tv Bloomberg Business Week Bloomberg March 26, 2017 8:00am-9:01am EDT
♪ carol: welcome to "bloomberg businessweek." i am carol massar. oliver: i am oliver renick. carol: one day trader who loves wearing a wire for the fbi. oliver: dilbert's creator has strange and controversial viewpoints. carol: the shockingly bad safety record for auto-parts makers in the american south. oliver: all that ahead on "bloomberg businessweek." ♪ ♪ carol: we are with the editor in chief megan murphy. you look at china, specifically an economist who is trying to
shed light on the chinese economy. megan: this is a story about an economist who ran into trouble with the authorities in 2012 because he did a study on inequality and found that was much higher than economists had forecast and was visited by several members of the administration at the time. what he is trying to do is do this complicated survey of china's wealth, and particularly china's people's wealth. peopleh holdings do have in real estate, agriculture, what their farms are like, what the agricultural productivity is like in order to
generate wealth. in china, a huge swath of the country is agrarian and has not caught up with that development. someone who has faced opposition in his past is looking at what we need to pare back and give the truth about. oliver: let's talk about the opening remarks section, president trump has criticized or talked about dismantling a lot of different geopolitical institutions. the united nations is one he has criticized and whether or not it needs improvement. megan: this is a former reporter in liberia and it talks about an institution that is right for reform. there is concern about donald trump and his efforts to pare back foreign aid, and we should point out this is not a topic unique to the u.s. we have seen calls for reduction the u.k.oreign aid in
too.ther countries, is there an issue with the fact that people who work for the united nations and are in these war-torn countries are frequently traveling in pristine 4 x 4's, living an expensive apartments, dining in expensive restaurants. they are there to help people, but she says this is an institution that has tried to stop reform, cutting excess, and maybe there is some excess there. carol: i was surprised to find out that the united nations does not measure the effects of its work. megan: the united nations would say this work is vital. there is no organization as big as the united nations that does not have some areas where people are going to look at. carol: let's look at the cover
ofind of the darker side detroit. auto manufacturing. megan: it is an incredibly powerful story because it goes into this darker underside when we talk about bringing manufacturing back to america, which is a theme of donald trump and the current administration. it has not come without costs. this story focuses on the emergence of auto manufacturers who have moved their plans. supply. the auto parts and, some of the safety concerns have run a much higher safety risk and have had greater incidence of injuries and fatalities than rivals and union shops. oliver: it is an illuminating look at the industry and an incredible human element. >> let's talk about the
auto-parts industry. that is where my story focuses. it is the area where we have the most egregious workers safety and health issues. after the plants the automaker set up, there ecosystem of suppliers follow them from places like korea, japan, germany, other parts of europe, and this auto part manufacturing industry really flourished in alabama. today, there are more than 170 different auto-parts suppliers for these carmakers, and they employ around 26,000 people, so there has been an auto part boom in auto-parts manufacturing.
these companies, the assemblers, kia, hyundai, japanese companies, really squeezed their parts suppliers. they demand high rates of productivity, manufacturing on steroids, essentially providing the assembly lines of the carmakers with parts that come directly over from the suppliers with no warehousing in between. that puts tremendous pressure on the auto-parts suppliers. carol: let's talk about that pressure. it puts incredible pressure on workers in those factories and an environment where there is no union to protect them. >> we do know unions work with rules. they work with management to set work hour limitations. they are active in safety and health. the united auto workers has shop stewards who focus on nothing but safety and enforce safety
rules. that is a key point, and indeed that's where our story focuses, which is the safety and health of workers in these auto-parts plants. there is a long litany of sad cases. in the article, i said it reads like an upton sinclair work or charles dickens. we had one individual, nathaniel walker, in his mid-20's working at a german company. nathaniel was working the back line, cleaning these tanks of acid where they would anodized metal parts to toughen them up with a coating, and they needed to be cleaned out every saturday night. he was given in the beginning about 12 hours or even 24 hours to clean 25-30 of these tanks and do whatever servicing was necessary.
as productivity was increased, they were given less and less time. nathaniel would jump around on top of the ducts which were on the edges of these tanks and was servicing one of them a few years ago and it was empty, but the one in back of him where he was perched in between these two tanks was filled with acid and his hand slipped on the repair and he fell backwards into four feet of acid and was literally wallowing in this stuff, swallowing it until he righted himself and a colleague washed him down, but apparently they did peel his cotton t-shirt off of his skin like tissue paper. four daysp spending
care andive recovering. it is not an un-typical story. oliver: turning that story into a cover image was the job of rob vargas. rob: we interviewed some of the victims of these terrible accidents. one of the characters in the story lost his arm in one of these accidents, so we basically went out and took a couple of shots and ended up with this one, which we thought was pretty powerful. carol: when i first saw it, it stopped me. how much discussion went into how you are going to tell the story? it is a brutal story and one that stays with you. rob: if we did not have cooperation, it would have been impossible to do the story in the first place. havee fact that we did
cooperation made it an easy decision. obviously the way in which we shot them was documentary style. we were not trying to over editorialize it. you can present these people as plainly as you want, but it is still striking because of what they lost. carol: it shows where he lost a good portion of one of his arms. how comfortable were they with doing that? rob: he was very comfortable and cooperative. we had a lot of shots of them on the inside feature, but you want to tell the story. carol: a new coalition fighting the white house. oliver: the political consulting firm that helped president trump get elected is now trying to capitalize on its success. carol: this is "bloomberg businessweek." ♪
helped form the backbone of trump's campaign strategy. carol: now the firm is trying to leverage its ties to the white house. >> cambridge was a late entry to the trump campaign. their analysts helped to identify pockets in the rust belt where there were persuadable voters. that is where they won the electoral college. their role was small but important. they had a great sales pitch. that they have this data analysis where they use people's social feeds. it is called psychographics. they can tell whether people are persuadable based on the things they tweet. facebook.y like on they say they have done it elsewhere and have had access. the company has a mixed history.
on forthey have worked around theovernments world. oliver: those rust belt areas, people were wondering what is he doing, what is going on here? it turns out he was right. they have been involved in other campaigns with varying degrees of success. tell us about where else they have taken part. >> they have worked in campaigns all over the world, and some tactics they brag about are questionable and would raise eyebrows in american politics. look at someget a internal documents. they talked about how they incited racial tensions in latvia, blaming russians for the economic problems. in trinidad, they said they used
a fake graffiti campaign. sprayad their operatives graffiti and their candidate said i am a man of the people, and it was all a set up. there is a lot of talk about fake news and misinformation. that is the interesting thing about this company. it has been successful in using psyops. they measure what is motivating people and what might help dissuade people from being radicalized. some of those have been effective, but some are the dirty tricks that are the lure of campaign bios and are questionable in u.s. politics.
oliver: it seems like their role in the u.s. election was to work with the trump campaign and figure out where they needed to place their energies. that seems to some degree a passive role, but as you point out, they have an active role in these other elections and have gone beyond that where they have begun assessing potential terrorists. talk to us about their clients and who pays them for their services. >> they have had a lot of success in working for the u.s. state department. they just gave them a contract to measure potentially radicalized youth in different countries where they are afraid of isis getting a hold of people. they are doing interviews, assessing social media feeds and
seeing what issues could make someone go towards isis or find a less destructive way to act out their political beliefs. they have been in other places and have used fake information campaigns, and that is the concern. psy-ops.y a lot of times intelligence agencies use fake news and propaganda, so the question is do we want our tax dollars paying for company which has used questionable tactics elsewhere. cambridge is the u.s. branch of the company that has done a lot of the questionable tactics. carol: a group of states attorney general have joined forces to resist trumps conservative agenda. oliver: we talked to matt phillips. >> with democrats outnumbered in congress, your real resistance is becoming this coalition of
aggressive blue state attorney generals that are unified against the trump agenda. they are on the offensive, suing, notching two victories on the travel ban attempts by the president, and they are feeling like they have some momentum and are looking forward to fighting on fronts from environmental regulation to repealing obamacare. oliver: take us back to the 101 level. as we have been following the president's executive orders, and that is where it's at. the pushback, we been following the pushback to those executive orders, judges, attorney generals, lawyers, talk us through what matters here. generalsthe attorney have been put there to do.
>> in february, a three-judge panel in the ninth circuit ruled in favor of a suit that was put by washington state attorney general bob ferguson that basically knocked down his first attempt at the travel ban. it was discriminatory plain and simple. rather than pushing and fighting towards the supreme court, they revised the travel ban and put it forth again. it was met immediately with another suit this time by the hawaii state attorney general who basically sued on the same front, calling it discriminatory. they won again a few hours before was set to go into effect on march 16. those are two for two and have stymied the president. the president certainly has some self-inflicted wounds in the first two months in office. the victories the democrats have been able to notch against him have come from these unified state attorney generals who are democrats. carol: let's talk about that unification among the democratic
ag's. there is a coordinated effort underway. you could see that coordination at play. >> that's right. this was the annual meeting of all state attorneys generals in washington at the ritz carlton. republican and democrat. the agenda is really boring and did not mention trump, but 10 or so democratic ag's took that as an opportunity to meet privately on the sidelines out of earshot and eyesight of their republican colleagues to strategize and talk tactics and how they could coordinate, join each other's lawsuits, how new york and california could work together and find common ground, and in a way they are taking a page out of the republican playbook and have used it effectively against president obama. carol: up next, why it is important to save cash rather than paying down debt or putting money into an ira. this is "bloomberg businessweek."
♪ oliver: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." i am oliver renick. carol: i am carol massar. you can also listen to us on the radio. in new york, boston, washington, d.c., and the bay area. in the focus on retirement section, why you may want to think twice before putting extra cash into your ira or 401(k). >> last year i paid off my student debt and was celebrating and reading a book by a guy called "the value of debt." he is somebody i have talked to before for other stories. he's a financial adviser in chicago. i was surprised by the advice he was giving me in the book, so i
asked him about it. the takeaway i had was that i was doing it wrong. i was putting a lot of money into my retirement accounts instead of putting more of my money in cash. his whole idea is that we need liquidity as we move through our careers. his main argument and what i read about in businessweek is that so many people end up locking up their money, pay down their mortgage, put their money in an ira or 401(k) and instead of having that cash available when there is an emergency, when there is an emergency, they panic and have to dip into equity in their home or are stuck. oliver: i'm all about that liquidity, right, but only to a certain extent. he does throw off the accepted knowledge of little bit. what is the common knowledge people had been using and where does he inject a new strain of thought? >> one of the issues with his advice is the counter argument
is that a mortgage or 401k is like a forced savings device. a lot of people, if they have money in the bank, will spend it. a are always going to find use for it. i think anderson is basically, his argument is we have to force ourselves to act rationally and find a way to segregate that money and put it somewhere where it will be available to us, but we will not be tempted to spend it. oliver: he basically says have a savings account, and no matter how much you are putting into it, put something in, even if it is five dollars, to get in the practice early on that it will not be locked up. it is about having something secure and not readily accessed, but not completely out of touch. >> he is all about a balanced path. he says if you are making a certain amount of money, there is a certain amount of debt you can have, savings you should have, and maybe there is a certain amount -- there is 401(k) and ira money you should have set aside as well. you don't want to overdo any one of those buckets.
and an exclusive encore performance by kelsea ballerini following the show on xfinity x1. the acm awards. live on sunday, april 2nd 8/7 central on cbs. ♪ oliver: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." i am oliver renick. carol: i am carol massar. still ahead, america's top diplomat has a penchant for going off the grid. oliver: a day trader with the side hustle with the fbi. carol: the creator of dilbert. oliver: that is still ahead on "bloomberg businessweek". ♪ oliver: we are back with editor in chief megan murphy to talk about must-read's in the magazine. let's talk about blockchain. tois not a very easy thing
understand. it is getting very important. tell us about why blockchain is in markets. megan: blockchain is one of those things you have heard about so much. this story focuses on this part of blockchain -- everybody knows bitcoin and how blockchain has created a more secure bitcoin, every transaction can be identified by a different set of numbers. the others to follow the way so that the currency is the motivator. so important about is you can exchange contracts, computer programs, and it is built into the blockchain. so why is it so important? instead of just being used as a crypto currency, it could be a way to program large parts of operations by exchanging these contracts between their own
systems and other people systems, and how much can simply automate. carol: you can tell it is important by the companies that are involved, big companies looking at it. airbus., megan: they are looking at it as the next manifestation of blockchain. the story talks how they were hacked and $16 million was stolen, whether it is secure enough, whether they should be changing the back code, so it is still controversial. if we are looking at blockchain becoming the real thing, this is in focus. carol: you take a look at this product that is to suppress sugar cravings. megan: this is one of my favorite quirky stories. this is a former big hedge fund guy who worked for gotham capital, and tells the story of how he said, there is a market. he thought if there was a way to reset my appetite before i had done that and not crave that sugar, what would it have been like. it tracks his journey to make the taste for sugar unpalatable would lead to not eating. his mints, what they do is make sugar tastes unpalatable. whether that will help is interesting. it is fascinating, the amount of research he went into, the science behind this product. it goes back to him eating 7
bar than he wanted to. oliver: it is interesting the way he applied some principles of his investing background. let's talk about the story in the futures section, an incredible story about this fbi cooperation. it seems like it's going to be a movie. what was your favorite part of the story? megan: at the beginning where this fbi informant, they want him to crack down on pump and dump schemes. i love at the beginning, they took them off an airplane, got him a cheeseburger at a diner and said you have two options, help us do this or go to jail. we will hand the case to a prosecutor with a 98% success rate. oliver: he says no, let's roll. carol: that's what is fascinating, he gets addicted to the informing. oliver: he gets addicted to sort of developing his method.
they talk about how at first he is obvious about the fact he is an informant. then he learns to hug his mark. tactics.echniques and carol: we got more on him. >> a trader tipped me off last year to look at this website, rogue informant. it is a picture of a guy getting off a private jet. the tipster said this website was made by someone named guy gentile. you should give him a call. i called him up and the first time we talked, he was so ready for a reporter to call. oliver: it is not a normal thing. >> it was bizarre. he was like, i have a story for you. it is like "wolf of wall street" meets "american hustle."
times a billion. oliver: at the time, what is his role? >> he runs an e*trade type company. called suretrader. he said he had spent the past four years working undercover for the fbi running sting operations to catch crooked traders. he had all this evidence and said he had a falling out with the fbi and wanted to tell the whole story of what happened, which is totally unusual. -- neverou neve and about these informants how things work. oliver: who did they want him to get? >> the main target was a lawyer who specialized in taking small companies public. he had a public offering,
something he had been doing for decades. i looked up all the info, is it mentioned his name and regulatory files. all the stock charts look the same. the fbi had spotted this pattern, but he was very careful, so they needed him on tape saying i am going to manipulate the stock. they could not just get him on these patterns they saw. oliver: did he have a relationship with gentile? >> they had worked together on one of the deals that he was in trouble for back in 2008, so the plan was gentile would call him and meet up and bring up this old deal and get him to say, good thing we did not get arrested for that one. it was a big scam. oliver: he was careful. >> it did not work. he was not playing ball on that, but did want to work with
gentile in the future, so he started talking about other deals. gentile loved being an informant, so he had all sorts of ideas. he said let's go after this guy. that guy owes me some money, let's get him. oliver: years transpired -- he still had his trading platform up, but was spending time pointing out people he worked with and bringing them to the fbi. >> he would talk with these agents every day and strategize about some targets, and the newark office is not the southern district of new york. they are not always bringing the biggest cases, and these agents did not have a ton of experience with these types of pump and dump cases, so he brought them some high-frequency trading stuff. he says the agents were excited that he could bring them these cases and bring them into the big leagues of securities fraud. oliver: up next, rex tillerson rewriting the rules on what it
♪ oliver: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." i am oliver renick. carol: i am carol massar. new rules and standards of rex tillerson. >> he is doing it differently than any secretary of state of the modern era. did as ceo ofs he years.or ten he is bringing a corporate mentality into the job and diplomacy where everything happens behind closed doors. negotiations are kept secret. the press has no utility.
they are a nuisance to be cut out rather than being used as a messaging tool. that cuts especially when compared to john kerry, who never met a camera he did not like. rex tillerson is the anti-john kerry. in almost every way. carol: he made some references to john kerry and soccer. oliver: that's right. john kerry was gregarious and loved the press and had a habit of kicking around a soccer ball on the tarmac of what ever airport he found himself with the press. rex tillerson's spokesperson said the days of kicking around a soccer ball on the tarmac are over. thatwhatever you will into but read whatever rex slimrson and his
job versusheir their predecessors. carol: that's interesting. this story points out that the past state department, or secretaries of state, have been part diplomat and part public relations person. rex tillerson does not seem to want to do any of that. >> that's right. you can count on one hand the times he gave outside their annual meeting gave press availability. he did not see a need and did not do it. he is doing basically the same thing with the state department. this is his first big trip abroad. he went to japan, south korea, and china and brought with him one reporter on the plane. there was a pool, but reporters had to line up their own transport and follow him around. for a lot of the trip, they had no sense of what he was up to, where he was, what was being said, no better sense than you or i had watching the tv.
so that is a marked difference kerry, hillary, condi any secretary of state, where you do travel with a pool, keep them on the plane could sometimes you chat them up off the record or on background, but rex tillerson sees no value in that. he has a smaller plane. it flies faster than the 757 john kerry liked to fly in. carol: not a lot of room for other reporters. >> that's right. oliver: in the features section, our profile of dilbert creator scott adams. carol: including his unique outlook and habits. reporter: dilbert has been around for three decades. i think he is a staple of office
culture, but a lot of people don't know who he is and were surprised when he resurfaced during the campaign as one of the first people to predict that donald trump would win the election. our goal was to go to california and find out who is scott adams, what was his interest in the presidency come what has he been up to. oliver: tell us what he has been doing. obviously, dilbert was a huge comic strip, still published, very popular around the tech boom. what has he been doing now in addition to keeping the comic strip going? are aer: if you sydicated cartoonist, you are set for life. he has gone well beyond cartoons to write best-selling business
books, blogging regularly, and it turns out he is fascinated with persuasion and has been for his entire life. he saw trump as a fellow master persuader and started writing about him on a daily basis. oliver: what is the form he is writing in? who is he writing to and ultimately, what is he writing about? >> he is writing to an ever-growing audience. when he started, he was getting 10,000 to 12,000 hits a day. these days, 450,000. it is an interesting read, because as the campaign was progressing, trump was saying things that people thought were not statesmanlike, offensive, and often scott adams would think they were brilliant persuasion techniques, that trump was a political savant. oliver: it is interesting because he was one of the, of whether are not you agree or disagree with trump, his
prediction that trump will win turned out to be true. >> right, which he is very happy about. he has a book deal now, although he says speaking engagements have dried up. he said he was always getting invitations on a weekly basis and that now nobody wants him to speak. oliver: because of his pro-trump stances. >> exactly. he said he was not endorsing trump at first, although he did have disparaging posts about clinton, but he did endorse trump and put up lists of things that trump supporters could do to convert clinton supporters, but he did not vote. oliver: he did not cast his vote.
toward of pinned that ignorance of the voter in general. >> he says the average citizen, including him, does not know enough about international affairs, economics, and science to cast a vote, but he's still feels that it is important enough that he apparently wants to influence the vote. oliver: up next, worried about disappearing honeybees? you are not alone. and the answer might involve drones. carol: will the iphone survive augmented reality? oliver: that is ahead on "bloomberg businessweek." ♪
washington, d.c., and the bay aea. carol: in the technology section, a butterfly-sized drone that could be exactly what mother nature ordered. >> a researcher at the national institute of advanced science technology in japan has developed adhesive jellies, conductive gels and liquids, and started to repurpose them as a means of pollinating flowers. concerned about decades worth of devastation to the world bee population. oliver: is this a surrogate for the bees that is driving this? >> these drones this guy is attaching the adhesive to is about the size of butterflies. the end goal is to make them
autonomous enough to complement the bee population. oliver: tell us about the actual technology. you guys got some cool photos in the magazine. it lookssort of what is., what size it tell us about where the adhesive fits into it. >> the drone is about the size of a butterfly. the end game is to get to the point where they are more autonomous. he puts the gel he has developed on the underside of the drone and as he pilots it from flower to flower, the adhesive will pick up pollen grains on contact pistils and stamens and then deposit those pollen grains once it comes into contact with the next flower.
oliver: how does this drone compare? you guys have been covering this technology as it has emerged. have you heard of anything like this before? >> this is a new one on us. a lot of the technology you hear about is the pentagon or commercial quad copters, $800 drones that people can pilot around the park. oliver: do we know where his funding comes from? >> for the most part, to his wife's chagrin, he took the initial funding out of his own pocket, but now has got grant money. technologyse societies. oliver: you have got basically the resin here. is that where his research began? do we know how it was being applied before? >> he was in the adhesive business for a while, and had been developing gels designed to be electroconductive, so when he started thinking about the bee problem, one of the gels he had invented seemed to dovetail with
picking up and releasing pollen grains. oliver: also, tim cook is betting augmented reality can keep his company on top. >> it is a huge bet. they have several hundred people. they made acquisitions. they are making this known as their next technology. up.cook has talked it they have talked about a lot of stuff, ai, self driving cars, icloud, and ar. he has mentioned it everywhere from financial conferences to a tech conference at year ago and salt lake city, utah. world really gone on a tour talking about this technology.
i think it will be core to the next series of apple products. oliver: what do those products look like? hardware, software, games and apps on your phone, or would they go into a new type of device? >> i think it will be a mix of all of those things. definitely glasses are in development. there are ai glasses on the market. these usually cause north of $1000. of thes a little out normal consumer price range. an iphone starts at around $700, and those are very powerful. you have to connect them to a pc to get the graphics horsepower. on the other end of the spectrum, the samsung gear vr. google glass was $1500 through a beta program. they need to strike a balance and make something that is not very expensive, but also very powerful and not flimsy, so we will see if they can pull that off. carol: you put a note in your story that tim cook likened
augmented reality to its game changing potential to that of the smartphone. he thinks this is truly a game changer for the company. this is important for apple, a company that gets the bulk of its earnings from the iphone, but he is putting it on that kind of level. >> the thing about the iphone that made it unique is that it went well beyond the phone and kicked off an ecosystem, ipad, many products and services that the company makes its money from now that are here because of the iphone. he is looking at ar in the same way. up a door to many - products.
it is not just a singular product. augmented reality can be fed into software, create its own gaming ecosystem. on the hardware side, we will see glasses and other ar products down the road, so it will be court to a new generation of products and services, just like the iphone when it was released in 2007 created this next decade of other products built around that ecosystem. carol: "bloomberg businessweek" is available on newsstands now. oliver: what was your favorite story? carol: i was moved by the cover story. auto parts manufacturers in the american south. we have seen the growth of this industry in the south because of tax breaks that have been good for the local economy, but not necessarily the workers there. some are getting hurt, some losing their lives. a brutal, tragic story. how about you? oliver: the story about the former day trader. it is so funny. it is a great story and sheds light on the malfeasance that goes on on wall street, but a great personal story about a guy fancying himself being a secret agent himself.
♪ caroline: i am caroline hyde. this is the "best of bloomberg technology." coming up, we head to las vegas, nevada for ibm's interconnected conference and speak with ibm ceo ginni rometty on everything from the cloud to ibm's partnership with wanda. at the same time, marc benioff says the window for acquisitions is closing. and