tv [untitled] CSPAN June 6, 2009 12:30pm-1:00pm EDT
talk about protectionism. i don't hear anyone, left, right, african, from the united states, anywhere who argue for protection. but the question is, you know, do we really have to charge of brazil 26% on the bonds that they sell these are the kind of questions i think that talk about, get to the heart of, you know, the system being very rigged against working-class people. so finally that may just end by talking very quickly about chile. there is a myth of chili that chile is this sort of robust, has this robust economy and that this is because it is the most wide open market-driven economy certainly in latin america but really in the developed world, in the developed world. and that's not true. what you see in chile is really sort of a harbinger of what happened after 1973 all around the world, including here.
after the overthrow of the government, democratically elected government, while actually there were planes overhead outside, basically the chilean bombing of the presidential palace, he was printing right down the street this 500 page blueprint of how he sorted wanted to reorient their economic system which is modeled very much on the university of chicago economic ideal. what they did was they created the economy that we have now. they created an economy where they saw boom and bust, cycles of boom and bust. the economy would grow because basically hot money, what economists call hot money flowing in the country. this is the money in the market, the capital markets. overheating the economy and they would pull out just quickly when investors want to pull a. they were privatizing, they were deregulating and what they saw
was this almost balto economy. 17 years really of boom and bust economy. and at one point been unemployed rate of 33%. in 1990, they had a plight to get rid of the general. they pull back immediately from this model. what we have seen in chile for the last almost 20 years now is a system based on manufacture, producing. is not perfect. they still have any quality. they start issues but essentially while the rest of the world were cutting money for education, they were deregulating the labor laws. chile was doing the exact opposite. they doubled the money they spent on education between 1990 and 2004, i think. deregulate the labor. they went back and regulated labor markets more than ever. at least in 2004, i think it's still true, the highest minimum wage in south america.
they spent more money on transfer of technology, how they created the salmon industry. the government invested money to the salmon farming research and they employed 100,000 people. so this is the point i'm trying to make which is that, you know, you -- globalization is not inevitable. we have made some very hard choices. they are bad choices. people have known what the results are going to be, and that's exactly what we've got. [applause] >> i would like to ask the first question to each of our authors and then opening it up to all of you. kim bobo, wage theft in america. as i read it seemed to me that the book is about the way the neoliberal world that john just described is cheating on the old laws that were passed in the
1930s like the fair labor standards act, and you are acting for pushing back. i wonder if you think in the day, in today's political climate we could pass the fair labor's standard act again if it didn't exist. and maybe the problem is that we don't have the political will in this country to reenact a law that we are no longer enforcing. what do you think? >> i think it would be hard to pass something quite as revolutionary as it was at the time, something right now. because they had had, frankly, a number of years sort of a building up of a labor movement and the strengthening of the engagement of the religious community in these issues. they had a very vivid and vital settlement house movement. on the other hand, when they
started the 1930s, nobody thought they could pass something like that. so it changed very quickly. and it feels to me like -- we could not pass something quite as revolutionary as the fair labor's standard act this moment. however, i think we can make some modest changes in the next year on it. however, if we rebuild some of these institutions over the next few years, particularly if the employee free choice act passes, we get a stronger movement, we reengage more of a community, we strengthen these workers and is. we give workers a sense that frankly you can't fight back and not be crushed. you know, we could see i think a change in moment in the nation in a very short period of time, several, four or five years, that would allow us to kind of take the next jump which is clearly what we have to do. i mean, we are working under labor laws that were passed in the 1930s. they were revolutionary at that moment but not exactly for now.
so we absolutely got to ratchet it up if we are going to improve standards in the workplace. and i'm hopeful that this is that moment where we can really make significant changes. >> john, a question for you. there were many lines in this book that i scribbled. i once saw someone going through books or people that he interviewed and just marking them up and i thought that was sacrilege and last night i found myself scribbling on your book. but there were two that i am picking at random here that i would like you to comment on. this one is early in the book where you quote a woman or man in africa i believe who said that before globalization there was nothing on their shelves, that people had money in their pockets. now there's everything on the shelves that people have no money. and the second line which really struck me is towards the end of
the book where you quote an economist saying something that seems so counterintuitive to us. the economist is saying you don't want to much money coming into your country. you won't really just enough to comment that you can use for development, job training, improving the productivity of the country but no more. i'm not quoting him exactly. i wonder if you could comment on the connection between those two quotes there. >> that's a good question. the quote from the woman in africa. i think i did quote directly a woman from africa before when i had more socialist economy, they had nothing on the shelves but everyone was working. everyone had money. and now of course there's everything on the shelves but there is no money. that sequel that actually heard i'm sure i heard in three or more different way which is. you here in zambia or mozambique would add kind of socialistic economies but also in argentina where it was more based it was what they call import substitution so basically everything that the country
needed, they may. and so these kinds of economies generated, that kept out foreign goods so there wasn't that much on the shelf, wasn't that much choice but everyone was working, producing these goods. so there's a trade off there that i was trying to get you, and how that relates to the second quote about -- what was the second quote? >> you don't want to much -- >> right. is chile's economy after 1990 had one real guiding principle in mind, productivity. every dollar you spend, every -- the entire economy was geared towards producing something. you know, as spending money on investing money in productive workers. production, it sounds sort of unsexy in 2009. you know, it's not speculation. it's not gambling on your housing price is going to double over five years.
every day making something, you know, making something that requires skills, skilled labor and selling it. so this is the connection. i don't want to make in this book any kind of etiological choice. i don't believe there is any sort of hard, fast ideological choice to be made here. the economies that work are a lot messier. they combined, they combined sort of free-market ideas with ideas that are more sort of inward looking. so, you know, investing money is not sort of an ideal to free-market. investing money in education. that is how you make an economy work is sort of -- the first country that does it a giveaway will be the first country in history to do it, to be successful in making an economy work without making it productive, producing something. >> i would like to open this up to any questions for the audience but first i want to tell you a little rule that i learned in law school. they pounded this into us in law school.
never, never, never, as a lawyer in a courtroom, never, never, ask a question over 15 words. so that's how you got goldstar in our law school class. so keeping the gold star rule in mind i would like to open it up to questions. for either jim or jon. >> i have a question for anyone of you. i'm a yellow dog democrat and i embarrassed by my party, and i don't know why the labor union still sticks with them because they were in charge of congress for 40 years, and during those 40 years the union's power went down, down, down. what are we going to do about this thing? >> the question is what are we going to do about the decline of unions, even though democrats, liberal democrats are in charge. and i think both kim and jon's
books have a lot of fodder for those issues. kim i will let you go first. >> you know, the easiest response right now is that we need to pass the employee free choice act. it would make easier for workers to organize, to get a first contract, and punish those who harass and fire workers when they try to organize. so, you know, this is the most significant labor law change that we've seen in serious conversation ended, i don't know decades, right? so clearly i think the first and easiest response is we should pass the employees free choice act. >> jon. >> i think that's exactly right. even though, i think that is a law that could really revolutionize how we work your and to rearrange our society in terms of where the power is so i agree with kim. that act is a huge deal.
>> next question. >> i know we are supposed to keep this for 15 minutes. >> you can go over 15 words. >> with all this money that is thrown around i people against this free choice act, i mean what percentage is it? it's a ton of money. and it's not going to happen. i do not believe, and i think we all put all our effort into this, but i just can't see anything really come out of the obama administration, or we don't get anything in the news. i mean, you've got to read the left-wing magazines to find out how much of this is going on. and i'm thinking these government jobs in washington must be great because nobody ever seems to want to quit. [laughter] >> and there's never any damn thing in the paper about their great pensions and their healthcare and their kids being set up and all of this. and we can all get together and
talk, where white people, so we've got advantage, you know, and i just don't seem -- you know, we're ahead of the game. we're ahead of the people that work in these factories and want to do better by their children. everybody wants this. we're all human beings, but to just be good doesn't seem to me to get it. and, you know, here we are now. we got obama. we put this big effort into all that. he's going for everything we don't like. we've got like what, 10 or 12 democrats that vote republican including max baucus who is ahead of this thing we can have a single-payer healthcare. i mean it's just nuts and i mean we are all mean well but what do we do? >> i've been intimately involved in this employee free choice act. we've got 200 religious leaders signed on, supporting f-efka and colorado. we've been in all the swing
states. i'm more optimistic or going to win something then you are at this moment. i hope i'm right and you're wrong. again, i don't think it's going to pass exactly like it is, but there are some very high level conversations going on right now also cover miser that frankly seemed pretty good to me. so i'm pretty optimistic were going to get something. i have never in my lifetime seen labor, despite all the craziness going on in the labor movement right now, which there's a fair amount, i have never seen them so united around a bill as they have been on this. it's been very impressive actually. no one thought it would pass the house get it passed the house of representatives. no one thought it could get close in the senate. it's close. i think we're going to get something. >> can i say very quickly, i feel some of your despair sometimes myself, but one thing that i want to keep in mind.
i think it's important to keep in mind, there's a tough road, it's a tough hill to climb here but if you look at countries like bolivia, this is a country that 50 years ago it wasn't even a country to it was a company. half the people were indigenous. a word even people. paperworkers. they were assets on a ledger sheet somewhere, and they had a president, if things are perfect, but they have a president who is responsive to the now. if that's not sort of instructor, hopefully its inspiration and a reason not to be despairing to the point of just sort of surrender. >> in this digital age we are only allowed to have one more question, is that right? one more question. >> it better be good. >> i'm sure it is. >> did you speak to the fact that something has happened within the last 20, 30 years with the american public to make them feel that they no longer
need to labor unions, and to not have a sense of those who have risen to the managerial professional class, that if they did that on the backs of the good union jobs that their parents had, etc. and also even those who are still benefiting from unions like teachers are often not pro- labor at all. and is that turning around or how can that be turned around because if those people will turn around, then the employee free choice act will pass because those are the people with the power. >> yeah, there are clearly a lot of very negative images of labor out of. some of which, you know, labor hasn't always done what it should do, right? so some of which is labor's fault. a lot of which is the fact that we have a very aggressive business community that has a very antiunion culture. that has attacked the unions,
that has when they have owned newspapers, have cut out the labor reporters. you know, even here in chicago right, we now have no labor reporter, and the chicago tribune every time they talk about labor unions, they call them, the leaders they called and union bosses. what's that about, right? so, you know, we had this kind of culture that's kind of created this antiunion thing, and as folks have gotten farther away from personal experiences with unions, and they just have sort of the cultural, antiunion stuff out there, they just don't know. i run into an programs with seminary students, and i'll have no one in the room that grew up in a union household. and they will say, now what exactly is a union anyway? they don't know. >> thank you all for coming. i do many of you have more questions. please come and see our authors. >> and sign and get our books in the room next door.
>> this is happening in new york city, and one of the publishers that is here is chicago review press, elizabeth is the publicity director. tell us about some other books that you have coming up. we have a couple of fantastic books on the fall 2000 minus. first we have a wonderful book by ned. he is the author of cuba and its music as well as of the world that made new orleans. and as he was working on the world that made new orleans he also began writing his memoir of writing it. and that is the year before the flood and it tells literally about as he was living in new orleans in the french quarter, the things that he discovered there, the people that he encountered, especially the musical history which is really his forte's neck is a beautiful book and it will be coming out on august the ninth which is the four year anniversary of hurricane katrina. and they may also have a book
which is a young adult narrative, he is the cousin of emmett till's. he was there during the emmett till's line and this is his story as written for young adults so they understand the historical importance for the civil rights movement. and justice and peace. >> when is that coming out? >> that will be later on this fall just-in-time for our january for black history month. >> what is boomtown? >> it is a really interesting case study the way wal-mart change bentonville, arkansas. the way the sociological expiration of those economic expiration, how it immigration changes from within a class society, have gone through with large corporation and how it is actually brought a lot of diversity to the company. >> and finally i want to ask you about one more book over your shoulder, absent. >> this is our best selling author.
he writes for make magazine and does a lot of dy i. he is known as mciver. in fact the founder of mciver says if you want to know where he lives now, he lives in minneapolis, minnesota. this book is how to live dangerously really, and it explains a wide variety of different projects that you can actually do that are very dangerous. making your own flamethrower, but also going through and how to use a lasso, how to use a bullwhip, things of that nature. he wrote backyard ballistics which is a fantastic diy book about how to build a catapult in your own backyard and things of that nature. this also talks about the philosophical reason for why you should live on the edge on how it can bring joy and excitement are like. >> and tell us a little bit about chicago review press. >> it was founded in the early 70s, and it is prides itself on our independent program. we do a wide variety of both fiction as well as nonfiction. our fiction is classic reissues.
we have a wide variety of books that have gone out of print and that we are bringing back for the beloved fans. than we do a wide variety of nonfiction popular science. we have lawrence hill books. this is our imprints that focuses on feminism, peace, justice, african-american interest and latino interest. we do kids books. we have a fantastic for kids series that takes 25 projects and looks at in particular largest oracle figures, mark twain, benjamin franklin. we do kids guide series that looks at historic abuses, all wonderful for educators, homeschoolers curriculum. and then we do serious nonfiction, a lot of journalism pieces that we have on anything from finance to pop-culture. and we have fun arts and entertainment titles that we also do. we really embody the express. >> associated with the university?
>> know, chicago review press is actually the parent company to independent publishers group, which is a large distribution company that has a wide variety of publishers that we distribute here in north america, and chicago review press is kind of our publishing editorial on. >> we've been talking with elizabeth malzahn of chicago review press. >> this summer bookie is asking what are you reading? >> this summer in addition to a big stack of pretty trashy novels i have a couple of other books on my nightstand table. first of all i want to read a homemade life, stories and recipes for my kitchen table. she is a really fantastic food blogger. her blog is called orange and she is also a columnist for bon appétit magazine.
i'm excited to read her book. next up is handed this gets posted scans and other southern specialties. and entertaining life with recipes. and as by julia reith, a fantastic vogue writer and it's a recollection of her southern upbringing. i love reading the food books in the summer. and then something a little more serious. it's called a plain honest man, the making of the american constitution. and that chronicles the constitutional convention. also on my serious reading book is the hamman says. and then just for a little break since i didn't get to paris this year i like to read about it and i picked up a fantastic guidebook from a funky little german press called passion. they give fantastic design and art books. i'm reading passions pairs. so that's my summer reading
list. book tv is asking what are you reading. >> well, actually my entire staff is reading the road to serfdom. we felt that at this time of new introduction by president obama economic planning for the nation, it was time we went back to the 1940s and learn from one of the best economist in the history of the nation. about the downfalls of economic
planning. so each week at our staff meeting we have one staff member who summarized a chapter or two and we talk about it and how it relates to current events, and these new planning temptations that the democrats, and a few republicans, are trying to voice on america. what's one thing that you have learned rereading? well, maybe it's just sort of this notion that you have to learn from history. you have to look back. he talked a lot about what happened during world war ii and prior to it ,-com,-comma and how things that were done in time of emergency, perhaps some people justified but then they continued in the central planning which was so detrimental to the economy's and to the freedom of people all over europe. and when you look at what president obama is proposing to do now in terms of taking so much money from people in terms of oh, everything is going to be free, your education through college, your healthcare, we
know it doesn't work. we know there's not enough money and we know that any government that gives you everything and take everything from you, including your freedom. so our staff is learning a lot about it, and then we take what we learn and we pass it onto the young women that we focus on at the institute. >> had he done this in the past, this staff reading or is this a new thing? >> not as much. we do it with our interns in the summer to get them reading the conservative classics, but as a staff we just feel tremendous fear and worry about what's happening to our nation, and we want to be sure that we are fully articulate, conversed on it so we can help young women that we work with on college campuses to understand what's happening also.