tv [untitled] CSPAN June 7, 2009 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
we are at the meeting of the organization of american historians in seattle. in >> afterwards and several other c-span programs are available for download at podcasts. more with bethany moreton and nancy maclean in a moment. after words with bethany moreton and nancy maclean continues. >> host: welcome back to booktv after words, i am a nancy maclean, historian of the 20th-century united states at northwestern university and the author of a book called "freedom is not enough: the opening of the american workplace".
which looks of the struggles for equality in the workplace by various groups after world war ii beginning with african-americans, mexican-americans and women in the conservative responses to those and looks at how those really reshaping of politics over the last 50 years. and i think through the research on that but i somehow came to be sitting in this chair having the chance to encounter a wonderful new book by bethany moreton who is here to talk about her book "to serve god and wal-mart: the making of christian free enterprise". which is just now been published by harvard university press. and one of the things that you touched on in the earlier half of our discussion that we didn't really get into in depth but i want to focus on now is this whole issue of religion. it this was news to me, this association between wal-mart and religion and just how powerful is in the history of the growth of this corporation. i confess, i'm something of an
innocent of jesus as the son of god, and you somehow talked about wal-mart promoting free enterprise as christian service. that is a challenging concept for made -- free enterprise as a christian service you make a very strong case for how important evangelical christianity has been in the rise of this megacorporation. could you tell our listeners something about that iraq's? this man i didn't go looking for religion, it was a surprise for me as well ralph reed said at the head in of one of the largest evangelical organizations in the country said of two years ago that if you want to find, if you want to reach evangelicals on sunday obviously is a from the pulpit but everyone to read to them on saturday you go to wal-mart. and his association between the company and evangelicalism in this country is very clear in the stores, it is just not part
of the companies over itself presentation and is not, in fact, part of the original wal-mart family on history. there were not, in fact, the evangelical activists in any way, bearing in mind protestants, but people in the stores again have a kind of change the meaning above the shopping, service work, and of this large corporation on the planet to be red magic christian story. a story about what to do for other people recognition that is the work of service as work and can be a labor of love and and that there are for many christians very ennobling associations with that. when i first turn and encountering people kind of bringing me to this, i started going to churches where many wal-mart . >> host: you're like an anthropologist rather than historian. >> guest: there are a lot of
people invited me a long to different churches to sort of see our image of evangelical it maggot churches, these very large churches that have grown up on the sun belt over the last 30 years, churches that organize all kinds of community life for people who are increasingly, of course, living in suburbs, driving a great deal of the time, shopping at wal-mart, and these are institutions that kind of a parallel in a way wal-mart on growth in making the work of serving other people the central tenants one of the things that you see that many scholars have written about is changes in speed to christianity in the last 30 or 40 years has been increasing emphasis of the relationship, the people skills, the personal relationship with jesus that people talk about in the churches is now much more important for most christians
that we think of as dogma and fixed rules and careful separation among different denominations. there has been a move for the experian shall sign of worship and people read the same advice in wal-mart stores and offices and in the churches that many of these managers and front-line workers were going through for the same advice and the same sense of what they want to do within these institutions to bring people together and have a experiences rather than a kind of regimented the formulaic experience. for the women working in wal-mart the maid service essential to the company's own egos, there may well in christian circles we've reconfigured christian family life so at one point in the '80s wal-mart is employing a director
of a marriage and family living who is giving advice to managers and saying, go home of the work that your wife is doing in the household, she's probably got a job and this is now the norm for everyone. but yet she comes home and she put herself out there, she does this work for you and your children and makes your house a nice place to be. why the u.s. in mustachios you that were? down to have enough sense to come home and banker? don't you have enough sense to come home and banker, and using this recognition of that female work and he is saying directly to the managers, do that in the workplace. recognize that the work the women are doing for you in the home and on the job both deserve recognition and praise. doesn't mean you are supposed to do it, it doesn't mean it is supposed to be particularly well remunerated, but it does mean that is her proper role paillette is a role that is ennobling, that merits praise,
and so the whole shift in many branches of evangelical christianity towards the mission and had ship as a way to describe a women's relationships to their husbands as of this real parallel and there is definitely talking to each other in the service work places. that says these values of caring and service our import for women and men. these are the supreme christian values that people who are doing them best are these women in your home and workplace and you need to affirm that and prays that and recognize that, and you are still in charge is still the decision maker. the male head, the male manager, but the real work here is to the work of service. >> host: you and i work in more places that are tied a gender neutral that are technically open as your own work shows and yet that is not what we here at work.
right? to add to give evangelical women credits for experiencing and transforming this they don't even have a maternity leave and there is no recognition those are part of all of our work lives now. the evangelical relationships at home and work there is a great deal of recognition for that there is a victory that has not yet been won in the larger culture and not been completely one anywhere, but when we look at what is lacking in these workplaces and the settings it is a sense of what has been accomplished. >> host: that was one of the things i found most are resting in the book and just really made me sit back and think because you do show that, how these women who have a really we can play is so incredibly well and by these resources and what their company needs, and in
their churches in order to kind of renegotiate the terms of the relationships with these men who are much more powerful than they are in their lives whether it is their managers on the shop floor or weather husbands at home. i thought that was a very, it was new to me to think about it in that way in a very respectful treatment that really i would say they seem to be almost the emotional core of your book -- the women who are the shoppers and workers at wal-mart where are the majority of the people in the pews and these evangelicals churches and what you're showing us is they are finding in favor of a resource that lets them navigate this pretty cruel new economy where they don't have much provided for them and don't have many resources. you do that nicely but you also have a very critical engine in this book on some of the dimensions of other dimensions of christianity in the ways that it has been harnessed by very powerful economic factors and
some of you could talk a little about that side to because there's a very apathetic ridge trail of what is going on at the grassroots but at the same time you show the funding of some very conservative christian average and expansion of those efforts -- could you talk a little bit about that side of it and the ways in which -- i don't mean to put this to prove they, but certain interpretation of evangelicalism end of god end of that believers relationship to god. it works really well for the republican right larger projects >> guest: people have talked about this so much, had to get, on the one hand, as consolation of values about religious conservatism among iran issues of social control frankly. if you think of homosexuality and abortion as a the two hot button issues, how that particular set of concerns became so closely intertwined with a particular economic
vision when there is not on the service of that unnecessary connection there and historically there hasn't always been a connection there is of a question for many people in productive work thinking about this is how did those get together and what i found some revelatory was just how necessary that connection was on the level of we are living in a moment where there are not so many state services as there were a generation ago, were two go for care and where do go for delivery of services, you go to families and the rise of imprints and the families parallels the diminution of public services so there is that logical connection but that also forced wal-mart and again this was in part for standing by the research model that if you can walk into the company and walked out with their file cabinets where you go, and where i went west to the philanthropic efforts that they funded of
those probably most important ones have a students and free enterprise. >> host: i wanted to ask about that because young people play an interesting role. >> guest: uc generations moving from farms. of a service jobs or management jobs and where they go to serve it -- small christian colleges tiller business and become white-collar professionals and so wal-mart funded through a variety of vehicles a number of small christian colleges and arkansas and the evangelical sunbelt cos more generally have these relationships with many of these colleges throughout the sun belt of promoting what i call christian free enterprise the colleges of business in these christian colleges. and so one part of the book i spend in prison business schools looking at what is being taught
and. they were marvelous places to study. have these and many values of service come to be attached to this particular economic vision of free enterprise and a lot of as -- is not a foreordained. a small christian colleges are without an office support base. they don't have all the alumni, they can't win a particle accelerator or robotics laboratory when despite suddenly means there's all this funding for research. it is not a small college that will get in a small cup christian college so were they go and so they find client bases on the sun belt businessmen, a christian businessman largely many of themselves don't have a college education. this is untrue of sam walton who was a college education and the emperor some of that respect and they say we value what you do,
we thank you could have a hand in shaping this new economic reality to the sun belt and the southwest. so wal-mart did this through these colleges and to this organization students of free enterprise which actually has that much longer history in texas that i get into but which essentially was a vehicle for having grassroots campus activism in favor of free-market capitalism. >> host: we all think of the '60s and a been left wing and radical. >> guest: here are the students at dean parks cheering for capitalism and the use those terms and of other point is they avoided but they use capitalism as underlining the late '60s. they have a voice and is going to go down every lead in the hands of people at columbia university or berkeley.
the country needs according to them coming in these good values coming out of christian business schools and coming out of it the experience of these young people going out essentially door to door trying to drum up support for capitalism so they would have is marvelously greater projects with a wooden show for example -- they would show host i tell the pencil story is my this marvelous dramatization of one of milton friedman's models and about why the invisible hand is such an miraculously elements, why the market, the track that the market can organize all these economic forces so milton friedman deploys this fable of the pencil. leonard reed writes the slow story about how simple pen sold, this very commonplace consumer
item really shows you that the people who make their graphite and the people who mail the what and so forth, they don't know how to put it all together, they don't know how to make a pencil and market it and move it around the world. and yet through the magic of the market this comes together and we're able -- right, so students take the story which was popularized by milton friedman and his theory and one student group him with a giant step dancing pencil then went around to students. >> host: it was a big hit. >> guest: who wouldn't love that? who wouldn't be thrilled to end by these young pro capitalist activists, many from christian colleges and a majority of these colleges, to come in and teach schoolchildren about the magic of the market and about economic citizenship and how all sorts of american values are rooted in
private property. these are concepts that can be transmitted in a very simple format as entertainment. these are idealistic people, but the same generation as the '60s and many of them christians. they have a sense of greater purpose and someone puts in front of them an economic vision and says, this is -- they know said this is how to get better province, they don't say this is how to rule the world to the world's largest company, they said this is how to make people's lives better. you can be an agent of making people's lives better by helping transform the world in the image of free enterprise. and you know, idealistic energetic intelligent young people want to do that and go out and down the line may end up parking for wal-mart many of them, but they believe very strongly that are making people live as good a beer and i have the minister's friend who said he was trying to present to an
audience of muammar managers and say he is episcopalian and saying there are some problems with consumption with american consumption and this model that wal-mart itself promotes. in an these largely evangelical managers were all up in arms and said to him, you don't understand, we are bringing things to people that no one else would bring them. everyone it wrote off whirl america as a sinkhole. we are actually performing a service for people and have got to respect that. >> host: let me jump in here and reminder listeners we are talking to bethany moreton, the author of "to serve god and wal-mart: the making of christian free enterprise", which has been released by harvard university press and we're here of the organization of american historians and no meeting in seattle having a discussion. you have been telling us the best is for free enterprise in this intriguing story of how the christian colleges got funding. it is kind of a happy story in some ways. the schools got funding and
these kids out business jobs, but then you take a very dark turn in a letter chapters and you show us this model getting it exploited internationally and in particular you talk about this expansion into central america at the time when there were essentially the civil wars going on in places like el salvador and guatemala and nicaragua. can you take as to what happens there because i think we knew that counterbalance, one of the strains of the book is how you handle both sides but i think the stores might be really interested to know what the international side of the story is and the christian free enterprise. >> guest: the central american story was on a completely surprised me when it came upon a and again this was a philanthropic outrage of the walton family, the founding family of wal-mart. where during the early and mid-80's when it jeanne kirkpatrick was telling us as central america was the most important place on earth because of their communism was facing
down free enterprise right in america's backyard as people said of the time and the waltons got interested in this. they have business connections in panama and travel to the area. he. >> and set up a scholarship program. to bring young people from central america that they were afraid or in danger of being won over to come as some up to arkansas to study and christian colleges to study business, marketing, these kinds of a free-market oriented disciplines and then to go back to central america and help build a sort of pro american pro u.s. pro free-market alternative two that. now, that is one way to tell a story, but if you know the history and central america and the '80s, it is as you say a much darker story. the u.s. was deeply involved in
creating and propping up dictatorships throughout the region that were grossly viciously murderously lacking in respect for human life for any sort of values of freedom that we would recognize as such. and this story seen from this angle is really interesting and is much more sinister because not because wal-mart had any direct connection with that history and that is important the evangelical right did have a direct connection and many cases with some of these repressive regimes in central america and enthusiastically bringing supports and material support to to some of these regimes. wal-mart itself had no direct connection there, but what disappears and is restoring of young people coming to the u.s., learning business, christian values in bringing them home, it
is how necessary the literal physical extermination -- a smack the part about guatemala about the whole progressive intellectual class and students are wiped out, the people who believed in liberation of theology. >> guest: you don't have to win the argument, you kill the people, don't their bodies of the leftist universities and there is a vacuum. into that vacuum people who have been trained very different models and to have a personal experience of the chaos and misery of a war-torn country in the '80s can step up and say here is an alternative. many of these people work very hard to spread that the values and the models that they learned and, of course, now wal-mart has expanded into central america, the central american free trade agreement as part of the picture, so it is important to
recognize what is necessary for this economic position in frequently terrorism. there is no other word for it. in. >> host: i will say that you have quite a stunning evidence in the book so i was persuaded. i know we have only a few more minutes and i wanted to ask you about this because my own home city of chicago was one of the places where there was a big huge white of years back about the fighting of the wal-mart stores, to stores in chicago and was a big local protest on the part of people we thought that this was going to drive out local businesses, it was going to lower wages and depress wages in the city and on the other side there were people saying these are stores coming into port communities, bringing bargain prices that hard-pressed families needed. what do you do without? you have written a book that gives a long story about wal-mart, how does it affect you
personally? where do you stand? >> guest: i was actually in chicago for that fight and it was fascinating because i guess it was that a city council meeting with a representative from the area of chicago where the stores have been sound given exemptions allowed to come in was facing off now against critics of wal-mart who have the data. wal-mart doesn't create jobs, it cannibalizes jobs just like any retailer does. you just shot summer else, it is not a new job, in fact, sometimes of the net effect is a loss. but what she said it is really important and people who support labor, who have problems with the wal-mart model ought to listen because what she said the, i didn't hear any of you all and this goes back to your own book, saying in the '50s when the jobs on offer were stable, paid a living wage, had benefits, have pensions, i didn't hear any of you people
saying in that of those jobs are to be the ones we were invited into because it was a black neighborhood in chicago that was bringing wal-mart in this particular instance. and she said and now this is what is left. you know, and so you are reaping in a sense she is saying, you are reaping the whirlwind here of having fought so hard to keep those stable jobs to preserve the minority of american workers. of men, white people, northerners, and that worked great for you regeneration and is not going to cut it now. so i think that particular critique, that's sort of a no-win face-off simply goes back to your own work to the point that if there is fine to be a viable liberal alternative it is going to have to be much more inclusive vision that doesn't think that only certain people deserve to be able to make a
living by the work they do. that only certain kinds of people deserve benefits and living wages. it's got to be more inclusive. >> guest: i think that a separate place to wrap up. thank you so much bethany moreton, the author of the "to serve god and wal-mart: the making of christian free enterprise". which is just now being released by harvard university press, is a terrific grade. we just skim the surface here so i urge you all to look for it because it is fascinating work so congratulations to you. thank you for listening to after words. >> this summer booktv is asking, what are you reading practice. >> senator mitch mcconnell, what is on your summer reading list? >> i finished a couple books i would highly recommend, john mecham viagra via dandridge jackson. which is fairly recently out.
a fabulous different look at andrew jackson from previous biographies about i have read of him and i have read several. it really focuses mostly on his presidential years and also a good deal about his personal life, how a poor and his family was. his wife died right after his election and so was never in the white house, but he had a collection of relatives who served as the visors and supported him and this really delves deeply into their relationship with him. and all so the infamous what was commonly referred to as the peggy eaton matter which was the wife of one of his cabinet members who have been maligned, he felt similar to the way his wife had been maligned during the campaign, and he defended her and made it into a really big issue so john mecham is a good writer and it is a good read. all so i finished a book,
actually since then, that is older, been at a couple of years by michael korda, a biography of eisenhower. a very well-written book and it dawned on me that i had never actually written in the eisenhower books and i felt like that was a gap in mind reading that i needed to fill and i would highly recommend that to everyone as well. i am going to move on to a book, the author actually escapes' may come a book that has been out there while called the best year of their lives. it is about 1948 and the life of richard nixon, lyndon johnson and john f. kennedy which was recommended to me by senator grasso was also a voracious reader of american history. and all so interestingly enough there is a book about the republican leader of the senate coming out in june 15th by an
author named john david died and it is called the republican leader, a political biography of senator mitch mcconnell and so i expect i will read that. i have not seen it although i did -- was interviewed by the author insists it is about may i expect i will read it. >> to seymour summer reading lists and other program information visit our web site at booktv.org. ..