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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 6, 2009 10:00am-11:00am EST

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>> somebody read your book, what do you hope that they take away from it? >> i hope they will take away
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from it a sense of what a special place arlington is, and the american story. and how it got that way. because we tend to come here today come and if you look at it, it looks finished, it looks complete. but it wasn't that way in the beginning. it evolves from one thing into another thing into another thing. so what i tried to do in my book was to say how did it get to be the place, the national shrine, we know it has today. what was it before? what was it before that? so i tried in my book, peel back the layers of what arlington was and how it became what it is today. >> over 4 million people visit arlington national cemetery each year. and nearly 100 graveside services are conducted each week. to learn more, visit arlington
10:02 am >> good evening, and thank you for coming out this evening. 80 years ago, this month, the worst stock market crash in the united states history took place. known as black tuesday, although actually it was a series of days. october 29. on that day, $15 billion in assets were wiped out in a single day of trading on the new york stock exchange. $15 billion today may not sound
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like very much, by way of comparison, by my estimate, that would've been the equivalent of wiping out the entire annual revenue of about the 20 or 30 largest companies in america at that time. see you can just imagine. and then by november, a third of all died in the stock market had vanished. that event did not directly or immediately cause what we now call the great depression. i think most economic historians today would say that it was more of a catalyst than a cause. nonetheless, that sequence of events raises a very interesting question. which is what exactly is the relationship between the fluctuations of the stock market and the state of the overall economy? well, that's where benjamin roth
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comes in. benjamin roth, whose book we are promoting this evening, was a lawyer in youngstown, ohio, sole practitioner. not a trained economist. he took it upon himself in the starting of june 1931, to examine the economy as it fell apart all around him, both in youngstown itself, the steel industry went into great decline during this period, but also throughout the united states and indeed, throughout the world. in the 1930s, they did not know the into to this question. but roth, i think it is fair to say, he was near obsessed with the stock market. no one i think in the 1930s who wasn't actually in the stock
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market was more concerned in its day-to-day gyrations than benjamin roth. i don't have the exact figure. in 1929, when the crash took place, only about 2.5 percent of americans were invested in the market. i suspect in the 1930s when he began his directly was lower than 2.5%. no one had any money. benjamin would write down the closing prices of stocks nearly every date here to big blue-chip companies, also companies that were important to the youngstown area. the automobile manufacturing company, railroad companies, all of this went into what we now collected as his diary. he was searching for patterns. way to go up?
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if it went down, was that because the companies were doing poorly or was it because of broader conditions? as i said he was not a trained economist. benjamin roth was completely self-taught, self-reliant. e. depended on information he would get from the newspapers of the time. and also books that he read about past impressions. he studied intently into the philosophies by successful businessman, people on wall street. and he also took the temperature of the people around him. in youngstown, as far away as cleveland, some of the surrounding towns. but i have to say that 10 years of examining this question, what is the relationship between the stock market and the overall economy, that tenures represented in this diary, he never found an answer. i hope that's not a
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disappointment. but he didn't. but let's contract out with our own situation today. when you think about what happened during the great depression and you think about where we stand today, you realize there are treatment is differences, many of which came about because of the great depression itself. for example, we have a vast regulatory structure now for the private sector, which simply did not exist at that time. i'm talking about securities and exchange commission, commodities and futures trading commission, the fdic, and a much strengthened federal reserve bank that has played a far greater role in the regulation of the economy and intervenes more regularly, we hope more
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rationally, and economic events of the day. on top of that, we have safety nets that simply did not exist in benjamin roth's time. unemployment insurance, food stands, job training programs, social security, medicare, medicaid. all of these things that did not exist in the late 20s or early 30s make it so that the economic effects of downturns are mitigated, we hope. but this is not an argument for complacency. quite the contrary. one year ago in a six-week period the dow jones industrial average lost more than 28 percent of its value. six weeks. just wiped out. and of course we're talking about much larger sums than we
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were talking in 1929. some of the largest, oldest, most prestigious financial institutions went bankrupt. and had to be rescued by federal loans or taken over outright by the federal government. and in addition to that, we base the worst unemployment rate in a generation, 10% nationwide, and in some states 15 percent in some regions. detroit in particular. as high as 25%. those are numbers that really do come close to the level that we saw during the great depression. and confronted with that, as a journalist, i'm the editor of a website called big money which is a financial news and analysis site that had the fortune to launch on september of last year. lehman brothers declared
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bankruptcy, and it made for a quiet week. as a journalist confronting what we saw last fall, it forces you to ask some fundamental questions. why did this happen? why did we have this tremendous meltdown of the stock market meltdown of our financial sector? how could this happen? given all that regulatory framework that was put together during the great depression, wasn't that supposed to protect us? wasn't that a cushion? again, this was the exact extent that benjamin roth lived through. we were supposed to have figured everything out. i don't know if you read "the new york times" magazine with any regularity, but paul krugman had a story about that for economics, and he said in most major universities in this country, they thought the
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macroeconomic question had been figured out. let the markets do everything, basically. all debate about what level of intervention was appropriate had been resolved, and the correct answer as if limited by people like alan greenspan and ben bernanke, was let the market settle everything. and yet, it didn't work out as they planned. and when you look at the meltdown that we witnessed last year, and subsequent government response to that, it puts us in a place that i would argue very similar to where benjamin roth was 80 years ago, 70 plus years ago. we had a massive, unprecedented multibillion dependent as you calculated, bowled like a billion dollar bailout of the banking sector.
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was that the right thing to do? was that the wrong thing to do? would have unintended consequences? we had government takeover of major corporations, including in the automotive industry. again, unprecedented in american history. we were supposed to have a distinction between a public sector and the private sector. that seems to have evaporated rather quickly. we have a stainless program, the result of which we can talk about this later, but the result of which is to make people invisible and some people actually deleterious. a cash and clunkers program encouraging people to buy today so i think they don't buy them tomorrow, as best i can tell. so what i'm trying to argue is that we don't know the answers to the same question that benjamin roth didn't know the answer to 70 years ago, 80 years ago, which is what is the relationship between the stock
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market and economy. what constitutes too much debt? how do you protect capital? what is the appropriate level of government intervention in the economy? these questions are almost like a great philosophical questions of all time. we struggle with them. i think one of the things that is so constructed and rewarding for all the grimness, the great depression and balls, one the thing is we struggle with the same question today. we grope with them with the same combination of skepticism, self-reliant and hope that benjamin roth didn't. i would not resume this evening to bring benjamin roth's words to. my coeditor daniel, salon that now and i hope that we'll talk a
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little bit more about history and the parallels during the question and answer period. on that note i would like to introduce my co-author, daniel roth. he is a lawyer, a business executive and a venture capitalist, i think now and to quite a few of you in this room. he is currently the chairman of the law firm in youngstown that his father founded and kept alive during the lean years. is also the chairman of a corporation. ladies and gentlemen, i give you daniel roth. [applause] >> thank you, jim. and i really want to thank those of you who are friends of mine for being here tonight, who are packing the house. by way of background, my father graduated from law school here in cleveland, what was then western reserve university, immediately went into world war
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i along with four brothers. they all served in the service. and when he was released from active duty, married my mother, who had just graduated from oberlin, and settled in youngstown. he opened his law practice as a sole practitioner so that when the stock market crashed one month after i was born, and by the way, he did consider trying to return to the hospital but they would not take me back. he realized that things were happening so quickly, but he didn't really grasp the significance of what was going on in the economy for over a year. but when he finally realize the magnitude of the crisis, he began writing in longhand a
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diary on almost a daily basis. and in retrospect, i think one of the things that he was doing was escaping the reality of trying to struggle financially by looking forward to writing in his diary. he never spoke about the diary. and as a matter of fact, here we are 70 years later, and i found out that my nieces, who would be his grandchildren, they still did know about them as recently as six months ago. i first found out about them when i graduated from law school here in cleveland in 1956. and i was very honored to be able to join my father in law practice, and my very first assignment was, he asked me to read the diaries covering the period from the beginning of the great depression until pearl
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harbor. and that is what is set forth in this book. when i asked him why, i should be reading material that was really years old, he said because you're going to be working with my clients. and if you don't understand the, that they had gone through and the fact that 20 years later they were still carrying that emotional reaction within. he said if you don't understand that, then you're not going to be able to give very good advice to people. and for the first time at that point, i sat down and read the diaries. i was blessed to be able to practice law as his partner for more than 20 years before he passed away. and during that time, we would frequently discuss not only the
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diary from the '30s, but he actually continued it right up until the time 1978. so i have this large stack of handwritten diaries. and really, the word diary is almost a misnomer. i think of a diary as talking about yourself and your family and your friends. that isn't in the book at all. this is strictly the effort of a lawyer in a fairly small town, trying to get his arms around the issue of what happened financially, how does an individual protect himself financially, and even a greater interest although my father didn't have any money to be investing in the stock market in the '30s, as a gemini have frequently frequently laughed about it, that became almost an obsession to him.
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of trying to figure out how do you invest money so you don't end up going broke at the time of a crisis. to make a long story short, after jim and i have worked together for about a year, we finally have this book. and in a way i feel like my part of the deal is finished because i was able to fulfill my promise to my dad, that someday i would work on this book, edit the entries and get it published. so when i saw the first edition, i felt okay, dad, i did what i told you i was going to do. now if we happen to sell some books, that's the frosting on the cake. but on the other hand, believing, that was the issue. some of you may have read a major article in "the new york times" last saturday. jim and i were both very pleased and surprised at the length and scope of the article.
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this morning i received an e-mail from my son who is in the financial world in new york. and he sent me portions of an investment advisory service letter from one of the big advisory firms in new york. and i'm going to read the last paragraph, because i think that it's very interesting. we highly, very highly recommended that you take the time to read the only article on the weekend worth reading, which was the view from inside a depression. on page b1 of the saturday "new york times." having read the excerpt of benjamin ross diary of the roller coaster ride that came to define the economy and the financial markets during the 1930s. and then he goes on to say,
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compared to what's going on today. in the book itself, there are many, many interesting aspects. and there in mind, this is patrick lee a daily diary, but when i look at some of the things, first of all in his introduction, and i quote, here as elsewhere there are lessons to be learned. and i am very much confused this was being written in 1931, where can a person safely invest. in real estate, stocks, bonds. the constant supervision required by real estate, the constant upkeep its illiquidity, the danger of a deficiency judgment, all have cooled me considerably. i began to realize that changing business conditions and the growth of the country make almost essential and knowledge
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of stocks and bonds, not for the purpose of speculation, but to preserve capital and to get a fair return on your investment. and i can tell you being his law partner for 22 years, i continually heard him say world number one, don't lose your money. rule number two, don't forget rule number one. and that was pretty much the way he felt. on july 30 of 1931, quote, magazines and newspapers are full of articles telling people to buy stocks at present bargain prices. they say that times are sure to get better, and that many great fortunes have been built this way. the trouble is that nobody has any money. then he came back a year later. may 16, 1932. this advice was premature. here, a year later, prices are
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one third of what they were in 1931. one of the unique features of his diary is that he frequently would go back to these entries, two years, four years, 10 years, sometimes 20 years later, and he was honest enough with himself to say i was wrong. but as jim said just a few minutes ago, he was constantly searching for what was the right answer. and here again, this was a poor guest. conditions today are much worse. he also spends quite a bit of time talking about how savings account past books were being sold at large discounts. and he says before long, the past books on the home savings and loan, federal dollar and
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citibank sold as low as $0.40 on the dollar. prices were quoted every day in the newspapers and the sales were made mostly through regular brokers. many bought real estate at foreclosure and from the banks. pay for it in past books that they had purchased at a large discount but they got 100% credit. and in the book he says that he did not object to being paid legal fees with past books, as long as they were on the bank that held the mortgage on our home. because he would take in at $0.50 on the dollar but when he took it to the bank they would have to give him full credit. july 1932. and as i am reading these little excerpts, compare it to what's happening today. quote, one of the tragedies of
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this depression is the fact that young college and professional school graduates are unable to find jobs. some have been looking for work for two years. others are driving bakery trucks or working as clerks in stores. also, throughout this entire time, and bear in mind, here is a sole practitioner trying to make enough money to feed a wife and three kids. and he was still able to maintain his equilibrium throughout the entire depressi depression, and he writes at one point, if it weren't for the suffering that it has caused, i would say that the depression has brought with it a good many worthwhile results. among other things, library circulation has tripled, and people are once again turning to
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home pleasures and simple living. i think a lot of that is true today also. he then gets into the whole question of how much the government should be doing. and you can watch his thinking changed through the period of the 10 years that are covered by this particular book. at one point, he was going out because he felt it was his patriotic duty to give speeches about the national recovery act. and one entry here, he had just completed a speech to more than 3000 people, telling them how they were going to be helped by the nra, that he admits in his book that on his way up he really wanted a boy who was saying was going to be true.
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and some of you who are here tonight now that ultimately that act was declared unconstitutional by the u.s. supreme court. but he still said it is my patriotic duty. i should be out there giving these speeches. in 1936, he happily wrote that he is able to say that the depression is over. in 1937, he said that was a terrible mistake. things are worse today than they were then. so it was really a seesaw that was going on throughout the 1930s. and one of the things that he did, finally decided -- here, he said you were wrong. a new depression started in september 1937, and it is still with us. he wrote that in 1939. the bottom line is my father
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wanted to try to figure out what causes crises of this nature. what should the government do, what can the government do. and after writing all these entries over a period of 10 years, towards the very end, he reached the conclusion that there is no real way to shorten an economic crisis. and that no matter what the government does, it has to run its course. and i hate to say that because if he is correct, then we still have some time to go in the current economic crisis. and i was telling jim a story at noon today. i serve as a coach rusty with one of the young banks and my client, who is the beneficiary of the trust, she and i were
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having a meeting about a month ago in youngstown, and the young investment officer at the bank said, well, i really think it's time for us to get back into more equities because the recession is over. ben bernanke just announced that. it was in "the wall street journal." and i didn't realize how my client was going to react. she's about 75 years of age, and she actually got out of her chair, and with the finger right in the face of the investment officer, she said young men, don't tell me the recession is over. my son is married, has three kids, he has been out of work for nine months, and i am supporting them. and she said, when i come back and i can to you he is reemployed, then we can talk about whether it is over. thank you. and at this time, i think jim, why don't we take some
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questions. hopefully we will be able to answer them. . . >> his feeling was that there is
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no such thing as standard investment advice because it depends too much on age and circumstance and family need, but throughout my entire career i have been ultraconservative. and i certainly relate that to what i learned from my father. and yet my son has been on wall street for years. so the span from my father to me to my son, it's really a very, very fascinating contrast. >> what has your son learned from the book? >> my son is doing very well, thank you. [laughter] >> how do you feel that the government is handing their actions toward trying to straighten out the economy? do you think they're doing the right thing or the wrong thing? >> that is a great question.
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one of the things that strikes me about this diary is the sense that took hold in the 1930's that even if you couldn't prove that government intervention was helping, it's very difficult to prove anything in economics. one of the comments i make is that economic news is mathematics. it seems precise. it is taught as if it were a science. you get a bunch of economists in a room. they can't agree on the equivalent of the principle that the earth revolves around the sun. very little consensus. but even if we can't prove that government intervention works i
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think politically and culturally and just realistically during the great depression there was no other alternative. the hoover approach in the '20s was clearly not working. that much was understood and was rejected by the electorate over and over again. whether the roosevelt approach worked or in the view of some made things worse is still debated by economic historians today. i feel we are in the exact same position today. it is extremely difficult to show the stimulus is working. my general census is it is working, which is to say it is preventing things from getting worse, but is it worth the cost is its -- is the stimulus money being spent in the right places
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the questions presume that there are alternatives, and i would say that at least of all political system has offered us no alternatives. in some abstract way there are alternatives. one alternative is suggested by one of dance comments, that the chips fall where they may. their is a guy i talked to all the time do i in two or even when i don't agree with him. his position is never bailed out anyone. moral hazard. any intervention is by definition a wrong. that is tough love. that is a pretty tough prescription for the economy. a think it would be frightening if we believe, for example, if aig had been allowed to
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collapse. i am not trying to advocate that bailing out aig was a good idea, but i think that if it had been allowed to collapse the ripple effects of that world wide would have been frightening to all of us. even if that was a medicine that we ultimately needed the medicine itself would have been very destructive. there's something about economic crisis that there's a capitalist democracies into very difficult places. we flail at it. we hope that we are doing the right thing. economically it is very difficult to prove. so my answer to your question, is it the wrong thing or the right thing, well, it seems to
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exist in some places outside right and wrong. most importantly the only thing that we don't have to do, it doesn't seem, as you could say, there are lots of historians that say what hoover did with the banks and with the refusal to intervene actually made things worse. hoover's policies certainly exacerbated the existing circumstances. that doesn't seem to be happening now. we are in what seems to be a kind of stasis the long-term consequences are anyone's guess >> thank you. how would you would compare the
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depression to the current crisis we are in and do you think the dynamics then and now have changed significantly? >> well, the first par of of the question raises another question which is what were the causes of the great depression. overproduction is frequently cited. the great classics on the subject. a lot had to do with the international movement of gold. the debts and the way that it was handled. there were a lot of different causes of what we now call the perfect storm, perfect disaster
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that took place. i'd think and i would certainly like to believe that our current situation is in many ways, it began as sort of -- the immediate cause had to do with the breakdown of the mortgage-backed securities market. the overreliance on leverage of large institutions. it does not necessarily have the same global effects. although, the global of checks have been great, particularly decline in global trade. he don't necessarily have e the same ramifications precisely because some of the things i talked about earlier er in my remarks. we have a more rational system than they had in the '20s and '30s. part of this book, benjamin
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cannot even cash a check for $5 or $12, whenever it is. no one will take the money. begins paying its employees with checks drawn on a new york bank. none of the banks will accept them. your money becomes unusable. we don't have that situation today. the globalization of currency, the stability of the overall system, all the governments guarantees put into place make that kind of situation almost unthinkable. but we never really know how bad things will get, and we never really know the long-term consequences of even the things we do. so that puts me into a mind of great skepticism and great
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questioning, which is, i think, a mindset that benjamin ross would appreciate. let's get one. >> we have got quite a few behind you. >> how do you and jim come to work together? >> repeat the question. >> she asked how did jim and i happen to end up working together. i had simply been storing these diaries for 30 years after my father gave them to me, and it was really initiated by my son who had never seen the diaries, but knew that i had them. he called me a little over a year ago and said, dad, if you are ever going to do anything now is the time. he could see the entire economy taking. i obviously admitted to him but did not know how to go about
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this. he arranged for me to send some experts to jam who is the editor of the big money which is part of the state's grip on it by the washington post. jan ran some of these experts. the next day i received a call from the new york publishing house asking if i would be interested in working with them on a textbook. so i did not have to handle that one. i called my son and said, why don't you find out what i am supposed to do next. long story is brought very quickly to an end. i was able to get an agent in new york. he looked at the various entries and said you really have to do a
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lot of research. my father wrote them helter-skelter. so jim and i had already started off working together. i said would you be interested in and joining me in this endeavor. thank goodness he said yes. it started to work together. we were very happy when a we got a particular publishing house. we have a great group. this is the end result, and these only came on the market last tuesday. it's already receiving national attention. we are thrilled to say the least. >> there was another question. >> we thought the greed of wall street's was behind us. then we came along with the
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bailouts and stimuluses. now all of a sudden we read that the executives of many of the large financial concerns and manufacturing concerns are making more money no than they made before. your father certainly was not a greedy man. in those days i guess we did not know much about the ponzi schemes. i don't think that was in existence. we do not know anything about the bernie madoffs i am sure there were not any bernie madoffs of the time. all of a sudden we find ourselves in a deep, deep hole with all the problems we are having in housing, a credit-card, financial, banks, and the banks closing. therefore we really don't know what is going on in the future. >> it is interesting you used
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the word it greed. if my father or alive and still writing at the beginning of the book he blames much of the depression on the greed that was occurring during the '20s. people buying stock on a huge margins. when you refer to the greed on wall street you also have to refer to agree on the part of all the people. i had a man referred to me by a local bank in youngstown. they said try to the figure out how to help this man. he is one of our customers. he had taken an early buyouts, took the money down to florida. within six months he ended up signing on title seven houses that he was going to fix up and
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flip. of course the market caves in before he flips number one. now, that wasn't greed on wall street. that was greed on main street. so i think that we don't have to look around as too far to see many, many instances of greed during the 1990's and into this decade. that doesn't answer your question about the current -- >> i will take a stab at it. >> okay. >> i think -- i respect the impulse behind the question. i would like to throw out some -- a little bit of history. the ponzi scheme is actually named after mr. ponzi. his scheme did not take place in the 1980's and 90's.
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there is a wonderful book if you have not read it written in the 19th century called extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds. it walks you through all of the great bubbles and manipulative markets of hundreds of years. >> the tulip scandal of the 17th century. the bubble in the united kingdom. these things happened. reed is a constant. greed is a human sin or element, state of being. the important thing it seems to me, is to not let greed be in the driver's seat. somehow find a way to attack the animal spirit that we need in order to innovate and grow
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without becoming animals as it were. and in that role i think government regulation and oversight is extremely important. i turned a lot of what we saw that created the speculative bubble of the early part of the 20th century has to do with a failure of oversight, failure of regulation. yes. a collective greed on main street. we don't have to be victims of our greed collectively choose not to be. that is my personal opinion. >> yes.
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[inaudible conversations] >> as i recall i thought job recovery was an advance of the market recovery. >> i'm not sure of the timing on that. it is a great question. generally speaking the employment or unemployment is what economists call lagging indicators. it tends to -- the economy will go into a technical decline before you see the math of unemployment. certainly the economy will go into a recovery. the '30's in that sense represent a kind of aberration in that the ccc, the wpa, the
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various programs that were created were artificial jobs. benjamin is rather dismissive from pressures. i have a different view. we could agree on this aspect. those were public-sector jobs. therefore they did not have to play by the normal rules that the private sector would have to play by. i think that if those programs had not existed in the '30s my sense is that you would have had the same relationship between unemployment as a lagging indicator is a have in the future economic downturns. that's also true in other industrials. >> similar projects now to bring
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jobs recovery. >> this is great. this is a great question. i think one of -- you know, to the extent that there are still changing around and there are, a lot of the criticisms of the obama criticism from the left aw about the obama criticism from the right, there wasn't a programmatic job creation. they put all the money right into the financial world. we have 10% unemployment. would we have a trickle-up effect if there were job programs? many people say yes. [inaudible question] >> and great cultural benefits. this is not a political question. >> the more human aspect of all of this, prior to the time of
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your professional relationship with your father when you were in college and junior years and high-school, what was a relationship then? where was your head then? >> it was all about girls. and this young lady sitting right here would know that. i thought i knew my father, but i didn't. i think we have a typical f ather-son relationship. i was the baby of three children. i do remember him taking me downtown when i was about five years old and making the stand there and look at the people e n the soup lines. he drove me over to where there was a hooverville where people were living in tents. but then i look at california today and they have a tent cities coming up now.
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another interesting thing that really, it was not very nice to hear. when the state of california recently could not pay their bills in cash they issued ious. in effect they were issuing a script. within a week after the issues that you could buy that script for $0.85 on the dollar. the prices were actually being quoted in the wall street journal. that is a replay right out of the 1930's. [inaudible question] >> he was born in 1894. today would be his birthday. [laughter] >> since he asked a question about your father, i can tell everybody here my father got ties in the years ago. i remember him saying much too
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honest. >> this young lady and i happen to have grown up together in youngstown. i have not seen her in quite awhile. her family and my family were good friends. we go back a long, long way. eugene. >> the two words that keep coming across my mind, as you talk about benjamin roth, rp careful. >> he was very conservative. he practiced law. he never changed his belief of being conservative. most of the time you're safer being conservative because if your client is calling to be aggressively doing something with the the lawyer advises them to do it or not. there are quite a few lawyers in the crowd tonight. >> i would like to go back to one of jim's first comments about the book.
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and in his question, the relationship between the economy and the stock market. he said he was never able to answer that. i would like your opinion on the question of whether you believe there is logic to the stock market. is it driven by logic or is it essentially not really much different than gambling? >> i would like to repeat. i said that benjamin was unable to answer questions. everyone is unable to answer the question. having said that i am certainly not of the economic school that says that markets are in transit to the rational. their is a whole school, and it has been dominant for 20 or 30
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years. it's almost impossible thing. we are an adequate. i think that markets are very efficient ways of transmitting information. markets are extremely effective ways of displaying reality in particular ways. anyone who watches the markets as closely as benjamin ross did in the 30's and 70's would have to conclude that there are moments of huge irrationalities. i use the phrase animal spirits before which is this notion of a
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popular delusion. i used to cover dot com stocks. you would see these evaluation for companies that were simply absurd. companies that barely had revenues. they have market capital budget and established firms. -- -- that -- is not a valid mechanis. it might serve certain purposes it might be a good purpose for the overall economy. but to call it rational is to insult rationality in my view. >> are there any more questions ? >> he is full of questions. >> making note. >> go ahead. >> how can someone make money safely today under these conditions? >> before jim answers i am going
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to say that there are 280-some pages in this book. on almost every page my father is asking the exact same question, and he never did find the answer. >> that is a great set up. >> i am the editor. maybe the title should be taken with irony. the title is from a novel. we unlike a lot of financial publications do not give personal finance advice. i think for reasons that are very consistent with the perspective which is to say what you should do with your ith your money is so specifically dependent on your particular situation, how close are you to
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retirement? do you rent or own? do you expect to inherent money? do you have children in college? there are so many variables that go into it. to construct advice that would be useful for everyone is to automatically construct advise that is close to meaningless. with that said i think one of the things that comes across consistently, but the debt is to be taken seriously and almost brutally. individuals and governments will create major headaches were themselves to take on too much debt. you never know when the market is going to go into the tour
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toilet. predicting when is near impossible. even our current prices, there here are a handful of economists that have been warning about this quite severely for years, but no one could say it will happen on date x. holding a lot of debt can be a particularly risky thing. in terms of capital, benjamin's best advice was government bonds. but i have to say, even that means having a government worth depending on. even now the bond market is so much more tied into the global economy that i'm not sure that is quite as solid as it was when he


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