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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  July 28, 2013 8:30am-9:31am EDT

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ignorantly started to make this misdiagnosis, or were they more like being dumb like a fox? in other words, needing a population that they could study, evaluate and do some other different kinds of treatments with modalities? and my last art to the question is -- art to the question, is it -- part to the question is, is it quince coincidental that there was shock therapy that seemed to occur at the same time, and was there any connection? thank you. >> part of the point -- thank you, it's a terrific question, and part of what i think we're all studying, i don't want people to leave here and think like, oh, man, there's no hope for any of us, you know? like whatever. so it's more when you spend a lot of time studying particularly issues about race and ethnicity in the medical system, on one hand i think -- and, hopefully, you've heard this from this panel today, there's a very genuine need for people to get information. doctors want to help people a lot of times.
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but a lot of times there are these moments where the racialization of the system, the bias, the racism of the system becomes more apparent than others. and what happens then is not so much that all of a sudden there's this plague of insanity in the black male population, it's that the frames around illnesses, the way we dune -- define illnesses, change in ways that have some things to do with biology, but other things to do with old ticks. the reason people started seeing black men as crazy is because they were afraid of them. they were in the streets protesting and all in this tough, and this language of insanity became a way of quite literally ip cars rating black men but not having to take seriously the threat they were posing to the white political order that in a way it was a very political -- to get back to alondra's quote -- it was health being politicized in the name of maintaining the status quo. so part of what i think we're
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saying is that the it's important to get treatment, to get help, to talk to your doctors, but also to be aware always of the politics of the health care system that can kind of shape those disparities. >> well, we're at the end of this wonderful conversation, and i really appreciate the audience participation in this because you've helped raise the level of the conversation. let's give a hand to our panelists. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> this event was part of the 15th annual harlem book be fair. for more information visit qbr.com. >> up next, adam lebor talks
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about his book, "tower of basel." the bank's 140 clients include central banks from around the world. originally established to handle german world war i reparations, the bank now acts as a global financial superpower that works to stabilize the global financial system. >> welcome, everyone. i know a lot of people here, but for the new faces, i'm michelle -- [inaudible] i'm president of the world policy institute. we are a global center for thought leadership focused on emerging challenges, emerging thinkers and emerging solutions. we publish world policy journal, and we like to bring people together in open settings. we believe the policy is not just for wonks and the political salon series is really at the heart of that philosophy. the series was started almost ten years ago by a close friend of the institute who is now in
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pittsburgh at the world affairs council bringing together a diverse group of people across political affiliations, across careers, across nationalities to come together around the table and talk about global issues in a way that's really relevant to everyone. so we're delighted to continue that series. and we are especially delighted to have with us tonight adam lebor who is not only a journalist for the economist and the times of london, monocle and other places, but he is also an accomplished novelist. and i'm guessing it's probably not coincidence that one of his novels is called "hitler's secret bankers," which has a little bit to do with the book that we are here to talk about today, "tower of basel," which is just a fantastic title. i love that. so he's, he's really delved into
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this bank which is something that a lot of people haven't heard of but that plays a pivotal role in what's happening in the global economy and will continue to going forward. so he's going to talk a little bit about the history of the bank, the more recent history, and he's got some very interesting suggestions going forward for how the bank could be more transparent and accountable and, hopefully, lead to better government. the format of these talks is informal. adam will speak a little bit at the beginning, and then i will kick off with a couple of questions, and then we open it up to the room. really what makes this event great is all of you. so be ready to tee up your question. we're delighted that c-span booktv is here with us tonight. so if you could do us a favor, if you do have a question, just wait for the mic to come around so that we can hear you. but, um, with that said, adam, welcome. we are very, very happy to have
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you here, and i'm particularly looking forward to what you have to say because i'm a big with finance geek. [laughter] >> thank you. thank you very much. i'd like to say thanks to michelle and to the world policy institute for having me here and for all of you coming tonight and also for c-span coming on to film us. much, much appreciated. so i'm going to start a bit by just talking in general, take you through a bit of the history of the bank for international settlements, and then you can kind of understand where it came from, why it's set up, and what it does today. so what is the bank for international settlements? i always say it's the most important bank in the world that you've probably never heard of. most people have never heard of the b with is apart from seem who are dealing with the more technical side of central bank or international finance. so the bis was set up in 1930, and it was set up as part of the young pn.
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history reaches back to the end of the first world war, and after the germans lost, they were punished by being forced to pay reparations. and there was a lot of arguments about these reparations; how much would they pay, how long would they go on for. and what happened was the allied power agreed that through the young plan that bis would be set up to collect and administer and manage these reparations payments. so it was set up for really a kind of obscure basis. this was not a big geopolitical question at the time, german reparations for the first world war. but the real reason it was set up so that central bankers, ie the governors of national pappings like the bank of france, the bank of england and the federal reserve and so on, could have a place to meet that was supremely protected and legally inviolable. what does that mean? that means that the bis is an
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international organization, but it's also a commercial bank. it's a unique hybrid in the world. it's the world's oldest global financial institution. it was set up before the imf and before the world bank. but it's got, as a commercial bank, it's not like a mission and -- it's got like a mission and a duty to make a profit, but it's got almost all the same protections as the united nations or the international monetary fund. so from the moment it was set up by an international treaty, the bis' premises is almost extraer extraterritorial. the swiss authorities have no jurisdiction over it. same as the american embassy or the british embassy has that level of protection. and during the 1930s the bis became a place where the central bankers could meet meet and discuss things away from politicians and away from the eyes of reporters. and, in fact, during the 30 bes the bank was so secretive
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that there was a new york times reporter who went out to because el to do a -- basel who went out to do a piece for the magazine. and he said after the directors' meeting he wasn't even allowed into the room when they'd all gone because the space was so protected and so sacred. so i think that's very interesting because what it tells us is if you've ever wondered how we got to place where all these people from the imf and the ecb and the world bank and whatever are flying around the world -- greece, for example -- i mean, how did we get here that these kind of unelected technocrats are telling everyone, telling elected governments what to do? my argument is that all this started at the bis which was the first be place, the birthplace of the global financial technocrat. and then it did some good things. it organized some of the first bailouts for spain and hungary and austria, but what was
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interesting was that these bailouts were being formalized by the bis and the central bankers meeting there. i don't know how federal governments could do that, but there was no political input. it was the bankers deciding where's the money going, how much are they going to get, and you see the continuity nowadays. the bis, the two people who really worked to set up the bis was a guy named montague norman and the president of -- [inaudible] bank. they were very close friends. and they were really the power, the two most powerful central banners in the world -- bankerrings in the world at the time. month giew norman would come to new york, make a speech all gloom and doom, the market would go down. everything's going well, the market would go up. these were the market movers. and then it takes a rather more sinister turn because during th
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1930s -- [inaudible] also continues under hitler. eed to is generally agr have been absolutelyfor the german economic revival of the 1930s that helped keep the nazis in power, helped keep them in business. he was much more then -- he also became minister for economics. so he was much more powerful than today a central banker is now a days who's just controlling monetary policy. he was really the guy running the nazi economy which is why after the war he was put on trial for war crimes. and so the bis had a stronger and stronger german presence. ore bankers, german bankers that joined the bising -- walter funk, who was president of the rice bank, his vice president, admiral poole, was director of the bis. a private banker called kurt von schroeder in whose house one of the crucial meetings that helped
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bring hitler to power and the chief executive officer of the main nazi industrial and chemical conglomerate. and he ran auschwitz where the gas that was used to kill several million jews. so during the war bis became a very important part of the nazi economy, and it was kind of its bridge to the world in ways. it was so important for the germans that poole, the vice president of the rice bank who was also bis director, said the bis is the only really foreign branch of the rice bank. so who's running the bis during the war? this is where the story gets really interesting, because the president of the bank from 1940-1946 was a man called thomas mckit rick. he was an american, an american banker who used to live in london. essentially, as far asld
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see, he was chosen by montague norman to take over at the bank. and he arrived in 1940, and the manager of the bank was a frenchman called roger -- [inaudible] and the deputy manager of the bank was a german called paul heckler, member of the nazi party, who signed his correspondence aisle hitler. so during the war perhaps not surprisingly when you consider the bank is in neutral switzerland and it's not really accountable to anybody, the bis became the maybe venue for the covert channels between the allies and the nazis about postwar planning. and, for example, 1942 perry jacob soften, who's the bank's economic adviser, went off to america to have a lot of high-level meetings because, obviously, they're thinking once the war's over we've got to set up some new financial system afterwards. and he comes back, and what does
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he do? he goes to berlin to tell everything that he's learned. so we must think that it was predictable that the people in states would know that he was probably going to do that. they know that he's neutral as a swede, he can go backwards and forwards, and he has these connections to the germans. and it's known that thomas mckit rick was an agent or an asset of alan dulles. at this time alan dulles, the american wartime intelligence chief in europe, was based in bern. and he was very close friends with mckitrick, and they knew each other before the war, and mckitrick would share information with him. the general manager of the bank was also an asset of alan dulles'. and i found some really amazing information in the archives where thomas mckitrick is speaking to germanvilleists and saying, look, in 1944 the war is
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over and, obviously, you know, we're coming in. so if you cooperate and if you're helpful, we'll guarantee your profits. at this time there was a lot of talk of dhi qar tellizing -- dhi qar tellizing. but he's saying behind the scenes don't worry, guys, you're okay with us as long as you don't make life too difficult for us. so what does this mean? this means that while american and british soldiers are landing on the beaches in normandy and walking into a hail of machine gunfire then being mowed down in the thousands, thomas mckitrick is sitting happily in basel doing deals with german industrialists and with the rice bank with, but not as some kind of, you know, individual idea. you know, he has in this idea that he's going to go off and do this with the knowledge of the state department and the office for strategic services. which is why at the time his main enemy -- really he wasis
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enemy at the time -- was henry morgenthau, the treasury secretary, really hated him and said it was a symbol of nazi instrumentality. and harry dexter white said, you know, our boys are fighting the germans while mckitrick is doing business with them which is absolutely true. so towards the end of the war, the bis also accepted a substantial amount of nazi gold and did a lot of foreign be exchange deals for the rice bank, so it was a fairly compromised institution but, again, compromised with the full knowledge of the state department, bank of england, the treasury and everybody else. so there was a lot of pressure to shut the bank down. they're saying we're going to build a new global economic system to run the global economy after the war. we don't want this tainted institution anymore. but they, what ended up happening was that a resolution was passed saying the bank
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should be shut down at the earliest possible moment. but when's that? no date was set. so the bank survived. and one of the things the bis is brilliant at doing and has been since it's been born in the 1930s is reinventing itself. so after the war there was the sense -- and there's an argument for this. look, we've got to get the global economy up and running. we've got to start making things, selling things, the country's got to start trading. so, you know, the imf has been set up, but nobody really knows what it is, you know, it's only a year old or whatever, and the world bank as well whereas the bis is there, it's got a lot of experience, it's got perry jacobson who's got contacts all over the world, so the bis survived. and its next phase over the next few decades, basically, until the 1990s the bis hosted all the preparatory work, the technical secretarial work for the be -- preparation of the
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euro. that's how it kind of reinvented itself. and this started in the late 1940s with a lot of obscure things that most people have never heard of like the european monetary cooperation fund and the be committee of governors of european central bank. they all met at the bis, and place is very important be here. although these things weren't actually part of the bis, they were based there, and the bis did their banking. so basel became the kind of focal point for all the post, you know, for most of the postwar planning especially to do with the euro. and then in the 1990s or the late 1980s jack delaw, who's president of the european commission, he set up the committee to work out the monetary union, ie the euro, and where was it based? the politicians wanted it based in this brussels, but, no, it was based in basel, physically
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in the bis which served as secretariat. so you can see again and again the bank is making itself absolutely the center point and reevolving and reinventing itself. extremely clever and nimble institution. and one of the key people in the delaw's commission was alexander -- [inaudible] a hungarian-born economist who's known as the father of the euro. what was his day job? he was general manager of the bis. and after the committee passed its, you know, the greed and the plan was going forward for the introduction of the euro, they set up something called the european monetary institute which was based, of course, at the bis, and its boss was alexander. and then it stayed there, i think, until the end of 1994 when it moves to frankfurt and became the european central bank which is another international bank protected by international treaty which is also not very transparent and very influential. so you can see through the decades, you know, reparations, german reparations are finished
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in 1932. the bis has no reason to exist, but they reinvent itself as the center for the first bailouts. hey, actually, you can't close down, you need us for the postwar global economy. then the euro and nowadays the bis is important for two things. every two months, just as has been the case through the decades, all the central bankers, the key central bankers of the world meet there to discuss monetary policy, absolutely crucial during the financial crisis. i interviewed merlin king who gave me a very good interview for my book, and he says that's the place where we meet, and we discuss policy options, and we talk about what can be done and what went be done. and the bis is hosting, again, it hoses the basel committee on banking supervision which is absolutely crucial for commercial banks, not for central banks while they have the 8% rule that you have to
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have 8% of assets compare today what you're lending. that's based at the bis. other committees are based an the bis, more obscure committees like the markets committee and the financial stability board as well which is going to be very, very important. it's the new finish people say it's the fourth pillar of the global financial system really after the imf and the commercial banks and the bis because it's coordinating national central banks and monetary authorities and regulators. so they want good things there. you know, they don't want bad things for us. they want the stable global economy, they want central banks that don't go bust. they want currencies that are stable. but it's all rather opaque, and i think it should be opened up somewhat. >> great. thank you. that's a great kickoff. there are actually a couple things that really struck me --
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if anybody else has phones, if you can make sure they're on vibrate. but what really struck me is you talk a little bit in the book about how everybody said that nobody saw 2007 and 2008 coming. and the bank for international settlements certainly did. i've seen some of the very prescient reports that they came out, really some of them quite damning of what was going on in the financial markets. but at the same time, they all saw what was coming and didn't do anything. you talk a little bit about political pressures, but i'd love to see you expand a little bit more on that. what, you know, what could they have done if they had wanted to, and why didn't people listen? >> well, yes, it's true. the bis, ever since it was set up, has had an extremely good
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research d., and it reaches back to perry jacobson's days. every year they bring out an annual report, 40 or 50 page, and now they run to a couple of hundred, and they're just full of information about the global economy and global finance and a lot of really technical stuff about the markets. and these reports compiled by, you know, extremely competent and very professional people. and in the early -- well, sort of the mid 2000s, the bis was one of the first organizations to spot, hey, there's too much money sloshing around here, and it's not being properly controlled, and it's not being, you know, properly regulated, and we're warning you that, you know, this could all end badly. i mean, they didn't say it definitely will, but they were one of the first warners. i mean, and that's one of the interesting things about them perhaps because being in switzerland all this time their banking culture because of their own banking operations is very
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conservative, very careful. and they don't need to take risks because their the bank for central banks, and, you know, they have like a triple diamond star credit rating. so, you know, anything that you put in there is going to make money basically. so they're very cautious, and they've always been arguing against inflation and against, you know, too much money in the money supply. but, yeah, i mean, they issued these warnings and, you know, the central banks didn't listen to them. perhaps if they had done, things might have worked out differently. but also you can see the causes of the global financial crisis are many and complex. but they did, they did certainly -- they were warning about, you know, there's too much money sloshing around in the american monetary, you know, money market -- in the american mortgage market, the whole freddie mac affair. they were, you know, they were on the case on that. they know what's going on. >> the other thing that struck
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me is, you know, you were very critical of the secrecy at the bank, the lack of transparency, the lack of accountability, and could you talk a little bit more what you think the implications are of that today? >> yes. of. >> what are the costs that we're paying for that? >> yeah. the bank was set up in 1930, and i talked a little bit in the beginning about how, you know, it was so secretive and, you know, that journalists, the reporter from "the new york times" couldn't even look in the room where the directors had met. a lot of that still car rays on now. -- carries on now. when the central bankers heat there every two months, they fly in on a saturday or sunday and stay until tuesday usually, no journalists are allowed in the building at that time. and my criticism of the bank's secrecy is that we don't know who attends these meetings, and we don't know what's discussed, and we don't know what kind of themes are being raised.
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and these are public servants, central bankers are public servants. we're paying for their salaries, we're paying for their plane fares. youyou know, we should be told,u know, what are the general themes of discussion, who was there and what is the kind of feeling of, you know, what's the mood music of the moment? and the bank says, oh, central bankers say, oh, we need a place to speak in secret, and if you put everything on the record, then no one will say anything, and you don't want to put a camera in and put it on youtube and then no one will say a word. and i say look, you know, because what are central bankers like if you say you need to change? they sort of give you the ridiculous scenario. and i'm not saying you have to put a camera in there and put it on youtube. obviously, central bankers need to be able to talk in private, that's fair enough. but they could have a press conference after these meetings, they could release the minutes. not detailed minutes of who said
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what, but, you know, the feeling of the meeting was, you know, that this or that that. they could tell us who was there. you know, they could make a step towards transparency. finish and i think that would be very, and i think that's something that's very important be because the whole -- among most people the feeling of global international finance, how it's run is it's still run by these guys in suits, nearly almost all men at these meetings telling countries you've got to do this, you've got to do that, and, you know, well, where's your mandate in and if you look now, even the imf is telling george osborne in britain that's too much austerity, george. and they're saying, well, actually we got a slightly wrong increase, that if you cut a country to the bone, it's not going to recover because no one's going to have any money to reinvigorate. so, okay, the bis isn't issuing, you know, demands like that, but it's still part of the, you know, of the structure of global finance. and and i think it should change. and the culture should change.
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and the interesting thing about the federal reserve is that, you know, for example, every two weeks the open markets committee be releases the minutes of the previous meetings. now, be you type in to google, federal reserve, basel bis meeting, it'll direct you to the federal reserve web site where it will tell you which official at the bis for those meetings, what meetings they're attending, where they are hour by hour. it tells you everything apart from what hotel they're in more reasons of their own security. and guess what? the federal reserve hasn't collapsed yet, and neither has the bis. so there's definitely room for improving transparency. >> are do you think the way of making more of that happen could be, you know, from the other countries? are there any other countries that are that transparent as the fed is? and could individual efforts by everybody to replicate what the u.s. fed is doing, could that,
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could that break it loose? >> what it could do, i mean, the bank of england releases some information as well. but merlin king was pretty solid that we don't really want to release any information about these meetings. no, a juggling act. i mean, powerful people who are meeting in secret are not going to say, oh, all right then, i'll tell you everything that we talked about. pressure's being put on them, and the pressure is happening, and it's a kind of, you know, it's a very inchoate pressure. there's a shift about institutions around the world. look at social media and what's happened in the arab spring and the occupy movement. people are demanding accountability now nowadays. and i feel that bis needs to adapt to that. >> okay. well, i do want to open the discussion to the whole room. just a housekeeping reminder, if you could wait for the microphone to come to you before you start speaking, and normally
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we ask everyone to say who they are, but i understand the cameras are here, not everybody wants to say that, so if you don't want to say who you are, just say, you know, i'm roger rabbit. [laughter] .. and they're met by a fleet of
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limousines which sweep them off the bottle about an hour away. what's interesting, how very hierarchical the weekend meetings are. they start on a senate with most important meetings, as compose with the bis board of directors which is basically the governors of the bank of england from the bank of france, european central bank, salon, india, brazil and the bis general manager. that's the elite meeting where i think a lot of the discussions have gone on about cordoning the response to the global financial crisis. there's 18 of them at that in the find and on the 18th floor. a fabulous diamond. it has views over friends and switzerland and germany. it's very global. the next day there's the global economy meeting. that's 30 countries. and vignette countries like turkey and the philippines and
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indonesia will attend the as was the 15 or 18 that were there the previous night. they sit around the table and another 15 countries are allowed to attend the meeting but are not really supposed to speak unless it's really, really urgent. countries like hungary, for example, or macedonia. they are allowed to attend but they don't talk. sorry, i think macedonia is not allowed to attend because the final 15, the third division, they're not allowed to attend. they just have to hang around. but they are allowed to attend the launch. they will have a fantastic buffett lunch. it's very hierarchical. people told me they're in meetings of count as a reserve, bank of england, european central bank. that's basically what counts. of course, everyone is very polite to each other.
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the manager of the bis has been working on his hospitality for many years. all the governors get their own office, dedicated office which they just used for two or three days come those two or three days every couple of months. and all the secretaries staff they want. your second question is really great. firstly, especially if you have a senior level, you are sort of, i mean not diplomatic status but you've got privileged status. and you get paid a lot and it's actually. so general manager i think, i mean perhaps kind of joking, it's not all that much. last year i think made 850,000 euros, tax-free, which is, what, allowances.llion or something.
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and there's about 600 people working there from 50 countries, and people like working there because there is also, it's sort of like the u.n. a bit of nation. they do some good work. it provides services for small central banks that don't have the expertise, does foreign exchange deals and gold swaps for them. it provides asset management advice to smaller banks, small consciousness and we don't have the expertise do that. so there is a sense of the people who work there that it's a global, international institution. it's got a public mission. and their salaries are tax-free. i spent a week there in the archives. it was very interesting, because one in the archives the archives are open to research men. so apart from personnel files and that kind of stuff, but i
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spent a week there and i would go in at 930, put my request in and the files which, by half an hour later. but have to stay in the archive from the i was allowed out to go to the washroom or to get a cup of coffee but i was strictly not allowed to go wander around the floor, go up on any of the flu or explore on my own. when i wanted to go to the libra i was escorted. i was escorted back to very high security. it's unlike the u.n., as far as i know there are no tours. decanter saboteur. i think that's a small thing about -- you can't just have a tour. it should be open. it's also very interesting building. it was built in 1977. it's circular so goes through this long looping corridors, a lot of ground balls and beige furniture them 1970s global furniture. it's really retro. it has this definite, it's got
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tinted window and this kind of james bond feel to it. it's a very interesting place. >> hello. i'm a friend of world policy institute. my question is, what interested you in this? tell us about your worldview and why your crusade for transparency for the bank of international settlements. >> well, it started with an earlier book i wrote called "hitler's secret bankers" which you kindly mention but that was an investigative book. although parts of it hopefully rid of it like a novel, so gripping but that was an investigative book. i did a chapter in the but it was a book investigating swiss banks and not siegel. if you remember the late 1990s, the big scandal broke about switzerland and all the assets an agreement that was sloshing around from the second world war.
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it was one of several books that came out. i did a chapter on the bis. i just thought it was the strangest place. i went there in 1998 to interview the general manager and they took a decision that we would be open about what we did in the war. i said what is this place? strange tower block, railway station overlooking big roads next to it. and i just thought this is very, very interesting to a specialist or to find out about the idea that during the war, fighting for their lives just a few miles away in a nice safe basel with the knowledge of everyone in berlin and london and washington. the channels are being tipped open. i became quite interested in institution. i've written about the united nations, which examines the
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human failures to stop genocide. and the title by the way is from a human peacekeeper report. the un's own phrase that we've been guilty of evil. i'm interest in international institutions, the idea that you step through the door and you're not in the country anymore. you are somewhere else. so, just fascinating. >> you failed to mention china as a member. are they actually speak was yes. china is a member. china is an important member. the governor of the bank of china attends the economic consultative committee. again, in the 1990s after the euro was invented because the bis was and then you can set up as a very european institution. first board of directors and
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still includes nowadays the board of governor of the bank of belgian and holland which no respect to those countries, not the key players anymore. but there also deal on the board. so after the euro had been invented and european central banbank was set up the bis was thinking okay, what are we for? what are we going to do? and they realized he had to become global. they had to become a global institution, which was absurd in 1990. china wasn't a member. brazil wasn't a member. russia wasn't a member. that's one of the interesting things about banking is it just reinvents itself continuously. >> i have two other questions. first of all, how much access they get in terms of interviews? also if you talk a little bit about the bank's role in setting the capital requirements for commercial banks. >> sure. well, my reception was mixed i
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would say but in the beginning of the bank was very helpful. i think they assumed that i was kind of finance banking specialist that was interested in very technical questions. and then after a while it became coal i was interested in other things like governance and transparency and the history. so on history side they were extreme helpful. the archivist was great. he gotten all the documents i wonder. the bank's official head of information was extreme helpful to me. and answered all my e-mails. but when i wanted more material about the present day, then there was a lot of to and fro. i had some access. i had an e-mail interview with the head of the research department, one of these successes, 530 years down the road.
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-- 25, 30 years down the road. i think it was a learning process to them. it was mixed. they did answer all questions that asked. i mean, they responded to them let's say. some of them they would say no comment or were not answering that, but they were professional in they responded to my inquiries. and your second question about the battle committee. service of also committee on will go back to the 1970s i think when a couple of banks went bust. one was on long island, and the german bank went bust is just a realization that if these things, because the economy was much more global windows banks went bust it had to knock -- other banks are exposed to them. so there's a -- so there's a realization they need to change
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them. where was it meet? inbasel, naturally. where else would be? they 78% rule and we've go got o basel i comment to entry. again, that shows you, i don't go into the technicalities of the basel agreements in the book. it's not about that. but it's just, what's interesting about that it shows you how banks reinvents itself, makes itself essential again and again and again. but also committee has got to be based somewhere. it's kind of unthinkable it would be anywhere else. >> tell us about the presence and the future, obviously there are transparency issues, accountability issues for banks, mostly i think nobody has ever heard of the if nobody has ever heard of it how likely is it a we're going to see enough pressure to make these things change? and i say that as historian, some growing dntent that
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detroit got in europe and the pauses of the ecb and the imf which interestingly, has lately been sort of pressing for austerity less than some of the other organizations. how likely is that pressure to get to the point where we are likely to see some real changes? >> yes. i think clearly this is a general sense across the world and especially in europe, very strong in europe that these people can just tell us what to do anymore. we need accountability, transparency. the bank would say in its defense, and it's true to some extent that it has made moves towards transparency. it has a website. you can go on the website. you can download the and reports back to 1930, two or three languages. you can see the list of staff that worked there and the bank has a twitter feed.
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mostly tweets in news about speeches by other central bankers and they say they've shifted towards that. but my position is there's so much further to go. and i think it will a just because how do we know it's going to happen to the future by looking at the past? throughout the decade for 70 years it's very smart institution. just continually reinvented itself, often under pressure but it has, knows how to adapt and how to move. like i said, when the european central bank left and it was no longer continue the year they realized with got to bring china and brazil and india. we have to do that. so i'm sure that will happen nowadays. what i propose is that the bank issue of the block of shares, well, first the banks set up a foundation to if this is really an institution with a mission of public service as those being enormously profitable, which
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made a billion dollars in profit last year tax-free, which is not bad for a bank with 140 customers, where you and i cannot have an account, so i think i argued it should set up a foundation, past rocket on the line of the institute, start training bankers in the developing world, start reaching out being proactive, training and business people, use some of its profits for philanthropic to this is where they were not particularly helpful. and i asked him i did a keyword search on the 2012 annual report, philanthropic, no results. charity, and the results. and asked them how much to give away, and they wouldn't tell me. they said we support local initiatives in basel. it's not really good enough, isn't? so although they say that they do a lot of training for central
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5000 central bankers a year for the seminars and meetings and lectures. but i feel that it's changing about the countably of finance, and they won't make that. they won't make that change. i mean, even when i was dealing with them they changed -- their helpful efforts and to realize what i was interested in and of not very helpful and when they became quite helpful again. these are very clever people. they know what's going on. they have great antenna. they are in that tower block all reported. they can feel which way the wind is blowing. if it's blowing towards transparency, they will adjust towards that. >> what happens to the profits? are the reinvested or do they go back to the shareholder? >> figure out dividends and then they reinvest them in the bank. >> plane tickets and empty offices better use of? >> yeah. >> the few days out of the month or year.
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>> it's a very successful bank. very well run. >> do we have another question? >> anyone else speak with who are the shareholders? >> the central bank. i'm sorry, do you want -- give him the mic the. >> who are the shareholders? >> the shareholders or the member banks. the other central banks. there's an annual general meeting every year where they discuss the way the bank is going and the governance of the bank to another thing which i should mention is also that the bank is still very eurocentric. you can see its heritage, that it was set up in 1930s a century by the europeans and buy america as well. after the collapse of communism although small countries like estonia, macedonia, slovakia, the new countries, they are all
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admitted and i added of the population, it was something like 16 million people in all of these small new countries. but in africa, only a jury in south africa are members. algeria is not a member of the bis. that's quite an amazing that one of the biggest economies in the world is not a member. pakistan is not a member. kazakhstan are not members. so in africa, in asia, in central asia, there's against it and i asked why, if they said well, the sympathetic has to meet certain standards of governance, economic transparency and the way the economy is run. there are questions about economic governance in russia and china and other places. it's changing but slowly. >> are we seeing a similar dynamic to the imf where some of the countries that are not the usual suspects are being much
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more vocal, particularly from the bridge country's? >> yes. waterford is in the globe economy meetings recently there's been quite a lot of anger about the meeting and all the money that is sloshing around very low interest rate. because what's that's causing is the kind of capital mobility in capital flight two of the countries, like in asia, like korea and malaysia. they are very upset because all this money is pouring into get higher interest rates and they don't want to. it's distorting the economies. so some of the global economy meetings have been quite, i mean everything is a polite but discussions going on. the governor of the central bank of australia actually gave a speech saying all of this, and this is what is being said behind the scenes. so yeah, there is definite shift in the developingrland away
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from europe and the west. people are definitely finding their voice. they are much more confident. the economy, some of them are doing quite well and they look at europe. they got such a disaster. the europeans are telling us what to do. >> it sounds like a bit of an echo of 2007-2008 where you're getting warnings of something going on that will cause problems. i'm having this moment of déjà vu to the early 90s where of course you had very low interest rates. all the money poured into what then were beginning to be called emerging markets, and then it flew back out and you get the nuclear crisis, the asian crisis but it's not like it didn't happen before. so it seems like with 2007-2008 here's a very big problem that is looming, that they're discussing. but they're not doing anything about it. >> no.
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mately w globalized finance is, these are governed of international central banks. they are accountable to the center or the british government or the french government and their interest in their national economy. so there was quite a lot of anger i understand of other asian country about japan, but countries are countries. so that's the price we pay for living in the world of nationstates. >> it seems like there's a balance between short-term and long-term thinking. for example, it was early in the united states interest that mexico have tequila crisis. >> not at all. >> there's a real feedback loop when there's a problem caused by one country, go to the other country and then feedback to the first country but it doesn't seem to be an awareness trying to do something. >> yeah, i think, yeah, because the way it's set up, national
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decisions, you know, very fast global ramifications and consequences which aren't really the concern that much of people because they're taking the decisions on a national basis. i think that's not an argument. i think it's just an argument that that's part of the rough-and-tumble of a global economy speak at least some of the bankers that you're right about are saying, hey, we need more of a global government rather than less. christopher? >> i'm curious, i'm christopher shea, managing editor. i'm curious, you talked a lot about what the bis ought to be. i'm sure, what you think will happen and the bis will invent itself in the future? >> i think that you'll see some moves, honey, it partly depends on what the pressures are on.
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institutions respond to pressures. so in pashtun if the general sense there' there is no mandatd should return people what to do, the technocrats are getting it wrong become stronger and stronger, the bis will move towards that greater transparency. i mean, my idea and a foundation and a block of shares given to civil society i think it's a bit of a dream, a bit of a pipe dream. but i think that's wha what they should you do buddy don't see it happening in the near future. but i couldn't imagine down the line every one information about the global economy meetings, that they become more of an outward looking organization. i feel the need to be a little more accountable. it kind of depends on the pressures upon the. but there's definitely, i live in newark but i know there's a real sense of anger about this idea. against -- the ecb, the european
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central bank is an important part of the bis so they are kind of connected to it. tragedies always argued against inflation and more in favor of austerity and careful prudence than playing with the money supply to reduce growth. they're part of that continuum. >> good. do we have any other questions? well, i note we have a number of books that are available here, trenton. i'm sure adam would be happy -- >> very happy. i'm never happier than when i am signing books. [laughter] >> but i want to thank you again for coming out again on such a rainy night. and particular thanks to adam. rivera be happy to have them here. his reputation preceded him and i'm never happier than when i'm talking about an et finest topis
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passionate about the intricacies of global banking. so thank you again, and thanks to all of you. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> you were watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs. weekdays fiction live coverage of the u.s.-centric on weeknights watched key public policy this. end of the weekend the lace nonfiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get our schedules at our website. and you can join in the conversation on social media sites. >> erika jong, what's on your summer reading list? >> i have the book, the interesting on my night table and i started reading it. i also always read a lot of books on meditation. and then. i'm also reading a book called the buddhist way of meditation.
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so i do medicaid. i've done yoga for 30 years. and i'm always catching up on that part of my reading. but this book is very much the next thing i'm going to read. it's called the interesting, and it starts with a group of teenagers in an arts camp, and it takes them forward to their 40s and 50s. >> let us know what you're reading this summer. tweet us at the booktv. posted our facebook page, or send us an e-mail at booktv@c-span.org. interestingly the korean war in a sense sort of help the south korean, south korean unify themselves in a way that was not there before. when the communists came down very brutal, and a lot of the
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south koreans turned against the comets in the north and that sort of solidified i think they're sort of sense of national cohesion and identity. but i think had he waited, it's very possible that the south probably would have, it's possible it would've to say good on its own. >> sixty years after north korean troops cross the 38th parallel, sheila miyoshi jager looks at a war that never really ended, tonight at nine on "after words," part of booktv this weekend on c-span2. >> this summer booktv has been asking washingtonians, legislators and viewers what they are reading. here's what some of you have to say.
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>> what are you reading this summer? post on facebook wall, tweet or send us an e-mail to know what is on the reading list. you can read all of our social media sites and we might even share your posts here on booktv. >> mark twain was a very young man when he was here in carson city. he was born in 1835 so he arrived in 1861. to the map, 26 or so. a very formative period in his life. it's the expenses he had here, all the things he does. then the things that he writes, then the notoriety he gets in this late foundation to the man san francisco and new york city. who, one of the greatest writers in american history. i would argue that without the carson city of experience, the
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nevada territorial experience come he never could've become a mark twain. >> booktv in american history tv look at the history and literary life of carson city, nevada, next weekend on c-span2 and three. >> next, science writer annalee newitz recounts the mass extinctions that have taken place on earth during its 4.5 billion year existence and presents her thoughts on how humans can survive a future catastrophic disaster. this program is a little over one hour. >> thanks so much for coming out to hear about the end of the

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