s really the06:08model that another author Shoshanna06:10Zubov who recently wrote a wonderful06:12book on this topic would call06:14surveillance capitalism and so it’s the06:16idea of companies coming in and tracking06:20everything you are doing online and06:22increasingly offline you know if you06:24have your if you have an Android phone06:25it might know where you are in the06:27grocery store if you’re in a car with06:29smart technology your your location06:32coordinates can be tracked so all of06:35this is serving to build a picture of06:37you that is then used to be sold to06:41advertisers and then you can be targeted06:44with what’s called hyper targeted06:46advertising which is essentially why for06:49example06:50if I go online to look for a hotel in06:53California I might get a certain price06:55but someone else might get a different06:57price so this is a really important06:59thing we are looking at different07:01internets right there are subtle07:04differences but they’re there and this07:06data profile that is being built up is07:08splitting us as individual consumers but07:12I would argue that it’s also splitting07:14us as citizens and I’ll when I get to07:16the readings I’ll kind of flush that out07:18a bit more but Tristan07:20kind of turned me on to this business07:23model and he also helped me connect the07:25dots between this business model and07:27what had happened to my son because it07:29turns out that the technologies these07:31sorts of nudges that take you down a07:34game or that bring you to certain places07:36on Amazon or that give you a certain07:39kind of search result or purchasing07:41option on Google are part of an entire07:45field called capped ology which is kind07:49of an Orwellian word and these these07:52technologies actually come largely out07:54of something called the Stanford07:55persuasive technology lab so there is an07:58entire industry that is designed to08:01track your behavior and pull in things08:03like behavioral psychology casino gaming08:06techniques and then layer those on to08:09apps that will push you towards making08:13purchasing decisions or perhaps even08:15other kinds of decisions political08:16decisions that might be good for certain08:19actors and it’s interesting because when08:22I started to think about all this one of08:24the things I really wanted to do in this08:26book was to cry try and create a single08:28narrative arc to take folks through this08:3120 year evolution of this industry from08:34the mid-1990s which is really when the08:36consumer internet was born till now and08:39at the time I was writing and and still08:41probably today you could argue that08:43Facebook was the company that was08:45getting the most negative attention for08:48a lot of the economic and political08:49ramifications of its business model but08:51if you go back to the very beginning08:53Google is the most interesting way to08:56track this because Google really08:59invented the targeted advertising09:01business model they really invented09:03surveillance capitalism and one of the09:05things that is fascinating and and09:06sometimes I’m asked what’s the most09:08surprising thing that you found when09:10writing this book and really the most09:11surprising thing is it was all hiding in09:14plain sight so if you go back to the09:17original paper the Larry Page and Sergey09:19Brin who were the founders of Google did09:21in 1998 while at Stanford as graduate09:25students they actually lay out they lay09:28out what a giant search engine would09:30look like how it would function but then09:31how you might pay for it and if you go09:34down to page 33 there is a section in09:36the appendix called advertising and its09:38discontents and it essentially says that09:42if you monetize a search engine in thisthis way with hyper targeted advertisingthe interests of the users and theinterests of the advertisers be theycompanies or who knows what publicentities are eventually going to comeinto conflict and so they actuallyrecommend that there be some kind ofacademic search engine an open searchengine in the public interest so this to10:05me first of all is fascinating that it10:07was just there all along and fascinating10:11that very few people have read that10:13entire paper even though even those that10:16write about it which in some ways kind10:18of goes to the point that in the last 2010:20years we all do a lot less reading not10:22folks here but but in general we do less10:25reading there was actually a fascinating10:26study that came out recently from common10:28sense media which is Jim’s dyers group10:30in California that tracks children’s10:33behaviors online teenagers only10:36one-third of them read for pleasure more10:39than once a month10:41long-form articles doesn’t matter if10:43you’re reading on an e-book or device10:44but long-form articles books only once a10:47month for pleasure so all our entire10:50world has been changed economically10:52these companies have huge monopoly power10:54politically we’re all kind of living10:56with the ramifications of this new world10:58of social media disinformation fake news11:01and cognitively our brains are changing11:05our behaviors are changing so connecting11:07all of those things was really what I11:10was trying to get at in this book and so11:13I’m gonna read two or three maybe short11:16excerpt11:17and then we can leave a lot of time for11:19questions so that people can kind of11:20dive into as much of this as they want11:23and I’ll start perhaps with my very11:28first meeting with the Googlers Larry11:33Page and Sergey Brin who I met not in11:36Silicon Valley but in Davos the Swiss11:39gathering spot of the global power elite11:42where they had taken over a small Chalet11:44to meet with a select group of media the11:47year was 2007 the company had just11:50purchased YouTube a few months back and11:52it seemed eager to convince skeptical11:54journalists that this acquisition wasn’t11:56yet another death blow to copyright paid11:58content creation and the viability of12:00the news publications for which we12:02worked12:02unlike the buttoned-up consulting types12:05or the suited executives from the old12:07guard multinational corporations that12:09roamed the promenades of davos their12:11tasseled loafers slipping on the icy12:13paths the Googlers with a cool bunch12:15they wore fashionable sneakers and their12:17chalet was sleek white and stark with12:19giant cubes masquerading as chairs in a12:21space that looked as though it had been12:23repurposed that morning by designers12:25flown in from the valley in fact it may12:27have been and if so Google would not12:29have been alone in such access I12:30remember attending a party once in Davos12:32hosted by Napster founder and former12:34Facebook president Sean Parker that12:37featured giant taxidermy bears and a12:39musical performance by John Legend back12:42in the Google Chalet Brin and page12:44projected a youthful earnestness as they12:46explained the company’s involvement in12:48or authoritarian China and insisted12:50they’d never be like Microsoft which was12:52considered the corporate bully and12:53monopolist at the time what about the12:55future of news we wanted to know after12:57admitting that page read only free news12:59online whereas Brin often bought the13:01sunday New York Times in print it’s nice13:03he said cheerfully13:04the duo affirmed exactly what we13:07journalists wanted to hear Google they13:09assured us would never threaten our13:10livelihoods13:11yes advertisers were indeed migrating13:14and mass from our publications to the13:15web where they could target consumers13:17with a level of precision that the print13:19world could barely imagine but not to13:21worry Google would generously retool our13:22business models so we too could thrive13:24in the new digital world I was much13:27younger than and not the admittedly13:29cynical business journalist that I have13:30since13:31and yet I listened skeptically13:32skeptically to that happy future of news13:35like lecture whether Google actually13:37intended to develop some brilliant new13:40revenue model or not what alarmed me was13:42that none of us were asking a far more13:44important question sitting towards the13:46back of the room somewhat conscious of13:48my relatively junior status I hesitated13:50waiting until the final moments of the13:52meeting before raising my hand excuse me13:55I said we’re talking about all this like13:57journalism is the only thing that13:58matters but isn’t this really about13:59democracy if newspapers and magazines14:02are all driven out of business by Google14:04or companies like it I asked how are14:06people gonna find out what’s going on14:07Larry Page looked at me with an odd14:10expression as if he were surprised that14:11someone should be asking such a naive14:13question oh yes we’ve got a lot of14:16people thinking about that14:17not to worry his tone seemed to say14:19Google had the engineers working on that14:22little democracy problem next question I14:26read that because I’m kind of amazed14:30there is still a real lack of14:34understanding I think in the valley14:36about some of the real negative14:39externalities of what have been let’s14:41face it amazing technologies I mean we14:43you know where would we be without14:44search in our smartphones we all14:46carrying around the power of a mainframe14:47in our pockets but as a journalist I14:51think there’s really been a an inability14:54of these companies to kind of own up to14:56you know some of the bad stuff that they14:59have wrought and I think that that still15:00considers oh sorry still continues to be15:03to be the case one of the other points15:06that I try and make in the book is that15:09the problems I’m talking about have15:12actually moved outside of just the big15:14four flat platform firms that that we’re15:16moving into a world in which15:17surveillance capitalism is going to be15:19part of the healthcare system and the15:21financial system and really every kind15:24of business is now using this as its15:26model so for example if you buy coffee15:29at Starbucks Starbucks knows a lot about15:30you Johnson & Johnson knows a lot about15:33you there there are firms watching you15:35all the time and so we’re really at a15:37pivot point I think where we have to ask15:40as a society what are the deeper15:43implications of this and our15:44okay with them and so I would like to15:47read another excerpt where I look at how15:50this model is is moving into the15:52insurance sector and what that means so15:58far data has been obtained via computers16:01and mobile devices but now with the rise16:03of personal digital assistants like16:05Amazon’s Alexa Google’s home mini and16:07Apple Siri now at 30 and now in a third16:10of American homes with triple digit16:12sales growth a year the human voice is16:14the new gold while reports of Alexa16:16Alexa and Siri listening in on16:18conversations and phone calls are16:19disputed there’s no question that they16:21can hear every word you say and from16:23there it’s a short step to them using16:24that knowledge to direct your purchasing16:26decisions it isn’t much of a longer step16:28to see the political implications16:30already some researchers worry that16:32digital assistants will become even more16:33powerful tools than social media for16:36election manipulation certainly none of16:38us will be unaffected consider consider16:41that homeowner oops sorry16:43I’m reading from a reading from the16:44wrong part I think apologies somehow16:54picked the wrong section here anyway I’m16:57going to talk you through this example16:58because it’s it’s something that is17:01already out there I had a conversation a17:03couple of years ago with an executive17:04from Zurich Financial which is a big17:07financial company they do insurance many17:10parts of the world they will now if17:12you’d like them to put sensors in your17:14home or in your car and if you have for17:18example as I do you live in a 190117:20townhouse let’s say you’re upgrading17:22your pipes you get a check you get a you17:24know a positive mark and you may see17:26your insurance premium go down but let’s17:30say your kid is smoking a joint in their17:32bedroom and the sensor picks up on that17:34you then get a black mark here and your17:36premium may go up same again in your car17:39if you’re speeding your insurance17:42company will know and so on and so forth17:43now you can either like this or not17:46depending on where you sit in the17:48socio-economic spectrum but what’s very17:50very interesting is that entire business17:53model a pooled risk business model17:55that’s what insurance is it’s now been17:57completely dissed17:58so you can be targeted and split so this18:02is no longer about society pulling risk18:04a saree pooling risk this is about18:06individuals having to own the risk so if18:09you take that to its natural conclusion18:12you can imagine an elite up here that18:17has access to special pricing and all18:19kinds of great products but you can also18:21imagine an uninsurable group of people18:25at the bottom and then who is going to18:28pick up that risk now the public sector18:30may be maybe they’ll be a junk bond18:33market for insurance either way you have18:36a split in society that didn’t exist18:39before and that was always the business18:42model here you know you go back and read18:44some of the early work of someone like18:46Hal Varian for example who was the chief18:48economist at Google splitting pricing18:51down to the individual was always the18:53point of platform technology firms like18:56Google or Facebook or Amazon splitting18:58individuals out so they could be18:59targeted in different ways but that not19:01only splits pricing it splits Society19:05and so that’s kind of really the the19:07core issue I want to get out here19:10I think I’ll maybe read just just one19:13more excerpt and then we can do we have19:15we have time yeah and then we’ll open it19:17up for questions after that my first19:22book just to mention again was about the19:25financial industry and one of the things19:26that strikes me is that big tech19:28companies have in some way become the19:30new too big to fail entities not only19:33are they holding more wealth and power19:35than the largest banks but in some ways19:36they function like banks they have a19:39tremendous amount of money they use it19:41to buy up corporate debt if that debt19:44were to go bad that could actually be19:46the beginnings of another financial19:47crisis and so that’s kind of a part of19:49this story that really hasn’t gotten out19:51there so let me let me read just two or19:54three more pages for you on that topic19:57the late great management guru Peter20:00Drucker once said in every major20:01economic downturn in US history the20:03villains have been the heroes during the20:05preceding boom I can’t help but wonder20:08if that might be the case over the next20:10few years as the you know20:11it states and possibly the world heads20:13towards its next big slowdown downturns20:16historically come about once every20:18decade and it’s been more than that20:19since the 2008 financial crisis back20:22then banks were the too-big-to-fail20:24institutions responsible for our falling20:26stock portfolios home prices and20:28salaries technology companies by20:30contrast have led the market upswing20:32over the past decade but this time20:34around it’s the big tech firms that20:36could play the spoiler role you wouldn’t20:39think that it could be so when you look20:40at the biggest and richest tech firms20:42today take Apple for example warren20:44buffett says he wished he owned even20:45more Apple stock Goldman Sachs is20:47launching a new credit card with the20:48tech Titan which became the world’s20:50first trillion-dollar market cap company20:52in 2018 but hidden within these bullish20:55headlines are a number of disturbing20:57economic trends of which Apple is20:59already exemplar study this one company21:02and you begin to understand how big tech21:04companies the new too-big-to-fail21:05institutions could indeed sow the seeds21:08of the next financial crisis the first21:11thing to consider is the financial21:12engineering done by such firms like most21:15of the largest and most profitable21:17multinational companies Apple has loads21:19of cash about 300 billion as well as21:22plenty of debt close to 122 billion21:24that’s because like nearly every other21:27large rich company it has parked most of21:30its spare cash in offshore bond21:32portfolios over the last ten years at21:34the same time since the 2008 crisis is21:37that it is issued cheap debt at rates to21:41do sorry it is issued cheap rate sorry21:44cheap debt at low rates in order to do21:48record amounts of share buybacks and21:50dividends Apple’s responsible about a21:53quarter of the 407 billion in buybacks21:55and out since the Trump tax bill was21:57passed in December of 2017 but buybacks22:00have bolstered mainly the top 10% of the22:03US population that owns 84% of all stock22:06the fact that share buybacks have become22:08the biggest single use of corporate cash22:10for over a decade now has buoyed markets22:13but it’s also increased the wealth22:15divide which many common economists22:17believe is that not only the single22:19biggest factor in slower than historic22:21trend growth but is also driving22:22political populism which threatens the22:25good system itself that phenomenon has22:28been put on steroids by the rise of yet22:30another trend epitomized by Apple22:33intangibles such as intellectual22:35property and brands now make up a much22:37larger share of wealth in the global22:39economy the digital economy has a22:41tendency to create super stars since22:43software and internet services are so22:45scalable and they enjoy network effects22:50let’s see do but as these as software22:56and internet services become a bigger22:58part of the economy they reduce23:00investment across the economy as a whole23:02and that’s not only because banks are23:03reluctant to lend to businesses whose23:06intangible assets may simply disappear23:08if they go belly-up but because of the23:10winner-take-all effect that a handful of23:12companies including Apple Amazon and23:14Google enjoy so to sum this up in plain23:17English as this handful of companies has23:20gotten bigger and more powerful23:21investment in the overall decline23:23economy has declined the number of jobs23:26that they’re creating relative to their23:28market size is much lower than that in23:30the past so you have the superstar23:32economy that has become kind of a23:33winner-take-all game I think that we’re23:37going to probably see some kind of a23:39market correction in the next couple of23:41years it’s going to be very interesting23:43at that point to see whether tech leads23:45the markets down and whether you might23:47then see a kind of an Occupy Silicon23:49Valley sentiment as you did in 2008 with23:53Occupy Wall Street I think that that’s23:54really quite possible we can delve more23:57into that if you’d like but I think I23:59want to stop here and be respectful of24:01question time and there are parts that24:04you guys want to hear more about or24:06particular areas that I could read more24:08from you can let me know go ahead24:15because sure we don’t get to speak very24:18often you and I one is you’ve doubtless24:23read about Bloomberg’s decision recently24:26to forbade its reporters from covering24:28Michael Bloomberg yeah yet The24:31Washington Post has no problem24:34investigating Vsauce do you see is that24:38a problem for you have you thought about24:40that is that a and so have any24:43consistency that should bother at24:45financial journalists and the second24:46question is how important for any24:51solution to the problems you you raise24:53would an tights for the revival of24:56antitrust be s we see on the continent24:59where it’s more aggressive and among25:01some of the the Democratic candidates25:04for the president well so let me take25:06the antitrust question first that’s25:08actually important part of the book25:10there’s an entire chapter on antitrust25:12and I think we probably are gonna see25:15some shifts as folks may know since the25:191980s onward antitrust in America has25:23basically been predicated on price so as25:25long as consumer prices were falling it25:28was perceived that companies could be as25:30big as they wanted that it wasn’t a25:31problem but one of the things I look at25:34in the book is this this shift to a25:36world in which transactions are being25:39done not in dollars but in data so25:42that’s a that’s a barter transaction25:43really and one of the things that’s so25:45interesting and this is actually a way25:47in another way in which Silicon Valley25:49is similar to Wall Street the25:50transaction is really opaque so you25:53don’t know essentially how much you’re25:55paying for the supposedly free service25:58that you’re receiving that is a very26:02difficult market to create fairness26:04within and it probably makes the Chicago26:07School notion of consumer prices going26:10down no problem I think probably26:13irrelevant and so there’s two ways in26:15which that’s being dealt with you have26:17the rise of this new Brandeis school of26:19thinking in which you know maybe this is26:22really about power maybe maybe we should26:25think about the big tech firms26:26we do the nineteenth-century railroads26:28we’re alright you know you had at one26:30point railroad Titans that would come in26:33and build tracks and then own the cars26:35and then own the things that were in the26:37cars and eventually that became a26:39zero-sum game and it’s you know it’s as26:42folks probably know we’re in a period in26:44which there’s as much concentration of26:46wealth and power as there was in the26:47Gilded Age so I could imagine very26:50easily a scenario in which you could26:51justify Amazon say being the platform26:55for e-commerce but not being able to26:57compete in the specific areas of fashion27:01or you know whatever else they’re27:03selling against other customers and in27:05fact that’s already the case in the27:06financial sector that big companies that27:09trade let’s say aluminum you know as27:12Goldman Sachs did this is what it ran27:14into a suit a few few years ago that it27:16was both owning all the aluminum and27:18trading it and that’s that’s27:20anti-competitive and so that became an27:22issue for the Fed so I think we probably27:24are going to see that kind of ruling as27:26for the post and journalism you know27:29it’s funny I have some friends that are27:30they’re quite influential to post and27:34they say that Bezos is pretty hands-off27:37I mean I can’t I can’t vouch for that27:38one thing I will say is that Amazon did27:41put this book on the top 20 nonfiction27:43what Stern’s a month so you know I don’t27:46know if that’s a ploy to make me think27:48that they’re they’re being really fair27:49but from probably Jeff Bezos I don’t27:52know I he probably not thinking that27:53much about this book or me but anyway27:56next question go ahead so it seems like27:59some of the major decisions that these28:01big tech companies are making are in28:04regard to fake news and how they’re28:06moderating fake news or the lack of it28:08so have you seen maybe an approach by28:11any current social media platform or any28:13proposed plans in place that you think28:15would be best for moderating fake news28:17that’s such a good question so just to28:20kind of pull back the the two points of28:22view on that are hey look you know the28:26platform tech companies are essentially28:27giant media and advertising firms right28:30I mean if you look at the business model28:31of a Google or a Facebook it’s28:34essentially just like the Financial28:35Times or CNN it’s just much more28:37effective and it can be targeted to the28:39individual28:40that means that these firms have taken28:42you know 85 90 percent of the app new28:45digital advertising pie in the last few28:47years now given that they function as28:49media companies should they not be28:51liable for disinformation in the way28:55that a media company would be so if I28:57print something incorrect at the FT28:59that’s you know the the paper and also29:02my hide on the line there I think that29:05we should actually think about rolling29:08back some of those loopholes that these29:09firms enjoy since the mid-1990s onwards29:12I think that they are going to have to29:14take some responsibility now the29:16question is do we want Mark Zuckerberg29:18being the minister of truth and that’s29:20that’s that’s a really tough question29:23what I would prefer is for the29:26government to actually you know for29:28democratically elected governments to29:29come up with rules about what is and29:32isn’t appropriate and to not have29:34individual companies making those29:36choices I think we’re in a period right29:38now where you know you’ve got Twitter29:40you’ve got Google to a certain extent29:41coming out saying okay we recognize we29:43need to do things differently that’s29:44putting pressure on Facebook but at the29:46end of the day we’re gonna have to have29:47I think an entirely new framework not29:51just in this area but also in taxation29:53in you know an antitrust which we’ve29:56already talked about this is the shift29:58that we’re going through is I think the30:00new Industrial Revolution it’s a 70 year30:03transition and it’s going to require a30:04lot of different frameworks relative to30:07what we already have so the answer is no30:10I don’t see any particular company that30:12has come up with the right framework yet30:14any other questions30:16oh yeah I’d like to go back to antitrust30:18for a minute the Washington Post put up30:20an article just this afternoon about how30:23Apple is changing its business model and30:25it’s different as you know it’s30:27differentiated itself in the market by30:29saying they care about privacy well now30:32they are moving from a a device company30:38to a services company according to the30:40article and they are used and they are30:43using privacy as a lever to provide30:46services that their that other smaller30:51companies like tile which is the example30:54the article has used to create a market30:59for itself right and so it says in the31:03article that the feds are considering31:04looking at antitrust measures against31:06Apple but I think it raises a bigger31:09question that you pointed to which is31:13that the models of antitrust don’t work31:16anymore so in terms of privacy lots of31:22people have talked about monetizing31:24privacy getting paid yeah data but how31:27do you think from an economic point of31:30view we as a society need to look at the31:33role of privacy and the role of31:35antitrust together to somehow change the31:38way we think about these companies31:41because in addition we’ve got31:43consolidation in the marketplace so yeah31:45no longer fair competition you can’t31:48become another Amazon right easily31:51because there are so many big so mate31:53because the players are big and there31:55are so few of them in each part of the31:58economy yeah a right so there’s a lot in32:00what you’ve just said for starters I32:03think you’re hitting on something really32:04important which I get at in my solutions32:06chapter that this is such a huge shift32:09and it’s touching so many different32:11areas and we’ve talked about privacy32:13we’ve talked about antitrust we haven’t32:15even gotten into national security you32:17know civil liberties I mean there there32:19are so many different areas and when you32:21one of the things I noticed when I sat32:23down to write the solution sections you32:25know when you do a think book you always32:26have to have the solutions section and32:28you know the publisher wants like that32:29Silver Bullet thing and you look at this32:32and you notice that when you pull a32:33lever here it effects something in this32:35other areas so I think that’s one reason32:38why we should have a national committee32:41to actually look at what are all the32:43questions it’s when I speak to folks32:45particularly in DC policymakers there’s32:47you know the antitrust camp here the32:49privacy camp here the security folks32:50there that conversation needs to be32:52happening in a 360 way and it is32:54happening much more so that way in32:57Europe I will say I just came off of two32:59weeks of book touring in Europe and the33:02conversation there I think is much more33:04developed and they seem to be to go to33:06your point about the ecosystem and how33:08share it one of the things that seems to33:11be folks seem to be headed towards is a33:13public digital Commons a kind of a33:16database let’s say alright if you decide33:19as you know the cat seems to be out of33:21the bag that we’re gonna allow33:22surveillance capitalism I mean there33:24there are certain folks like Shoshanna33:26would love to see the dial turned back33:28I’m not sure if that’s possible let’s33:30have a public database in which not just33:33one corporation or a handful of33:35corporations but multiple sized players33:37as well as the public sector as well as33:40individual citizens who’s you know after33:43all it’s our data being harvested33:45everybody gets access and then you can33:47figure out how you want to share the pie33:49and one interesting example recently is33:51the Google sidewalk project in Toronto33:54it sounds like you’re up on these issues33:56so you’re probably aware but Google had33:59taken over sort of twelve acres on the34:01Toronto Waterfront and put sensors34:04everywhere and the idea was to create a34:06smart city in which you’d be able to34:08manage traffic patterns and energy usage34:10and things like that but until recently34:12Google was going to own all that data34:14and have access to and finally the34:16Toronto government got a clue and said34:18well actually you know what let’s put34:19this in a public database so other34:22smaller or midsize local firms can come34:25in and be part of that economic34:26ecosystem but also as a public sector we34:30can decide well maybe we want to share34:32data for energy issues or for health34:36issues but maybe we don’t want to share34:37it for certain other kinds of things and34:40perhaps there would be some way in which34:42individuals could take back some of that34:44value so California is thinking about a34:47digital dividend payment from the big34:49tech companies there’s also been talk of34:51a digital sovereign wealth fund if you34:53think about kind of data as the new oil34:56whatever the value is judged to be it34:59would be putting the sovereign wealth35:01fund in the same way that Alaska or35:02Wyoming give back payments or use that35:05for the the public sector that could be35:08done with data too so I think something35:10like that is probably going to be the35:12best solution I’ll tell you I have many35:14examples in the book of ways in which35:16the bigger players have been able to35:18squash small and mid-sized firms and35:20that35:21a major issue and a lot of venture35:23capitalists that I speak to are actually35:26becoming concerned about that because35:27they say that there’s sort of black35:29zones of innovation where if Amazon is35:33there or Google is there you really35:34can’t start a business there’s just been35:36too much that’s been been written35:38ring-fenced question over here35:40yes while your book may be the the best35:43one on the subject they’ve certainly35:44been other books before talking about35:46individuals privacy and their their data35:49and everything about them why is it that35:52you think people are so unconcerned35:56about handing over all of their data to35:58these companies when they are perhaps36:00very concerned about handing it over to36:02the government why why do they feel36:04these guys are the good guys and the36:06government is necessarily the bad guys36:08yeah it’s such an interesting question36:11and that really varies from country to36:13country I find that that’s sort of an36:15interesting cultural dynamic that can36:17shift depending on what market you’re in36:19I have really been puzzled as to why36:23people are so first of all why everybody36:25just clicks the box and says no problem36:27I think part of that is is the opacity36:29of the market I mean if you kind of go36:31back to Adam Smith basic economics you36:35need three things to make a market36:36function property properly that would be36:38equal access to data transparency in the36:41transaction and a shared moral framework36:44and you could argue that none of those36:46things are in place so when we’re making36:48these transactions I think as that’s36:51that very fact becomes better explained36:56and people begin to kind of understand36:58that narrative like the insurance36:59example I just gave that all right37:02you’re getting something but you’re37:03giving up a lot I’m beginning to see37:07pushback already and I suspect in recent37:10weeks as some of the big players have37:11moved into healthcare you know into into37:14the commercial banking business I just37:17think that we are going to begin to see37:18more people being reluctant to give up37:23that much value for what they’re getting37:25you’re also interestingly seeing when37:28there are other options people will go37:31elsewhere so Jimmy Wales who started37:33Wikipedia just I think37:34the weeks ago came up with a new social37:36networking site he’s already got 300,00037:38users there and it’s an odd37:41they don’t do targeted advertising it’s37:42run on the wiki model where you can37:44donate if you want I think once the37:47antitrust piece is in place and you37:49actually have space for new competitors37:52to come in and to offer up different37:54kinds of services that perhaps are more37:56respectful of privacy that you you know37:58you could see a shift there but I’m38:00curious actually can I pull the audience38:02for a minute because I want to ask how38:04many people think that in the next five38:07years individuals are going to become38:09more worried about giving up information38:12that’s going to change their behavior38:13online so like two-thirds but not yeah38:19that’s interesting okay oh go ahead38:23sorry we’re sheep we’re cheap oh my god38:26that was a different book curious if you38:30see the administration’s38:32suggestion that it the California can’t38:35set its own rules for gas mileage and so38:41on and emissions as having a parallel in38:44this area you know I hadn’t thought38:48about that question before I always38:50think about California as really being38:53very leading what is eventually going to38:55become the national standard and I think38:58in data I feel like that is gonna happen39:01you know even the Europeans in fact are39:04saying that the California model is39:06probably the better model for data data39:08protection and privacy and sharing of39:11value so the Europeans have GDP are you39:13know which was kind of the first step in39:15the privacy direction but it doesn’t39:17take into account that economic39:18ecosystem so perversely you have the big39:21companies maybe being able to do better39:23with the GDP our model and smaller ones39:26getting cut out of the loop because they39:27don’t have the legal muscle to kind of39:29deal with all the rules so I do think39:31the California model is going to become39:32a de facto standard we also haven’t39:34talked about China which is of course39:36going its own way and I have it I have a39:38chapter in the book where I look at that39:40I look at the current trade war tech war39:43kind of through the lens of surveillance39:44capitalism and39:46that’s gonna be very interesting I think39:48one of the big probably the biggest mid39:52to long-term economic question for me is39:54are we going to see a transatlantic39:56alliance around digital trade and coming39:59up with some standards because China is40:01going its own direction it’s going to40:02develop its own ecosystem it has its own40:04big players the u.s. is in another40:07category but where is Europe gonna be is40:09it going to be a tri polar world is it40:11going to be a bipolar world in terms of40:13how all this works that that’s a major40:15ik you cannot make an actually foreign40:16policy question I think hey thanks for40:21coming and thinking um I’m wondering we40:25have like a Department of Agriculture we40:27have a Department of Energy will there40:29be a Department of Technology ever in40:30the US and which other countries already40:33have that kind of thing going yeah40:35England is talking about that actually I40:37think kind of an FDA of Technology is40:40probably a very good idea you know I see40:44going back to the example about my son40:46there there40:46the research is nascent and causality is40:49is difficult to prove but there there’s40:51you know a new body of research since40:542011 2012 when smartphones really became40:57ubiquitous showing that levels of40:59anxiety and depression and younger41:01people arising you know they’re there41:04they’re issues of self harm sometimes41:07when people you know use these41:08technologies addictively so I think that41:11that’s that’s a big issue to me it’s41:12very similar to cigarettes you know41:14those were regulated there was a41:16different narrative and then behaviors41:17changed and I think I think that that’s41:20one area to consider policy wise there41:25may be time for one or two more41:26questions41:27okay sorry over here and then over here41:29hi41:30I’m kind of curious what you think about41:33the fact that most of these41:36conversations around technology or even41:38democracy tends to focus on institutions41:41and systems and structures which is41:44great because they are so powerful and41:47ubiquitous my background is in teaching41:51critical thinking and in conflict41:54management and I what I worry41:58that so little attention is being paid42:01to the intelligence and maturity of the42:05citizenry I’m from India after 70 years42:10of democracy we’ve lost it I think it’s42:15simplistic to blame the right-wing42:18leaders and the government I believe we42:22as a people have not developed the42:24maturity to be effective intelligent42:30citizens we don’t have the values we are42:34still feudal we are still extremely42:37hierarchical we don’t have the42:40democratic values in India and we didn’t42:43cultivated over 70 years I see a42:46parallel to being susceptible to the42:52seductions of Technology whether it be42:56free news or the click baiting or43:00anything that the big companies seduce43:04us with that even as we need as you said43:08they an FDA kind of for technology we43:13seem to be observing ourselves of the43:17responsibility of being you know of43:20waking up and no se pians I hear I hear43:24what you’re saying and it’s interesting43:25two things come to mind first of all as43:28I say I just got back from Europe the43:29debate is much more nuanced there and43:33and further along and I think that’s in43:36part because there was not quite as much43:39pendulum shift in the last 40 or 5043:41years from the public sector to the43:43private sector as there was here I think43:46I’m not quite sure if I agree entirely43:49with your point about institutions I43:50think in some ways part of the problem43:53one of the reasons why we have43:54concentration levels that are same as43:57they were in the 19th century is that44:00you know we have a generation of44:03business leaders that grew up in the 80s44:04thinking that the government was only44:06good for cutting taxes and there’s hyper44:09individualism that’s that’s44:12the entire economic model and in some44:14ways I think that you know Facebook is44:16maybe the apex of the neoliberal44:19economic model if you think about the44:22problems of globalization were that cap44:25but you know it was supposed to be44:27globalization was supposed to be about44:28capital goods and people crossing44:30borders well it turned out the capital44:31could cross a lot faster than either44:33goods or people if you take that into44:36the world of data that’s even more true44:38and so I think that you have a group of44:41companies now that have really44:44turbocharged a lot of the problems that44:46have given us the politics that we have44:49now and and a company like Facebook I44:51mean I think it every time Zuckerberg is44:52on the hill it’s like there’s this44:54attitude that they are supranational you44:56know and kind of flying 35,000 feet44:59above national concerns and I think that45:02that’s part of a larger shift and45:04probably going to be a big part of the45:052020 debate right are we gonna now have45:08a pendulum shift back away from private45:12power to some public power some45:14different sharing of that which is a45:16values question which I think gets at45:18some of what you’re talking about45:20long-winded answer anyway I think we45:22have time for maybe one more question45:23yeah – quick question okay one is some45:27of the tech companies especially the45:29platform companies have you know why45:32should we not consider looking at them45:35as utility companies yeah I mean we’ve45:39had phone companies and as far as I know45:41they don’t data mine our conversations45:43and maybe mistaken a bit right I mean45:46right that’s they could easily right45:49right yes it’s different different45:50business model yeah yeah so so that was45:52one the other thing is you mentioned45:54that eventually we need tech policy45:56around this and the issue at least my45:59issue is that the people who make these46:01decisions the the policy makers they46:05just most to them don’t have the46:07technical background right to properly46:10assess the different choices and make46:12those decisions I mean I think one of46:15them Zuckerberg or someone testified the46:17questioning was just awful I mean they46:20just ignore our tech support was46:22terrible46:23yeah exactly so I know anyway whatever46:27thoughts you have no that’s a great and46:29that’s like maybe a great place to sort46:31of wrap up I think the utility model is46:34completely viable and it’s interesting46:36one of the bits of pushback that you’ll46:38sometimes get from folks in the valley46:40about that is well if we’re if we’re46:42split in this way or if the the capacity46:46to innovate is sort of you know46:47compressed as the profit margins would46:49be compressed in a utility model that’ll46:52be bad for innovation not really I mean46:54there’s the statistics show for starters46:56that companies innovate more when46:58they’re smaller they tend to innovate47:00more when they’re private and breakups47:03in the past you can argue have actually47:05created more innovation so a lot of47:07academics would say that even the the47:10the the antitrust just the threat of47:13antitrust action against Microsoft was47:15one of the reasons that Google was47:16allowed to to blossom as it did you can47:19go back to the breakup of the bells and47:22say maybe that created space for the47:25cellphone industry to to move ahead so I47:28think there’s a lot of examples that a47:31more decentralized model is actually a47:34good thing and I think that that is47:36actually going to be a really important47:37thing because right now there’s this I47:40think very perverse debate in the u.s.47:42that is bringing together parts of the47:45far right and parts the far left that47:47all right we need these companies to47:48stay big because they’re the national47:50champions and the the becoming war with47:52China that is a complete bunk that is47:56not shown out first of all I mean these47:58companies would love to be in China if47:59they could get into China you know I48:02think decentralized is the advantage in48:06all respects in the US economically so48:09yeah I’m have no problems with a utility48:12model anyway I think my time is up but48:15I’d be happy to sign books and answer48:17any other questions here at the table48:18and thanks so much for your attention48:19[Applause]48:34you
Keeping track of the Jacksonians, Reformicons, Paleos, and Post-liberals.
I like to start my classes on conservative intellectual history by distinguishing between three groups. There is the Republican party, with its millions of adherents and spectrum of opinion from very conservative, somewhat conservative, moderate, and yes, liberal. There is the conservative movement, the constellation of single-issue nonprofits that sprung up in the 1970s —
- gun rights,
- right to work
— and continue to influence elected officials. Finally, there is the conservative intellectual movement: writers, scholars, and wonks whose journalistic and political work deals mainly with ideas and, if we’re lucky, their translation into public policy.
Unlike many other European countries, Italy still has not restored economic growth to its pre-crisis level – a fundamental failing that lies at the heart of many of its political problems. Now that a new anti-establishment government is taking power, it remains to be seen if the economy will be remade, or broken further... Italy has become the first major EU member state to be governed by a populist coalition... M5S and the League both openly question the benefits of eurozone membership, though neither party made leaving the euro a specific commitment of their governing program in the election campaign, a failure that Italian President Sergio Mattarella seized upon in vetoing key cabinet pick... They also disdain globalization more generally.. The League, in particular, is obsessed with cracking down on immigration... promised to tackle corruption and topple what they see as a self-serving political establishment, while introducing radical policies to reduce unemployment and redistribute incomes... There are rumors that the parties want to write down Italy’s sovereign debt.. In such a scenario, Italian banks currently holding considerable amounts of government debt would suffer substantial balance-sheet damage. The risk of deposit flight could not be excluded... Italy’s nominal (non-inflation-adjusted) growth is too weak to produce substantial deleveraging, even at today’s low interest rates... Italy’s real per capita GDP remains well below its 2007 pre-crisis peak.. a worldwide retreat from globalization and growing demands for national governments to reassert control over the flow of goods and services, capital, people, and information/data... For years, global market forces and powerful new technologies have plainly outstripped governments’ capacity to adapt to economic change... Italy could soon find that its leading export is talented young people... the Italian government needs to root out corruption and self-dealing, and demonstrate a much stronger commitment to the public interest... Italy needs to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystems that underpin dynamism and innovation. As matters stand, the financial sector is too closed, and it provides too little funding and support for new ventures... collaboration between government, business, and labor has played a key role in the countries that have adapted better to globalization and technology-induced structural change.
“Whether they do it in the collective interest or in their own is very much in question,” Summers told me. “I use as a parable for a lot of things what happens in developing countries, where the urban electric system doesn’t work well, and therefore the businesses start building their own generators to take care of themselves, and therefore there’s no longer a constituency or pressure to fix the existing electricity system, and meanwhile the society is falling apart.”