tv Robert Reich The System CSPAN May 23, 2020 5:01pm-6:02pm EDT
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rest of the day. and no one "c-span2" book tv, more television for serious readers. host: good evening virtual audience. on behalf of of harvard book store, i am so pleased to introduce this new book "the system" by robert reich . harvad book store brings our new digital community in this unprecedented time to you. every week we will be hosting events. and they will also appear on our website on harbor .com. you can sign up for a newsletter. you can check out on bookshelves. this evening, we will have time
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in advance. so now i am very pleased to introduce our speaker. renowned economist, robert reich is a professor of public policy at the public policy at uc berkeley. he served in three national administrations and has written numerous titles. the work of nations which has been translated into 22 languages pretty is also the author of the best seller common good and eating capitalism. among others pretty is a cofounder whose mission parallels. to form and engage the public about the imbalance of power. he's also program your of the award-winning film and equality for all. in the netflix original with capitalism parties joined in conversation tonight i claimed political philosopher at her own harvard university, michael. he's the author at the international bestsellers money can't buy. and justice is the right thing
to do. the two will be discussing robert's notebook, "the system", american politics and how they operate. and help average citizens enact with change. it's a much needed raid. in the senator elisabeth warren writes, he is one of our country's most insightful commentators on economics . the system shows our economy and our democracy are rigged to work for the wealthy and well-connected. change is possible if were willing to fight for it. we are so happy to have this here tonight. so without further ado, robert and michael, the digital podium is yours. it. >> pleasure it is to be with you bob to talk about your book "the
system". it's really a manifesto for a new progressive politics and so i am eager to discuss it with you. and to see what our audience and participants had to say. everybody knows bob that you are one of the leading progressive voices and thinkers. on the american sing today in this book is an example really of fresh thinking for the rest of politics. so thank you so much for joining us and for writing the book rated. bob: will michael, let me thank you for joining us as well. and harvard book store for putting this on. this is a virtual book tour in a way. there are virtues in virtual book tours after having done a lot of a tourist in my life, i am thankful for virtual rather
than the real star. the downside is i don't see you in person. michael your dear friend and i wish to be established in person at sunday post coronavirus. i hope we have a chance to sit down and have coffee somewhere. michael: great, let's begin with what really is the central theme of the book. american politics today is not about democrats versus republicans or left versus right. it is about democracy versus i think pretty tell us what you mean about that. what all the khaki means in the contents. bob: it is good old ancient greek term meaning in a kind of shorthand version society in which most of the wealth and power are held by a few rather
than the majority. integrates talk about is being a limited amount of families who presided in terms of wealth and power for the rest of society. russia today is commonly referred to as the same in the very prominent. we don't usually use the term with the united states but i think is becoming more more appropriate and what i say the major invasion in america today has become democracy instead of traditional left versus right by disciplining the way in which we used to talk about our political divisions, either more governmef you are on the left, or less government if you're in the right . and again i'm giving you a cartoon version of that. but many of us were involved in those discussions but they have become less and less relevant
over the past 40 years as wealth and power move to the top. we still engage in those left and right discussions and we still pretend or maybe we are self-deluded i think in more cases than not, and to think that those of the most important discussions that we can be having. but the most important discussion we can be having is the choice that we have made not expressively but implicitly in greater and moving towards it and away from our democracy. host: as we made that movement away from it, you say the week really are pretty developed. the shift from stakeholder to share aldrich capitalism in the conception of the role of the corporation. and also with labor unions. in the third is the deregulation of finance.
tell us, we could spend the entire evening going through the diagnosis but i want to save us time also to get to some of the solutions that you post. what if you focus on the date regulation finance and the extension of the finance in the economy. tell us how this happens and how it contributed to olagarth rather than democracy. bob: all three of those changes happen over the last four years. they reinforce each other in white. and finance on the deregulation of finance, happened mostly starting in the 1970s and remember, the legacy that we had in heritage from the 1930s as a financial system that was pretty boring. it worked pretty well but it did not attract a lot of talents or
energy or really much attention. i largely because the regulations work so well developed because we learned so much from the great crash of 1929 in the excesses of finance 1920s. and so set of regulations starting with the securities and exchange act of 1933, and then the act of 1934. in on. all of the regulations that went out with those, but the 1970s, we are beginning to wear thin. because and for reasons i got from the book, various people involved in finance and wall street begin to see opportunities for exploitation. opportunities to act on the fringes of the law. arguably still legally in ways that could make them a great tell of money. then they could also bribe the
politicians. i use this term because i have been in washington for many years in and out of washington and set much more subtle system than outright bribery. let's use the term bribery just as a kind of a way of understanding. because it is basically giving money to politicians and their campaigns for the sake of getting something in return. and some of the primary went to listening the laws and regulations. so that by the 1980s, it became possible or financial corporate raiders if that's what you would want to call them. people of whom saw opportunities to get involved in taking over companies are threatening to take over companies that they felt were not well managed. where employees do not need to be hired. you can do the same for by outsourcing and bringing in
automated equipment. in against another piece of the puzzle but you see finance continued to be deregulated. it has an journal almost self propelling mechanism. once you begin to deregulate. and create more more money and opportunities for money on wall street and in financial markets, then barthel was attracted to wall street and more jealous attracted to wall street found more and more ways of exploiting the system and using bribes to deregulate. so by the time ago to the late 1990s and early 21st century, the system was ripe for an explosion. and as we know it as in 2008. michael: and wendy to get to the part of the book with eroded pretty one of the one of the striking scenes is that it is not only republicans are
politicians, who rigged the system, you argue the pro-business or wall street friendly democrats as well as republicans participated in rigging the system. much of the d regulations, getting rid of that grass single law for example happened during democratic administration. and in that case, the clinton administration. and we will get to the bailout and the obama years in a moment. by can you describe how it is that you watched as democratic demonstrations, not only republican once but then participants in the deregulation of finance, and the rigging of the system as you have described it rated. michael: i think that when it
comes to rigging, the republicans and much more expect parties. in rigging the system for the benefit of the big corporations and the wealthy. but the democrats certainly as i say in the book, have been guilty as well. there are wall street democrats, and there are regular influence in the democratic party. i wrote the book around a gentleman who was the ceo of jp organ chase. the largest bank in the united states. the man has enormous influence in politics as well as finance . very often interviewed in business shows and on television because of his knowledge. he has positioned himself as a democrat. and as somebody who straddles both parties but really is as he says and heart, he is a democrat and democrat who cares about equality and so forth.
but james diamond is very much an exempt of what is happened to the democratic party. these wall street democrats and corporate democrats with the best of intentions, and i don't mean to suggest that these are bad people. one recent that i entitled the book trance eight is because we don't fall into the trap of getting giving of the bad people in the bill as it would will be fine. they have contributed and they have made it and i have seen it, very close up. actually corrupted the democratic party just as the republican party was distracted. finally michael, you alluded to my years in the clinton administration. i'm very proud to have been part of the bill clinton administration and very proud of what we accomplished but when i saw firsthand, with this tidal wave of money and its corrosive
effects on not only the clinton administration and republican parties and the democrats in congress but our entire democracy. it was deep for citizens united against that terrible supreme court case way before citizens united already big money was engulfing part democracy and making it very difficult to enact policies that were for the benefit of everyone. michael: now let's move on to the 2000 with the bailout the began under the bush administration but continued and was administered under the obama administration. to what extent you think that the obama's administration handling of the bailout, contributed to the rigging of the system and even if some
would argue, changed and into the way of donald trump. is it going too far or do you think there is something in that. bob: in the book i do trace the development of that kind of vicious populism. that angry populism to steps that were taken including the obama administration. and that bail out was viewed by americans, and i think quite fairly as a huge cadence wall street and then has perpetrated the years of a kind of gambling casino that made the entire economy change. and when it made its self evident in 2008, and got up with the entire economy and cause it to collapse, a lot of people felt that bailing out wall street although they understood rationally why it was necessary
and they felt it was unfair. and homeowners who were also supposed to be bailed out under the mechanism, but a nut wonderful tarp acronym. you can't see behind it. that was the acronym for the program. and homeowners do not get billed out pretty big very few if any executives were indicted or anyway held accountable for what happened. at the helm of that ajc morgan bank and then subsequently, in the forefront of the business community efforts to actually minimize the amount of regulation would be put into place to make sure that that 2008 explosion would not happen again. a lot of people are angry and the key party movements in the
right in the brief occupied movement of the left, both came out of that experience, that sense the game was rigged in favor of the rich and powerful. and then in some ways michael, i think the bernie sanders and donald trump were both lineal descendents of the key party movement on the right and the occupied movement on the left. when just quick note and that in 2015, i was doing some very preliminary research for this book. i was undertaking focus groups in the midwest, michigan wisconsin, a lot of the rust belt areas. and in north carolina and missouri. i was asking people, there are candidates in the democratic and republican primaries, who are you most interested in. would you support for president. i kept on hearing from people, and these west belt states and
also in southern and western states, i kept wondering the same thing. people said, was very interested into gentlemen, one is bernie sanders and the other is donald trump. and michael, when i hear people repeatedly using these two men is the kind of who they were most interested in posing for, should they get the election and the primary nod in both parties, i knew something had changed in america. it was a degree of willingness to do something quite radical. and i asked people why donald trump and bernie sanders nason will both of them are outsiders and they will shake things up. they will unring the american political system that is now rigged against me. michael: people did not really
think that they had failed raven that the system was unfair, they felt angry and resentment. bob: yes. people analyzing the 2016 election, have attributed much of donald trump's victory to racism. and i think that is simplifies far too much. yes there was obviously an element of racism but you have to ask yourself, why. we've had racism in american politics for her since before the founding of the republic. racism and misogyny all play a very large part in 2016 election because people were ready to be or use their anger, tammy channeled by demagogue called donald trump. towards scapegoats. it would be anger. it was a sense of frustration
that was really compelling force in 2016. michael: serves a political question that arose in 2015 but is at very much the moment now. given the anger and frustration on the right and on the left. at the system being rigged in the way just being stagnant. a sense of cultural exclusion. and powerless this group what you think that an authoritarian populist as you called donald trump from the right, less able to factor that angry resentment more effectively than frank sanders was able to do in the left. bob: is a good question. i asked myself the same over and over again. and i think the answer is that the democratic establishment had already invested far more than
hillary clinton and the republican establishment had in anybody other than donald trump. in 2016, supported by a party and the party regulators. michael: at the beginning. bob: that's right but he did that very quickly. michael: weirs broadway footing the question. i think your diagnosis is great are full compelling. london in 2020, this time did bernie lewis. bob: i think bernie lost, progressives are more dominant and the democratic party than ever before but because there were two very effective progressive candidates. it was not just bernie sanders. it was also elisabeth warren. and if you look at what happened
really beginning in october of last year and then right through the primaries, what you saw is that bernie and elisabeth, kept on splitting the progressive vote. together they had more votes than anybody else. even up to super tuesday. but those votes were split. joe biden, managed to just move right through the center. literally the center. like the old center. and i think establishment was quite relieved. one of the reasons that bernie sanders and elisabeth warren both ultimately lost is not just that this with the boat but also that the democratic establishment got extremely nervous with elisabeth warren's verse . and when she was number one, there is a brief interval when she was the leader. she was promoting a wealth tax.
it scared the jesus out of the democratic establishment. corporate and wall street democrats. and then bernie sanders moved into the leadership. and of course he, scared them and have been scaring them since 2015 and 2016. so joe biden, was a natural sort of safe harbor for them. and as i said, by that time the boat had been split. michael: so there were simply too progressive candidates dividing the most in the democratic party. i would like to ask bob, and of the question. about the esteemed power of olagarthy rather than democracy. it's really developed over a period of time the last four decades. while it is true that the power
of money in politics, is enormous. just as you say and you document in the book. it is also true that when it comes to voting on election day, the majority still gets its way. in the majority of voters are not in the top 1 percent of the top 10 percent. the net beneficiaries of the trust tax cuts. for the deregulation that you described. some might question broader than electoral politics is this. why over the period of the last three to four decades, if people are increasingly aware that the system is rigged against them, the majority of people. and they resented and they're
aware of stagnant wages while those at the top of gained enormous rewards, why does the system have such staying power. what is it about the belief the ideology or the public philosophy that a company, rising in the inequalities of the different and distant decades, what about the possibility staying power. how ideal or misdirected in the system that enables or makes people willing to accept inequalities do not work to their advantages. bob: the first of all michael, i want to premise a little bit because i think the populace revolution started already and donald trump was elected president. republicans establishment is not
unplaced with what he did. he has rewarded them with tax breaks and regulatory rollbacks. when he was elected a lot of them were nervous. in terms of some of his policies. it's crazy. he's a sociopath. in many respects but, but really, the underlining question you asked, and i try to address in the book. i think that the olagarthy has used some very powerful means of preserving his power. not with family and frustrations and distrust that is increased over the last 40 years. one method is to keep everybody angry at each other. that's the decisiveness between left and right. old left and old right. racial divisiveness misogyny, and divisiveness.
all of this innocence plays into the hands of the olagarthy because it means that people are so busy being angry at each other that they don't look up where the wealth of the power and the political influence actually is. michael: so it is that cultural horse and distracting people from the economic interests . bob: is not just the cultural wars. that is part of it but is also racism and misogyny and phobia. everything else. it is not just culture. it is a kind of combination of culture wars and kind of vicious decisiveness that obviously donald trump has contributed to. i've seen spurred ever since newt gingrich in 1995 used it as a political ploy but then there is also a second factor that the olagarthy has used and utilized and that is making the market into a kind of religion.
kind of a fundamentalism. the divine right of kings in the 17th century. they used to quote power behind a kind of a set of mythologies about really what should be the kind of moral rectitude and righteousness of a market. now obviously the market is a human creation. and obviously the rules of the market depend upon who is in government and who they are listening to. and yet, the olagarthy has perpetrated the notion that the choice, the fundamental choice between market and government, which is ultimately silly and wrongheaded but it does give olagarthy some grounds for saying and arguing repeatedly, we deserve what we have because the market has brought it to us
pretty for people deserve because the market has decreed that they shall be part. the meritocracy. again if you accept that proposition, that the market is the adult. in his just deserts. you've written extensively about this and eloquently. it's about where you are in the market. and the market is fundamentally fair, then the kind of a totality but the reality is that the market is in creation, very much and we have seen this again and again. and i have seen it in my government directly. the market is a creation of power. it is a function of who created the rules of market.
michael: what about the hypocrisy the market. you think that most people, the average american voter, sing a wealthy person thanks that they do in some countries, they must be a look on the must have deserved it. bob: i think most people would say they deserve it. they must have done something right. in fact when elisabeth warren talked about and producer of tax proposal, some of the most sort of criticisms were that the wealth tax was demonizing billionaires. very wealthy people after all, they got to where they are because they deserve it. they made a lot of money and they created new industries or new ideas. he created amazon. shouldn't he be entitled to the
now hundred and 10 billion-dollar portion. it is that kind of attitude is still very much in the united states. it is not new. it's been in america since the beginning. but it really is tested in times like the first gilded age and now the second gilded age we are in. because the degree of wealth, the degree of power is so much larger than it has ever been in most people's memories. michael: so to build a new progressive politics, is necessary to take on and to subject to political debate, this deeply ingrained idea that market rewards correspond to peoples merits. bob: i think it is but it's a very tricky and difficult thing to do. i've been involved in enough political campaigns including preferably one in which iran. to know that as is on my bumper
sticker. you may be the only one who hasn't left. i took mine off. bob: it is very difficult to actually get across in the heat of the campaign, in the excitement of the campaign . a complicated paragraph. you are lucky to have a few sentences or maybe even a phrase. but right in the sense that this mythology, this market fundamentalism, does have to be taken on somehow. in the truck i think for the democrats and in the future is have taken on and also not vilify people who are wealthy just because they're wealthy. but actually talk about the system as a system and needs to be fundamentally reform oriented. michael: i know there are people who would like to ask questions. but before we do ask her get the
questions, one connecting to the current political campaign in november election and the way the argument the democrats should make running against donald trump. now here's one scenario that many people in many democrats would say. i would like to hear whether you would agree or disagree. it's very hard, to change people's minds on fundamental questions in the midst of the broadly presidential campaign. so you and those democrats who believe in the progressive diagnosis and prescriptions of your book, bernie sanders and elisabeth warren's primary campaigns read should set those questions aside.
the strongest democratic campaign against donald trump, is to focus on his character, to focus on restoring decency to american public life. to focus on restoring norms. the rule of law, stability, mutual respect, and to leave all of these important controversial questions about power and wealth and structural inequalities for later. because we have to do donald trump. when he stated that pretty. bob: i would say there is a lot to the argument. with one big caveat michael. and that is in the art in the middle as you know, everybody knows of the worst health crisis since the 1918 pandemic. in more than 100 years. when the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the
1930s and on top of everything else, obviously we have arguably the worst president in and admit and installation maybe even ever. in many ways you could attack. i do think it's very important to attracting people into this campaign and have them vote. they're not going to be attracted . and according not going to vote simply on the platform of decency or back to the way it used to be. they just want to reestablish the old norms. the young people who voted for elisabeth warren and bernie sanders and were excited by vision of the future, really need more than that to get to the voting booths. so there is the. how do you do that do not scare off a lot of other voters. maybe we do that is how and i'm going to go back to the 2000 campaign for a moment. because there was one week in the 2000 campaign when al gore,
actually went off script. he began talking about the campaign that he really wanted to run was between average working people in the privileged and powerful. he said for one solid week, my campaign is about getting power back to ordinary working people away from those are privileged in this country. in the one week, he has never soared. he did better in that one week than he did it anytime in the 2000 election. i don't have first-hand knowledge of what he stopped. but my second hand knowledge, i heard from several sources, is that the democratic establishment were just overwhelmed with anger and suspicion and it was like when obama went to wall street and call them fat cows.
they still have not gotten over that. and so i think that joe biden if and he may be incapable constitutionally doing this but i think of joe biden to play talk about the power and wealth and privilege in this country and why it is so important to get wealth and power away from a fairly small collection of people. he won't use the word olagarthy but i think that that would be very important. michael: let's go to some of the questions the people have been sending in rated given the corruption and conservatism in both parties, this is a question for michael. in the defeat of the like sanders, is it possible short of a massive populist revolt and how likely is the french
revolution style backlash. bob: i don't recommend, certainly don't recommend a french revolution or backlash. united with no any historian no how dangerous it is once people really no longer leave or believe that the mechanisms in place to solve differences will actually do it. or that the game is really so profoundly rigged that is helpless. and the reform cannot work. once a significant number of americans reach that, then were in trouble. as a society, there is no common good. there is just a root force against brute force. "finally i worry about that. i think that and i recognize some of the young people i teach, i kind of creeping cynicism and nihilism that us on
this country in the late 1960s which ultimately did not and really terribly well. michael: the other question is rather more focused but interesting. we had a system of public banks, like north dakota and the federal reserve and acting more like a public bank, would that help within equality. what is the role and perhaps you can take up a broader question. what is the role of the federal reserve in the incoming quality that you have written about and for that matter the olagarthy policies. bob: fascinating question. the federal reserve, and different point of time. i really do invite the questioner, or anybody to go back in time it was the first
chairman of the federal reserve and really was there for years. in fact the federal reserve building in washington is named after him. he was a true depressive. he thought of it as the people's bank. he thought the defendant would be the vehicle for massive public works for doing all sorts of things is ultimately new deal to do. but without the feds of support. but then you have another who basically said helped to break the back of inflation and ultimately the worst recession 7v shaped recession we had in this country and basically through jimmy carter out of office. in some people, but he was a very different character. in this thing has potential for being a people's bank. he has not so far. and the current and bailing out
big corporations, buying up bond is that they created, the debts that they created because for years they have been buying back their shares of stock in going deeper into debt to do that. it is really tempting fate in terms of moral hazard. a lot of companies are going to do exactly with the big banks have done. and they assume that they will be bailed out when this is all over, though probably go deeper and deeper and deeper into debt. it's a basically buy back their shares of stock. it seems to have worked. michael: another question brings up the question of share buybacks. it takes a simple issue, share buyback even if the political has killed them back could be found reading how could that be carried out across transnational corporations, global offices who
have shared trades on various exchanges. bob: that's a good question. there is something called the security exchange commission in the united states. it is still has companies that sell their shares of stock of the american stock exchanges. the new york stock exchange and so forth. and if you wanted to trade in the united states, on any of those exchanges, you've got to obey the law. they can go back to what was before ronald reagan's fcc changed it in 1983. and that was no buybacks . they were not permitted before 1983. the chairman of the securities commission under reagan was one who said, that buybacks should be acceptable but for a lot of
reasons, we don't have time to go into, i think that they are manipulation. michael: show she began them. bob: absolutely. michael: many politicians send use populism as an authoritative for example as people discuss the populist backlash. and support sanders. but is it populism about the desires and needs the people, is in a strong form of democracy. bob: i would say it is. and i do think it's unfortunate, it has such a bad name. if you go back to the 1890s, there was an interesting period of time or populism was associated with william jennings bryant who had martyred himself on gold and he ran for president in 1996 and again, before that,
he actually ran twice before president. he was called prairie populace. he targeted the image for populism in the eyes of not just the establishment but a lot of people who believed in science. is it really didn't believe in evolution either. he was at the trial. he was a lawyer defending the schools didn't want to teach evolution. but to see the counterpoint of populism in the late 19th century. that was progressivism. and teddy roosevelt, represented a different tradition which is much more reformist. and which assumed that the institutions that we had in place, were basically okay. but they didn't to be reformed. as roosevelt said, the big money from the gilded age, they needed to be put in the place. we needed to use antitrust laws. and regulations to make sure the big money could not abuse its
power. i think that's what progressivism really is still about. and maybe that is a better term than populism. michael: this is a question just really a follow-up to that. you point out in the book, and others have observed that in many ways, trump is called the populist and he appealed to many working-class voters. in 2016 and since. an actual policies against the wealthy and what they want. the tax cuts, and the regulatory rollbacks and so on that you write about. and yet it doesn't seem, i could be wrong, but it doesn't seem that these ways of catering to the interests of the wealthy had
really destroyed his support. among the working-class voters. why do you suppose that is rated c1 well for several reasons. one reason is because of his style is very much of an anti- establishment kind of populist. he likes to sound tough. his rallies in which he is politically incorrect. and he looks and sounds as if he is calling it like it is. the second point, very important point is that he also has fox news behind him. they managed to translate what is good for the olagarthy in terms of tax cuts and relax. in ways that make its viewers, many of them working-class feel that they are populist policies that actually work for the working people. without fox news, i'm not sure
the donald would be nearly as successful as he has been. it's that combination and then obviously mitch mcconnell and the republican senators predict that combination is managed to pull the wool over the eyes of many working-class people. and it's very difficult for democrats to simply say over and over again, to working-class americans, you worse off than you were before and the wealthy and big corporations are much better off than they were before. donald trump and everything he possibly can to widen the inequality and basically make their lives more difficult. it is hard to make that argument just by stating it. but it may be, that the coronavirus in the economic crisis flee rian, makes some working-class people a little bit more open to hearing it. michael: but would you say, and
i think it's very important certainly politically, the of course there is fox news and mitch mcconnell. but, how much of it is pulling all over the eyes of the working-class voters. and how much of it consider the fact that the democratic party has essentially alienated itself in recent decades. from a great many working-class lawyers that they're not really credible alternative for many working-class voters. bob: as you know, if you read my book, i talked about quite a lot in the book. then betty party did not just lose the white working-class over the past 40 years, it lost the working-class. and then there were two years in the clinton administration when bill clinton was elected in the democrats had control over the
house and senate. same thing of the obama and ministration pretty two years they had control of the democrats and control about the house and the senate. in those two years, it was possible for the democrats really do things that were otherwise very difficult. such as make it easier to form labor unions. or use antitrust in against the increasing consolidation of big corporations. or make it more difficult for wall street to do what it was doing. but in either of those periods of time, did the democratic party do anything of the sort. why not. i think as we started talking about what he minutes ago, it was because democratic party still is dominated in many important ways like wall street, and by big corporations. and the abandonment of the working-class, was no accident
with certainly by the 1980s. democrats were drinking at the same funding trough as the republicans pretty and the head of the congressional campaign committee, upon the democratic parties in the 80s, he was very welcome about it. he said look, you're going to be in charge of the house forever. and we in charge of the house of representatives pretty widely now the part republicans to go and get all of the money from wall street and big corporations. we should be doing it. that was the beginning of a very diabolical and very sad i think. of the democratic party and there's no reason in any labor union in person or working class person should be voting republican. but you are absolutely right. and i write about it. the democrats did not do what they could've done.
michael: what is interesting is this trend is not unique to american politics into the democratic party. the social democratic parties of europe, labor party in britain, and in germany, socialist party in france, all in recent decades and they have different systems, less egregious systems of campaign finance than we do. they have increasingly become the party of the university educated professional class. and this has led this long policies that go with that is led to the flight of working-class voters to other parties. and two in some cases authoritarian populist parties and politicians. this is a far-reaching phenomenon, this shift, the centerleft parties which began life as working-class parties
increasingly. and there the parties of the professional classes in the university class. thomas also wear those without a college education voted for brexit, those with a college credentials, voted against. do you think something broader is going on. bob: yes, i do michael. and i think that what we are saying is to disenfranchise and disempowerment of working-class people who don't have a college education, right across the west. let me say something else that were taken separated the united states still outlier in terms of inequality. stagnant wages, the lack of healthcare and public health insurance. the lack of public support for higher education. the lack of even paid sick leave any go down the list of things that american workers do not
have. in contrast to workers in europe are workers in japan or other industrialized countries pretty easy that even though they are drifting towards a kind of university educated elites, that is those countries and is working-class party some of those labor parties and state and they are still premised on different notions about our and the kind of appropriate of how that power is used when in the united states. most are made far greater than the united states pretty consider that in the 1950s, 45 s of private sector workers are unionized, and take 6.4 percent of private sector workers in the right seats are unionized. are smaller than any other advanced country. and i think hardly, for that reason we don't have any power
in this country right now. countervailing power rated a big money, and big corporations. michael: we are coming up to the end of our time. but i wanted to ask one last question is been posted by our viewers. you mentioned a couple of times, how the themes of the book play out during this moment of pandemic. so i want to give you a chance to speak to that but it may also connect with the question. summa wrote the sin. in 2008, you spoke at my commencement at uc berkeley and you didn't mince words but the challenges our class was facing. what advice would you give graduates of the class of 2020. bob: my most important piece of
advice, is not to despair and not to succumb to cynicism. because you see, once we do feel the no changes possible, then the other side wins pretty then the olagarthy wins everything and there's no possibility of reform. then we might as will give up our democracy. don't fall for it pretty continue to fight. it is the most important fight of your future. michael: the book is "the system", who redid and how we fixed it. it should be i think a manifesto for a new progressive politics. in the american life and it comes at a crucial moment. in an election year. and so for the book and for this conversation, bob, thank you so much. bob: will michael, thank you so much pretty great question and i
look so forward to that, coffee in harvard square. >> c-5 thank you once again to both of you for joining us tonight . and thank you for everyone out there in the audience for spending your time with us. these learn more about this important book. and purchase at the link below. so on behalf of harvard book store here in massachusetts, good night everyone. please keep reading and stay well. here's a look at some publishing industry news. last week simon & schuster ceo carolyn died at the age of 71. she began her publishing career at random house in 1974. she had led the company for the past 12 years. a simon & schuster. announced a plan to help independent bookstores in the wake of the penn deming. they will provide greater discounts pretty extend the dates on invoice payments and
assist with freight cost on returned books for stores that are working to reopen. new york times reports on the many forthcoming books about the coronavirus pandemic. harper publisher says that the difficulty for publishers is we know there will be a lot and we know only a few of them will work. also in the news, mtv book sales were up nearly 10 percent for the week ending may 9th. ... ... north america's largest book industry conference book expo will offer a series of online events next week. all programs will be hosted on expo facebook page and freak to the public. next month, the book festival in bronx will take based on length
tooth six. the american library association annual conference coast virtual june 24 to 26th grade tv will continue to bring new programs and publishing news. you can watch all of our archives programs any time at booktv.org. >> welcome to this virtual eve event. her new book, how the south won the civil war. a continuing fight for the soul of america. i am joanne, i'm a professor of history from american studies at yale university and i have the pleasure of being in conversation with heather about her book and other matters politically. this program is being produced by the book registrar of historical society which is a cultural hub for dialogue and community outreach for over 150 years. that's some real history fair. her book has gotten a lot