tv A Capitalist Manifesto CSPAN December 3, 2016 11:45am-12:01pm EST
national book winner mary oliver as a poet, "upstream", and the last year winner gives his thoughts on the current state of black america. actress anna kendrick presents essays in "scrappy little nobody", that's a look at best sellers according to indy bound which represents book stores throughout the country. le of the authors have or will be appearing on book tv. you can watch them on our website, booktv.org. >> and this is book tv on c-span 2, 48 hours of nonfiction book authors every weekend. we like to visit college campuses and talk with professors who are also authors. we're at hillsdale college in michigan today visiting with professor gary wolfram, who wrote a capitalist manifesto, understanding the market
economy, and defending liberty and, professor, in your book, you write that the roots of capitalismen ancient. so ancient in fact they likely predate language in the development of civilization? >> yes, i mean, people have been exchanging goods and services for a long time. and people have been making things that they've then exchange for other things that other people have and so that's really what market capitalism is about. it's really about voluntary exchange between two individuals, or a group of individuals, and so, i would say that market caps is a fundamentalal aspect of it, a system of voluntary exchange where everybody is better off, pre-dates the many roots of anything else. certainly, perhaps government as well. >> would you say it's innate? >> i would say, certainly.
all you've got to do is look at a couple of two year olds and see if they trade stuff. and they will. and it might be they're trading to another two-year-old and they shouldn't be trading. a $50 book, they're trading it for a $3 pokemon. but, yeah, people exchange. i think they have that innate ability and instinct to do that. >> on a purist level, where are we in the capitalist system today? >> well, we have been moving in different directions. and we, for example, if you look at the index of economic freedom the united states is on, moved from used to be four and now it's 12. and if you look at how many things the government comes in and tells you, you can't make this trade. you can't make this exchange. we're going to tell you how you're going to produce, we've
really moved? the wrong direction for a long time. i think part of that is base people don't understanded how the system works. they don't realize why they're so wealthy. and adam looked at capitalism when it was first starting, wow, why is it that we're so wealthy. he doesn't even have indoor plumbing, but knows we're wealthier than we ever were. he writes how the system works and part of the problem is, i don't think we covered that very well in school and i think people just don't get why they're so wealthy. i mean, the occupy wall street was an example of that. if you really thought about how the system worked or understood how it worked, then you wouldn't be out there saying, oh, my gosh, we should have the government tell us what insurance we have?
>> a student mentioned about this and explain. the student said, well, we have a lot of austrian theory here at hillsdale and you write about the austrian economics. >> well, the austrian theory is to look at how marke markets wo and vote a book in 1920 and said, look it, this thing is not going to work out for you in. 1920, the bolshevik revolution and he said there will be a problem, is central planner can't know all the that they need to know to make sure that resources went to consumers. and that's what the austrians focus on, how does the market work and how it works to please consumers and what sort of
political philosophy you need to be consistent with that. and that political philosophy is going to be government how to protect life, liberty and property. and that's what the focus should be and let the market allocate resources among people and across nations or whatever. >> there is no real freedom other than the kind a market system provides, you write. >> yes, that's correct. because if you started looking through-- okay, let's look at the-- let's look at the bill of rights, okay? say oh, my gosh, we've got to have the right to peacefully assembly? if the government obese the land. that could only if we even if. you have to be really be able to own that weapon, on can't fight free speech. how does that work if the
department of the owns the media. and some of the audience might remember the soviet union. what happened, they controlled all the media. there was a government agency that controlled the media. and they had the iron curtain to keep people from finding out about other things. you can't have any of the liberti liberties, to a system with are you own the property or the right to use the property. inles it conflicts with others, the government should protect those rights. >> why do you call it a manifesto? >> this is why markets are beneficial to the poor, this is why markets are the only way that you can have individual freedom.
this is why we're so wealthy this has not been discussed much. certainly in the k-12 education system and it's not even discussed that much in the political arena. how does it really work? i mean, for example, suppose i was running for president and i said, gee, i want to make it so that no one who-- that no one could get a job in america unless they can produce $15 an hour worth of product. if you can only produce $10 a product. you can't work in america. i want to shir that that's what happened. frankly, agree, i want a $15 hour minimum wage, well, that sounds good. well, that's-- i tell my students, look, this isn't rocket surgery. right? it's not hard. it's making the connections.
it's receiving and observing. and i love sherlock holmes, he sees watson at the start of the stairs and he walks and sherlock has him in and says watson how many steps was it coming up from the ground floor. >> i don't know. >> and he said how many times have you come up. >> hundreds much times. >> there are 17 steps, the apartment is what you see and do not observe. that's what the book is about, trying to get people to observe. if someone tells you, that they need $15 an hour minimum wage, you should observe that many people won't get a job in america. i don't remember if you remember a service station, you drove in, and they checked your oil, and pumped your gas. who was it?
that was the young person, and those jobs aren't there anymore, they're not there because we've asked for public policy that give us results that no one had expected. >> who is this book targeted to? >> this book is targeted to the average person that wants to learn a little bit about how the system operates that they're living within. it's not designed to be an academic piece that people are going to read and publish in economic review. this is about somebody is that maybe had an economics class in college said, oh, my gosh, this is boring, drawing some curves around. or if you're a home schooler or if you are a, you know, a teacher in a k-12 system and you want a secondary book. that's what it's for, for the
average person that's interested and it's not-- it's not off-- i mean, you read it, you can see it. it's not complicated. you know? and things are kated-- it's not a matter to be complicated. i can spend a few minutes a day just looking at this thing. >> and i want to list two political statements made during this election and get your reaction as an economist. quote, and this is a headline on cnn. hillary clinton promises to remedy excessive drug prices. >> well, yes, that's a question of how can she possibly do that? does she know what the price of a drug should be? what we really ought to be doing is looking at why drug prices are the way they are and one of the reasons drug prices are the way they are, because you have a government agency, the food and drug administration that requires
all sorts of things to happen before you can sell a drug and cost billions of dollars and so, you, if you're going to make a drug, you have a very high cost, you've got to spend $4 billion before they sell the first one. you've got to recover the $4 billion. >> if it's a system that says, gee, we've done this much study and you can sell this product, but you have to know it hasn't been completely tested. you decide, gee, i'm willing to try that and take on the risk. went a lot more invocation in drugs and the reason that you get prices the way you did, there is a he a -- there's a barrier to entry. you can't tell them you're going to get this, but if you
say hey, this is what it is, then let them decide the risk. for her to somehow think she can know what the price is going to be and affect the innovation to new drugs, how can they know that. >> donald trump, quote, we will renegotiate nafta and tpp. >> yeah, i mean, the problem with the position that donald trump takes on trade, is he acts as if trade is between countries. trade is not between countries. trade is between individuals, just as we were talking about the two-year-old swapping with another two-year-old. if i want to trade with someone in china, with brazil, with germany, i should be able to do that. the government shouldn't come along and say, oh, no, no, no, you can't trade. although we tend to act that traed is between countries and we might say, well, agree, if you're going to trade with us
and you have to do, the amount of trade that happensments if the trade is going on. both -- no one forced me to buy the noodles that i have or the german car i'm better off giving the money and the german car maker says we're better off, and once it's individuals it will affect how we do our public policy with regard to trade. >> gary wolfram teaches at hillsdale. >> thank you for having me. >> this book tv on c-span tv for readers.
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