tv Antony Davies Cooperation Coercion CSPAN August 29, 2021 12:35pm-1:01pm EDT
it right now. encouragement for you to do yours. she was awesome. both my wife and my daughter, my twin brother. they were rocks throughout this whole thing and i'm very lucky to have them all. >> i'm grateful for your service lieutenant colonel vindman, i'm glad your dad made that decision all those years ago and on behalf of the commonwealth club i want to say to everybody our thanks to alexander vindman for joining us and by the book, is wonderful. there's much more we didn't get into. i'd like to thank the audience for watching and sending in questions and if you'd like to watch more programs or support the commonwealth club efforts in making virtual programming please visit commonwealth club.org/online . thank you, stay safe, stay healthy. go tigers. we will see you all.
>> you're watching book tv with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. book tv: television for serious readers. >> joining us is anthony davies. he is the co-author of "cooperation and coercion: how busybodies became busybullies and what that means for economics and politics". professor davies, in your book your right early on children learn a word for people that tell others how to live their lives : busybodies. why is thatincluded ? why is that important to the theme of your book ? >> the subtitle to the book is how busybodies became busybullies and what that means for economics and politics and busybody, we all know from children up to our answers stick their noses in our business in thanksgiving but when you pair busybodies with government coercion , they transform into
busybullies. people who decide how it is you should live your life and they're going to use the force of government to see to it that you live your life the way they think you should . and ultimately the idea of busybullies ironically is a repudiation of diversity. because if you take diversity seriously, we're all different. we have different preferences, different constraints and what might be a good and right decision for you may not be a good and rightdecision for me . when busybody comes along, he has in the back of his or her head figured out everybody is just like that person is and whatever works for this person must work for everybody else. it's such a good idea let's employ thegovernment to force everybody to act this way . >> when did you come up with the term busybully?
>> my co-author james harrigan and i in writing an op-ed about topics like this, the thing that came to the form with that term is what happened in philadelphia. this was perhaps a year and a half to 2 years ago. the city council decided teenagers were drinking too much sugary drinks so they're going to impose a 30 percent tax on sugary drinks. why? the city council, the busybullies decided other people should live the way they live and what happens is tales of sugary drinks dropped tremendously following this tax and people who were proponents of the tax pointed to it and said this is exactly what we had in mind. you put attacks on things like coke and pepsi and mountain dew and what happens? people will buy less of it to which economists replied on the second. i thought your concern was how much sugary drinks people were drinking to which the
proponents said, if sales have declined literally people are drinking less. the economist did some studies and what they found was this consumption of sugary drinks in philadelphia did not decline. after the tax. that raises the question how can that be sales are declining but the consumption isn't and what was going on his people faced with this 30 percent tax on sugary drinks were driving outside of philadelphia's city limits of either sugary drinks. and while they're driving outside of philadelphia to buy their sugary drinks what else is it going to do west and mark are going to buy their groceries. all of a sudden there was a tremendous decline in grocery sales within the city of toledo. . this is an unintended consequence of busy bullying. you see this time and again when for people with good and noble reasons think they should tell people how to live their lives more often than not what you get is an unintended consequence or sequence of unintended
consequences where the outcome you end up with is not at all what you had in mind when you pass the legislation. >> is that tax still on in philadelphia? >> to my knowledge it is and taxes are somewhat easy to come by but they're really difficult to get rid of and i give you a case in point. we talk about this in our book. the johnstown city tax, this is johnstown pennsylvania in the 50s. it was decimated by a flood pennsylvania said okay, were going to quit put attacks on alcohol and the proceeds will rebuild johnstown for the flood and of course contacts generated lots of money and read thejohnstown once johnstown was rebuilt the tax didn't go away . in fact, today pennsylvania has collected enough revenue on that tax to rebuild nonstandard six times over and the tax will not go away because once government gets attacks likes to hang on to
it. >> professor davies, you write in your book the essence of government is force. >> the essence of government is force. when we wrote this book what motivated it was we look back through history andwhat we noticed is anytime humans come together to do anything , they organize themselves either according to principles of cooperation or principles of coercion and principles of cooperation mean you come together voluntarily and you do something and things work out, that's great. if they don't you're free to walk away. everything going on is cooperative. then we also organize ourselves from time to time according to principles of coercion. we have somebody who says okay, this is what's going to happen and you're going to do this and we have force behind this edict that we are imposing and typically when you think about coercion you think about the government. that is the major tool we use
for coercion and when you think about cooperation people go to market markets are a good example of cooperation but all sorts of other things as well you might not think of. things like your parish church community is a cooperative venture. those old clubs are a cooperative venture. your friday night poker game is a cooperative venture. families do a large part of our cooperative ventures so cooperation is this form of organization i which we come together voluntarily and agreed to do things. as we started this book are intent was to say look, cooperation is good, coercion is bad and that's the story. proceeded along those lines until we got to the last chapter and the last chapter wasn't fitting, things didn't fit togetherand we realize this is not a story of cooperation good, coercion bad . rather it's a story of eight with all sorts of problems we
have these cool tools in front of us, cooperation and coercion. most problems cooperation is the appropriate tool. but there are some problems, they tend to be limited but there are problems for which coercion is the appropriate tool. one came to that realization these are two tools and the trick is to apply the right tool to the right problem all came together into some nice uniform flow but you're correct. what we and is government is the tool we use for coercion people say government is not coercion, government is what we do together . that'sincorrect . cooperation is what we do together. the government is what i do to you and you do to me. anyone who has any doubts about that, just ask yourself what would happen if you stopped doing what the government told you.
take a simple case like a parking ticket, i get a parking ticket. what if i don't pay it? i get another one. if i don't get that i get a summons and the gentleman with handcuffs show up to drive me before the judge and what happens i resist them. now we have force. ultimately the end of every edict the government makes is this threat of violence. that threat of violence is appropriate in certain very limited circumstances. the problem we have come to in this country as we have come to use coercion almost as a default mechanism. when we see a problem we turn to the government and say fix this. government isn't designed to fix many of the problems we throw at it. yes, politicians are happy to try because infighting against elected and get more tax revenue, all the things politicians want so in a lot of ways politicians use government and its coercive course as a way to get elected.
>> professor davies, what about community standards? i'm thinking about issues such as pornography, prostitution, tobacco use, alcohol. community standards allowed to rise to the top? >> this is a good question and it raises a secondary question which is what is a community standardyou have your idea of what community standards are, i have my idea and i'm sure are two ideas tremendously . but i'm also sure that around the edges there are places where we disagree and there will be other people who disagree markedly with the two of us. so we end up where the founders intended us to be when they designed the federal government. that is a place in which the federal government's role is not to establish community standards , rather it is to prevent you from harming me and prevents me from harming you. not just in terms of physical
harm but also in terms of fraud, of deception, of environmental pollution. i dumped my trash in your yard this is a harm to you and improper use of coercion, of government is in preventing that harm but beyond that you leave it to cooperation and what you'll find is you need these standards you're talking about the merge because you'll have a community and the people around you are like-minded. you say this is the way we want to grow our community and look at that and i'll say that's nice, i want to live there. i want to be part of that so i come and i move and i joined and if at any point i say this is going the wrong direction, i'm free to walk away . that's cooperation. kind of leaving agree and disagree doesn't happen with coercion so consequently if you get the right people in government who have the right idea about community standards, you might have a decent society.
however, the odds of that happening or very low. what's more likely is go get people in power whose ideas of community standards deviate significantly from yours now they got the power to use force to enforce what they perceive tobe community standards . >> what do you do at duquesne university? >> i'ma professor of economics . my specialty is statistical analysis but i spend time writing off ads. we have a podcast words and numbers which i encourage you all to listen to and we talk about the application of economicthought to current events . in the book we have a chapter on the knowledge problem and theknowledge problems as simply look , a single person can't contain his or her head all the information necessary to make decisions for others
that are better than those others can makefor themselves . so when we allow the government to take on too large a role in making decisions for us, we end up with bad outcomes. i give you a good case in point, our war on poverty. the poverty rate in this country was falling dramatically on till we reinstituted the war on poverty. once we instituted the war on poverty this decline in the poverty rate stayed at about 13 percent ever since the war on poverty began. and we devoted chileans, literally trillions of dollars to this war on poverty. in fact we have devoted so much money to the war on poverty that we could have actually completely eradicated poverty if we hadn't used the government to do it. if we had simply said okay, we're going to collect these taxes to eradicate poverty and we're not going to build
poverty programs, currently we have over 100 different programs at the federal level alone to deal with poverty. instead of establishing those programs each of which takes on a life of its own and starts to have people involved in it who have their own incentives in keeping the program going, if instead of doing that we simply cut checks. every poor household gets a check every year for$10,000 . not even every poor households, every poor person a check for $10,000. we could have been doing that for the past 15 years. eradicating poverty for a lesser price tag than what our war on poverty costs. and our war on poverty has left us with a 13 percent plus or minus poverty rate. as i talk about economics one of the things that i emphasized with my students is that economics is not about making profit. economics is about thinking
about humans and how they behave and once you understand how humans behave that applies to politicians and to voters also you can better understand how government and society interact. >> tell us about your co-author james harrigan. >> james harrigan is a political scientist so between the two of us we have all the bases covered between economics and political science and much ofthe politics that you'll see in the book come from james . >> he's at the university of arizona? >> he is at the university of arizona, he's a professor of political science and he and i have written together 200, 300 and over the past decade. we have a podcast words and numbers and probably several hundred videos on economics, public policy and governance and all of this in an effort to basically publish.
whatever age you happen tobe from grade school till retirement . the key to building a more healthy society, to moving all the wonderful things the united states has done and progressing forward into the next generation, the key to it and it sounds trite but true. the key is an educated populace and i don't mean people who can go " shakespeare. i understand how a shared system works. because if they don't, they become fodder for politicians and politicians come along and say a lot to me and i will give you free. and everybody tears and says yes, i want free college so i like this guy and you find out after it's too late that there is no such thing as free college. that you just made your own life worse off because you didn't understand the system in which we were working.
it incentives a politician haveto offer something he couldn't deliver and what subsequently happens to the economy when he attempts to do so . >> professor you have a case study here on the minimum wage and the number of 550,000here. what is it ? >> we have an entire chapter on the minimum wage. and the economists have written a tremendous amount on the minimum wage. people will say from time to time the minimum wage is such a bad idea how come you economists don't write about and there's literallyhundreds of academic peer-reviewed studies on the minimum wage . and of these studies i would say 98 percent of them find that the minimum wage actually is harmful to the people it attempts to help. there's maybe one and a half percent that says it's unclear what's going on with minimum wage and maybe half a percent say it's beneficial course what happens is the politicians and media is on
the one half of one percent. largely speaking what happens is you have the government coming in and saying to workers if you cannot find someone willing to pay you $15 an hour, you may not work . now, but it seems horrible because the waitress presented is this new minimum wage and forced employers to pay you more and what comes across is this image of the minimum wage is about the conflict between workers on the one hand and employers on the other governments going to come down on the side of the worker and force the employer to pay more in fact that's not what happens the minimum wage is not about workers versus employers . it's about high skilled workers versus low skilled workers. so if the government comes along and says okay, all you businesses have to pay your workers $15 an hour, the first thing an employer does is he looked around his current workers and he asks
who here is worth $15 an hour ? those worth $15 an hour keep their jobs and those who aren't lose them . if you want to think about an example of this, we all do this every single day. think to yourself how many people do you hire to clean your house, to make your bed, to do your dishes . and people say well, nobody. i do that stuff myself. why? because to hire somebody to do that is going to be more costly than what it's worth to you imagine hiring somebody to come in and make your bed . what's that going to worth to you and you say it's worth maybe i'll buck an hour, maybe two bucks an hour, i'd ratherdo it myself but nobody's going to do that one or two dollars an hour so notice what happened . you put a value on that completed work. it was low. and youconcluded that it's not worth hiring somebody to
do this work . this is exactly what the lawyer does. and when the minimum wage comes along what the government is saying is you got to pay $15 an hour and the employer says what's worked on hiring people for. if it's not worth $15 an hour you lose your job so you can look at the data and what you find is as we raise the minimum wage who gets not in every case but on average who gets hurt or the low skilled, low educated low experience workers. the very workers who are most concerned about helping. and what surprised me in your analysis was you say that only about 550,000 americans actually get the minimum wage. >> that's correct. there are a couple of misconceptions here. when i ask people how many americans are in the minimum wage i'll get numbers like percent, 40 percent because people repeating sorts of things they hear in the news.
the actual number of americans are in the minimum wage is around one percent , one percent of the workforce. it's a very small number and in fact what you find if you track these workers over time take a bunch of minimum-wage worker today within one year, 60 percent of them have moved on to earn a higher wage. within five years virtually all of them have moved on to earn a higher wage. these minimum-wage jobs are entry-level positions. their places principally not exclusively for people who have no job experience. someone that you're askingan employer to take a chance on . >> five bucks an hour and employer would take a chance on worker. $15 an hour not so much so when we raise this minimum wage we make it harder for employers to take chances on new workers and that delays those new workers from entering the workforce . and when we're done as you say we end up with trying to solve a problem that inflicting only about one percent of the workers.
again i'm not saying we should ignore these workers, what i am saying is if the problem is much mueller than what is perceived in the media and why is that so western mark because politicians want to get elected. and how did he getelected, get on the news and say we have a problem and they show you people who are suffering from this problem and they say i like to me and i'll fix this . quite literally politicians are machines that turn problems into votes for themselves. >> almost no part of ourlives is read from regulation by some level of government . on multiple levels government has its hands in everything that's on from a cooperation and coercion, how many biases came busy bullies and what that means for economics and politics. fathers are guests anthony davies and james kerrigan. thank you for being on tv . >> thank you. >> on our weekly author
interview program . retired lieutenant colonel wayne phelps offered his views on dronewarfare . >> one of the biggest changes that we've seen with the employment of armed drones is that mental transition occurs on almost a daily basis. there's particularly with in the air force so they are flying remotely piloted aircraft as they reach base near las vegas. that mental transition occurs when you wake up in your house in the morning and you drive to work, you're basically commuting to combat and you fly a combat sortie or a combatmission on the other side of the planet . you might have a strike. during that time and then immediately transitioning yourself to return home at the end of the day so one of
the people i interviewed talk about this strange feeling that they often referred to as deployed in garrison where your conducting combat operations from home. and you're doing these transitions on the daily basis. sometimes looking 12, 14 hour shifts . with several days a week. so you have these strange period's of work where your mentally deployed but physically still in the united states. they have conducted strikes at some period during your mission and then you may be home in time for dinner with your family or seeing a soccer game were picking up milk from thestore or something like that . it's unlike anything most
traditional warriors have ever experienced in the past. i think that's the biggest change in the psychology of how these warriors are actually fighting. >> what's the rest of this program online at booktv.org. click the "afterwords" tab to find this and all previous episodes . here's a look at some of the best-selling nonfiction books according to romans bookstore in pasadena california. topping the list is tech entrepreneur cassidy's guide to taking career risks in use possibility. that's followed by between the world and to me, national book award winning author
book about the state of america. next is michelle saunders memoir crying in h mart and wrapping up our bookat some of the bookstores best-selling nonfiction books is lifelines , george washington university professor and emergency physician doctor lena wins 10 account of working in public health. some of these authors have appeared on book tv and you can watch their programs anytime at book tv.org. >> robin d'angelo looks at how well intentioned what people can inadvertently cause racial harm through what shecalls a culture of niceness .she's interviewed by arthur and princeton university professor of african-american studies. afterwards is a weekly interview program with relevant guests host interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work . >> i'm so delighted to have this opportunity to sit down and talk with you . if i maycall you robin . >> thank you so much, it's an honor. >> i want to bin