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tv   Peter Goodman Davos Man  CSPAN  August 8, 2022 5:12pm-6:19pm EDT

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>> in the heart of washington dc is a unique place for kids, the little blue house. it's been the first love of its director, a man named carl foster. on the website of the little blue house it says they're a singer core mission to foster the vulnerable and the director of little blue house said for over 30 years lbh provided whatever service was needed by our kids to give them a chance to become self-sufficient adults. >> carl foster, director of the little blue house on this episode of book notes+. it's available on the c-span nameable app or whenever you get your podcasts. >> good evening and welcome to pnp live.
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i'm brad graham co-owner of politics and probes along with my wife. we have a very engaging program for you this evening featuring journalist peter goodman here to talk about his new book, "davos man," how the billionaires devoured the world. first, to post a question at any point during the discussion, just click on the q and a i con in the bottom of the screen and in the chat, find a link to purchase copies of the "davos man". in the prologue, many people do a lot ooling at the lives of billionaires. the details of their vastly expensive divorce settlements and watch fiction live tv shows based on excessive lifestyles and applaud their philanthropy and sometimes elect to public office. the richest people in the world
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have done great harm to the rest of us. describes how often extolling phlegmen thorpy and serve their own interests and in doing so enhance their own wealth at the expense of the welfare and economic security of many, many others. the more so peter searching during thehe pandemic. implications of this peter argues haven't simply been a widening off economic inequalit. there's been political consequences too including anti intensifying public anger and threats to democratic governments. personifying his narrative, peter focuses on five particular billionaires whom you'll hear more about i'm sure in a minute. all in all peter delivers quite a scathing act of greed, hypocrisy, and miles an hour schism and thesi rights with
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the -- narcissism and the rights of authority and journalistic skill that's covered the global economy for decades and in recent years for the new york times and began his journalism career as a freelance reporter in southeast asia and then in anchorage, alaska for the daily news. then joined the washington post and spent ten years as shanghai nand asian correspondent and washington covering telecommunications during the .com bubble in the 1990s and moved to the times in 2007 as national economics correspondent playing a leading role in award winning coverage of the global financial crisis and great recession. after two years shifted to the washington post and four years later became global editor and chief of the international rbusiness times and return to o the new york times in 2016 as your economic correspondent based in london and last august blame global economics
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correspondent based in new york. peter is also the author previously of "past due"published in 2009. the conversation with peter this evening with alex gibney, a accomplished filling director and producer who's won a number of awards for his work including an oscar, multiple emmies and pea bodies. most recently alex directed the hbo two part documentary "the crime of the century"about the opioid epidemic. the screen is yours. >> thanks very much, brad. >> peter, it's a delight to talk tori you. you've written a rivetting book and it's really potent. i want to start with how you got to where you got to. did you approach this book right off the bat thinking this was
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going to be "davos man" and kind of an there plodge cal look at new species or did you start some place different spend up here? peter: yeah, that's a great question. it's an honor to have you as a moderator and a skilled interviewer. thank you for doing this. i did not come at this storyor originally as the story of davos or "davos man". i was in new york just in time to cover brexit. trump had been elected president, i wases finding mysef writing about this up surge of right wing populism across europe and italy and france and germany and, you know, even in sweden, this supposed bast indian of social democracy and party born in the neo-natzi movement and moved to mainstream status and writing about the breakdown of the liberal democratic order and asking how
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this happened. i remember i was in davos in january 2017 and at this point we're six months into the torture that'ss brexit and jump has just been b elected, and the was a sense amongst, you know, even the people i now call "davos man," the ultrare billionaires that write the rules for all of us that there heare some forces that are refashioning the global academy that we better take note of or maybe the pitch folks will show up at our doors. so davos is a bunch of things and at the intenter of the earnest program of the seminars that most of the cool kids don't go to like a badge of sophistication you nevern set foot in the conference center and they're on inequality and populism, inequality, how to come up with new models, capitalism 2.0 and all these kind of buzz words, and the wealthy people are wandering around trying to figure out what's happening, and i decide to sample what the solutions are
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on offer. i remember listening to this conversation with the head of a giant consulting company based in india whose solution was workers need to take responsibility for their own problems and train themselves. i remember listening to ray dalio, a hedge fund investor worth about $17 billion stsuggesting that the solution o inequality was a deregulatory process that would unleash the animal spirits of the market to generate a more conducive atmosphere for making money, which was a courage yous thing to hear from somebody who seemed to figure out how to make quite a bit of money. i looked to my one-time boss, arianna huffington that launched this new website about vacuuming uppa sponsorships from spas and wellness and her solution involved meditation and pillows. i heard everything exempt for the people who are here, the richest people in the world,
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maybe have to give something up. it was all about -- this was classive "davos man" thinking. you find win-win solutions and as long as we're doing well, then we invest in this cosmic lie that wealth will trickle down and everyone will do well. it struck me that here was a -- the beginning of an explanation for what was happening in the world. as i continued my reporting on these populous movements, it was like a reaction to something on the service like why was sweden suddenly convulsed with hostilityla and cassioppi reigns leading moanny and the spirit oa tremendous influx of migrants and they werehe suddenly blamedy the right wing neo-natzis and a lot of racist rhetoric and
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discomfort in a homogeneous society and discomfort in the mix and we don't want to pay taxes for people who aren't going to work or don't speak swedish and swim larra explanations for the demonizing of the immigrants in italy. i came to see brexit as essentially a nativist response tond scarcity and, of course, i mean to explain why trump coming from, you have to reckon with the fact huge numbers of people have been marinated in the state of economic security and they may not understand what's happened to them but the peoplew running the system don't really care that much about what's happening to them or we wouldn't havet so much desperation. each of these cases we have this opportunity for political opportunists that can demonize the other, immigrants or whoever it is. it's some other force beside the people in our midst and i started to write the stoic i
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realized the way into it was the scene i described to you in davos in 2017 and i realized i wanted to understand what sorts of stories these billionaires tell themselves to justify, what seems likeig a straight up pillage. they've taken a economic system that used to function pretty well. i mean in most of these economies i've just described where, you know, you get up for work and stay out of trouble and get a b little bit of education, and you can probably go find a job that will allow you to support your family in a middle class standard, and that's so clearly broken down what these guys have systematically dismantled public infrastructure through lobbying campaigns, through the financing of friendly think tanks. by hiring legions of accountants to find new tax loopholes and using lobbyists to write new ones and what had these guys that had dismantled public
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infrastructure and transferred the proceeds to themselves leaving huge numbers of people in a state of desperation and unhappiness and what were they telling themselves? that ultimately became my book. >> that's great. we'll get to trump in a second and i want to stay here for a bit before we get to the main characters. i want to stay in the psychology of "davos man" for a bit. it's intriguing and i recall an old professor of mine said economic man is un-rational and he's a rationalizer and i remember also the police have an expression noble cause corruption and it'll allow yourself to become more and more corrupt and the end justifies the means but another thing ifo find interesting is that overtime i run across the psychological experiments where
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people cheat war. when they imagine they're doing it for a good cause. i felt like what are some of the key causes that people in your booko tell themselves that may imagine what they're doing is so good and allows them to -- i think was it mark bennyoff said rather famously we've been the heros of the covid pandemic, the ceosf have been. they see themselveses as heros, does that allow them then to believe in their own goodness in such a way that they don't even recognize the carnage they're doing? how would you -- i've given you some psychological paradigms. how would you describe the psychological paradigms of "davos man"? peter: yeah, i think the
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commonality is a messiah complex and these guys -- to make a billion dollars, you've got to be good at selling something and these guys are especially good at soling themselves and their own virtue as a kind of prophylactic against redistribution. they pre-elmore -p to the conversation with taxation by telling us that government is full of thankless bureaucrats that can't do anything and we need them to save us. that makes, if you think about it, not paying taxes its own kind of public service. they're sparing us from wasting our money on bureaucracy while they're then telling us about their philanthropic endeavors that are going to be greater and putting it on a real fill an toppist and has fought significant fights and a founder
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of sales force and large software company based in sano. francisco and favors counter cultural rhetoric. he's a bit of like a silicon valley cliche. into the whole bohemian thing and hangs out with the metallica drummer ande tweets pictures of him and the drummer and has a thing called davos by the sea and flies executives to corporate retreats in hawaii and hold hands and have blessing ceremonies and coopted this hawaiian term ohana which means family.. the inspiration for his company came from going to southern india when he was having anen existential crisis early in his career and visiting the hugging saint who told him he needs to give something back. that's got to be, you know, his mo. he founds this company and makes all this money and he does to
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his credit donate 1% of all the revenue and donates staff time and financed the ballot initiative that raised several million for homeless services through taxing big companies like his own in san francisco. but guess what, he pace as a company the modest sum of zero to the federal government in taxes on several billion dollars worth of revenues not once but at least twice and all the other stuff is like a rounding error compared to that . how are we supposed to pay for all the stuff that helps him create his fortune: infrastructure, the internet, electrical grid, universities that are financed by public dollars that are turning out graduates that can help him code. this iss something that he just doesn't engage with. if you ask him, he tells you about more philanthropy and he'll say d he selfishly drew on his connections to china to
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source 50 million pieces of pp e. gowns, face masks to fly back to the states and distribute to front-line medical workers who didn't have it. why exactly are we dependent upon a tech bro worth $10 billion to outfit our front line medical workers in the worst pandemic in a censure century inwhat's supposed to bet powerful company in the world? how does that happen? people like mark have a pillage system through tax cuts and he tells this story, you just point it had out, last year in davos, he said ceos are the heros of the pandemic. not front-line medical workers. he specifically says the government did not save you, we saved you. we did it not for profit but to save the world. he's full of this sense. it's not isolated. steve schwartzman, the largest private equity investor in the world worth about $30 billion will tell you if you ask about
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the epic foreclosure disaster that you did an epic podcast on, the meltdown, he'll tell you as an investor who bought up literally thousands of homes a day on the courthouses of america, took possession of them and rented them out to people with this pleasing name invitation homes and say, this was just an act of civic responsibility. i do this for my nation. these homes were eyesores and rodents running around in overgrown lawns that nobody took care of and we fixed them up and put on fresh coats of paint and put families in them. you can almost feel the sound track for the life insurance commercial with a golden retriever puppy running around on the lawn with an adorable toddler. invitation homes jacks up the rent for all these people, cuts maintenance and makes it impossible to get hold of anybody if something goes awry. schwartzman runsri off with the money, sells billions of dollars
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of bonds on wall street and uses the money to follow the same business plants around the world and refers to this blood in the streets of europe, that's the time to buy in real estate there. guess what, right now schwartzman -- not right now but the last couple years during the pandemic, he's been saying publicly, this is a fantastic time to be a landlord. you can jack up the rents. there'ss always these i did diss to buy and a new plan and rent to own mod and he will seems like a -- model and seems like a repeat of the last one. again, he'll tell you he's doing a favor to society. this is not the robber barons content for a name on the building and here's carnegie hall and we'll safely stay for the money. they want ouragelation and seem to believe -- agelation and seen to believe their own narratives 'and that's the function of davs
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of the coming together of the tribe and just being there is a signaling of their own virtue and go and engage in things like simulation of the syrian refugee experience and watch billionaires get blindfolded and lay around in the dark and someone is yelling at them in languages they don't understand and theyat feel great about themselves and they go off to dinner and thrown by some global consulting firm where they eat lobster and drink caviar. then they go home feeling we really are the good guys, which armors them to continue the real fight, which is protecting their privileges against the tax collector. alex: yeah, it is interesting particularly in the case of schwartzman because whether it be bennioff or schwartzman concocting the narrative of how they are the good guys and blanching the narratives whether it be on the side of new york
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public library or through these stories that they're doing thing when is it comes to criticism or even more so when it comes to attacking their money-making plans and i think it was schwartzman whowh compared the d of the carried interest or hedge fund loophole to hit the invasion of poland. peter: he had to walk that backr because it didn't go over so well. jayme dineman paid a fine involving the london well disappearance of multibillion dollars of funds based on bad driertives bet and -- derivatives bet and after settling scandals and paid other fines to settle malfeasance during the mortgage-backed security crisis and went back to davos saying my feelings were really, really hurt. they don't take having their
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halo challenged well. it's so important. it's not just about their feelings but the way they protect themselves from democracy. it's the way they prevent the public getting the things that the public clearly wants like healthcare, like affordable housing, like help with education. yyou know, all of these things that we're told we can't afford because baked into it is this narrative that "davos man" has sold us on that taxes are evil, that hee can take care of all of our problems, that if we try too operate like other major democracies, other large economies, we'llll monkey wrench the whole thing. we're full of these kind of false binary choice where is we can either have covid vaccines and we accept that part of that is we pay through the nose to pharmaceutical companies like pfizer and moderna. we'll sell them to the highest bidder and they'll leave most of humanity unprotected and open
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invitation to a variant like omicron and we can accept that and people in jeff bezos' warehouse and wean can work from home or be venezuela. we can dive into dumpsters for our dinner. there's other options on the menu, but they're very skilled atki convincing us, and it's not by accident. it's systematic that if we try to change this system, we jeopardize all of modernity. we're love identities in the thral of backwards ideas. alex: in the case of covid, the federal government in the beginning of the pandemic, this is cover yourself with glory, particularly the trump administration. carrying on a little bit with
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steve schwartzman. talk a little bit about how his business model found a way to profit rather anonymously from the covid pandemic. peter: i think schwartzman in particular is part of the investor group that's re-responsible for worsening and extending the pandemic. schwartzman is a lot of things but he's no dummy, and he has a masterful instinct for going where the money is, and he figured out early on that healthcare, you know, this is a fantastic arena.k he sunk $6 billion into a staffing company that's a dominant supplier of staff to american emergency rooms back in 2016. this was part of a huge wave of private equity investments in healthcare that injected considerations of profit into a
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sphere where the stakes were obviously a whole lot hire than how your local starbucks runs or how mcdonalds or your airline runs. yet suddenly the same sense of patience for customers, doctors and nurses are cost to be cut as much as possible to return profit to shareholders and maximize our revenue so move quickly and eliminate capacity in the same way the airline wants the plane full to charge more for seats and private equity mag netted who -- magnet who owns a hospital wants it stuffed to the gills and we reduce our stock of hospital beds in the united states by roughly a third for the decade plushe leading up to the pandem. in schwartzman's case going to emergency rooms, what a stroke of genius.
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he's dealing with desperate people that will pay the extra fee and suffer the crappy maintenance because there's no recourse and the people coming into emergency rooms, they might not be in the best state to wonder does their medical insurance cover this? are they getting the best deal? who are they in the hands of and they'll sign what's required to get back in the room and someone will take care of them and take care of their pain -- alex: it's not comparison shopping. peter: yeah, when you're lying on a gurney and this staffing room industry is accused of participating in the con caused surprise billing. it's not surprises of the happy variety. it's about people going to emergency rooms thinking they're dealing with medical staff that are apart of their health insurance groups and signing off on paperwork essentially acknowledging in whatever state they may be in that they are being treated by somebody out of network andf then, surprise, thy
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get a huge bill. i m mean, this sends people into bankruptcy, people are hassled by collection agents so this was the run up to the pandemic and in the middle of it -- at the beginning of the pandemic in the u.s., i focus on a guy named bing lin, a emergency room doc erand worked near world trade sentedder around 9/11 and eworking for a blackstone compay and he's horrified early in the pandemic to see that nobody's wearing masks at the reception area and asked the hospital staff saying we don't want to frighten people. he asks as things develop further, how come we're still doing elective procedures? why are people coming in for plastic surgery? shouldn't we be, you know, limiting the use of our facility. he's told that that's the moneymaker. he starts to protest and gets no
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traction at all and blackstone's attitude is, hey, team health, their client is the hospital. we don't want to upset the hospital. ming lin is eventually fired for going on facebook and going public. he's a whistle blower essentially trying to spare us from a pandemic. for that he's fired and we then go through this hell that we're still in with the pandemic spreading like wild fire and now schwartzman's running around saying it's time to expand our holdings in healthcare. that's where we're headed. alex: yeah, i want to jump right to politics from there because, youe know, at a time when increasingly companies and thesr davos men will sit atop them and control more and more of the economy and indeed the public
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sphere. in your book you say one way to reclaim power from "davos man" is democracy. in a world like the united states where democracy is so infused with money where you can buy the results, what is the solution to that? it seems like the davos men have usus cornered. peter: they are very good at confusing us and exploiting tdiscord and confusion to reinforce the status quo. anyone that's worked in politics will tell you it's very easy to kill a bill but difficult to get one passed. they came out of the 2008 financial crisis and wall street causes the 2008 financial crisis and becomes a global catastrophe and no accountability for that
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and they use that as a moment to turn a rescue packages into kind of corporate welfare and now we've come through this and still in the emergency with trillions ovdollars expended in relief. this time we did a much better job dealing with things in this country like expanded unemployment benefits, genuine help for small businesses and davos men make sure they get their own and $150 million for the cares act including donald trump. you asked what do w we do? what we need to do is not that complicated. you don't have to be utopian and radical revolution.on we need a restoration of kind of capitalism that we've already known. i done want a time machine back to 1975; right. i mean there's all sorts of problems in american life in the post world war ii and 1975 period, but one thing right about that time that we should
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get back to, labor unions were strong and workers were able to receive compensation that was in accordance with the overall gains in the economy. if your company did well, then you did well. fore were opportunities people to go out and support their family in a middle class standard and that's what's disappeared and "davos man" essentially has e engineered ths bottom up transfer of wealth through tax cuts through the evisceration of antitrust enforcement through thetr destruction of labor juneen by taking -- union and by taking trade and trade is the progressive force as far as i'm concerned. there's nothing evil about trade. trade has been turned into this sort of evil idea by the "davos man" like jeff bezos who have managed to harvest all the winnings for themselves, and it's the opportunists that come along saying our problems are in china. china is a big problem for the
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global trading system and it's a complicated issue. can't be solved so easily, but it's simply wrong to tell struggling, laid off manufacturing work ores in the rust belt of the united states that their problems are china or mexico. their problems are the people in board rooms in new york and seattle and in washington, in the halls of congress and successive presidential administrations who have allowed "davos man" to engineer a system where they get all the gains. what do we need to do? we need progressive taxation so we can invest in social safety net programs that will make us more entrepreneurial. how many people are stuck in crappy jobs they're not happy with that don't seem to have much upside but afraid to give up health insurance? how many people are stuck in places and can't sell their homes, their homes are under water and would like to move and terrified if anything goes awry,
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they could sleep under an overpass somewhere. if we expand the social safety net, we become more entrepreneurial and that requires taxing wealthy people and "davos man" is so successful at preventing us from doing we need to enforce antitrust laws and boost labor power. that all involves taking on the entrenched power of "davos man" and that's not easy. alex: i have one more question and we'll go to the audience and i want to circle back around this. i agree with many of those proposed solutions. that said, you know, even in the biden administration, a $15 minimum wage seems impossible and one of the reasons is that when it comes to economicik solutions like that, the "davos
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man" raise up their heads saying if you want to get elected, you're not getting money from us and in particular the democratic party seems to have a problem where they're promising social solutions and whenever they need to go to money, they're going to people not really in favor of that kind of redistributed solutions and therefore does it create a world where the people are saying government is the solution and not the problem. does that make any sense? peter: i think you diagrammed the problem and if that were easy to solve, the money in politics is corrupting. we don't get expanded healthcare, we don't get affordable education, we don't get help when we're in trouble.v
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there's a meager social safety net that zaps our competitiveness and it's difficult to imagine how we solve the problem without getting the moneynied interest without politics. i don't know d how to do this. i do spend time in the book sketching out solutions that bypass government and there's interesting work that's being done by the democracy collective that relies on cooperatives. there are cooperatives in places like cleveland where they form a contract that handle the linens at the cleveland clinic and they're not paying dividends to shareholders and don't have to think about the profit margins, they can compete while still paying out a living wage. there are initiatives like that in i england, and then things le
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universal basic income, which once seemed like a total outliers, the politics of that given that we expanded trillions of dollars during the pandemic, thisme idea that once seeped lie whyco doesn't the u.s. governmet pay out a unicorn to everybody now seems possible. nancy pelosi has said that may'e that's something woe need to look at. a basic level of support given out to every american regardless of income. now i actually have some concerns about it because people like mark bennioff like it and davos men like it and other people like it and we'll give everybody a check and this is your recompensed for having your job handed to a robot or sent to some country where there's no safety standards or that's problematic but the idea that we're now talking about some kind of all encompassing socialal safety net is potentiay
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pretty interesting. alex: so to the audience members, forgive me for this. i have one more follow up question and i'll go to the audience. getting back around to how you made the shiftry trying tond understand what the, you know, what this strange trend was to authoritarian leaders and more et cetera, to the people in davos, as you said in 2017, they were concern that had this problem here. it's terrible. it's all trump and there's more here. was there any sense that the davos men understood that actually they were the ones leading us into this moment and they're the ones leading us out. >> well, not in the way in which i think you mean that.
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peter: well, they didn't think we were monopolizing in the capitalist and some people like steve schwartzman that didn't support trump initially were especially troubled by his rhetoric on china and has threatened china trade war because schwartzman does a lot china and runs a thing called the schwartzman scholars and have a lot ofnt business interests there and didn't like that and then game quickly to see trump who he had dinner with and schwartzman is a guy that owns water front mansions the way most of us own socks and one is close to mar-a-lago and he dines with trump all the time and said this guy can deliver something i care about more than anything else, whichhi is deregulation and tax cuts. so swatterman writes a check for $250,000 for trump's inaugural and goes around essentially
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managing trump's problems for him at davos. i heard from multiple people that schwartzman would get ahold of them saying i donald trump doesn't have a racist bone in hisw, body and loves women and respects them and you've got them all wrack. tried to launder trump's image in him seeing in trump a vessel to realize his dream and schwartzman stuck with trump till january 6 and that's whenou they finally silenced the rhetoric l. i was in davos in 2018 when trump came back. it was his first trip there. he arrived and it was a huge coup for schwab who returns the forum and pretends to be all about corporate government and transparency and lobbied trump for boosting inclusiveness in america because it was such a coup to have him there. theio conventional wisdom on the coverage is this is going to be
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a real clash and here's trump the wrecking ballpointed at economic order and was against international cooperation and he's the enemy of everything that davos supposedly stands foo and it quickly became clear that people didn't understand and they were falling for the official program and mottle real davos where mark brings in the black eyed peas for his broker and friends and facebook rents a whole villa on the main street and davos hotel with the belvidere and consulting output and these guys are licking their donald trump is the guy that's giving away money to rich people. they understood that really clear and they would say, yeah, you know, we can stand to have a little less of the misogynistic rhetoric and we don't want to apologize and don't like him threatening to disown the
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american national debt as if it's just some debt he owes a bank for a failing casino. that's not so good but, boy, we like the tax cuts and deregulations and at the end of the day, that's what these guys 'understand. alex: now i'm going to make good on my promise and go to some questions. so here's a question, given the backlash over the davos conference, what's the chances it goes away from the dodo bird going to the white house dinner. peter: that's a good question. nothing's forever and maybe the shine is off davos. it certainly doesn't work anymore if it ever did as a true virtue signaling to the rest of the world. i think that the sort of -- the pr tap dance, the here we are on the mountain top earnestly trying to save the world does
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not work with increasing numbers of people and it's kind of a cosmic joke for a lot of people. i still think it works as a sort of moral booster for the people who are fashioning these narratives that allow them to not only ignore but even work as a strength the tremendous contrast between what they say they're doing and what they're actually doing. i've been to conferences in davos where there'll be a gathering of pharmaceutical executives earnestly discussing why are so drug price so unaffordable for most people. bwhat a mystery. there must be some model. it could be that we just haven't gotten the data right or perhaps we're not understanding the public and we need to look into this more. as if anybody in the room is beyond reproach and they can all feel thisde sense of pride that they're on the right side trying to seek out solutions.
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ands moreover, there's money in it. the real secret of davos, it's not about this program that gets covered on tv. it's about multinational companies paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in membership to schwab running what's supposed to be a nonprofit, andfi he plays match maker. if you pay enough, you get access to these secret executive suites whereiv the rest of the davos participants can't go. you get lanyards that allow you to pass through into the land of milk and honey where there's no journalists around, no regulators around. schwab makes sure you're sitting down and can be the head of the oil company meeting, the saudi prince has capacity to make your dreams come true. this is bankable. whatever the rest of us think about davos, that function is what keeps the thing going.
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>> so here's a question, are there any good guys or gals among these davos views and do we see reformed davos men and people trying to walk the walk? peter: i mean, there's billionaires that believe in the wealth tax and people i've written about, the closest is bennioff. he's on the record supporting higher taxation to finance homeless service but it's always in collision with the reality that it's going to avail themselves of whatever tax perks are there for him to which one might say, well, what's co would keepid their job if they didn't avail themselves of the tax perks. this is the guy that's writing the tax code through his might be in the business round table and lobbyim shop at the time headed by jamie diamond and ceo of jp morgan chase and getting
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that $1.5 trillion package tax cuts from trump. so in my book, you're not going to meet any reformed "davos man" and if there's a lot out there, i have a method. there's a lot of interesting people in davos itself; right. social entrepreneurs, academics, odd movie stars always walking around. i once met peter gabriel who told me how he was making music with chimpanzees and i thought that was interesting. there's this interesting assemblage of people there and it's exciting to be around so much creativity, but in terms of the people that actually have power, i mean there's a guy named nick hanower in seattle who madee a billion in technoloy and impassioned about the wealth tax and these are big players. alex: how much cooperation did you get from any of the billionaires in writing your book? peter: not a lot.
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bennioff gave me a long, interesting interview we many a long text exchange. i think he was a believer in his own talking points. i actuallyly respected that this is a conversation that happens with handlers going on late into the night onene night and he evn opened up about the fact that he said at one point your thesis is the davos is a she raid and gives us -- charade and gives us air cover for all the nefarious stuff we're doing and stake holder and capitalist with companies no longer devoted to them and now they're trying to earnestly solve our problems. you think that's all just pr? i said, yeah, basically. s he said, look, i've been to davos, he's on b the board of trustees. that might be more right than not. hey, that might even be 60 or 70% right and what about and then he got this alliance of vaccine experts who pioneered a way to distribute vaccines
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around the world, including co-vax, which is an abject fairier. he gave me time. i spent three days once in china with steve schwartzman at this hunbelievable conference and spent an hour at the great hall with xi jinping and an hour with another. he took us to go see the schwartzman scholars and i don't want to give away any sourcing and jamie diamond i bumped into over the years at davo s and spent a bit of time with him. i've just studied these guys. the thing that was striking to me, you're a documentary film maker and might appreciate this is how much stuff is lying out there unprocessed. schwartzman's memoir came out as i was writing the book and he was going off and doing virtual events around the country telling the same stories over and over again and that was fascinating. i mean, he told a story at one point about how, like, he talked
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of the dean of admissions at harvard when he wasn't accepted and tried to talk his way in off the wait list and constantly gives up his origin story and talking about he's just a middle class kid from suburbs of philadelphia who worked in his dad's linen store.. this helped me sort of understand the mindsets of these guys. and bennioff you say famously declare that had ceos are the heros of the pandemic and said it in davos in public and no one picked up on it but an obscure blog and i ran an excerpt in the times and now everybody is talking about it but all this stuff is lying out there unprocessed. alex: here's a question: the ftc chair said to the activists and private equity exploding the most vulnerable population and they not only treat the most t
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vulnerable population but in the most vulnerable moments and the ftc has unlimited resources to take on pantry trust in a broader -- antitrust in a border sense of emergency medicine? peter: that's a great question. the new chair of ftc does represent a really interesting break from what has been the dominant conception of antitrust law. i mean, and again, this is -- i get into this history in my book. this doesn't come by happenstance. it comes through the careful engineering of the "davos man". ...
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and it isn't coupled with and very t careful lobbying and thik tanks to push the idea that hey, the soviet union is the enemy. they are barack or ties, the government is here's their top downward rugged individualist, the going to let businesses do it businesses are going to do and have to mobilize the way they did when the second world war. and this becomes late worshiping ssof big business and a solution to all of life's problems. then this idea is what animates the government green lighting increasingly huge that create a lot of the monopoly power now implicated in light of the shortages we talk about in terms of the supply chain disaster. so she is young, and extremely successful pins this extremely successful article a few years ago about amazon essentially saying if we look at the tech companies adjust through the
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consumer test lens, we are going to let a lot of damage happened to our society. google, facebook, they're giving their products away. if we are interested in what happens to prices were going to allow these huge companies to marshal god like a treasure trove's of the data on us. they'ree going to use that for all sorts of anticompetitive ways. amazon is capable of driving thy tropic of companies selling under their own platform to put them out of business and take over. and eventually look at higher prices per 12 less consumer choice, less competition. that is certainly an idea that ndis animated. there has been an attempt to go after the emergency room staffing company. but they have the resources. there's a bit a couple of temps and congress in a couple places davos man his protect itself from regulation by backing a a
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bill that looks like it solves the problem will actually being a tremendous compromise and unleashing aes sophisticated ad campaign that blames all of our problems on the insurance industry. which i do not have to tell it was a pretty unpopular industry in the united states pretty have the private equity people got their hooks into emergency rooms squaring off against emergency companies the winner is confusion and the status quo. ask a question here, complement first. says the diagnosis isow brillia. how do we avoid the despondency that feeds us to authoritarian disaster customer how to get back on track? effects my book was not written to depressed people. it's people who lost their job. my response is always it's not sad, it is outrageous. i am catering to outrage in this
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book in the service of people understanding that we have been here before. in the united f states, that wee rocking on john we were talking about within her before. the result amassing tremendouss monopoly power, behaving brutally towards labor, toward competitors. we have got antitrust enforcement. we've got the new deal, so we have got social safety nets. medicare medicaid unemployment benefits. got all of these things again we don't have a fetish for the 1960s and 1970s, right? we are talking aboutam a periodf jim crow. your time but the vietnam war. were talking about a time with genderdi discrimination lots of
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progress. we do want to go back to having the government play a role of the marketplace my argument here does not require utopian fantasy. it requires using the thing that has been there all along that is under assault but it is they are and that is democracy. exit seems to me pretty good but how are we doing on time? are we doing okay? i am asking brad, are we good? should we keepw, going? sue got five or six more minutes. >> great. you're such a great and hopeful answer. i'll give you the counterpoints but have a question here since globalization is a common theme when alice talks with the loss of blue-collar jobs in the rust
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belt in the south. the government that made this deal not the private sector's the governments. cannot be trusd to get us out of our current mess. >> why do we think the government adopted in the structure and was we got it? why do wehi think china enters e wto got access to our marketplace and every other marketplace in the world in 2001. it came in response to incessant lobbying from industry. by the wayeo that was quite a moment. people like bill clinton, larry summers, they said this is not even really about business. this is about democratizing china. if we trade with china were going to create a private middle class they will demand the same thing every middle-class wants. they're going to want freedom, and the markets will require the
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flow of information which will mean free press. this was the cheerleading this act of >> virtue that was really about shareholders gaining a way to cut cost to threaten labor with moving jobs elsewhere in wealthy places like the united states. to transfer production to a place where there are no labor unions, but there is a real labor movement you can end up in prison for the rest of your life. until we got this tremendous joint venture between a walmart in the people's republic of china. i mean this was the driving force. there are other ways to manage our trading relationships. and by the way i'm not even your to demonize trade with china. i'm not sure is wrong to let china into wh to over thinknk it was wrong to let them into wh to yoke, without progressive taxation without some say over. what workplace sanders companies have to follow.
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i mean, without any check on the process. but let's remember, the u.s. is the biggestly winner from globalization. it is how we have chosen to distribute the bounty that is the problem. that choice is not by accident. that choice has been dictated by davos men who finance people's campaigns to get the word out in their own interest. >> the davos issue is clearly global. how much difference can reforms in the u.s. may come tax reform, voting, et cetera. is it a drop in the global bucket? >> thee u.s. is the outlier in terms of the kind of a policies that we are talking about. at some point in the book i look at data that shows in denmark,
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six months after the breadwinner in the family of four loses their job, they are living on i think 87% of the previous income for there's that much of a social safety net. in the u.s., the same family living on 27% ofr the previous income. so if the u.s. becomes more like the rest of the developed world, that will actually contribute to more consumption. it will contribute to a revival of the sorts of approaches to government helping people out when they are in trouble. it's the u.s. that really has the most work to do on this front. >> i have got a question which is speaking strictly on the matter of covid. and vaccines. was there a davos man mechanism
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that somehow permitted madonna which i understand has received chquite a bit of federal funding and research and development, to sell to the highest bidder it's vaccine instead of sharing mrna secrets with nations who could desperately use it with the next variant? >> that's up classic. the farmout lobby full of money from large pharmaceutical companies, push the argument we have heard time and again. we have heard this over aids drugs, a generation ago in the developing world. if you mess around with the sanctity ofhe intellectual property, then you undermine the incentive of the geniuses who work in pharmaceutical companies to innovate. and we will all die basically. the davos man either gets paid or we all die.
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that's an aggressive way of stating the logic. but that is really the understanding that governs how we approach the pharmaceutical company. it is really incredible that we thave omicron by the fact you have frontline medical workers in africa treating covid patients at a time we are handing out booster shots to children in wealthy countries, right? you do not just have to take on humanitarian ground. purely, selfishly we've got a system where society is subsidizing davos men through their monopoly royalties on covid vaccines. we are paying through shuttered schools that are messing with our kids education, our own economic livelihood, death, fear, the continued desperation as we are intoo a third year of
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this pandemic. we are all paying so that a handful of davos men can continue to hang onto their monopoly profits on vaccines. >> a wind, when. [laughter] >> that's exactly how they put it. if you change that we won't have any vaccines. that is ridiculous but it seems to work as an argument. >> terrific. peter, this is a tremendous book. not only is it a great book very forceful and articulate explicator of the message therein. so thank you. >> thank you alex. i am really thrilled you were here. i just appreciate it so much, thank you. >> hey alex, great moderating. what do you think are you inspired to do it documentary now called davos man? i could definitely be a. >> i admin, call me anytime b f. >> i'm going to call see if you'll find it. [laughter] >> he actuallyua might.
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[laughter] picks what the devastatingyo takedown of a billionaires it's really impossible to read your book without getting not sad but really upset and outraged as you said it how the system has been so manipulated to the advantage of the super wealthy people. butve hopefully, by contribute into a better understanding how the rich got richer, what it has cost the rest of us your book will help bring about the remedies that you outline. to everyone watching, thanks for tuning in. a reminder in the chat column you can find a link for purchasing copies of davos man. from all of us here at politics and prose, stay well and well read. ♪ c-span now is a free mobile app featuring your unfiltered view of what is happening in washington live and on demand to be keep up with the day's biggest events with live streams
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my heart goes out to those people with the best of intentions were over zealous. i am sure you know, i will tell you if i could have spent a little more time being a politician last year end a lot less time being present i would have kicked their butts out. i did not know what they were doing the. >> mind presents recording season two on the c-span out mobile app or wherever you get your podcast. ♪ in the heart of washington d.c. is a unique place for kids. it is called the little blue house paid for 31 years and has been the first love of its director, a man named carl foster from the website of the little blue house it says there is a single core mission, to foster the vulnerable and at risk children and youth in a safe, stable and healthy environment. carl foster, vietnam veteran and director of the little blue house as for over 30 years the
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lb h has provided whatever service was needed, by our kids to give them a chance to become self-sufficient adults. let's carl foster director of the little blue house on this episode of footnotes plus, it's available on the c-span now free mobile app or wherever you get your podcast. >> on a book tvs monthly viewer call in program, in-depth, author, historian and hoover institution senior fellow victor davis hanson talks best recent books that focus on war, politics and citizenship in the united states. here is a portion. >> i grew up in a democratic farmer household. my grandparents were agrarian populists. my grandmother got an award reciting the cross of gold speech by william james bryant. not that i would say he was a model for what i believe in. there were strong democrats.
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my father, he flew 40 missions on a b-29. his first cousin i'm named after was adopted by my family when his mother died. he died. we always had the fly got all the time. veterans day, you name it was on our house. very proud of the united states. my mom was the same way and they were democrats. so, what i am getting in there is no sense of conservative or rural democrats. they were very strong civil rights advocates. hike and a member when us or 12 years got in the car and drove wildly up to grace cathedral to hear martin luther king speak. my mother detoured because she found a list of african-american people who might not have access and have to take the bus. we picked up three women and we had a very small car. the eight of us drove.
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we do not know where to park or anything. by the time we parked we woke all the way up it was over packed. my mom on the door started close she literally pushed me and i was the only one of the party who heard him speak. they were classic liberals. and this idea that today you cancel somebody out because you don't agree with them or you tear down statues without consensual vote of a city council or you rename things without any consistency, we are washing away peoples, names, ideas we don't like. and we are not doing it in the light of date necessarily always on a majority vote or through constitutional means we are berating people, we are suspending free speech or due process. so this is not the democratic party a lot of us knew. >> you can watch the rest of this interview with victo


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