tv Charles Koch and Brian Hooks Believe in People CSPAN August 4, 2021 9:37pm-10:39pm EDT
>> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, funded by these television companies and more including target kemeny communications predict broadband is an empowerment, charter is invested billions, for infrastructure and upgrading technology, empowering opportunity and communities big and small. charter, is connecting us predict charter communications support cspan public service. along with these other television providers. giving a front row seat to democracy. >> good afternoon everyone and welcome to cato. a rather welcome to - with us today i hope you are doing wello predict and many of you have been able to get shots in her arms in a recent days and weeks. they shall have an opportunity to do so soon. many like to obsess over the problems and challenges facing our country in the world.
i always counter this by observing that it is never never been a better time to be alive as a human being. optimistic message and perspective that cato tries to deliver in a variety of ways. such as for progress .org platform and 2020 book as one of our best sellers. ten global trends and smart by. it may not seen for many is a great time to be alive, and what we have been dealing with the last, spitting the pandemic is a prime example of this. the development of safe and effective vaccines as well as a host of other things, happen in records and in the context of this, relates nothing short of miraculous. in thes empowering message we y to deliver team people, they faced challenges and problems a look at the state of the world and humanity, and all that we have accomplish and overcome. when we do that, who can doubt the ability ofan human ingenuity
and assaulted challenges we face today. the book will discuss this afternoon, leaving people. about above solution for top-down world. enters his optimism regarding when powered human beings can accomplish and overcome. but i it also communicates a genuine and significant concern in the concern that we are increasing the trying toat solve our problems with top-down approaches that don't work and more and more for abandoning the bottom up problem-solving at the local and community and individual level i confronted in powered people closer to the problem with the most knowledgeable. in other words, were abandoning the paradigm in the schools in the thought process of humanity and civilization in the past 300 years. i don't think the authors believe in people need much of an introduction. that will give them one anyway. while staying is a genuine pleasure to welcome charles to get of today he's one of the greatest businessman of our lifetimes, with his father's
help, beginning to fail he returned to wichita and early 1960s to help from the family business. and rock island oil refining in engineering. and since that time, he is miniaturized with transformed into coke industries and is going to more than 7000 times. and next coke industries is one of america's largest privately held companies operating in 60 countries and employing more than 130,000 empowered individuals. and charles leadership, koch's industries have outperformed by more than 30 percent - and this is noteworthy as this business success charles has been one of america's foremost philanthropist. his efforts focus on investing in wfo organization the civil society that exemplifies the bottom up problem-solvingob approach predict presented in believing in people. and while these dedicated substantial resources and efforts to achieving a free and open society, where every person can rise and where every individual can be a prosperous and uniformed and safe human
being. and along the way the established nonprofit enterprise has accomplished these goals including cofounding cato institute in 197700 and longtime since charles has spoken it cato says a particular honor for me to welcome him back. the primary vehicle for philanthropy and social change is, they said together in the community at large led by chairman, and prior to his car response abilities, brian served ten years as executive director. and it's a premier research center for markets growing ideas pretty advancing knowledge of how markets work to improve people's lives read and applying economics solutions. so brian shared the knowledge and the joys and s frustrations and mostly joys. and brian is been a long-standing friend of cato.f it is a mention to charles and brian have recently been the book believe in people, bottom-up solutions for top-down
world. and they conceded our country taken in front facing a serious will tend to challenges but they also insisted the top down approach is failing predict will continue to fail the message that i heard it from reading the book's call for a dramatic change approach when we trust people and individual and community level and in particular if the people are closest to these problems that have the most common knowledge of them and drive the solutions. and this is a called election for all of us to recognize a special abilities we have to contribute to investment challenges and is not underestimate the impact each of us as individuals can have into solving them. and i'm inviting them to join us to discuss the book in detail. charles, when you wrote your last book, five years ago, i heard you say on tv that your wife insisted that she never let you write another book. it you are here discussing the subsequent book believe in people's of i assume the reasons
for doing so were important. why did you and brian right believe in people and when he hoping to accomplish in this book. charles: what if you you know my wife coming out but she said was a little more severe than that. she said in fact, because i had a dayt job so most of my effort in writing the book was in the evening's so on the weekend is so interfered just a little bit with our family activities. so she said just remember, the next book will be with your next wife. and she obviously didn't mean it so i had that pressure on one side and then on the other side, brian was pushing me to take the principles that i described in good profit, that built koch industries and write a book on how they can be applied by individuals and societies
outside of business. and so i started on that and i had a lot of good ideas and wrote had a lot of good material but i couldn't seem to get it into a form that i thought would really accomplish what i had in mind. and so after four years, of the false starts i went back to brian and i said brian, thank you for getting me on this but i will give up unless you join me in strengthening this out so we spent the last year rewriting the whole thing and ended up with a book that you see believe in people. and my goal for the book, from the beginning and still is, that it would help many more people
benefit from the principles of human progress, that transformed my life and enabled me to a call was more than i ever dreamed. and is doing so today for many others and in fact, were the ideas that enabled the social entrepreneurs over the last 200 years to transform the world. and if they did this by moving societies toward not perfectly but toward equal rights and mutual benefit. people more fully succeeded by assisting others and by creating values for others. and were many poor people have the opportunity to realize their
potential. and that this all started, this great enrichment started as societies began to believe in people and therefore, began empowering them to discover their gift to recognize that they could contribute and succeed. and then to take the next step and turn those gaps into valued skills which may in turn used to succeed by helping others succeed. so what we hope for this book, it would help many more people take action and to move us toward this ideal an hour north start. that lives under it looks as peter said, it helps everybody
rise. and i took to heart, in learning these principles, i studied all kinds of, the whole range of ideas and philosophies including karl marx, one piece of wisdom from his was that philosophers only interpret the world, the point is to change it. and so that is what i done on all of this, not just learned these ideas modify them. and that's what we hope the book will do. it smacked youut talked about changing the world through a paradigm shift in some of the big ideas on widgets founded. what are some of those ideas. see what impact will go even further and say that we think that we need many paradigm shifts. anybody is paying attention these days looking around in our country had saying this is not
going well. there's gotta be a better way and so were w not talking about small tweets, were talking about truly leaning in and more fully applying these principles of human progress that charles just mentioned and i think about those as a principles really better enshrined in the declaration of independence and the principles that the cato institute, has founded to advance in the so many of us are working towards. these areea our north stars ando really get there, we need to take them seriously and we do need paradigm shifts of the book puts forward three big ideas. the first is when the charles just described, this notion that the solution to our country's problems are going to have to be different and specific based on the problem but the effect was all have one thing in common and that is they start with the deep belief inp people. and this sounds obvious but it really is a paradigm shift because if you look around and have are doing, a lot of things
in the country right now, our systems are behaving as though most people don't have much to contribute. and so that is wrong and if we continue down the path, were not going to see the kind of progress we need to see. we have to shift the paradigm and we've got to start with a belief in people. the second ideas that the solutions that will request will be those that empower people from the bottom up rather than one-size-fits-all approach as they come from the top down. and again that'ss going to ental pretty big changes in our thinking. and we will talk about how we apply this to see tremendous results as they headed that we will unite with anybody today right and we get a lot more done when we focus on common ground that w we have a people who brig different perspective or peer to be different than we are rather than what we typically do as a society right now, we spend a lot of time where we differ and then we just focus on that. so einstein said they were not going to solve the problems that
we have today the same ideas were used to create them. we gotta take that seriously. so we need a paradigm shift and we need to rally, and the country around the ideas that will help to guide us forward to solve some of our big problems we think that those are going to have to be guided by the northstar come the principles of human progress. peter: if that ispr really an affirmation really the principal that really gave rise to the great enrichment and progress that we have seen over the last 300 years. i'm already taken by the what youy said in the last part bri, uniting with anybody, i know that is taken from a great quote. in charles and frederick douglass, you call him your euro he is really a great example that i think with these paradigms that you are talking about and we need to go back and empowering individuals.
charles: that is right. as i write in the book, he is a role model for social entrepreneurs and not only because he overcame so much and in spite of that, of what he had to overcome, the he accomplished so much. he described his home moment what caused him to do that a lesson that not that we will be frederick douglass or accomplish what he did but that we can learn from that and if i could just mentioned that a few of them. i think it's important for i the first was when he was eight years old. he learned that he was not a slave although he was born in slavery, it was not a slave because he was inferior, he was a slave because he was being
kept ignorant. so he determined to change thatg and through ingenious methods taught himself how to read. and then the moment was then when he was 16 he got the opportunity to teach sunday school to others who are enslaved. and of course he had to teach as well.ead and he said, that he has all of these problems in the horrors on being a slave what a sad at last, i have found a way to contribute. so he from the start was contribution motivated he was looking for ways to contribute and then of course he was punished brutally for violating those rules to state your do not allowed to teach slaves to read. but he couldn't take it anymore
and so he beat up his slave breaker. they sent him to. he finally said, i don't care if they kill me, i am not going to take this anymore. and he said at last, i am a man. so he fully began to believe in himself and he said i am going to leave and if they kill me, i don't care. i'm going to escape, wealthy escape and get a job in the north and his first one, he earned 1 dollar on he said i am not just free man, i am a free working command. and once again, he wanted to produce and contribute and then he started to good abolitionist rallies and garrison and all of the other top abolitionists were speaking then they call on himal to speak. and he found he was the best speaker of them all. so he found his gift.
and he used that gift not to give vengeance against the horrors done to him and his people. but to eliminate injustices against them. and not only them, against all other people who are suffering, women, immigrants and so on. so to me, that is a guide for all of us all of us can become social entrepreneurs and that anybody can be a social entrepreneur no matter how bad your conditions are. and that, if you can do it according by following in developing your gift, this will help you become successful. peter: the message about anybody being able to contribute i thank you so an important one and i think one of the challenges we have is that when you look at someone like frederick douglass,
he is an inspiration i think that many people say hey, i can't measure up to that. sue makes them feel like they don't have an individual contribution to make rated and one of the things that i thank you so pretty interesting in the book brian is that you know, vibrant civil society. i think we been now were we see the state growing and encroaching on more areas of our lives. so that we think the civil society but the story told about, these organizations that are helping with property and addiction get themselves on the right trajectory. i thank you so showing that individual do make a difference. he tells more about some of those and what you really feel the state of civil society is and try to address problems.
brian: i think you're right. and you pull out what we try to do the book b which is to tell stories that provide a guide for people who are looking to contribute and looking to fund their role in helping to move our country closer to those ideals we talk about, the northstar and agree with you, you're a star like frederick douglass hume think well, thank goodness for incredible people like him and i think that is right for the wrong thing to concludeis is that it's only gog to be exceptional people i could douglass they're going to move the country for because history of our country is a history of struggling to address injustices the move us closer to the northstar. in the social whor have done that, our people who if you're in a panel of experts group panel experts, tissues, they would never choose the people who turn out to be the social entrepreneurs. so frederick douglass was in enslaved individual yet he finds
his gift any finds way to literally change the course of world history. so that is some of the stories we tell the book, the people that are closest to the problems are often those who are best positioned to address them. so youso look at a problem like poverty in the country for instance. we open the book with a story about a group that we work with call the family independence initiative and is an extraordinary organization everybody has it gift in these bottom up solutions make a huge difference. it worked to address poverty in our country, were hounded by guy name rocio miller, somebody closest to the problem that he is addressing and then run byus guy named jesus, same story. when they do's and hotel people in poverty how to change, the answer to your challenges are within you. you need some help just like we all do, helping in the form of
financial capitol, resources as well as social capitol will be all rely on to be successful in her life so they put families oand parties together in cohorts and they give them about $3500 over a couple of years, not a ton of money but enough to make a difference. and theya support them and helping them to discover their gifts and apply them in a way that helps themselves and their families to overcome poverty. and then approach seen throughout all of these o different organizations that we have found are being tremendously effective in the face of really tough on this. it's a little more on poverty, the top-down alternative to a program my family independence initiative square blue-ribbon panel of experts tell people in poverty what to do differently and we spent trillions of dollars to do that we do the results speak for themselves, the rate of poverty has not budged for 16 years in this country but with family independence initiative, bottom family works for
just two years, on average will improve their income by about 2. which is huge relative to the baseline but more importantly, it's enough to put them on a trajectory, not to just get out of poverty but to stay out of it which is the real challenge of programs like this. the their savings and they realize a way to contribute and get on the right path as of this bottom-up approach and we talk about, is not just for inextraordinary people, there really is something that everybody can be engaged in the. and everybody finds a way to apply what they have got to offer they follow these principles, that's how you can accomplish what otherwise would seem like an impossible challenge. peter: can i mentioned another one. and that is someone i identify with, totally different background but we had a similar moments. similar aha moments.
>> and the people in the case only saw shadows. they never sought reality and that has been my life i am just living in shadows i will go out and deal with reality. and try to help people rather than hurt people. so hean heard on the radio, bishop omar, about how to keep kids out of gangs, the police and communities to work together and said i will join them. and became a leader there. and then at one of the events i was visiting because we
offer management framework market-based management to all of the social entrepreneurs if they believe it will help sthem. i said how is that coming but at first we were skeptical because we were running urban specialist like we run i gained. it was good that it was limiting us. and then how it applies all the dimensions of market-based management and the successes they were having. i said anton you have learned market-based management quicker than any executive of any company we have ever acquired. talk about bottom-up but people do not know the potential of people who have never been in power and what it can do to transform us. >> the state of civil society
that point we tried to get across in the book, this is not a new idea for people who have been working in classical liberalism you see that in adam smith and the tocqueville over the years the role of the voluntary sector plays in a free and open society empowering people to do when i described is the independence initiative is essential to the progress we can make. it is critical right now we tell the stories and often them as a guide for people who are positioned to take action in similar ways. i used to work with a guy named russ roberts he is an amazing storyteller. and say we're making the right
arguments he was trained by milton friedman. people will not be sitting around the campfire singing songs about the work we are doing with policy is important as it is but the stories and the people that we encounter these are people you seeing songs about to say right way for a country to go forward that's what we are trying to get across we are trying to celebrate those applications and demonstrate how it makes afe difference in people's lives if this is in the answer then that is scary. >> if we recognize we need a paradigm shift in people's thinking culture precedes politics until people change
their paradigm and you got to go from top-down to bottom-up so somebody changing their paradigm? it is a worldview where you only accept the facts that failure paradigm and those that don't fit your paradigm it's like a weight left her wanting to become a marathon runner. takes effort and desire over time so to get enough evidence and motivation to make that effort so as brian said we have to those that you care
about it's what you are worried about. but then you have to get the word out to scale and then get this enough into people'sll consciousness they are willing to make that effort. >> mentioning how these principles played an important role and then a hockey stick occurred the last 300 years and then how much you beat the s&p by. but the challenges getting
people to adopt them do you think this is the best way to tell the stories and then to get inspired by what they see ordinary folks like anton do? >> you sold me but so to make that paradigm shift in society so the best way to do it is to experience it. hopefully it's enough to get people interested. and then to see for themselves that this approach these principles are better way to accomplish the goals that matter most to them and
ultimately those around them that they care about. but that key institution transformation to empower people to realize that potential role that education plays that strong communities and businesses that people work for that create value and then it plays a critical role and if you are somebody in working any of those areas almost anybody in a country you're likely working in a top-down environment that's just the way things are right now and the data shows that is f frustrating. 70 percent of students say they are completely disengaged from their studies. that will not work you work in business unfortunately you are experiencing similarly stifling environment. of course nobody trust the
government these days. so if you work in any one of those areas, take the first step. do as anton did too make the community stronger. you are teacher start teaching to the test innovate. once you start to get the experience of that then that is working ashes from my students meant to be open to the paradigm shift there are some practical options to take the first step that can turn these more into a habit and what you look at from afar. >> and then nsa of his says those are some of the
principles that we apply. and in applying these principles for example on makes us successful at coke industries is creating values for all constituencies. and then to create value for the people and the organizations that are important whether customers or suppliers and why do we do that? because they want us to succeed and is critical to succeeding long-term and weo find as we do this, and our employees get in the habit this is going back to the
concept not just conceptual knowledge but the habits become a part of yourself. not all they are still working here but after they leave to see me and tell me that the whole approach to empower others to create value in a mutually beneficial way has changed mymy life. and now in my church or my synagogue and has improved my family life and improved my philanthropy and transformative. what portion of the population is working in business that alone would transform society. >> when i was reading the book
for the message for those who are not familiar but when i think about it and i hear you discuss it. because been we need to wideny the aperture. the government does a lot of harm we tell all the bad things and i guess it is pretty bad marketing because we are not focused on all the great things that real people are doing. >> as we have focused on this to standr together at coke industries to partner with people and with the republic of science to have knowledge
and to help others, it is truly transformative. you may want to talk a little bit about the gains we made since we really started to focus on this following frederick douglass everyone does right and no one does >>wrong. >> it is a paradigm shift because in the book you say it was a mistake. >> you got it. to your first question, how does policy balance into we have a society that is characterized of equal rights and mutual benefit where everyone can succeed to realize the potential by
contributing to society. in a lot of ways this comes back to basics the whole point the principles of human process of how people can live well together it is a holistic vision of a good society. that's a critical component you don't focus on policy. you do. we do a lot that can empower people but if he only focus on policy is like trying to advance a good society withu one hand tied behind your back you don't take advantage of what really is important on that vision you have to be concerned about businesses contributing and you have to
be focused with a guest to the education system if you put all that together that is when you start to see the opportunity for everyone to ntget engaged and then that leads into your second point hemake sure your consistent application of those principles so if you look to how we improve education and practice those principles do we empower people from the bottom not and then to push progress forward. so when it comes to public policy and politics in particular that's only one piece is never been more than 10 percent of the overall effort but you saw have to make sure you are consistent in your principles and as we discussed in the book.le as we got engaged in politics.
and to get involved in partisanship. rather than partnership. and we learn quickly what you can accomplish some stuff that way you can never take on the really big challenges in society a public policy. so we changed. we have to be consistent and as soon as we started to lean into republican or democrat we got your back we started to accomplish things so that's the track we're on one about what it means to do that in at principled way and how that can help to accomplish things that we were not even touch it because it looks too hard. >> and then to be equally engaged with democrats on the
issue. but i want to follow up on this. and with coalition building but then being unprincipled 20 say if you are not outraged when you are not standing by your principles strongly enough. i just think that is a real mistake because we're always open on many policies that we kept the same principles you on policy issues we have not changed through the political cycles and i just think there is too much outrage out there.
but right now everyone wants to see you fighting and yelling and you get pushback? that we will not abandon those deeply held beliefs but that doesn't mean you can't turn down the volume. >> i think the major problem today is we have the wrong paradigm. it is left versus right and then you see as the leaders in the tribes change their
opinion on policies and what to do. the whole gang flows with them. so they are the abandoning principles and will make a difference is do we have a bottom-up society that empowers people or a top-down society that gives power over people? this is very dangerous. because you look at the history of a good part of the 2a century and it was a struggle between left and right in country after country where people felt threatened by the left and they were joining the right and then get more extreme and then become a tyranny. and those that were threatened by the right joined the left. that turned into a tyranny.
so we got to change that paradigm to get people to realize that don't just follow whatever strongman says we can get rid of this the way they abandon the principles of human progress. and then fall in the same trap. >> when you mention strongman how concerned are you with the attacks on liberalism? if you look at some of the governments political movements in europe is something i find very concerning against to exactly what you are just discussing
like what's going on and they said i like your social policies. i like your tax policy. so how concerned are the two of you not just in the us that around the world? >> i will be very clear think it's the greatest challenge of our time. i think those of us who have worked as you have and i imagine many people that are watching right now those of us have work toward a free and open society for our whole lives and now is the time to stand up for these ideas and to make the case based on the evidence that this is the path that will help people to
realize their potential and live their best life. because right now certainly there's never been a more urgent moment and today in my lifetime and when you see so many people in our country feel like the american dream is no longer a possibility for them, and for many people they feel that way for a good reason institutions are failing them that's when people start to turn to failed ideas, nationalism or socialism they are all different versions that excludes people from being part of society because they don't feel they have much to offer these impossible promises to make a quick fix but lead to terrible places and liberalism is a different way. making the case you don't have to settle for a false choice
between two failed approaches but there is a better way that a lot of different people can get onle board with for what you care about it's the most important thing anyone can be doing right now. >> and then that context of insights and then perhaps the isgreatest discovery of mankind and that is people can live in peace into their mutual advantage, i am paraphrasing, if they are only limited by abstract rules of conduct. so what does that mean?
that government rules should only be general and not specifically but then empowering them. so therefore the government's role is to set the basic rules that inner view would be equal rights and mutual benefit where people succeed by helping one another. so kony is a man corporate welfare all of those things the government rigs the system or conspires with businesses or other groups to bring the system so everybody has equal rights. then when that happens when government acts in that way than that enables all the other key institutions in
society, community education and business to focus on empowering people rather than one-size-fits-all top-down approach. >> we have a quote written in big letters that says the idea that we must once again make it a free and open society and intellectual adventure of courage and that is ultimately what her book is trying to contribute to to help people with that same concern to have a path forward how they contribute and act on the encourage to bring about a better society. >> one of the questions that came in as a someone can really make a difference.
sometimes people despair they are moving away not from a free and open society. so in this situation it seems dire and they seem fatalistic not that anyone in person can do. a basis for optimism. i think i would know your answer. >> that he said that very thing. the problem in having society with a current self-actualized and become contributions but the problem is they say that what can they do? that is all there is. each of us are just one person
so what do we do? we join together. we partner with people who share vision and values and particularly those that have complementary capabilities. then we s make each other much more are successful if you look at the great successful movements the women's rights movement for gay rights movement it all happen that way with one person at a time joining together to create this movement. the way we do it is join together. the reason why we have had some effect may have thousands
who work directly with hundreds of thousands who are activists and work with us on different issues or maybe more. >> you dead and we have to address these problems with severe consequences today but the trend of liberalism is positive. it is the best time to be alive is today? and then to say to say these ideas are working across the world to the extent it is not
even imaginable two or 300 years ago so the trend is positive a challenges real that is the same problem as in business they are concerned about short-term problems or profits. how can i be successful over a long period? and then to become focused on building capabilities? o and appealing to a broad range of people. and across those the ideological spectrum and those endorsed to believe in people because that is a differently
in a better way people try to hurt each other rather than 60 by helping each other. >> and philosophers you have mentioned a few times now. is that matter of philosophy of a collectivist philosophy? and are there life affirming philosophers that celebrate the individual that we use as a counterweight? >> . >> because people get power
because they convince and the other side will make it worse rather than being a virtuous cycle it becomes a destructive spiral. so the only way we change that is to find a way to have everybody participate in the progress.r. and as we do that things get better. and those to create a mutual benefit.. bid could this be some way that can be construed as top-down planning? >> as i said in the beginning
the keys to have people believe in themselves. if you give people more and they don't believe in themselves they will have a negative attitude somebody is getting more goodies than im or i don't like what they are doing whereas you focus on finding your gift and use it to contribute. and making you successful to believe in yourself then you'll want to partner with others. because you see yout are not good at everything then you will be more successful. that's what changes that. so as to help people sell it
speaking to a group of a few dozen people and whenever he is traveling or in an airport in a public place to defend the principles we talked about whenever he's in a public place somebody comes up and things him for his service and defending liberty and for the work he has been doing and his responses what about you? i think it is the message that you are giving here. as for the change has to come from. if we just and old general whining and complaining about these challenges or that they
are intractable. >> it's too important to be left to somebody else it isn't somebody else's job but to make sure that we involve these principles further in our countries to have a better future. >> if we don't help to make things better we are part of the problem. if you want to feel good about yourself and be optimistic of the future, do something about it. and what you are doing at cato is so important it's always been a critical organization. i cannot think
in gottlieb's opinion, gunther was "probably the best reporter america ever had". we wanted to find out more about this publishing success story so we called canadian freelance writer to talk with him about his 1982 book called inside. >> good afternoon i'm president of aei and it is my great pleasure to welcome you to this afternoon's conversation with john mackey. the cofounder and ceo of four foods market and the cofounder on —- cofounder of unconscious capitalism to tackle his but conscious leadership.