Skip to main content

tv   After Words Vivek Ramaswamy Woke Inc.- Inside Corporate Americas...  CSPAN  November 28, 2021 1:00pm-2:01pm EST

1:00 pm
the barriers that we are starting to knock down one by one. t >> the book is so beautiful and it's painful and i think it's important i think you so much for writing it and i thank you for joining us to talk about it. >> thank you so much, angie, for your thoughtful engagement and thank you for everyone who chose to spend the night with me. it's been if you were joe-- joy to be here. j books, bookshop sa cruz in santa cruz california, books soup in west hollywood, all of which have plenty of copies of "beautiful country" so avail yourself of them now. i am angie coro, , i'm wishing u a grant and
1:01 pm
interviewing top fiction authors about their latest work. >> welcome it is a delight to be here, to chat with you. congratulations on the book. i know how much work it congratulations on the book. a lot of people are buying it and that is great because it's a great book, very readable and interesting, very provocative and a very important topic, so delighted to be here to chat with you. before we get to the book, i would like you to telloo us a little bit about your biography because i think your biography shaped the things you are writing in this book and you have an interesting biography and one obviously i didn't know.
1:02 pm
i first met you about a year ago or so so tell us a little bit about vivek ramaswamy. >> i appreciate that. i was born and raised in ohio which is also where i live today and my parents were immigrants from india and my dad came over in the late 70s and my mom in the early '80s. i would ask my dad, why did you come halfway across the world to cincinnati ohio of all places and he said actually his sister had come over to indiana which i prompted him to ask him why she came halfway across the world to fort wayne indiana and the joke was it's the only us state with the word india contained in the name. that's the joke we tell. we were born and raised in ohio and my parents didn't come from much money but they had an education that's one of the valuable things they gave us. i went to public school through eighth grade and then private catholic high school even though i'm not catholic, graduated in 2003 and 9/11 happened when i
1:03 pm
was in high school and shaped my worldview is young american and i then went to harvard. i did take the class i believe you teach now, though i was a biology major and stilted-- studied biology and was mostly in early science guy through college and then when i graduated i got into the world of biotech investing in the fall of 2007 just before the 2008 financial crisis which also shaped my views of not only capitalism but the merger of capitalism and politics. i did that for several years. i didnd it for seven years and then for three years i told my boss i was going to leave and go to yale law school because i hadn't each at the intersection of law and political philosophy that i never scratched and turns out that got me career mobility instead they said you can manage a portfolio for us and do it from yale so that's what i did and i spent three years there, met my wife, probably the most productive thing that came out of it. she was my next-door neighbor and then when i graduated i came
1:04 pm
back to my job as an investor and realized i was more interested in getting hands-on involved in addressing some of the inefficiencies and pharma that i couldn't address as a bystander, so i lost my job as an investor this time for real and started a biotech company, which i built from 2014 to 2021 and was ceo for seven years and step down in january to give myself the latitude to speak freely in an uninhibited way and not only rolling out the book but addressinghi some of the issues that i'm speaking openly about as a citizen and suffices to say having built the company was a challenge, probably the most gratifying thing i've done my professional career, but i step down because i felt that i needed to speak freely in a way that did not harm the company and also needed to exercise some of my own civic duty and putting a spotlight on what i had seen behind closed doors in america over the last 15 years. i was not born into elite
1:05 pm
america but i've lived it for the last decade and a half and some of the things i've learned i think were experiences and insights and perspectives that i felt i needed to share to be able to shape the conversation about where we go as a people from here and i think that is what is at stake at the heart of the discussion about the relationship between capitalism and democracy. >> you did a great job in the book especially the last chapter summarizing the theme which i take it is capitalism and democracy if they make themselves up both suffer for it. they each have a role in our society, but it's clear what each of the two pillars are and what they can do, so you experienced as a ceo, but even before you were running a major company even as a student, so you have this story early in the book about your summer at goldman sachs.
1:06 pm
>> goldman sachs is one of the archetypes i keep coming back to in my book and some of the things i talk about, but the relationship between the private sector and government, between eecapitalism and democracy. goldman sachs for better or for worse in my opinion for worse typifies the relationship. >> we should say to the audience by the way goldman sachs traditionally f an investment bk announced a commercial bank but onene of the financial institutions considered really elite so top harvard students like you were, goldman sachs is like the pinnacle for better or worse. >> there are things i would like to have been better at an turns out one of the things i was good at is getting myself into protected court orders of elite america. there are better skills one then can have but turns out that turns out that was a skill on accident or on purpose it's when i've completed just practice. when i was a student at harvard and took an internship at
1:07 pm
goldman sachs and there wasar something i learned that summer, but it was not what i expected to learn. i thought i'd learn evaluated in valuing companies and that is a party i didn't learn much about that. 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 and power so one way to do it was goldman sachs had a hallmark event that summer which was service day. go to harlem and plant trees. the thing i noticed was when we showed up in harlem no one was interested in planting trees. everyone showed up except for the boss who actually was nowhere to be found in no one was planting trees. they were b telling investment r stories, catching up on office gossip and not really planting trees. of course then the boss shows up an hour late, the guy at the top of the food chain which by the way goldman sachs they were slim fit suits, tailored shirts and
1:08 pm
sheep visibly cheap rubber wrist strap digital washes as a show about false humility. shows up with the watch, and guccii boots and said we are taking pictures and getting out of here and that's exactly what we did and e went to a bar neary and started drinking and i asked one of the older associates, look, we wanted to call it a social day we should have just called it that rather than calling it service day in his response stuck with me. he said have you ever heard of the golden rule and he said of course i had gone to a catholic high school he said treat others the way you want toyo be treate and he said no, the golden rule is this: he who has the gold makes the ruleshe. that stuck with me. i called it the golden rule and it turns out i did learn something valuable that summer andul o it's the golden rule thi saw on display 10 years later when goldman sachs declared from the mountain tops that they would not take a company public in the united states if its board was for example insufficiently diverse and they
1:09 pm
didn't meann i do logically diverse immigrant-- racial and gender diverse and to me that diverse of market power to be able to exercise power in the marketplace of ideas to decide questions i felt needed to be decided in our marketplace was actually the greatest form of overreach at all and that's aco big part of the whyt-- reason i wrote the book. >> another story you tell from the beginning of the bookk which is so similar is about fearless girlrl, famous sort of statute t in front of the-- can you tell us about fearless girl? >> it wast. supposed to be an in of feminism, so she makes a difference is what it says that the base of the statue. she is supposed to stare down the iconic wall street bowl, the male power that that stood for and it turns out it was commissioned by state street global advisors as you probablya know and it turns out that sage stands not just for she, but also is the taker of the exchange traded fund that was
1:10 pm
something like a diversity index, a well collected cabal of stocks that embodied these progressive social values and they charged a fee in the process. they built the statue around the time they were facing a lawsuit from their female employees at the firm who alleged they didn't get paid enough as much as their male counterparts. of course when accused by female employees of not paying them enough and not paying themm as much as male counterparts the firm did exactly what you would expect them to do, they build a statue of women and even better and you can't make this stuff up, the creator of the statute created a few more copies of the statue because she was a feminist and proud of what she had created, state street sued her for creating unauthorized reproduction of the statue that they had commissioned. this comes full circle like the magic trick i tell about in the book that you pretend like you care about something other than profit and power precisely to gain more of each. a good magic trick isn't about
1:11 pm
just making theea money to disappear, you have to brin the money back. it's a joke i tell in the book, but youhe might remember that shortly after we met you introduce me too a professor at harvard law school who had taken an interest in some of these issues and he subsequently invited me too his class to give an early draft of the book, chapter of the book as a workshop that we worked a out wh his corporate law class in one of the things-- that happen to be the chapter that contain the fearless girl story and there was a girl in the class who i still remember this, she raised her hand and said i hear this story you have told, but feel this girl still inspired me and nobody can take that away even state street can't take that away and that actually is something that took me deeper into exploration in an early draft and god knows that early draft was nothing like the final book i was able to go deeper and i think there is something to be said for really exploring the way in which maybe wokeness can stand on its own 2 feet and
1:12 pm
isn't is in intermingled with capitalism and big part of what i say in the book isn't just the woke ideology, but merger with capitalism, which actually taints both the progressive values corporations are asked to be stewards of as well as tainting corporate purpose in and of its own right as well, so that's what the heart of the book is about more so than criticizing one end of the political spectrum or the other. >> in the case of the statue might one suspect artist may have different a motivations thn state street? >> exactly, and it embodies this uncomfortable merits between the progressive left and the big business in this country. it's an arranged marriage, not a marriage of love though. i feel like it's more like prostitution where each side get something out of the trade, out of the transaction.id state street got cover for the loss they were-- the lawsuit they were facing. w i think in the post 2008 euros
1:13 pm
since occupy wall street where if you are a big bank occupy wall street is a tough pill to swallow. you could hire occupy wall street leader to give a lecture and you would like with them to say. talking about white fragility is no problem. what i had happen was a generation of big banks got together with the a generation woke millennial's and together they birthed woke capitalism and that's what allowed them to put occupy wall street up for adoption and that worked so well that everyone else started to replicate it and get it in on it. i think silicon valley does a version where they effectively censor orhe moderate content the woke movement doesn't want to see online, but they don't do it for free because they are unspoken ask is that the new left look the other way when it comes to leading their monopoly power intact and again i think that trade is working. whatever you think of the merits of whether or not the monopoly power is good or bad, it's a trade that's working masterfully
1:14 pm
for both sides and one of the goals is the book is to shine some ligh on the reality so consumers and citizens can at least make their own judgment about whether it's a good or bad thing and people can come to their own conclusion but step one is to see the phenomenon itself with clear eyes and that's part of what i s try to o the book. >> example of state street and goldman that we've been talking about with a sense that companies are deeply cynical, using progressive agenda to further their own goals and perhaps to create more profit. what about stakeholder capitalism more generally? can someone, can a ceo or a board constantly embrace stakeholder capitalism? doesn't make sense for ceos to say look, my shareholders have other goals other than maximizing profits so i'm going as ceo to pursue those goals weathers, and climate change,
1:15 pm
diversity or whatever? >> i'm going to take this as an opportunity to probably say something you appreciate, but is worth unpacking in the discussion, which is to talk but a few different kinds of so-called woke capitalism or stakeholder capitalism, not one thing, at least three different things. first you have the problem of the executive who ultimately the phenomenon of the executive who decides that he only lives once and he will use his position as ceo to advance the social good even if that means using some of his shareholder resources as part of the platform to do it. on that telling of it that shareholders are the victims and allegedly for people that don't likeke this behavior the ceo may be breaching his fiduciary responsibly to the shareholders. let'sce say the ceo makes a multimillion dollar donation to his high school or temple where he worships and i think most people would agree that it would be objectionable as a breach of fiduciary duty and being a custodian of the resources.
1:16 pm
i think part of what you can debate is that the same ceo writes a check to a different temple called black lives matter, why is that a question that would be treated differently and that's something we can come back to but that's the executive culprit and i think the second is actually different. the shareholders and the victim but maybe the perpetrator where you have a shareholder that says you executives, you ceos work for us and we demand that you actually advance these social values or else you are breaching your duty to us, the boss, the shareholders. that's what blackrock tries to pull off in its capacity as a shareholder where they say they have a sustainability accounting standards board that says if a company doesn't meet its standards they will disinvest from the company. now, i think you actually have a problem of the woke executive at blackrock also the first phenomenon where actually it's not blackrock as an investor, about a million or more people are investors with blackrock and their ceo and their managing
1:17 pm
class is the woke executive all over again but you have a number of investors who are certainly saying you as the executive have to advance the values we want to see both of those are different from the third phenomenon of what i call woke consumerism, which is the consumers themselves mainly progressive consumers demand that the ceos of the company they buy the products from actually embody their values that match their own values as consumers and i think you could argue it's just capitalism working. in the book it's more cultural commentary to say it's just a symptom of a deeper cultural malaise where we as a culture as consumers or portly as citizens are hungry for a cause and a sense of purpose, but we have resorted to superficial means like mixing morality with commercialism to satisfy a moral hunger that demands more substantial flair, so that's one access you can cut three types of woke capitalism, executive,
1:18 pm
investors or consumers. also, those who pursue it in authentically i think goldman sachs and state street those examples, they more broadly fall under that category and i think that's the majority of cases and that's a big part of what i lay out in thei' book but i think there's a decided minority of cases where you are corporations and executives and their boards and investor sometimes pursuing it authentically who believe in the values they are ultimately using their platform to push. here's where actually changed my mind through the course of writing a book. i began taping aim at the cynical's capitalism, and by the end of the book i was more convinced that the bigger threat to democracy wasas the authentic kind where you actually have someone who is purposefully using their corporate platform as a way of sidestepping public debate and using force economic force, but fourths nonetheless to settle a question that ought to be settled through free speech and open debate in a political democracy in the public square where everyone
1:19 pm
voice and boat is weighted equally. to me that was actually the biggest threat of all-in-one on my realization through the course of writing a book in one of the evolutions of my own perspective. >> another way is through employees, not only for the consumers and demanding it, but employees of the firm. you have an interesting story when you are ceo of what happened in the aftermath of the black lives matter movement. can you tell us about that? >> look, i think what i learned was my experience as ceo was actually nearly identical to that of many other ceos in similar positions in the wake of george floyd's tragic death and it was a tragic death and at this point we can say decidedly a murderer and there were protests across the country and national reckoning about race relations in our country, but also a demand that companies somehow play a role in rectifying those problems and i
1:20 pm
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 a term without actually defining more specifically what that means. that's on the content of the demand made, but i had a more principled issue which is i didn't think corporations should be using their market power to substitute for the free speech and open debate that ought t to take place as i said earlier in the public square in our democracy. one of my employees did not feel the same way and i respect their perspective. they said we came to work at a place that did more than just pursue profit. we were in the business of developing medicine, medicine for patients who needed them. in the eyes of many people arguably few calling higher than that, but in the eyes especially of many younger employees that also meant there was an expectation that the business played a role, that business in our country broadly played a
1:21 pm
role in rectifying other social injustices and that was something that actually lead to a deep level of reflection and introspection for me wondering not only whether i was going to make-- [inaudible] and was i wrong not only with my employees but some of my investors and actually board members felt the same way or raised similar questions and made me question whether i was misguided in being a slave of some philosophy that i had learned in places like economic classes at harvard and that i was actually in the wrong and failing to think about the unique challenges where actually government was failing and may be corporations needed to step up and addressp the social issus they weren't addressing and i came out on the other side it would say 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 i think it was on the other side of a journey i'm grateful for including from my own
1:22 pm
employees to take me through a personal journey of deconstructing that view first before constructing it and building it up with greater and a more solid foundation on the other side having gone through the journey. >> you mention a step-- you actually step down in part to write the book. with continuing pressures coming from your board, employees, how do you think you would have responded? >> it's funny. i went through the journey and one of the places it ended was about seven months later when i realized my own philosophy had taken me full circle. to be clear unlike ceos who have a different worldview, comfortable using their seat of corporate power to push their social views onto others. i never did that i-- at least i believe i never did during the time of ceo. however, i had begun speaking out regularly writing in the "wall street journal" and appearing on cable television expressing my own views.
1:23 pm
actually, the topic of woke capitalism, the spread of critical theory and academia, the spread of ideas is bond by critical theory in the corporate sector and other american lives, these are contentious topics and i had to take a step back and actually in some ways practice what i preached and walk the walk and recognize as a ceo when -- while i i did my best to avoid using the corporate platform as a way of forcing my view on others the nature of the topic i was talking about were such that it was impossible to do perfectly in practice and actually to protect the company from my own perspective and protect my ownow ability to spek freely without having to think in the back of my head what the stewardship role was for the company and that best thing to do was to separate my role as a ceo is my role as a citizen. i had been ceo for seven years and if i'm candid i would not of been free to write everything in the book if i had to write it through the lens of what impact it would have on being
1:24 pm
extrapolated to be the business of voice on these issues also so i separate myself from my voice of the company and step down as ceo and appointed a-- well the board which i'm an elevated--wh member elevated the ceo. i hope everyone would find a bit of what i have to say worthwhile >> i wondered if you had continued on what would've felt you should do kind of getting back to the cynical kind of woke capitalism, if you feel your fiduciary in the role in this era with a strange alliance between the progressive left and corporations, a way to maximize shareholder value is to-- maybe will goldman sachs and state street were in fact pursuing their fiduciary obligation to shareholders. >> it's possible.
1:25 pm
i openly explore that possibility in the book. that's why i talked about the third phenomenon of woke consumerism and i think it's a symptom of the hunger and moral vacuum we need to fill. nearly, if you were to take that is given may companies are doing the right thing and there's also an alternative which certain sectors it could be true that it's a temporary market inefficiency and there's a great opportunity where you have half the country actually quietly frustrated with nike signaling its virtue and alignment with black lives matter in the way that it is when there's a good sneaker alternative and that could be an opportunity for someone to create an alternative , white wing alternative to the left-wing version that is ultimately pushed through the consumer sector today that's kind of what you see with black rifle coffee. it's a starbucks for republicans. i have an issue with that, though. my main issue is that if this
1:26 pm
were shark tank and i was betting on it i think in many cases there's an opportunity to use a different set of values, not progressive values but may be more conventionally conservative values and co- mingled that with the pursuit of prophet in a way that appeals to a different kind of hunger for a cause. i don't think that's good for us as a people or a country, though. the private sector, our sports stadiums used it 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 lose that an undivided policy like ours when we are divided we actually lose the possibility of solidarity itself with our economy and companies and our sports as they become politicized as they have and i worry if we lose the apolitical sanctuaries that used to bring us together, we may be closer to a trajectory towards civil war than towards achieving solidarity and i think once we
1:27 pm
have two economies republican base and a democratic base or republican coffee and democratic coffee that may be that and of the american experiment as we know it or at least a version of the american experience that you and i probably grew up idealizing acknowledging the american dream that we can pursue in the economy, but against the backdrop of democraticno solidarity that bod us together and i think that fractious policy that invades the comic-- economy and i talked about in the part of the book-- capitalism has the ability to bring people together. once we lose that and make capitalism a source of further division, i worry is the beginning of the end and i think that may be where we are headed absent some kind of serious intervention and i hope the book serves as one of the forms of cultural interventione with a different vision of how we go
1:28 pm
forward. >> mentioned a moment ago skepticism you have about the idea of systemic racism. i went to explore that a little bit because you mention it in the book but don't go into a lot of depth about it including the case of the legacy of slavery and that african-americans today on average experience worse economic outcomes and more difficulty in life i think than other ethnic groups. to what extent is it a problem and to what extent do corporations have a responsibility or thinking about that-- if not the corporations, what other institutions do you think should step up and what should they be doing it? >> i have a few issues with the modern dogma of systemic racism. one is actually a claim of descriptive clarity. it's unclear to me what the term even means. racism definitely means something to me.
1:29 pm
it's taking action on the basis of o some type of prejudice. that's racism and i understand that. i think it's wrong and i think it exists and i think we should combat it. i think it exists on a smaller scale today than it has in prior history. we made a steady progress over the decades to reducece the problem that racism represents and i think racism represents a pressingm problem n america decades ago. i don't get represents a pressing problem in the same way it did 50 or 60 years ago. anyone who claims it does is a big part of what the progressive left claims today and i think that is disingenuous to say we are in the same place as this jim crow era or where we were in the 70s or the jim crow era or the era of the 1860s, it's a pretty preposterous claim so i think systemic racism is a sloppy way of defining what the original problem itself is superior i understand what racism is. i don't believe the narrative of
1:30 pm
systemic racism has been flushed out to even be defined. i have a different problem with it also, the same force that gives us the verbiage of systemic racism also gives us a set of solutions that demands fighting racism with more racism and i personally am of the john roberts school of thought were the best way to end discrimination on the basis of raised is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. take it from the best and most articulate proponents and i think a direct quote had to be an antiracist is the only remedy to pass discrimination is present discrimination, the remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination, agree or not that's what he said and i disagree and i think that's the part of my view that the dogma of systemic racism effectively as co- mingleded with the solutions that demand further racial lysing divide which is counterproductive in every directive including in the direction of actually servingdi the black community and some
1:31 pm
brown communities that i think are actually supposed to have been helped by this dogma. the third thing that i really reject is the idea that we should actually bring a prism of race evaluating struggles that could equally or even more powerfully be evaluated through the lens of class instead. according to the theory of sexualityor-- intersection allie there's women that will always be this-- [inaudible] rustbelt version of white america that involves a lot of poor people who are maybe having struggles of their own, but may not be black or a woman and i reject the idea that oprah winfrey and her struggle as a black woman ought to have any more of our concern and someone who might be a poor white man in the opioid rest area and i think 90% of what both sides could actually agree on is that people
1:32 pm
who are economically disempowered, black access to a fair education, black access to an educational system, black access to capital, to participate in the economy, that's more of a universalist message for the left to embrace that i think could be more about an agenda that lifts everyone up from disempowerment that everyone shares inom in the same way and i think that part of the issue with the new wokeness obstacle it's the solution that could canonically empower everyone by instead obsessing over characteristics like race, gender, sexual orientation which i think is what the left is focused on today so i think the narrative of systemic racism isi a sloppy, lazy term and we ought to define exactly what we mean or inequities we need to address, but they may be inequities that affect people that have nothing to do with races ha. >> sounds like if you are talking to the harvard president
1:33 pm
you might suggest rethinking affirmative action. >> i would. >> what would you recommend the university president? >> yeah, so i went to give you my position. i'm against affirmative action. i think affirmative action is a disservice to the people who it's supposed to help i, in part because for the simple reason when you now look at a black pilot in the cockpit of united t airlines once they have a quota system predicated on 50% of women-- people in the cockpit are people of color and get rid of the test for competency that they recently used, there is no way any human being can be faulted for at least having a moment or an instinct of questioning whether a female pilot or a nonwhite pilot in the cockpit would have passed those same test because united airlines told us they had to get rid of the test to create this new quota system and i think
1:34 pm
that fosters an unfair branding that no black pilot or no female pilot deserves and i think that is a something that is unjust, not only to the white pilots who are excluded, but one strain of injustice we care about but injustice to the very people that may have earned their position, but can be distinguished and i think that actually creates 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, i'm sorry to say that masks the discipline of math, but i did that two plus two is for that it's racist because of the inequitable outcome in achievement i think it's a itself a racist idea and i think one of the things we risk doing is right when racism has reached an all-time low, i mean, in the united states the final burning embers we are throwing kerosene on it and-- as
1:35 pm
it pertains to harvard because you asked me a precise question. look, i actually think there is something to be said in a liberal arts university to create the conditions for students to have an opportunityt to interact with people of every stripe, some from legacy students who came from-- i was exposed to kids who came from multi generational harvard families that i as a kid would have never interacted with and in some ways was able to benefit from a different culture is much as i was able to interact with black kids who grew up in different circumstances than i did and i think i benefited from all of those things. harvard only gives about 2000 seats a year to a class and there's about five times as many
1:36 pm
students who have been qualified to attend so the ability to use some idea of composing a true diverse class on the basis of diversity and experience is something that i really am quite pathetic too, but what i would say is the best way to create for diversity of experience is to screen candidates for the diversity of their experiences and the best way to screen for diversity of thought is to screen candidates for the diversity of their thought and i think the idea of using race or gender as a proxy for the diversity of one's thoughts actually commits to the very thought that racism was committing to the first place. i think we should rejected especially in the corporate sphere. i've a softer corner as it pertains to liberal arts universities composing a diverse class but at the end of the day i think we would be better off as a society if we abandon affirmative action and instead began the b process of screening for diversity of experience ande diversity of thought and that we would end up with classes that
1:37 pm
don't look that different from today, but actually with a more vibrant diversity of thought and experiences in the process. >> changing topic so little bit, you talk about the beneficiaries of awoke capitalism and you have one chapter on the managerial side. who do you mean by that managerial class and how did that benefit? >> companies have different classes of groups, founders, investors that backs the founders, employees that followed the founders and maybe the three legs of the stool and turns out there's a fourth leg which is higher management, people paid by the shareholders, by the board to run the company that then creates bureaucratic layers that intermediates the different layers. the problem with being a member of the managerial class is this the more people you are
1:38 pm
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 actually part of the story i tell in the book is that the managerial class empowers itself by increasing the number of not only shareholders, but stakeholders to whom they are accountable and i think one of the things that allows them to openly create power is to create an infinite set of people they are accountable to so any time i'm upset with them they can claim they are serving interests when in fact the two parties could never communicate with one another. it's one of the agency failures you discuss in an economics class or law school, typical problems that arise from hiring someone to be a steward for the person that is the ultimate owner, but with the principal agent on steroids when you ultimately say that actually not only are the ceos responsible to the thousands of different shareholders, but also people
1:39 pm
who aren't shareholders who may be so-called stakeholders of the business. here's one ofol the things progressive mists, like systemic racism, stakeholders or stakeholder is him as poorly defined, anyone could actually be a stakeholder and one thing i lay out in the book, i think it's the first book that lays out the geopolitical implications of the woke capitalist trend and wants corporations become vectors to advance progressive values they become vehiclesic to advance any value and no one has managed to make themselves a quiet stakeholder on the list more effectively than the communist party of china and is now flexing its muscle as that stakeholder and i think it's dangerous for the future of the united states in the future of the free world as we know it. >> that was going to be my next question. how does china take advantage of us? >> i think they take advantage of it by turning on the head of the philosophy that we spot, the so-called democratic capitalism in the '90s and even the 80s
1:40 pm
and the us where we began, in my opinion, 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 and instead china has turned that on its head. they have now used their economic muscle, their money to get us to be more like them. we had big macs and happy meals thinking it would in audible-- [inaudible] when you meet the demand of stakeholder capitalism especially in the woke breed of what capitalism, part of that demand is that companies criticize injustice, even micro aggressions like systemic racism are transferable be a or bigotry or whatever the cause of the day
1:41 pm
is yet they don't take a peep as they continue to do business in china. worse still they praise the china communist party. just take disney which said he could not shoot a film in the state of georgia if georgia passed the equivalent of an stantiabortion statute like a heartbeatea built yet they did t say a peep as they filmed the lawn in the providence of china last year where there are over 1 million uighurs and concentration camps, communist indoctrination and i think one of the great human rights abuses and disney doesn't say a film. in the end of the film during the credits, in the credits they actually quietly think the ccp, they think the local authorities including some of the very authorities responsible for committing those human rights atrocities that two-faced behavior isn't just about hock receipt. it's about eroding the moral
1:42 pm
standing of the united states by creating a false moral equivalent between what i think of as chinese nihilism and american idealism and i think that erodes our greatest geopolitical asset of all. it's our moral standing on the global stage and once we walked back i think we actually lost their status as a great power and what i think is the defining cold war the next century. >> for folks that are persuaded by these arguments, what we do? we need to elect new leaders, we just need to change our cultural mindset, who is supposed to change their behavior? >> i think the biggest solutions are in our culture and that's where most focused. a i could lay out a series of legal solutions in the book, policy solutions that could make a difference. some of the problems trace back to the un- evenhanded application of public policy itself. what you see in the workforce now is a lot of people are
1:43 pm
afraid to express their beliefs at work and even on their own time. the number of people that have been fired over the course of the last couple years because of what they have set on social media or for wearing a trump hat to work, it's staggering i think that is a good example in the book and i think that's a product of the application of policy that's not applied evenhandedly. either we get rid of protective classes like race, gender, sexual orientation and national origin altogether or we applied evenhandedly in the way it reflects the realt form of discrimination we see in the workforce today which i think is on the basis of political perspective and political speech so i think at political speech or belief as a protective category right there next to grace and sex and religion and i think you can't be d platform door fired for being black, gay, muslim, jewish, white whatever then you shouldn't be able to be fired or d platform for being a conservative tory outspoken liberal for that.
1:44 pm
you're probably familiar with 230, a statute that among other things in the private companies, internet companies in particular from tort in states for removing content that is otherwise constitutionally protected. it's one of those rare statutes that says otherwise constitutionally protected in ethe statute itself. can't have it both ways. either you don't get the special form of protection or if you do get a special protection, but you are bound by the same constraints as the federal government including the first amendment and that's where the argument is that i make that openings like twitter, facebook and google are working hand in glove with the government to censor information as the government defines it, that's the government move through the back door what it could not directly do through the front door with the constitution and my principal is is if it's a state action in disguise then the policy applies.
1:45 pm
we have to apply policies if we are going to apply them at all in an evenhanded way. everyone else seems to think those things are necessary and if they are we need to modernize them in ways that reflect the unintended r consequences of political discrimination they have created today. all of those are symptomatic therapies. what we really need is a cultural cure, a revival of the shared identity that demarcate us as americans today. i think we have lost that. i think patriotism is on the decline. faith is nearly disappeared, hard work is absent and the kind of things that used it to build the morall avoid that wokeness filled, those have disappeared and what we need to do is not cancel wokeness and return or even what s-uppercase-letter, but the irrelevance by rebuilding a shared identity of what it means to be an american
1:46 pm
in 2021 that makes other postmodern philosophies look irrelevant. that's why ever wrote the book and i hope the book has an impact and begins to move the ball forward towards a new decade where we may not celebrate our diversity as much but we will celebrate what binds us together. >> absolutely. you are trying to i think as a culture, which is harder in some ways than changing laws. changing culture is a more grassroots phenomenon. as economists i'm always looking at numbers and what to switch. i agree it's hard. >> there's always unintended consequences of policies. there's unintended called-- consequences and there will be ones i didn't consider, but at the end of the day that's symptomatic. what we really need is a revival of shared american identity and one thing i think we have lost and i haven't talked about this and other interviews but i think it's one of the most important
1:47 pm
things, we have lost a sense of the pursuit of excellence as an end in itself and personally i think when americans rallied behind the cry to make america great again, i don't think they were rallying behind donald trump. i think what they were rallying behind the unapologetic pursuit of excellence in and of itself and i think that's part of what american exceptionalism is all about and to live in a moment where there's a new anti- excellentt culture that lionized his victimhood and hides from victory i think one of the defining ideals that's unifying is the shared pursuit of excellence itself and, yes, i see a lot of that in the progressive left and a lot in minority communities and i see a lot of it among white communities who may blame immigrants for their own plight or among second generation american kids who now have practice nonchalance towards their excellence in math and
1:48 pm
science and i'm worried about that culture of me rocker see affectingg-- what i would like o see is a revival of the unbridled pursuit of excellence as a shared american ideal that can bring us together and lou lift of the people we want to lift up along with it. that's not something i touch on greatly in the book, it's an undercurrent in the book. ifif i write a sequel, that's probably what it will be about. >> as you mention a sequel, one of the questions i wanted to ask is what's next? you've had an amazing career, working on wall street, created a pharma company, wrote a best-selling book and you are still a very young man, so i'm very curious what does the future hold for vivek ramaswamy? >> i made a commitment to myself this year and my mind was spinning in different directions this spring and the commitment i made to myself really more than
1:49 pm
anyone else was to roll this book out and be able to speak in an uninhibited way about what i thought the problem was and at least the beginning of what i thought the solution could be. one thing that i quickly started to learn as i started thinking about future possible paths was thatha you can become a prisoner of your own plans and the things you say can become means to an end of achieving whatever and you want after and for me the most liberating thing was to not have a defined and at least for the time being. that's newew for me. i have done the rat race and been through from high school through the time i started my company was one big sequence, like the olympics you have to watch people jumping over the track and field competition, jumping over one hoop after the other and that's a lot about my adult life has been like for the better. it's been successful and i have been blessed with what's that's given me, but at the end of the
1:50 pm
day i wanted to take a year at least where i was actually not a prisoner in any way of what came next, but figuring out what i wanted to say and say it in uninhibited when i believe that's what i've done with the book i hope people benefit from it and probably this time next year i will have figured out what plan comes after that. >> having done all these other great accomplishments in your life, can you see yourself getting involved in the political side? >> i could. something i've considered and people have 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 the book because i don't want to run what i am saying past a poster or sort of understand how a focus group reacts to it. it's hard to figure out what you have to say in your own right. i spent a good part of the last year and have figuring that out for myself and i wanted to
1:51 pm
finish that process and see it through before inevitably getting trapped in the machinations of a political career. that said, i think there's an impact people can have going into politics. i think it's one of the things i've learned from friends who have done it, look at the possibility for myself is it's a slog, it's not something you should do for any reason other than really thinking about it as a service andas if i ever went into politics it wouldn't be for a long time. it would be with the predefined stint to get out after i served and did 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 and in some ways lawmaking cannot fix that. do i think political leaders or rare political leaders can be drivers of changing culture, yes and i think ronald reagan did in 1980s, but there's a lot of ways to drive cultural change that could be within politics.
1:52 pm
i'm keeping my mind open to see where i could have the most impact and hopefully have fun personally along the way doing it. >> do you see any political leaders out there moving in the right direction in your judgment >> not that any immediately come to mind. i'm going to be really honest with you. >> joe biden explicitly endorsed stakeholder capitalism. [inaudible] he's very explicit wanting to move in the opposite direction you are advocating. >> moving in the opposite direction that i'm advocating here.is i rooted for his success when he said he wanted to unify the country. i took him at his word and i was rooting for him to succeed because that would have been
1:53 pm
something that was 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 vaccinations in the country.. iat think the single thing he could've done when taking office was to give credit to the trump administration. forget if you think it was deserved or not or if you think the-- that you like the guy or not. if your goal was to bring in the country together to for example and the pandemic, the greatest way to build trust around that, the greatest way to build solidarity would have been to give credit to that your predecessor or someone other than yourself. that's what great leaders do and i'm worried that actually even the president who made his platform part of his platform to unify the country has really already fallen short of the occasion to do just the opposite of that and when i think across the full political spectrum is there anyone i see as embodying that ideal, not right now if i'm
1:54 pm
being perfectly honest, but i think if we have learned anything from the 1980 version is that it will be something we aren't thinking of right now. may not even be in the front pagesn of the newspapers. i'm sure that person or those people exist. i just hope they step up and do what our country needs. >> the political system can surprise us all the time and candidates often come out of nowhere and capture the popular imagination. we only have a few minutes and i want to move away from your book and ask what other books-- i love your book and i strongly recommend people go by it and yread it. very readable. important issues. you present them in a very readable when i don't think anyone would have trouble getting through, but i have read -- >> i have read some of yours too, by the way. >> you are well educated. if you look at your own
1:55 pm
intellectual development, are there somewhere you say i'm really glad i read that when i was a freshman in college i read mills of liberty it was very influential. is there anything you recommend? >> i have read a lot of-- someone who writes about the psychological need to created by capitalism itselfth. one of the books i recommend is the brothers carol so and it's actually a story from that that i quoted in the book that i will tell for the purposes of today, but i think it is one of the habooks-- like a lot of what he writes it captures the human experience in a way that only literature can. he tells the story about christ that did not come from the bible in this chapter entitled the grand inquisitor where christ comes back to earth in the
1:56 pm
middle of the spanish eainquisition and the grand inquisitor in the church spots christ on the street and he has him arrested he puts them in a prison cell and iconic dialogue of that chapter is what the grand inquisitor says to christ in that prison cell and what he says is we the church don't need you anymore. in fact, you being here is an impediment to the mission of the church and then he senses christ to death. in the book,he i tell about how that parallel of what i call the church of diversity where in the name of diversity we have sentenced to death true diversity of thought all the while keeping up the appearance of diversity and that's how i use it in my book that there is so many different layers far beyond what i take into woke inc. from that. a couple more recently published books that i think aren't bad are cynical theories which i discuss in the book, actually
1:57 pm
talk a little bit about written by two interesting authors who at least i gather from recentso social media commentary have been kind enough to read my book as well. there's a cool book thatt came out recently that doesn't focus onec the corporate sphere so mu, but more in academia t, god sols book recently and the parasitic. no one had really done in corporate america which i don't know a lot of the ideas some of the speakers have developed in spheres of public life that when beyond corporate america but i applied them to my analysis of corporate america and then went in a different direction all together. those are a sample of a few things that stuck with me out the top of my head. >> thank you. great recommendations. i will put it on my list. vivek ramaswamy, thank you very much and congratulations on your book. >> thank you. i appreciate that.
1:58 pm
>> afterwards is available as a podcast. to listen, visit c-span.org/podcast or search c-span afterwards on your podcast app and watch this now previous afterwards interviews and book tv.org. just click the afterwards button near the top of the page. >> here's a look at publishing industry news, former president trump is releasing a book of photos from his time in office with the book titled "our journey together" cofounded by donald trump junior and will go on sale december 7. the "new york times" has released their annual list of the 100 notable books of the year this year's nonfiction titles include annette gordon reads on juneteenth, the american war in afghanistan, woke racism, maggie nelson on freedom and the chancellor, just to name a few. in other news, i'm a moral to the english novelist virginia
1:59 pm
woolf is being criticized for the plant location. the statue of the novelist on a park bench was to be positioned overlooking the thames river and some argue her suicide by drowning is a reason to move the memorial to another site. according to npd bookscan print book sales are up close to 12% of the week ending november 13, adult nonfiction sales had another strong week and are now up almost 7% for the year. book tv will continue to bring new programs and publishing news and you can also watch our past programs any time at book.org. ♪♪ >> weakens on c-span two are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america story and on sunday, book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span two comes from these television companies and more including buckeye broadband.
2:00 pm
♪♪ ♪♪ >> buckeye broadband, along with these television companies supports c-span two as a public service .. >> book tv continues now. television for serious readers. >> as many of you know hillary rodham clinton served as the 67th secretary of state >> in addition to being the first woman in u.s. history to become a presidential nominee, this is all after for decades in public service. hillary is the first lady senator, a wife, a mother, grandmother, author of seven best-selling books and so much more.

4 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on