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tv   After Words Vivek Ramaswamy Woke Inc.- Inside Corporate Americas...  CSPAN  October 31, 2021 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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>> of author interviewprogram "after words" , rivek vavaswamy argues that corporate america is signing on to woke culture only to increase profits. he's interviewed by harvard university professor greg mankiw. "after words" is an interview program with relevant guests interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work . >> so rivek vavaswamy, welcome. it's a delight to be here to chat with you. congratulations on the book. i know how much work it is to write a book so congratulations on its great success. i've been watching its sale breaking on amazon and you hit the course because a lot of people are buying it. it's a great book and very interesting, very provocative . and all very important topic
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so i'm delighted to be hereto chat with you . before weget to the book , i want you to tell us about your biography because i think you're about either the shapes the things your writing in this book and it's a very interesting biography and one obviously i didn't know when i first met you a year ago or so. tell us about rivek. >> i was raised in ohio which is where i live today and my parents wereimmigrants , my dad came over in the late 70s . my mom in the early 80s. i asked my dad why did you come halfway across the world to cincinnati ohio of all places and he said his sister had come over from india to fort wayne indiana which of course you have to ask why she came to fort wayne indiana and it's the only us state with the word india contained inthe name of the state . but we were born and raised in ohio.
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my parents didn't come from much money but they have an education and it's one ofthe most valuable things they gave us . i went to a private catholic high school even though i'm not catholic, graduated in 2003. 9/11 took place when i was in high school and shaped my view as a young american and i went to harvard. we didn't overlap there but i took the class that you teach now , i was a biology major and i studied molecular biology. i was mostly a nerdy science guy through college and when i graduated i got into the world of biotech investing. just before the 2008 financial crisis i will say dramatically shaped my views of not only capitalism but the merger of capitalism and politics which is one of the core themes in the book . i did that for seven years and three years and i told my bosses i was going to leave and go to yale law school but at this it that i had never grasped and it turns out that
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got me some career mobility instead. they said you can set portfolio for us, do it from yale and i spent three years there , met my wife, probably the most productive thing that came out of it but when i graduated i came back to my job as an investor and realized i was much more interested in getting hands on and addressing some of the inefficiencies in pharma that i couldn't address as a bystander as an investor that's my job as an investor for real and i started a biotech company which i built from 2014 to 2021. i serviced for seven years and i stepped down this january to give myself the latitude to speak freely in an uninhibited way and not only rolling out this book but addressing the contentious issues i'm speaking openly about as a citizen. suffice to say having built the company was a challenge, one of the most gratifying
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things i've done in my professional careers but i stepped down because i felt i needed to speak freely in a way that didn't harm the company but needed to exercise some of my civic duty in putting a spotlight on what i had seen behind closed doors over thelast 15 years . i wasn't born into elite america but i selected for the past decade and a half and some of the things i learned were experiences and insights and perceptions i needed to share to be able to shake the conversation about where we go as the people from here and that's what's at the heart of this discussion about the relationship between capitalism and democracy. >> you did a great job in the last chapter i should say, i take it the theme is when capitalism and democracy mix themselves up too much both suffer for it. these have a role but it's not clear what each of these two pillars are and what they can do. so you experienced this as a
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ceo but even before you were running a major company even as a student so you have this great story early on about goldman sachs, can you tell us about that? >> goldmansachs is one of the archetypes i keep coming back to in my book . about the relationship between the private sectorand government and between capitalism and democracy . goldman sachs for better or worse typifies that relationship. >> goldman sachs for those that don't know is a social investment bank but it's one of the financial institutions considered really elite. top harvard students like you are getting a job at goldman sachs is the pinnacle that's what you aim for for better or worse . >> there's things i'd like to have been better at and one of the things i'm good at is getting myself into corridors
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of elite america. there are better skills one can have but it turns out that was the skill that on accident or on purpose i happen to have repeatedly cracked . i did that in the summer of 16 when i was a student and took an internship at goldman sachs and there was something i learned that summer but it wasn't thething i expected to learn . it is an important part but i didn't learn very much about that but i did learn a lot about how to aggregate power. how to aggregate power in a way that wasn't actually appearing to smack of the aggregation of power so one of the ways to do it was goldman sachs had a hallmark investment which is a service day. go to harlem and you plant trees and when we showed up in harlem no one was interested in plantingtrees . everyone showed up except for the boss who was nowhere to be found but no one was planting trees. they were telling investment war stories and the thing we
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went to harlem to do but then of course the boss shows up an hour late, the guy at the top of the food chain which by the way goldman sachs ward tailored shirts they don't wear rolexes, they wear these cheap black rubber wrist strap digital watches as a show of humility but anyway he shows up not only with that watch but gucci boots and says we're taking pictures get out of here. that's what we did. we went to a bar nearby and started drinking and i asked one of the associates. i said we wanted to call it a social day we should have called it that rather than calling it service day and his response with me. he said have you ever ever heard of the golden rule ? i said you treat others like you want to be treated and he said no . the golden rule is this. he who has the gold makes the rules. and that stuck with me, i called it the golden rule and
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i learned something valuable that summer after all. it's the golden rule i saw on display when goldman sachs declares they would not take the company public in the united states if it's board was for example in sufficiently diverse and they didn't mean ideological diversity, they meant racial and gender diversity and it was that abuse of market power to be able to exercise power in the marketplace of ideas and decide something that i felt needed to be decided in our democracy that was the greatest form of corporate overreach of all. that's a big part of why i wrote the book. >> another story you tell from the beginning of the book which is similar isabout the fearless girl . the famous that you put in front of the wall street bowl. fearless girl was supposed to be an iconic image. she is the difference is what it says at the base of the statue.
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she's supposed to stare down the iconic wall street bowl. turns out that was commissioned by street state street global advisors. and it turns out as hp stands not just for she but it's a well selected cobalt stocks that embodied some of these progressive social values and of course they charge of the in the process . they don't the statue around the time they were facing a lawsuit from their female employees at the firm who alleged they didn't get paid as much as their male counterparts so of course when accused by female employees of notpaying them enough , the firm built a statue for the women and even better the creator of the statue created a few more copies of the statue cause she was proud of what she created and they basically
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sued her for creating unauthorized reproductions of the statue they had commissioned so it comes full circle. it's a magic trick i tell about the book, you pretend you care about profits and power and a good magic trick isn't about making the money disappear, you have to bring the money back. it's a joke i tell them the book but you mightremember this , shortly after we met we you introduce me to a professor who had taken an interest in some of these issues and he invited me to his class . he had been an early draft of the book or at least the chapter as a workshop that we worked out with his corporate boss and one of the things that that happened to be the chapter that contain the fearless girl story and there was a girl in the class who raised her hand and said i hear the story you told but fearless girl still inspired me and nobody can take that away, even state street can't take that away and that is something that took me deeper
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into my story. an early draft and god knows that early draft looked nothing like the final book because i was able to go deeper and there's something to be said for really exploring the way in which maybe wokeness can stand on its own two feet when not intermingled with capitalism . this isn't just woke ideology but it's merger with capitalism which taints both the progressive values corporations are asked to be stewards of as well as taking corporate purpose in and of its own right as well. that's what the heart of the book is about more than criticizing one end of the spectrum or another thestatue one might suspect the artist had different motivations . >> exactly and it embodies this uncomfortable marriage between the progressive left and the business of this country is an arranged marriage. it is not the marriage of love.
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i think of it more like mutual prostitution where each site gets something out of the transaction. the artist got money out of it, state street cover for their lawsuit. the same thing is happening written large in the 2008 era since occupy wall street where essentially if you're a big bag occupy wall street is a tough pill to swallow. you can hire and occupy wall street leader to give a lecture atyour bank you would not like what they have to say . i think what you had happened was the generation of big banks got together with the generation of woke millennial's and together they birthed woke capitalism and that's what allows them to put occupy wall street up for adopting. everyone else started replicating it. i think silicon valley does a version where they effectively censor or moderate language. content that the movement doesn't want to see online
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but they don't do it for free because their unspoken asked is the new democratic party looks the other way when it comes to leading their monopoly power. i think that trade is working . whatever you think of the merits of whether or not their monopoly power is a good or bad thing it is the trade that's working masterfully for both sides and one of the goals in this book is to shine some light on that reality so that consumers and citizens can make their own judgments about whether it's a good thing or bad thing but step one is seeing the phenomenon itself with cleareyes . >> the example of the state street and goldman we've been talking about was in a sense that the companies were deeply cynical. they were using a progressive agenda to further their own goals and perhaps generate more profit. but what about stakeholder capitalism more generally? can a ceo or a board on cynically embrace stakeholder
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capitalism? does it makesense for ceos , my shareholders have other goals other than profit so i'm going to ask ceo help pursue those goals whether it's combating climate change, increasingdiversity or whatever . >> i want to take this is an opportunity that you would welcome appreciate but it's worth unpacking in the discussion which is you talk about a few different kinds of woke capitalism or stakeholder capitalism . it's at least three different things. first you have the problem of the executive who ultimately the phenomenon of the executive who decides that the only lives once and he's going to use his position as ceo to advance his conception of the social good even if that means using his shareholders resources as part of hisplatform . on that telling the shareholders are the victims and allegedly for people who don't like this behavior the
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ceo may be breaching his duty. the ceo makes a multimillion dollar donation to his high school or to his temple where he worships. most people would agree that is something that would be a breach of fiduciary duty and a breach of the custodian of the shareholders resources. part of what you can debate is at that same ceo writes a different check to a temple call black lives matter what that anydifferent but that the executive as culprits . the second is actually different. the shareholder is the victim but might be the perpetrator where you have a shareholder that says you yield you work for us and we demand that you actually advance these particular social values or else your breaching your duty to us, the boss, the shareholders. that's what blackrock tried to pull off in its capacity as a shareholder where they have accounting standards for the sas fee that says if the company doesn't meet its
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vendors they will disinvest in the company or divest from that company . double-click on that and you have a problem with the wealthy executive at blackrock to . it's not blackrock as an investor, it is their ceo and their managerial class that is the wealthy executive all over again but put thatá to one side given the number of investors that same that you have these advancing values that we want to see you push. both are different from the third phenomenon which is the consumers themselves. many of them generally progressive consumers demand the ceos of the companies buying products from and body the values that match their own values as consumers and you could argue that's just capitalism working what i offer is more cultural commentary to say that is a symptom of a teacher deeper cultural malaise where there are consumers as citizens are hungry for a cause and hungry
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for a sense of purpose but we have resorted to superficial means like mixing morality with personalism commercialism to satisfy a moral hunger that demands more substantial fare. that's one axis among which you could cut three types of wokecapitalism . there's a different access to. those who pursue it in authentically i thinkgoldman sachs and state street are both examples . i think that's the majority of cases. that's a big part of what i lay out in the book but there's a decided minority of cases in which corporations and executives and boards sometimes who are pursuing it authentically and believe in the values that ultimately using their platform to push and here's a case where i changed my mind. i began taking aim at the cynical kind, at the scam kind of woke capitalism and by the end of the book i was convinced the bigger threats
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really authentic kind where you have somebody who is purposefully using their corporate platform as a way of sidestepping public debate and using force, economic force but forced nonetheless to settle questions that ought to be settled through free speech and open debate in a political democracy in the public square everyone's voice and everyone's vote is weighted equally on adjusted by the number of dollars they control in the market and one of my bigger realizations in the course of writing the book was one of my own perspectives. >> there's another way is city employees, not only to consumers but theemployees of the firm . you have an interesting story , you were ceo of what happened in the aftermath of the black lives matter movement. can you tell us about that? >> what i learned was my experience as ceo was nearly identical to that of many other ceos so in the wake of george floyd's tragic death,
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there were protests across the country. there was a reckoning about race relations and the use of police force but there was a demand companies somehow play a role in rectifying those problems. i had an issue with that for all the reasons i lay out in the book . i certainly take issue with the blanket claim of systemic racism as terms without actually defining more specifically what that means. that's on the content of the demands being made but i have a principal issue which is i don't think corporations to be using their market power to substitute for the free speech and open debate that ought tobe taking place in the public square . a lot of my employees didn't feel the same way and i respect their perspective where they said we came to work at a place that did more than just pursue profit negatively. we were in the business of developingmedicine . many people including myself
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arguably there are few callings higher than that but in the eyes of many younger employees it meant there was a new expectation that the business play a role in rectifying other kinds of social injustice as well. that was something that actually led to a deep level of reflection and introspection for me wondering not only whether i was going to make terrorism return but wasi wrong ? not only with my employees but some of my investors and board members felt the same way or raised similar questions. it made me question whether i was misguided in being a slave of some intellectual slave of some philosophy i have learned in places economics classes in harvard and whether i was in the wrong in failing to think about the unique challenges of modernity where government was failing maybe corporations did need to step up and address socialissues they were addressing .on
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the other side of it i came up with a stronger conviction in my own position of why it was important for the sake of democracy and capitalism to separate each from the other but it was on the other side of the journey that i'm grateful with including my own employees for being able to take me through a personal journey of deconstructing that view before constructing it and building it up with i think greater and more solid foundation on the other side you eventually stepped down in part to write this book. with these continuing pressures coming from your board and your employees, how do you think you would have responded? >> it's funny, i went through that journey of introspective and one of the ways it and it was seven months later when i realized it had taken me full circle. unlike larry or ceos who have a different worldview or are perfectly comfortable using their seat of corporate power to appoint their social views on to others i never did that
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or at least i believe i never did, i had begun speaking out. writing in the wall street journal, regularly appearing on cable television. expressing my own views on the topic of woke capitalism and the spread of critical theory in academia. the spread of ideas! by critical theories of corporate sectors. these complex topics and in some ways i had to practice what i preach, walk the walk in recognizing any ceo while i did my best to avoid using the corporate platform as a way of foisting my views on to others the nature of the topics i was talking about were such that that was impossible to do perfectly in practice so in order to protect the company from my own perspective and protect my ability to be freely without having to think in the back of my head of the stewardship role i was playing for the company is,
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the best thing to do was separate myself from a role as ceo. i've been ceo for seven years and i wouldn't have been free to write everything i was writing the book if i had to run it through the lens of deciding what impact i was going to have on these issues too. so i separated myself from the company and i pointed a new person to the role of ceo and not allow me to speak freely not as a ceo but as there is citizen and i hope everyone would fight for what i have to say worthwhile. >> i wonder what you would have felt forced to do? with a cynical kind of woke capitalism your job was to maximize shareholder value in this area where a strange alliance between the progressive left and corporations had a way to
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maximize shareholder value is to what you're doing was in fact pursuing their fiduciary obligation . >> it's possible and i only explore that possibility in the book. i think that it's symptomatic of a deeper cultural malaise in our country. a hunger for a cause and moral vacuum to meet with wokeism but if you take that as as a given company did the right thing. there's another school of thought that this is a temporary market inefficiency and there's a great opportunityin the other direction . half the country is quietly freighted with nike signaling its virtual alignment with black lives matter when there isn't a good alternative.
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that could be an opportunity for somebody sleep versus to the left-wing version obviously it was through the consumer sector today. that's what you see with like rifle coffee. it's starbucks for republicans. i have an issue with that.i talk about this in the book. if this were shark tankand i was betting on it , i think in many cases there is an opportunity to be able to use a different set of values, not progressive values but more conventionally conservative values and calling the left in a way that appeals to a different kind of honor for a cause. i don't think it's good for us as a people or acountry go . the private sector, our economy, our sports stadiums used to be places that brought people together. irrespective of whether they were black or white. irrespective of whether they were democrat or republican but once we losethat and divided policy like ours . we actually lose the possibility of solidarity itself when our economy and our companies and our sports
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become politicized as they have and i worry if we lose those apolitical sanctuaries across our divisions we may be closer to a trajectory towards civil war than one we are towards achieving solidarity in our own right and once we have two economies a republican base and democratic space, that may be the beginning of the end of the american experiment as we know it or at least by version of the american experiment you and i grew up idealizing acknowledging the individualism and american dream we can each pursue in the economy again against the backdrop of democratic solidarity that bound us together as citizens. i think it's that fractious policy now invades the spirit of the economy that helps bring people together. i talk about in the book how the spread of capitalism help ring down the cast system. capitalism has the ability to bring people together across culturally divided categories once we lose that it makes capitalism a source of further division and i worry
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that it did in the beginning of the end and that maybe where were heading as some kind of serious cultural intervention and i hope the book serves as one of those forms where the offer a different vision of how to go forward. >> you mentioned a moment ago some ideas about systemic racism. i wonder if you would explore that a little bit. you mentioned that in the book but don't go into a lot ofdebt . it's clearly the case the legacy of slavery was horrific and that african-americans today on average experience worse economic outcomes and have more difficulty in life than other racial and ethnic groups. to what extent is it a problem in your eyes to what extent do corporations have a responsibility for thinking about that and to what extent if not corporations what other institutions do you thinkshould be stepping up and what should they be doing
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? >> i have a few issues with the modern dogma of aesthetic racism. one of them is a claim of descriptive clarity. it's unclear whatthe term even means . racism is taking action on the basis of some type of pernicious prejudice. i think it's wrong and i thinkit exists and we should combat it . i think it exists in a smaller scale today and it has in priorareas of american history . i think we have made any progress over decades to reduce the problem racism represents and i think racism represented a pressing problem decades ago i don't think it represents a pressing problem in the same way it did 50 or 60 years ago . anybody who complains it does is a big part of what the progressive left thanks today is in is that your generous to say that we are at the same place we were in the jim crow era or where we were actually in the jim crow era or an era of the 1860s or
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1850s when we had slavery is a pretty preposterous claim so all i think systemic racism is a sloppy way of defining what the original problem itself is understand what racism is. i don't believe the narrative of systemic racism has been fleshed out to bedefined as a phenomenon . i have a different problem with it. the same or so gives us the verbiage of systemic racism is a set of solutions that demands fighting racism with more racism and i personally am a john roberts school of thought where the best way to end this termination on the basis of race is to stop disseminating on the basis of race and get ticket from the best and most articulate proponents of the alternative view everything candy in your direct quotes how to be an antiracist is the only remedy to past discrimination is discrimination. the remedy to present this termination is future discrimination. agree or not that's what he said i think that's a big part of my view that b&
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systemic racism effectively is coming up with a set of solutions that demand further racialized solutions which i think are likely to be counterproductive in every direction including in the direction actually serving poorly the black community and some brown communities that i think are actually opposed or to have been helped by this dogma. but there's certain things that i reject is the idea that we should actually bring all prism of race to evaluating struggles equally or more powerfully evaluated through the lens of class instead. of course this theory of intercession intersection alley, there's certain ways in which a black woman like oprah will always be disempowered relative to a person might live 10 miles down the street in ohio who might live in the opioid epidemic rust belt version of white america . >> ..
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lack access to produce baked in equal participant in the economy. that's a universalistic message for the last to embrace that could be more but an agenda that lets everyone up. i think part of the issue with the new welcome movement is obfuscate the solutions that could economically empower everyone by instead of obsessing over genetically inherited characteristics like race, gender, sexual orientation which is what the welcome movement is focus on today. the narrative is sloppy, lazy
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terms that we ought to define exactly what we mean for inequities that we do need to address but inequities that affect people even along that has nothing to do with race trim what it sounds like you're talking about you might suggest rethinking affirmative action. >> guest: i would. >> host: what would you recommend for the university president? >> guest: so i want to give you my nuanced position. i'm against affirmative action. i think affirmative-action is aa disservice to the people who it is supposed to help here in part because for some reason when you now look at that black pilot in the cockpit of united airlines when they had a quota system, women or people of color as pilots, and had to get rid of the test for pilot competence the previous use there was no way that any human being can be
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faulted for at least having a moment on instinct of question whether a female pilot or a nonwhite pilot in the cockpit would've passed the same test because united airlines told us they had to get rid of the test in order to great this new quota system. that fosters an unfair brand of judgment that no black pilot are no female pilot deserves. i think that something that is unjust not only to the white pilots who were excluded the that maybe one injustice we care about but injustice to the very people who made earned their position but now can't be distinguished from those who didn't. that creates a a new wave of racism on its own, reinforcing the idea that minorities of certain racial categories could not excel but for elite intervention. this new idea that discipline, 2+2 = four, that discipline, that is racist because of the
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inequitable outcomes in mathematical achievement. i think itself is a racist idea and i think one of the things, right-wing racism has reached an all-time low in the united states, the final burning embers we're throwing kerosene on entering that into a conflagration of its own. as it pertains to harvard,, because you asked the precise question, look i actually think there's something to be said in a liberal arts university to create the conditions for students to have an opportunity to interact with people of every stripe and banter. some from legacy students who came from, i was not in this box but i was exposed to kids who did come from old a generational harvard families, billionaire fans in new york city that i has a kid who grew up in a first-generation kid in immigrant in this country would never have interacted with. in some ways were able to benefit because as a different
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culture just as black kids in the inner city who grew up in a different kind of challenge circumstance than i did and i think i benefited from all those things. there's probably about five dozen instances could've been just as well qualified to attend so the ability to use some idea of composing a truly diverse class on on the basis of the receipt of experience is something that i really, really quite sympathetic to. but what i would say is the best way to diversity of experience is to screen candidates for the diversity of their experiences. the best way to screen for diversity of thought is to screen candidates for the diversity of the thought. the idea of using race or gender as a proxy for the one thought i think his transgression that racism was committing in in a first-place which is to conflate. i think we should reject it especially in the corporate sphere. i've a slightly softer corner as pertains to liberal arts
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university composing a diverse class but will be better off if even there and elsewhere we abandon the product of affirmative action and instead begin and on this process of screening for diversity of experience in your version of thought. we would end up with classes or corporate workforces that don't look that different than it looked today either but with a much more vibrant diversity of thought and experience in process. >> host: change of the topics a little bit. you talk about who the beneficiary of woke capitalism are. one chapter, tell us who you mean by that managerial class and how to the benefit? >> guest: if different classes of groups in the company, the entrepreneurs, the founders come the investors, the employees who follow the founders to to work, the three legs of the stool. turns out as as a company goo the fourth leg which is hired to
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management, people who are by the shareholders by the board to run the company that then create bureaucratic leaders that can be that the relationship between the other three stakeholders. the problem with being a member of the manager class is this. the more people you are accountable to the less accountable you are to any given one of them. once you are accountable to everyone you are accountable to no one. that's part of the story i tell in the book that managerial class empowers itself by increasing the number of not only shareholders but stakeholders to they are accountable. one of the things that allows them to create power is be able to create an infinite set of people company tempts him is upset they can move the claim they're serving someone else's interest when the fact those parties who never to make it with one another under the difference of the processing. it's one of the failure you discuss in economics class or law school rental agent problems that arise from hiring somebody
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to be a steward for the person who is the ultimate owner but that principal agent problem writ large on steroids would ultimately say actually not only are the ceos responsible for thousands of different shareholders but also to people who were not shareholders at all who might be so-called stakeholders of the business. here's one of the things, like systemic racism, stakeholders or stakeholder risen is fully defined, anyone could be a stakeholder and one things i things i live in the book, the first book that lays out the geopolitical implications of the woke capitalist trend, once corporations become vectors to advance progressive values they become vehicles to advance any values and nobody has managed to make themselves are quite stakeholder unless more effectively than the communist party of china and is now flexing its muscles as set stakeholder -- dangerous things for now to the future the united states but even the future of the free world as we know it.
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>> host: that was going to go next question about china. how does china to get vantage of this? >> guest: they take advantage of it by turning on, attorney on the head of philosophy that respond so-called democratic capitalism and 1990s, thinking 80s in the united states when we begin on the misguided premise that we could use capitalism as a vector to spread our own political values like democracy. we thought we could use our money to get them to be more like us. instead china has turned that on its head. i have used their economic muscle and money to get us to be more like them. we said big macs and happy meals come instead they load up nike sneakers and disney movies and sent them back as trojan horses that are undermining american interest on the global stage. i'll tell you exactly what a mean. when you meet the demand to stakeholder capitalism especially the greed provoked
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capitalism part of what that demands is companies criticized injustice even micro-aggressions, aggressions are in the united states like systemic racism or trans-phobic or misogyny or bigotry whatever the social cost of the day is. yet they did not say a peep is a continued to business in china. they praise the chinese commerce party. take disney which said he could not shoot a the film in the se of georgia if georgia had passed the abortion statute. yet they did not say a peep as a film mulan in china last year where over 1 million uighurs in concentration camps subject to forced sterilization, time is indoctrination. one of the great human rights abuses committed by a major nation since the third reich of germany. disney doesn't say thing. the end of the film is look at the credits, in the credits of mulan they quietly thank the
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ccp. ccp. they think the local authorities in xinjiang. that two-faced behavior isn't just about hypocrisy. it is about eroding the moral standing of the united states by creating a false moral equivalent between what i think of as chinese style is him an american idealism. that erodes our greatest geopolitical asset of all. it is our moral standing on the global stage. once we have lost that i think we have actually lost our status as a great power in what i think is the defining cold war of the next century. >> host: suppose someone is persuaded by these arguments. what do we do? do what? we need the leaders, and we need to change or cultural mindset? who's supposed to change their behavior? >> guest: i think the biggest
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solutions, i led a series of legal solutions in the book policy solutions that if they could make a difference. some of the problem traces back to the and evenhanded application of public policy itself. for example, with using a workforce is people are afraid of expressing their beliefs not only of work but even on their own time. the number of people been fired over the course of the last couple of years what they said at home or on social media or for wearing a trump at to work is staggering anything the list of examples in the book anything that's a product of the application of policy that's not applied evenhandedly. either we get rid of protective classes like race and gender and sexual orientation and national origin religion altogether or we apply that evenhandedly and way that reflects the real form of discrimination we see in the workplace today which is on the basis of political perspective and political speech. as political speech or believe as a protected category right there, and i think it can't be
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the platform or fired for being black or gay or muslim or jew was a christian white or whatever. you should not be able to be fired for just being an outspoken conservative or outspoken liberal for that matter. those with the solutions i propose. section 230 performs is a place i spend a good bit of time where section 230 is a statute that among other things in -- private companies internet companies in particular from tort in states for removing content that is otherwise constitutionally protected. it's one of the rare statutes this is otherwise constitutionally protected in the text of the statute itself. you can have it both ways. if you don't get the special former protection or you do get a special federal protection but if you are bound by the same constraints of the federal government including the first amendment, that's when the arguments i make where when covers like twitter and facebook and google are working hand in glove with the government to censor hate speech or
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misinformation as a government defines it as the government doing to the back to what it could not do directly to the front door a basic principle is if it is state action in disguise in the constitution still applies. a lot of my policy solutions and legal solutions come down to the principle that you can have both ways. we have to apply policies in evenhanded way. i get to the backdrop we do not need this policies in the first place. and what else seems to think those are unnecessary but iy are when you to modernize them in ways that reflect the unintended consequences of political discrimination they have created today. all those are symptomatic therapy. what a think we need in this country is a cultural cure, a revival of the shared identity that gave her cases as americans today. we've lost that. i think patriotism is on the decline. hard work -- the kind of things that used to build them moral
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void that wokeness filled those have disappeared. what we need to do is not cancel woke in return but deluded to irrelevant by rebuilding a shared identity what it means to be an american in the year 2021 and makes these other postmodern philosophies look irrelevant by comparison. that's a a project after doinn the book and hope the book has an impact in beginning to move the ball forward towards a new decade we may not be celebrate our diversity as much but we will be celebrating what joe biden wants is one people together. >> host: you're trying to educate the culture which is harder in some ways. changing culture is much more grassroots phenomenon. as an economist and look at what lawson policy levers we want to switch. there may be some but i agree it's hard. it's hard to do perfectly. >> guest: by definition the unintended consequent of
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policies i expose and book, once again consider. that's the definition unattended. that's symptomatic, surface level. what we need is a revival of shared american identity. one of the things we've lost great and have talked about this in my other interviews but his pub when the most things to talk about, we've lost a sense of the pursuit of excellence as an end in itself. personally i think when americans rallied behind the crime to make america great again, i don't think we were rallying behind donald trump. i think they were rallying behind the unapologetic pursuit of excellence in and of itself. as . as part of what american exceptionalism is all about. we live in a moment when there's a new anti-excellence culture that lionize his victimhood and hides from victory that one of the finest ideals that is unifying is the shared pursuit of excellence itself. i do see a lot of that in the progressive left, a lot of it minority community. i see a lot of it among white
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communities who may be blended immigrants for the own plight or amongst second generation american kids rather than me who now have a practice nonchalance torture excellence in math and science with the mediocrity. i worry about that culture. what i'd like to see is a revival of the unbridled pursuit of excellence as a shared american ideal that can bring us together and lift of the people we want to lift up along with it. that's a something a touch on in great depth in the book so it's an undercurrent in the book. everybody sequel that probably be what it's all about but that's part of the cultural revival i'm talking about here, you mentioned the sequel, one of my questions is what's next? you've had an amazing career, you've written a best-selling book and you're still a very young man. i'm really very curious what's
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the future hold? >> guest: i appreciate it. i made a commitment to myself earlier this year after thinking about that, my mind was staying in different directions this spring and the commitment i made to myself really more than anyone else was really to roll this book up and be able to speak and uninhibited way about what i thought the problem was and at least the beginning of what is not the solution to the problem to be. one of the things i quickly started learning as i start think that what future possible task could entail to you become a prisoner of your own plan anything to say that it didn't become means to an end of achieving whatever individual to go after next. i found the way for me that was most liberating was not to have a defined in at least for the time being. that's new for me. i have done the rat race. i've been through to the time i start my company from high school was one big sequence, like the olympics kind of watch the people jumping over the
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track and field competition where jumping over one who after another and that's a lot of my adult life has been certainly. for the better. it's been successful and i've been blessed with what that's given me. at the end of that i wanted to take a year at least where i was actually not a prisoner anyway of what came next best figure out what want to say and say it in and uninhibited way. that's what i believe i've done in the book and help people benefit from it. probably this time lecture i will have to figure out what plan comes after that. >> host: having done all these other great accomplishments in your life, and you see yourself getting involved in the political process? >> guest: i could. it's something i consider. people are really thrown that on my lap and a couple of different capacities. it wasn't something that appealed to me this year in the context of writing this book
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again because i do want to run what i'm saying pass some sort of pollster numbers or sort of understand how a focus group were asked to it. it's hard to forget what you have to say in your own mind. i spent a good part unless you have figured that out for myself. i wanted to finish the process and see it through before inevitably getting trapped in the imaginations of a political career. i think there's a real impact people can have going into politics. it is one of the things i've learned is from friends have done it come look at the possibility of myself, it's not something that you should do for any reason other than really thinking about it as a service. representative weber did it wouldn't be for very long time. it would be with a predefined steps that has come to get out after i've served and done my part. but i've also become convinced as you said earlier that a big part of the change we need to see is in our culture, some ways
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lawmaking can't fix that. do i think political leaders or at least where lytic leaders can be tried a change of culture? i think ronald reagan did in 1980. there are ways to drive cultural change that could be within politics, a lot of which outside of politics and i keep my mind totally open to see where i could have the most impact and hopefully have some fun personally along the way doing it. >> host: to see any leaders after moving in the right direction in your judgment? >> guest: not that immediately, to mind. i will be brutally honest with you. >> host: joe biden has explicitly endorse stakeholder capitalism. he called the idea that it was -- obviously he's very explicit and wants to envy opposite
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direction. >> guest: he's moving the opposite direction i'm advocating here. i still root for his success, when he took office he said he wanted it to unify the country. i took him at his word and i was rooting for them to succeed because that was something else probably what our country may need now more than anything else. i've been disappointed in that i'm not sure how committed he is or even ever was to that idea. for example, look at the struggle with driving vaccination in this country. the single thing he could've done when taken office was to give credit to the top administration. forget about what he think it was deserved or not, forget about what he think the guy come to like the guy or not. his goal was to bring the country together. for example, to independent whether dedicating lipservice to vaccination. the greatest way to build trust, to build solidarity around that would've been to give credit to your predecessor or give credit to someone other than yourself. that's what the great leaders do. i'm worried even the president hu made his platform to unify
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the country is really already fallen short of vacation to do just the opposite of that. when i think across the full spectrum is anybody i really see as embodying that ideal? not right now if i'm being perfectly honest with you but i think it wasn't anything from 1980 version it will be somebody when a thinking of right now, may not averted, may not even be in the front pages of our newspapers. i hope, i'm sure the person of his people exist. i just hope they step up and do it our country needs. the political system can surprise us all the time. >> host: often comes out of nowhere and captures the popular imagination. we'll have a few minutes left and i want to move away from your book the last few minutes and ask what other books you recommend. i love your book. i strongly recommend people go by and read. it's a very readable -- other important issues -- you present them in a very readable way settle think anybody would have trouble getting through.
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>> guest: i have read some of yours to by the way. >> host: if you look at -- [inaudible] when as a freshman in college i read liberty. anything that you recommend? >> guest: i've read a lot of dashing some things that influence my book, i've read a little bit of dashing somebody writes about the psychological need created by capitalism itself or frederick von hayek. one of the books i want to recommend, it's got the sphere of economics was the brothers care meso and its story from that of a quote in the book that i will tell for the purpose of today but it is one of the books, like a lot of -- that
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captures the human experience in ways that only literature can. he tells the story about christ that didn't come of the bible in this chapter entitled the grand inquisitor where christ comes back to earth in the middle of the spanish inquisition in spain. the grand inquisitor in the church spots christ on the street and has him arrested and he puts them in a prison cell, and iconic dialogue of the chapter is what the grand inquisitor says to christ in that prison cell, what he says is we the church don't need you anymore. in fact, your being here is an impediment to the mission of the church. and then the sentences christ to death. in the book what a talk a little bit about is how that hell is what i call the church a diversity where in the name of diversity we have sentenced to death to diversity of thought all the while keeping up the appearance of diversity. that's how use it in my book.
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there's so many different layers far beyond what i take into "woke, inc.." a couple more recently published books better think are not bad either are cynical theories which i discuss in the book, talks about postmodern flossie on its own terms written by interesting authors james lindsay and helen who are least gather from cometary haven't kind enough to read my book as well but i quote the memo book and it's a pretty cool book that came out recently that doesn't focus on the corporate sphere so much but more on academia. the parasitic mind fits that description in academia but no one had done in corporate america which i love the ideas these thinkers had really developed in the spheres of public life that went beyond corporate america but i applied to them to my nemesis the corporate america and then went in a different direction. that's a a sample of the few things that stuck with me off
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the top of my head. >> host: those are great recommendations. vivek ramaswamy thank thay much and congratulation on to book trekkie thank you. i appreciate that. >> "after words" is available as a podcast. to listen visit c-span.org/podcasts or search c-span "after words" on your podcast app and watch this and all previous "after words" interviews at booktv.org. just click the "after words" button near the top of the page. >> here's a look at some books being published this week.
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>> find these titles this coming week wherever books are sold and watch for many of these authors to appear in the near future on booktv. ♪ >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america's stories, and on sundays booktv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and
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more including wow. >> the world has changed. today faster level internet connection is something no one can live without so wow is there for our customers with speed, reliability, value and choice. now more than ever it all starts with great internet. >> wow alone with these television companies supports c-span2 as a public service. >> up next on booktv, cnn anderson cooper and katherine howe provide history of the vanderbilts, what's one of the wealthiest families in the country and mr. cooper's militants on his mother's side. brookings aesthetician senior fellow thomas wright discusses a global impact of the covid-19 pandemic on security, economics and foreign policy. and later on a weekly author interview series "after words," entrepreneur vivek ramaswamy argues that corporate america is signing on to woke culture to increase profits. consult your program guide for more schedule information or visit

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