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tv   After Words Sen. Ben Sasse Them  CSPAN  November 11, 2018 11:58pm-1:01am EST

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[inaudible conversations]
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. >> senator t13 it's great to have you here on afterwards i look forward to interviewing you everybody's talking about it. i appreciate you asking me to do this interview on the book. >> that's right. >> it's my pleasure people all around the country are watching us sometimes at 3:00 a.m. the first question are for those what do you recommend for insomnia? . >> why are you up? go back to bed. back to the real interview it is our real book about american life for what can be better but also a celebration as a love letter to america a love letter to nebraska. that's what i want to start because the characters in the
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book are focused on fremont nebraska generally and though wonderful people in your life family friends and neighbors. let's start there. why do you love nebraska so much? . >> we will start with the data. >> you went to harvard. >> it wasn't that loyal i wasn't good enough to play sports at nebraska i would not have gone to harvard. >> they knew i would not play lincoln everybody needs to be in love with where they are from the center of the world for seven and a half billion people 320 million americans if you cannot find love where you are from it's hard to transfer your love to bigger and broader communities. >> host: that's a good synopsis but tell me about your family how did you arrive in nebraska?
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. >> we landed from europe fifth-generation nebraska and my family came directly from germany and prussia and other parts came to southern illinois than one generation later resettled in nebraska and they came because of the homestead act they were farmers wanted to get land to build the future and build communities. >> your grandparents? we my guess to sound hyper german we have crabs and the sasse people competing to see how heavily accented their german ancestry. >> host: you grew up with both sides of your family? . >> yes over a range of 40 miles all grandparents grip on the farm my mom and my
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dad's dad and my grandpa who never went to college himself worked at that college 35 years as a business manager at the university. >> members of your family went? . >> my dad my dad and mom that will my dad was a student i grew up on the campus my grandpa left the farm and went to town so dad grip connected to the scholars were his dad worked my monger up on the farm parents on both sides were on the farm so my cousins i was is bust out when i was old enough to work on the farm. >> now you live in washington part time you spend the time you can in nebraska. both parents are retired. >> good health? mom is in good health dad is in medium health he's had
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kidney disease for 30 years going on his 26th anesthesia surgery over the last five years everybody calls him coach sasse introduced rustling to our town so to this bodybuilder football wrestling coach now i shriveled old guy everybody shouts to him as coach. >> and said he was so like though - - you are so proud to be his son even before you world of to be coached you one that on your uniform to get some of that on you. >> and the athletes as a little kid you want to be connected to your tribe. >> your mom was a bank teller but she retired from that job in fremont. >> yes she was a bank teller before then i was born 1972
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she worked as a bank teller at exactly the same time the atm machine came into existence so. >> so there is a lot about declining local tribes and mom existed after the time bank tellers were scared they would be displaced by the automatic teller machine robots a lot of analogs to the present. >> we will get into that because it is an important topic that speaks to what people are talking about but i want to talk on politics with these adjectives with a conservative republican this
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isn't the importance and public servant. >> what does it mean to be conservative today? . >> i think the heart of conservatism is gratitude that we inherited a structure that the world is a broken place in the world could descend into chaos at any time and to maintain framework so people could live their lives of entrepreneurship and innovation to build together. being a conservative starts with that assumption and what we need to learn to be grateful for. but that is someone who believes what we need to conserve for the next generations.
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>> and remember that conserving those? it isn't a bunch of economic policies it is a way of thinkin thinking. >> we are skeptical of those european words. [laughter] that's a good way to say it so when you list those nouns and identity the weird thing that you could get those nouns out of order. but there is something that cannot be put in front of others. and now i am embarrassed that if he cries when the sports go
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poorly we have to say man up. you don't cry because we lost a game but i remember when i was nine i would cry when the huskers lost because we never lost it was so rare. it was traumatic. spirit the average loss ratio. >> but it is weird to be so into husker football you neglect your wife and kids. more than your duties as a husband or father there is a lot happening in politics in civic life i am a republican and a conservative but that cannot be the top two or three identity marker so people are willing to go to the top of the identity it's not healthy. >> so the title of your
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best-selling book teeten this is a solutions book and how the country can look better and by the end of the hour we will have some marching orders. >> so to start off with this one key point there are three kinds of people in america today people who are mobile and are stuck nobody wants to be stuck they don't want to have positive connotations i want to talk about these things and first of all, it is a very autobiographical book
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so with your kids and your wife about your love of fremont nebraska you have had a rooted book but a highly mobile life. so explain how this all comes together you grew up in nebraska and undergrad at harvard the study at st. john's college in annapolis a consultant for dcg assistant professor including a stint as an assistant secretary and now a senator
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and you are not 80. . >> i am the outlier. it with that youth movement. so this is a celebration so yet your life typifies mobility. put that together for me. >> so with these three categories one of the most basic things happening in our time more mobile. the title of them references this idea of anti- tribes and identities are more formed i think that is the fact it - - and long-term shared locations
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and dad is undermined where we are at a lot of positive things we can and will say what's happening about technology but be aware that is enabling us to flatten the world so we cannot just traipse across the surface so lots of people who would traditionally been rooted on making understandable choices but as they do that ecosystem leaving behind is different so the share of the people staying in one place to have a decreasing number of places i am not a sociologist but without sociology of the book places that are defined of those who are stuck not that they choose to invest. and people keep popping and i have done this i don't would
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you say precisely i have been guilty because i think it's too easy to think the grass is greener and go to another place the more you jump in hop the more times you are mobile the harder it is to put down roots in the future but also for other people to find places that is as interesting because everybody will play musical chairs. those who could be mobile but choose to embrace those virtues are benefits there's nothing wrong for a time but it should be a means to an end to get back to being routed because what drives happiness that connection to family and friends with local worshiping communities are all tightly and intimately connected to place in right now lots of places feel they are more
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strip malls and less community to be embraced have to figure out how to be build those habits through the digital age. >> the phrase you use over and over that obviously spoke to your heart you wrote in "sports illustrated" the hometown gym on a friday night feeling. what is that? mimic my dad was a football wrestling coach i grew up in that set community just outside that same town 25000 person like manufacturing town until recently the biggest employer is the pig plant now we have a new chicken plant that is thriving so we do ag manufacturing which is the breadbasket of the world and lots of agricultural industries require small and medium-sized towns. in this town in the seventies and eighties there was a sense
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that people from that town were all in it together we have racial divides past present future but this town was pretty homogenous back in the day not just white the german but the town would have divides of political differences but everybody was a tiger on friday nights and the two schools were the two high schools where people would gather in a friday night and they were in it together that you were overshadowing the things that might divide you. my dad we didn't have money so in addition to a coach he refereed for a lot of other sports i grew up as a gym rat in the backseat going to wherever he was working but on
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friday nights after the tigers played all the coaches would end up in our kitchen standing around talking late and a new 4 degrees of familial connection to the kid who sprayed his 81 - - sprained his ankle or who would pick him up from the hospital and he didn't break the ankle and where do they drop off the casserole? that is personified on saturday night during wrestling if you go to a basketball game there was a sense as you stepped in this was the picture as you assemble of homeroom. i was married right after college we lived across the street from northwestern university and northwestern went from one of the worst football teams to on their way to being decent. we didn't go to all the games
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we realized this doesn't have the exactly the same feeling i grew up with these are not our people we pay taxes and about a dozen states following different projects the first decade of marriage and every place felt like this is a place to love your neighbor but it doesn't feel like there is a gym it doesn't feel like what i am use to what community is like. i thought it was just us and we were moving a lot so we cannot find them but it turns out robert putnam wrote in the late nineties and 2000's about the bowling alone phenomenon and there has been another set certain stuff written putnam found more americans were bowling in the late 19 nineties and any point in history but the membership rolls are at the lowest level
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in history maybe it's a weird phenomenon so he found in sector after sector community, industry, americans were much less associational and neighborly than in the past. something was happening. >> the ties of trust were starting to fray and as a result people were feeling isolated. obviously it touched you with that hometown gym on a friday night i would add that i felt nothing because i didn't have a hometown i grew up in seattle when i go back i feel nothing. there was no gym. there was friday night that comes to everybody but i have no sense of that. what does that mean?
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mi bereft? can i get it back? . >> there are a lot of forms of that manifestation of social capital but you put a right heading on this project. i'm serving for a term in the senate where people act like politics are a mess and we need to fix it by beating other people more in politics so that the solution is more political winning i don't think politics solves the problem we are living through a time with a lot of economic back story but massively evaporating social capital with the loneliness epidemic coming from the disruption of technologies and moments in economic history coming from the disruption of technologies and moments in economic history and bad tribes. . >> basically talk about
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tribalism to say unilaterally negative phenomenon you say there are lots of good tribes when you don't have these and are bereft of the hometown gym on a friday night you put that hollow inside yourself increasingly people are mobile and when they are not paying attention to local communities but cable tv on the cable networks they will grab onto the first thing that takes their attention and use that as their tribe which is harmful to america politics today is so dangerous and harmful as a substitute for the hometown gym on the friday night feeling. >> yes and amen. exactly it is a little nerve-racking to unpack
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happiness literature on one of the world's experts that the four things that drive if people are happy do you have a nuclear family? a few deep friendships? meaningful work, shared location and theological or philosophical - - philosophical framework or local worshiping community? family, deep friendship, most work is local that worship being assembled aspect of theology is local all for our good tribes it is a good thing to love your sister and care about your cousin. it isn't transactional. with my teenage daughter comes home from school my boy flies down the street on his bike he is happy i don't choose to be
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happy i just am. that is what friendship is like but now we have a collapse statistically of the nuclear family for 70 percent of americans bought them at the educational opportunity ladder friendship is half in 1990 when i graduated college the average american had three.2 friends today it is one.833 percent said they have no confidant or only one that is a huge difference between having one friend or zero or four. . >> real friends expanded sense of the self not social media not friended friends if you stand up in the senate and rip their head off and say my friend. [laughter] . >> i understand you are talking about the people you share virtues with it is where
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you refract that goodness of what you understand because iron sharpens iron they had for now they had 13.2 down one.eight just under three decades that is a crisis. average duration in the seventies was 26 years now today for the american worker is four.2 years. so males in particular have a really hard time building relationships after age 25 and don't develop new friends they atrophy those they used to have if you are working next to the same person at age 30 or 45 it is hard to aspire to move up the ladder in your factory job to buy a cabin at the lake. >> there is an average
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60 percent of six-year-old men the best friend is their wife and wife say it's their husband this is what you're talking about today in modern america which gets into a key topic that is the epidemic not of hate or disdain necessarily but the root is loneliness. gets back to the fact too many people don't their faith or family or community or house of worship don't have these institutions so as a result of that loneliness so talk about that and then we'll talk about some solutions. >> the biggest part of the book is when you become senator t13 historian because
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this is the essence of what it means to be an excellent conservative what we should figure out to make progress going forward. the reason i recommend this book to everybody it shows how to be a true progressive. >> so talk about loneliness so as a behavior social scientist so he is really spread his wings very impressed so tell me why you are so concerned when it comes to loneliness like elderly men. >> i lived in chicago the mid- 19 nineties and in 1995 the great chicago heat wave. >> everybody mrs. o'leary's cow in the great fire it was a
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bigger deal killing lots more people we just don't notice it in the same way because they are not these iconic images but the temperature for those ten days in july was so hot that all these people literally beat to death in their apartments. in public health experts went and afterwards they found the death count was much higher than they had previously known and statistically much more male than female similarly situated by age is men generally die earlier that there was a lot more men. why? a lot of these men had no relationships at all. the loneliest people in america are the college freshmen a big moment when you
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are uprooted except for that moment to lose your tribe and hometown gym on a friday night going off to a new place later in life as people atrophy more and more relationship statistically the loneliest people are old men. talking to experts at the national institutes of health there is a new consensus only emerging in the last five years that the number one health crisis, from an actual disease basis is loneliness. ten years ago nobody would have said this the number one statistical driver of health expenditure is obesity so we are finding 70 percent of obesity as a result of loneliness you don't get fat and lose friends. you lose your friends then you become isolated so you sit around and eat so things that
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seemed they were behavioral to be tackled without any social awareness turn out to be much more connected to your community and your neighborhood if they look the same was social economics or racial profiles or whatever , they have very different health outcomes in one of the drivers. >> so 20 percent of americans in this country of leading experts there is a wonderful book called loneliness and it points out 20 percent of people suffer from loneliness detriment to their quality of life disproportionately structural and older people especially men and the answer is not cable to be your talk radio not even senators on
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c-span although that's great. >> there is a high statistical correlation between happiness in knowing who lives three doors from you many people don't know the person that lives three doors from them and those inputs are really complicated so if you go from 200 to 500 social media friends you don't get happier if you go to or three or three or four you get happier and you spend more time on social media and less likely from those two doors down so that association there is a lot of folks who are expert scholars we see that atrophy and we have to figure out even though technology teaches us we have to build that in spite of that
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technology. >> unlike the stuff that comes out in the nonfiction world , you don't just isolate or identify the problem the biggest part is the solution we have to find those solutions. but i want to ask you a couple quick things first. where is the connection between the problem and where we are in american politics today? the book starts in fremont nebraska and it's hard for me to relate to i wish i had a fremont it so provocative the way you write the book but where you are now is in the epicenter of the outrage industrial complex. you are on television all the time. giving speeches in the senate.
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suffered through the kavanaugh hearing the matter which side you are on that was ghastly for america so in this book you connect the two so tell me how you talk about what is called the outrage industrial complex to give somebody that false high for the hometown gym on a friday night feeling. >> and the cultural and intellectual historian not economic historian i don't want to sound overly structural but we should be aware of the things that are happening in the way we consume media so back to the frame of the book the last third is constructed what will we do? is constructed what will we
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. . . . meant 95 new within the last week or so but they've been up to. if you choose between an ice cream parlor that has 400
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flavors and one that has three all of us will choose the one with 400 people are happier if they go to the one that only had three. if you have 400 choices there are all sorts of ways that the act of going through a decision sets of 400 will leave you less satisfied in being grateful that those choices have some good ones in there. that the way that we consume the media. when you disagree on a project or you disagree about politics you could all just go back to dc smalltalk to de-escalat de-escag because you have those shared experiences. when 93% of households have access to 500 or more channels
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we have almost nothing in common and so the way we can have a pop-culture level the way we consume news is becoming a much quicker confirmation to tell us what we already thought was true so the two most-watched programs on cable news right now sean hannity is number one with about 3.2 million americans every night for just 1% of the public compared to lucy and desi at 68% and rachel matthau is the second most and she's about nine tenths of 1% of the public. you don't think they will be in the audience anyway.
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>> we know the people who live next door to us a lot more than we used to. >> we basically we know fewer people who disagree with us and so we talk more about those people who disagree with us and with the industrial complex is doing is some people are making money and becoming more and more powerful than the days of fragmenting our society. >> there is a phenomenon on the news site called not picking pushes in a nation of 320 million americans, there's always someone doing something
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you did. if you are on the far left and want to misrepresent a donald trump voter. or if you are a make america great again supporter you can find someone who's going to slap an old man's hat off his head because he was wearing a chump at. that doesn't mean that it's representative of what they think about the policy issues and legislative issues or human dignity in the neighborhood. right now a lot of what w what e talked about in politics is a continuum from right versus left but the more important may trick is the intensification of the
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political addiction so you have your political identity crowding out your other identities. we the consumers are not usually aware enough of the way the algorithm of what we read yesterday is going to shape what we mean tomorrow so we start to end up with a world in your notice is true if you look at the videos on politics and youtube it starts recommending more videos. the person next door to you might have a completely different perception of what's happening because of the loops and the silos of the way they are consuming and we need to make sure we break out of those algorithmic senses that it's the one person who agrees just like i do about how terrible the other 50% is. >> instead of watching cable news and getting more outraged
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if we are out in the community and there were people just like us as humans and moms and dads and brothers and sisters that why the community could solve this problem. >> there is no simple solution here because the paradox of the way that we consume cable news in my town, my little farm town still 25,000 people the same place i grew up when we moved back nine or ten years ago and i've been away for 18 or 20 years at that point it turns out it is much lower than it used to be. some of it is the atrophy of community. in our town there isn't just
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football and wrestling and basketball. we also have soccer and hockey and people trying to bring across to town. >> the answer isn't nebraska per se. it isn't sentimentalism. it needs to exist in the current environment. so what we need is not remembrance. we need progress.
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taking it and apply it to the future so it is increasingly fragmented. a lot of conservatives have said this. it might be a problem orbison that there is something more important being an american per se lots have said this kind of argument. something is slightly different and not so here is that i want you to explain to the folks watching the show today. there are two americans that hold the solution to this problem. they are taking each in turn and tell us how james madison can help us make progress of that. >> i'm fascinated for a lot of reasons historically and because i taught american history survey
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classes but they got me excited about madison again and hamilton should get excited about lots of the founders but when i looked back at madison and harvey has a new book out on the state. it's scary how much work you have to do in that class cannot flunk out and i was there to wrestle. mansfield and others resurrect and it feels like he is the perfect guy for the twitter a to give a lesson about the absurdity of this moment of this impulse towards self certain mentality at the majoritarian certainty by which you answer with a quick putdown is not that interesting and it doesn't
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satisfy you. it seems to me every american an hour system is supposed to conceive of themselves as a minority. one of the virtues of the factions is that everybody has a regularly repeated experience of thinking i don't have the majoritarian view. i believe these theological things into fights about heaven anabout heavenand hell and the d or revelation, whatever the topic is that you want to debate i don't want them to solve that problem because i want there to be room for me even if i'm not
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in the popular majority position in the moment and i think that madison has kind of the philosopher of anti-majoritarianism and if you have to be jus reduce the idea e founding to one of the ideas its anti-majoritarianism and skepticism. let's be read as a and i think that is madison. >> one of the things i've heard you talk about and youtube is personally sex vexing you do thn your public life as well to regret the fact if i get less
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than 100% i utterly vanquished. you've done your work and expressed yourself that you want to leave something for the other guy even if he's in the minority. you are in lots of minorities, so it's a good way to do politics. is that a practical implication? >> guest: you mad >> guest: you made me want to unpack the separation of powers. i got to participate in a long tradition for about the last 110 years they have had somebody stand up and read the farewell address. washington didn't want to be
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king george and the actual king george was stunned that washington wasn't really going to seize power in this fashion when he led the successful resolution after the constitutional congress when washington was pushed into serving as the first president i acclamation basically, he takes office and people say he's not going to be king but he will be president forever. after two terms, he decides it is important to teach them how to say goodbye. he needs to go back, and washington was an active member of this group. those that would care for the health needs of retired soldiers. >> the great statesman from ancient rome to was brought back from his farm to vanquish and gave up the commission and went back to the great astonishment
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of all of rome. >> such a hero to the revolutionaries. but he really didn't see power as the end. the roman general and per regard to the power. it encompasses 320 million of us and we believe in the dignity of 320 million people and at the center of the world is in washington, d.c. where you and i are sitting on the cover centers to make the decisions about how to use the army and deploy them against people. we think that the army is meant to maintain a framework for the ordered liberties of the people across the 50 states and watching afterwards now can view their communities as the place
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where the hometown gym should be. 1796 was good to be leaving in 1797 he decides to write this farewell address and i got to deliver this in the senate from when washington left office through the american civil war this was actually the most basic text of what america means. what kids read in the schools for the first 70 years o seven f life was george washington's farewell address explaining that he was going to lay down power yet again. he did it as the general and in a second term he wants to go back to mount vernon and they teach them how to say goodbye he wants to go back home because the center of the world is supposed to be your mount vernon. they will build a new app.
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>> this is the lesson from george washington t today the progress that we need to make there is something i can and should be able to build that i can go home to that is not my work, that is not my career or cable tv. we talked about this a lot during the first hour prescription number two. number one was become americans again. number two, it seems like setting technical limits.
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>> guest: is an amazing tool but if we don't figure out when you wan want to box up so you cn focus on the dinner table sitting with your kids and when you are actually hosting your neighbors into serving some fatherless kid in your community that you're going to make a part of your extended care enough network if we don't get that right, then all of the outside of the technology will be not negative. the technology outside of looking through the digital revolution that is going to produce more total economic output and anybody has done to have more goods and services than anyone has ever known. i think the analog to the moment is the mass industrialization.
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we didn't have good public health data both way back to the civil war. he. what happened was a move in cities for prohibition that is bizarre to support the idea that you should make alcohol illegal because of the momentous crisis they went from the farm to the city and it turned out the out e drunk irish kid .-full-stop everywhere and they said we've got to figure out what to do with this crisis of hopelessne hopelessness. our depth of despair and opioi
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opioids. we haven't figured out as we transitioned from lifelong work around the factories to much more digital portable jobs and the ability of the technology to allow us to become ruthless and be constantly mobile. we haven't figured out how to rebuild the social capital that creates new kind of springs to reduce the trend from 3.2 to 1.8. we need to restore that and one piece of guys how to manage our technology better so that they don't constantly take the bait. >> we have low-quality substitutes.
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no matter where you are or when you are around walking down the street in places you've never been anyone connects to the world you point out and about setting these limits is the smart thing to do. >> guest: the average american is taking the phone every 4.3 minutes. you have lots of opportunities in the world. from 50 to 55 and all of a sudden you will rediscover your mortality and wish you had the community that you have and it
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would be better from the beginning to plan backwards so that you invest as someone trying to grow fruits and not i have a repotting problem. evidently when you transplant a pot it still grows roots and the second or third or fourth time it stops trying to grow roots because i don't know how this works but it internalizes the idea that it's going to get cut off and it was wasted. most of us who spend a lot of our time as a share of the public watching "after words" is most of us spend a lot of time trying to think we will move again so there is no reason to get to know the person two doors away from me or to host a person who doesn't have any transactional benefit in the short term but there is because they are created with dignity because you are benefiting from the community and you should
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replenish it. you should assume you are still going to engage them again in six months and six years even if you might move again. we decided to buy cemetery plots on the ridge ove bridge over thr about 12 miles from our house. if you always assume the place you are living today is a place you are going to die, eventually you are going to be right. >> the fact that it changes your incentives. >> guest: i want to be clear that it is not technophobic. the digital revolution is fascinating. i worked from mckinsey and
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company as you mentione mentiont they have a study out that says a majority of the workforce will probably be freelanced three years from today which means 50% of the public will not earn more than 50% of the total pay from any one employer and will begin cobbling together a lot of different jobs. the shorthand is thinking that the economy but it's more complicated than that. not everybody is dealing with the app that humans are smart and our brains figure out how to produce more and more over time and the curve of productivity is going to do that which we average duration of the job is going to get shorter and shorter. that is fascinating at the level of economics and the level of technology. i think it is mixed and scary the level of culture but i don't want to imply just because we are the richest people in the i
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think they're on the material benefits and spiritual costs and some potential benefits that we have to figure out what those new habits look like and so there is this guy who's been doing work on the economy 3.0 which is essentially looking at the transition from agrarian to industrial, hyper industrial to digital economics. these folks who are thinking about th for the future nomadic society looks like we had a big disruption were betrayed to re-create a lot about what was great and now we go from urban industrial to much more mobile i think some of the virtues are the virtues that humans used for hunter gatherers. one of the interesting ways to think about the problem is what is the cost of renting something became a lot cheaper than the cost of storing something so he
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uses this example if you could rent a trail and it's a long example so i won't go into the details as the 50-dollar won mosonemost of us have in our gae and we are not going to buy $300.1. i would prefer to rent the drill for two bucks each inhabi and ht be 300-dollar bill somebody maintained and i don't need each row all the time. block after block hoping a meter opens up th but it's only good r the last two hours tonight or
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tomorrow morning the cost of storage is really, really high and derivatively they will be higher than the transaction facilitation. what if we ended up quickly having much smaller garages and closets and much bigger ports and codes in the mailbox and an app tha that would up i was to facilitate that? in a mobile world let let's sayn the providence where one or two of them end up having my grand babies in a city far away i want to be near them, i want to be a grandfather in asheville or austin. and i'm never leaving my group into staying part. we need to start opening of clienup hermind to the possibilt some of the solutions to the crisis, some of the problems the technology is creating might be partially mitigated by
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technology as well. i don't want to just say stoic limitations on my technical consumption i want to think what the next generation of the facilitation of less encumbering stuff might look like. it what you are reading right now i want to ask you what is next so we are going to have to stop and i'm grateful to you for writing this book as the viewers no doubt and i am truly looking forward to the wonderful things that are coming next in your life.
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>> good evening and welcome. i'm the executive director of the young lady center for biography which is now on its 11th year here at cuny graduate center. we've given up 44 fellowships now for the working biographers now up to $72,000 said it is a


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