Transcript: A New Conservative Economics | Aug 28, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and gray tie.

A caption on screen reads "A new conservative economics. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says FOR DECADES, CONSERVATIVES
PROMOTED FREE TRADE AND GETTING
GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE WAY OF
BUSINESS AS PART OF THE RECIPE
FOR RAISING ALL
BOATS ON THE RIVER OF
ECONOMIC PROSPERITY,
BUT IN LIGHT OF GROWING GAPS
IN AMERICAN SOCIETY,
THAT ARGUMENT IS NOW FINDING
OPPONENTS NOT JUST ON THE LEFT,
AND ALSO ON THE RIGHT.
OREN CASS IS A SENIOR FELLOW
AT THE MANHATTAN INSTITUTE
AND HIS NEW BOOK
IS ONE SUCH ARGUMENT.
IT'S CALLED
THE ONCE AND FUTURE WORKER,
A VISION FOR THE RENEWAL
OF WORK IN AMERICA.
AND OREN CASS JOINS US NOW.

Oren is in his thirties, clean-shaven, with tousled gray hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, checkered pink shirt, and patterned blue tie.
A picture of his book appears briefly on screen. The cover is blue, with an image of two metal cogs.

Steve continues THANKS FOR MAKING
THE TRIP UP TO CANADA.

Oren says THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Steve says NICE TO MEET YOU.
I WANT TO START BY
QUOTING SOMETHING RIGHT OUT
OF YOUR BOOK. HERE WE GO.
SHELDON, WOULD YOU BRING UP
THIS GRAPHIC, PLEASE?
LET'S PICK UP ON THAT.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Lost the plot." The quote reads "America is like the classic romantic-comedy heroine who, as the trailer intones, 'had it all, or so she thought.' She has the prestigious job and the elegant apartment, yet she is not happy. She has pursued the wrong goals, she discovers, and to reach them, she sacrificed the things that mattered most."
Quoted from Oren Cass, "The once and future worker." 2018.

Steve says WHAT DO YOU THINK AMERICA HAS
SACRIFICED THAT MATTERS MOST?

The caption changes to "Oren Cass. Author, 'The once and future worker.'"
Then, it changes again to "Who's baking the pie?"

Oren says WELL, WE'VE SACRIFICED
THE FOUNDATIONS OF
A STABLE SOCIETY, WHICH,
AT THE END OF THE DAY,
IT'S BUILT ON WORK,
IT'S BUILT ON PEOPLE'S ABILITIES
TO FIND PRODUCTIVE
OPPORTUNITIES,
TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES
AND THEIR FAMILIES,
CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR COMMUNITIES,
AND THEN RAISE ANOTHER
GENERATION THAT'S READY TO DO
THE SAME THING,
AND AS WE'VE PURSUED
THIS ECONOMIC MODEL THAT
SAYS GROWTH AT ALL COSTS
ESSENTIALLY, WE'RE GONNA
GROW THE ECONOMIC PIE,
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO
GROWS THE ECONOMIC PIE,
WE CAN SEND MONEY TO
EVERYBODY WHO'S LEFT BEHIND,
UH, AND THAT WORKED
ON ITS OWN TERMS.
WE DID GROW THE PIE,
WE DO SEND MONEY,
EVERYONE DOES HAVE MORE
STUFF THAN EVER BEFORE,
BUT WE DIDN'T PAY ATTENTION TO
WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO PEOPLE
ALONG THE WAY, AND FOR THOSE
WHO HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND,
IT HAS NO WORKED AT ALL.

Steve says WHY DO YOU THINK?

Oren says WELL, I THINK BECAUSE IT COMES
DOWN TO THAT IDEA THAT WORK IS
SO IMPORTANT. YOU KNOW,
THE WAY THAT WE DO ECONOMICS,
THE WAY WE DO PUBLIC POLICY,
WHAT OUR CULTURE TELLS US
IS THAT CONSUMPTION
IS WHAT MATTERS,
AND WE MEASURE EVERYTHING
IN TERMS OF CONSUMER WELFARE,
AND LOOK,
I LOVE CONSUMPTION, TOO.
I'M NOT HERE TO SAY
GROWTH IS BAD, OR, YOU KNOW.
I THINK RISING
MATERIAL LIVING STANDARDS
ARE INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT
AND WE SHOULD VALUE THEM,
BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT
WHAT'S ACTUALLY MOST IMPORTANT
TO PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY ONCE YOU
GET ABOVE SOME SORT OF
BASIC LEVEL OF MATERIAL GOODS,
PRODUCTION ACTUALLY MATTERS
AT LEAST AS MUCH,
IF NOT MORE THAN CONSUMPTION.
SO, IT MATTERS FOR INDIVIDUALS,
IT MATTERS FOR SELF-ESTEEM,
FOR MENTAL HEALTH,
FOR LIFE SATISFACTION.
IT MATTERS FOR HOW YOUR KIDS DO,
IT MATTERS FOR WHETHER YOU FORM
A FAMILY IN THE FIRST PLACE,
WHETHER YOUR
FAMILY STAYS TOGETHER,
AND IF WE IGNORE THAT
AND JUST SAY,
"AS LONG AS EVERYONE CAN
CONSUME MORE STUFF EVERY YEAR,
WE'RE DOING WELL," WE'RE LIKE
THAT ROMANTIC COMEDY HEROINE.
WE DO ALL CONSUME MORE STUFF,
AND YET WE'RE NOT DOING WELL.

Steve says IT HAS APPARENTLY BEEN 15 YEARS
SINCE THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS
TOLD THE GALLUP SURVEYING
ORGANIZATION THAT THEY ARE
SATISFIED WITH THEIR COUNTRY,
AND THE SUICIDE RATE HAS CLIMBED
24 percent BETWEEN 1999 AND 2014.
WHAT IS GOING ON?

The caption changes to "Oren Cass, @oren_cass. Manhattan Institute."

Oren says WELL, I THINK DATA LIKE THAT
ARE REALLY IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN
MIND TO SUPPLEMENT
THE TRADITIONAL
ECONOMIC PICTURE.
YOU KNOW, ESPECIALLY IN
THE WAKE OF TRUMP'S ELECTION,
A LOT OF ECONOMISTS
LOOKED AROUND AND SAID,
"WHAT'S GOING ON?
ALL OUR DATA TELLS US PEOPLE
ARE BETTER OFF THAN EVER.
SO, DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND
THAT THEY'RE BETTER OFF?
DO YOU... ARE THEY TOO RACIST
AND XENOPHOBIC TO CARE
THAT THEY'RE BETTER OFF?"
BUT THEN, WHEN YOU WIDEN
THAT LENS, YOU REALIZE,
NO, THEY'RE CLEARLY
NOT BETTER OFF.
YOU SEE, YOU SEE RISING LEVELS
OF SOCIAL DYSFUNCTION,
WHICH ARE MORE PRONOUNCED IN
THOSE MEASURES OF SUICIDE,
OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE,
OF PEOPLE JUST SAYING
THEY'RE NOT HAPPY WITH WHERE
THE COUNTRY'S GOING.
UM, YOU KNOW, YOU SEE IT
ALSO IN SOCIAL INDICES
OF LOWER MARRIAGE RATES,
OF HIGHER SHARE OF KIDS BEING
RAISED OUTSIDE OF WEDLOCK,
AND SO I THINK IT'S REALLY
IMPORTANT TO TAKE ALL OF THAT TO
SUPPLEMENT THE GDP
PER CAPITA, AND SAY,
"IF YOU TAKE A MUCH RICHER
VIEW OF HOW LIFE IS LOOKING
FOR PEOPLE OUT THERE,
UH, WHAT THEY'RE TELLING US
IS ACTUALLY REALLY IMPORTANT,"
AND IT DOESN'T ALIGN
WITH THE ECONOMIC DATA
THE PROBLEM'S NOT WITH THEM,
IT'S WITH THE WAY
WE'RE LOOKING AT THE DATA.

Steve says DO YOU KNOW WHAT?
I'M GONNA COME BACK TO THE GDP
IN A BIT, 'CAUSE I KNOW
YOU'RE NOT A FAN OF
HOW THAT MEASURES PROSPERITY.
A FEW MONTHS... SEVERAL MONTHS
AGO WE DID AN INTERVIEW HERE.
IN THAT CHAIR WAS CHRIS HEDGES.
YOU AND CHRIS HEDGES
PROBABLY AGREE ON VERY LITTLE,
ALTHOUGH YOUR BOOKS ARE VERY
SIMILAR IN DIAGNOSING WHAT'S
WRONG WITH AMERICA TODAY.
DO YOU FIND THAT
CURIOUS THAT HE IS,
I MEAN, HE'S WIDELY REGARDED AS
BEING ONE OF THE PROPHETS ON
THE FAR LEFT, AND YOU'RE NOT,
AND YET YOU AGREE ON SO MUCH.
WHY IS THAT?

Oren says WELL, I THINK IT'S A LITTLE BIT
HEARTENING TO SEE THAT PEOPLE
FROM VERY DIFFERENT PLACES ON
THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM CAN
ACTUALLY AGREE ON
SORT OF THE FACTS.
I MEAN, I THINK, CERTAINLY THERE
ARE PLENTY OF PEOPLE ACROSS
THE POLITICAL
SPECTRUM WHO DON'T,
WHO CHOOSE FACTS BASED ON
WHERE THEY WANT TO GO,
BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY,
THE ACTUAL FACTS ABOUT
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD
ARE THE FACTS ABOUT WHAT'S
HAPPENING IN THE WORLD,
AND I THINK, YOU KNOW,
ACROSS THE WESTERN WORLD,
AND ESPECIALLY IN
THE UNITED STATES, THE FACTS ARE
PRETTY STARK AND THEY HAVE BEEN
FOR A WHILE, AND EVEN ON
ECONOMIC MEASURES, WHEN YOU GET
AWAY FROM THE AGGREGATE
AND START LOOKING AT,
YOU KNOW, FOR FOLK WITHOUT
UNIVERSITY DEGREES, UM,
FOR FOLKS WHO AREN'T
LIVING IN CITIES,
YOU START TO SEE THINGS
JUST AREN'T GOING VERY WELL.

Steve says AND YET, I DO WANT TO
COME BACK TO THAT GDP.
THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT AS
A MEASURE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH
AND HOW WELL SOCIETY IS DOING.
YOU KNOW, A THOUSAND TIMES
A DAY WE HEAR IN MEDIA THAT
THAT'S THE WAY
TO MEASURE THINGS.
YOU DON'T THINK SO?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Oren says IT'S A WAY TO MEASURE THINGS.
IT'S PART OF THE PICTURE,
BUT IT'S IMPORTANT TO
KEEP IN MIND THAT IT'S...
I THINK, TO LOOK AT ITS HISTORY
AND REALIZE THAT, YOU KNOW,
FOR CENTURIES THERE WAS
NO SUCH THING AS MEASURING GDP
IN A SENSE. IT ACTUALLY
EMERGED IN OUR RESPONSE TO
THE GREAT DEPRESSION,
WHEN MEASURING THE TOTAL
CAPACITY OF THE ECONOMY
AND WHERE IT WAS HEADED WAS
INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT,
AND THEN AS WE WENT FROM THAT
INTO WORLD WAR II, WHOSE ECONOMY
COULD MAKE THE MOST STUFF,
YOU KNOW, REALLY WAS
AN EXISTENTIAL QUESTION.
AND SO, GDP IS GREAT
AT TELLING YOU THAT,
AND IT SHOULD BE
PART OF THE PICTURE.
YOU WANT RISING GDP,
YOU WANT YOUR OUTPUT
TO BE GROWING, BUT IT ALSO
HIDES A LOT OF THINGS.
WITHIN THAT,
WITHIN THAT RISING GDP NUMBER,
THERE'S THE COMPOSITION OF GDP.
SO, THERE'S WHAT ARE
WE MAKING MORE OF, UH,
AND THEN THERE'S
THE COMPOSITION OF GDP
IN TERMS OF WHO IS MAKING IT,
AND AS THE BIGGEST
AGGREGATE PICTURE,
IT IS THE BEST ONE AT OBSCURING
WHAT'S ACTUALLY HAPPENING
IN SOCIETY, AND ALLOWS YOU
TO HAVE EVER FEWER PEOPLE
CONTRIBUTING
EVER MORE OF THE GDP
AND THERE'S NO WAY FROM
LOOKING AT THE NUMBER TO SEE
WHAT'S HAPPENING
TO THE OTHER PEOPLE.

Steve says IT CERTAINLY DOESN'T MEASURE
WELLNESS OF HAPPINESS, DOES IT?

Oren says WELL, AND THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT,
AND THAT GOES A LITTLE BIT TO
THE COMPOSITION POINT,
WHICH IS, YOU KNOW,
I ALWAYS POINT OUT IF, YOU KNOW,
A HIGH PRICED DIVORCE LAWYER
MOVES BACK TO HIS HOMETOWN TO
TAKE CARE OF AN AGING PARENT,
GDP GOES DOWN.
UM, SO, THERE'S THAT PROBLEM,
THAT EVEN NOT ALL ECONOMIC VALUE
IS NECESSARILY CREATED EQUAL,
BUT THEN IT ACTUALLY
TURNS OUT THAT, THAT GDP,
MARKET GOODS THAT WE CONSUME,
IS SUCH A SMALL SHARE OF
EVERYTHING THAT DICTATES
HOW WE FEEL ABOUT LIFE.
YOU KNOW, WE'VE TALKED
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION COMPONENT,
HOW DO WE FEEL ABOUT OUR WORK,
BUT THEN THERE'S ALSO, YOU KNOW,
WHERE ARE WE ABLE TO LIVE?
CAN WE BUILD THE KIND OF LIFE WE
WANT IN THE KIND OF COMMUNITY
WE WANT? CAN WE STAY NEAR
EXTENDED FAMILY IF WE WANT?
YOU KNOW, IF ONE PARENT WANTS TO
BE STAYING HOME WITH THE KIDS,
CAN ONE PARENT
SUPPORT THE FAMILY?
IF BOTH PARENTS WANT TO
BE WORKING, IS THAT AN OPTION?
ALL OF THOSE THINGS,
YOU KNOW, FOR ALMOST ANYONE,
IF THEY THINK ABOUT THEIR OWN
LIFE, AGAIN, ONCE YOU'RE ABOVE
THAT BASIC SUBSISTENCE LEVEL,
THOSE ARE REALLY THE MOST
IMPORTANT THINGS
AND GDP'S NOT GONNA TELL YOU
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THAT.

Steve says SO, IF THAT CONSTITUTES
THE GOOD LIFE,
AS YOU'VE JUST DESCRIBED IT,
AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK...
AND I'LL USE AMERICA AS
A TRAIN AS A METAPHOR...
WHEN DID THE TRAIN GET
OFF THE TRACKS IN YOUR VIEW?

The caption changes to "What went wrong in the 70s?"

Oren says WELL, I THINK THE TRAIN
DIVERGED FROM THE TRACKS
IN THE 1970S.
UM, MOST OF THE ECONOMIC DATA
ALONG WITH MOST OF THOSE OTHER
INDICES ALL LOOK KIND OF GREAT
TOGETHER IN THE POST-WAR PERIOD
INTO THE 1970S, AND THEN
YOU START TO SEE THIS REAL
DIVERGENCE ON BOTH KIND OF
DIGGING INTO THE ECONOMIC DATA
WHERE SOME PEOPLE
CONTINUE TO DO VERY WELL,
BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE
SORT OF LEVELLED OFF
AND THEN IN SOME GROUPS YOU
EVEN START TO SEE DECLINES,
AND THEN THAT'S ALSO
WHERE YOU SEE, REALLY,
THE TRENDS START TO WORSEN ON
ALL THOSE SOCIAL INDICES
THAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT.
I THINK IT WAS STILL REALLY
MASKED AND WE SORT OF MADE DO
AND KEPT GOING ALONG UNTIL
ROUGHLY THE FINANCIAL CRISIS.
I THINK THE FINANCIAL CRISIS,
AS CRISES DO, SORT OF LAID BARE
A LOT OF
THE UNDERLYING PROBLEMS,
AND THAT'S WHEN WE STARTED
TO REALIZE HOW FAR WE HAD...
HOW FAR OFF THE TRACK
OF A SUSTAINABLE
KIND OF STRONG SOCIETY
WE'D REALLY GONE.

Steve says WHOM DO YOU BLAME MORE,
REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS,
FOR THIS PREDICAMENT?

Oren chuckles, then says UH, I BLAME THEM EQUALLY,
AND I BLAME THEM EQUALLY
BECAUSE I DON'T THINK
THE PROBLEM WAS A PARTICULAR SET
OF REPUBLICAN OR
DEMOCRATIC POLICIES.
I THINK IT WAS AN APPROACH
TO PUBLIC POLICY MAKING THAT
BOTH SIDES STARTED FROM.
UH, YOU KNOW, I MENTIONED
THIS IDEA OF THE ECONOMIC PIE.
AGAIN, THAT'S NOT SAYING THAT
THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN WITH US.
THE ECONOMIC PIE EMERGES
AS THIS METAPHOR IN THE POST
WORLD WAR II PERIOD,
WHEN THAT WAS HOW WE'D BECOME
ACCUSTOMED TO
THINKING ABOUT THINGS,
AND THEN YOU FIND
ALMOST EVERY PRESIDENT,
DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN,
TALKING IN THESE TERMS.
WE'RE GONNA GROW THE PIE
SO EVERYONE CAN HAVE
A BIGGER SLICE, 'CAUSE WHO
DOESN'T LIKE PIE, RIGHT?
UM, YOU KNOW, NEW YORK TIMES
AND WALL STREET JOURNAL
EDITORIALISED ABOUT
GROWING THE PIE,
RIGHT OF CENTRE, LEFT OF CENTRE
THINK TANKS TALK IN THESE TERMS,
THAT WAS THE SORT
OF BASIC FRAMEWORK,
AND WHAT WE FOUGHT ABOUT WAS
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO GROW
THE PIE AND HOW MUCH,
SORT OF, CUTTING AND RE-DIVIDING
OF THE PIE SHOULD WE DO?
AND THAT, THAT IS THE MODEL
THAT THEN CAME TO DOMINATE IN
THE LATE '60S INTO THE '70S, UM,
AND THAT YOU SEE CARRIED RIGHT
THROUGH REALLY UP UNTIL
TRUMP'S ELECTION WHEN HE WAS
THE FIRST ONE WHO WASN'T
TALKING IN THOSE TERMS AT ALL.

Steve says WELL, THAT'S WHAT'S, I GUESS,
A LITTLE BIT CONFUSING FOR
THOSE OF US WHO'VE WATCHED
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
FOR MANY YEARS, 'CAUSE
TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE
IT ALWAYS STOOD FOR LOWER TAXES,
SMALLER GOVERNMENT,
NO TARIFFS, FREE TRADE,
THAT KIND OF THING.
HOW MUCH OF THAT
ACCURATELY REFLECTS
REPUBLICAN SENTIMENT TODAY?

Oren says WELL, I THINK YOU HAVE TO
DISTINGUISH BETWEEN REPUBLICAN
ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES
AND REPUBLICAN VOTERS,
AND I THINK THAT'S ONE THING
THAT BECAME ESPECIALLY CLEAR
IN 2016, THAT THE ORTHODOXY
THAT YOU JUST DESCRIBED THAT
WAS HELD UNIFORMLY AMONG
THE POLITICAL CLASS WAS NOT
NECESSARILY WHAT THE VOTING BASE
ACTUALLY CARED MOST ABOUT.
NOT THAT THEY
DISAGREED WITH THOSE THINGS,
NOT THAT THEY WERE FOR
HIGH TAXES AND BIGGER GOVERNMENT
NECESSARILY, BUT THAT THOSE
WEREN'T NECESSARILY THEIR
INSTINCTS OR THEIR PRIORITIES.
I THINK AT THIS POINT,
YOU'VE STARTED TO SEE A LITTLE
BIT OF SHIFT WITHIN
THE POLITICAL CLASS.
YOU KNOW, PARTICULARLY THOSE
FOLKS WHO PRE-2016 WERE ALREADY
SORT OF TAKING A CRITICAL LOOK
AT SOME OF THESE QUESTIONS,
WANTING TO THINK A LITTLE
BIT MORE DEEPLY ABOUT THEM,
HAVE REALLY BEEN
LIBERATED TO DO THAT NOW,
UM, BUT YOU STILL HAVE AN AWFUL
LOT OF ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES
IN PARTICULAR WHO, YOU KNOW,
THEY'VE SPENT THEIR WHOLE CAREER
IN THE PRE-2016 MODEL.
IT'S NOT THE SORT OF THING
THAT JUST FLIPS.

Steve says IT IS AMAZING.
I MEAN, TRUMP, IN THREE YEARS,
HAS MANAGED TO BASICALLY
UPEND 75 YEARS OF REPUBLICAN...
TRADITIONAL REPUBLICAN
APPROACH TO GOVERNING.

Oren says THAT'S...

Steve says OKAY, I WAS GOING TO SAY
SOMETHING AND I WON'T SAY IT.
I'LL ASK YOU.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?

Oren says WELL, I WOULD CHALLENGE YOUR
CHARACTERIZATION A LITTLE BIT.
HE PERSONALLY HAS, IF YOU LOOK
AT WHAT HIS ADMINISTRATION
AND GOVERNMENT HAVE
ACTUALLY DONE IN THE INTERIM.
YOU KNOW, THE MAJOR LEGISLATION
THAT WAS PASSED WAS A TAX CUT.

Steve says THAT'S A FAIR POINT.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Oren says THE MAJOR, SORT OF, AT
THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE LEVEL,
THE MAJOR ACTION
HAS BEEN DEREGULATION.
UM, OBVIOUSLY, YOU HAVE EXAMPLES
WHERE HE HAS TAKEN A VERY
DIFFERENT APPROACH ON TRADE.
HE'S SPOKEN DIFFERENTLY ABOUT
IMMIGRATION, ALTHOUGH IT'S
NOT CLEAR HOW MUCH POLICY HAS
ACTUALLY MOVED ON THE QUESTION,
AND SO I THINK IT GOES TO
EXACTLY THAT DIVIDE
WE WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT,
WHERE HE ABSOLUTELY SOUNDS
NOTHING LIKE TRADITIONAL
REPUBLICANS, BUT YOU ALSO
STILL HAVE THAT TRADITIONAL
REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CLASS THAT
IS STILL THE PRE-TRUMP GROUP,
AND AN AWFUL LOT OF THEM
AT THIS POINT STILL HAVE
AN ATTITUDE OF KIND OF,
WELL, IF WE KEEP OUR HEADS DOWN,
THIS TOO SHALL PASS,
AND THINGS CAN GO BACK TO
THE WAY THEY WERE BEFORE.

Steve says I WANT TO PLAY YOU A CLIP
HERE AS WE CONSIDER WORK
AND THE FUTURE OF WORK AND WHAT
THE WORKING CLASS MAY LOOK LIKE
GOING FORWARD.
HISTORIAN YUVAL NOAH HARIRI,
HARARI, EXCUSE ME, WAS ON THE
PROGRAM A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO
DISCUSSING ALL OF THAT
AND LET'S SEE A CLIP OF WHAT
HE HAD TO SAY AND THEN
WE'LL COME BACK AND CHAT.
SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "November 22, 2016. Yuval Noah Harari."
In the clip, Yuval talks in The Agenda Studio. He's in his forties, clean-shaven and balding.

He says THE RISE OF
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE,
EVEN WITHOUT
GENETIC ENGINEERING,
IS ALREADY THREATENING OF
PUSHING MORE AND MORE HUMANS
OUT OF THE JOB MARKET.
SO, WITHIN 20 OR 30 YEARS,
WE MAY SEE THE RISE OF
A NEW MASSIVE CLASS.
THE USELESS CLASS.
JUST AS THE INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION CREATED THE URBAN
WORKING CLASS, SO THE NEW
REVOLUTION WILL CREATE
THE USELESS CLASS.
PEOPLE WHO ARE
NOT JUST UNEMPLOYED,
BUT UNEMPLOYABLE,
AND THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL
IMPLICATION OF THAT
COULD BE CATASTROPHIC.
YOU COULD HAVE BILLIONS
OF PEOPLE WITHOUT
ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE
AND WITHOUT POLITICAL POWER.

The clip ends.
The caption changes to "Not surrendering to the robots."

Steve says THE USELESS CLASS.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Oren says I THINK HE'S COMPLETELY WRONG.
I THINK IT'S SORT OF
AN ATTENTION-GRABBING CLAIM
THAT JUST DOESN'T HAVE MUCH
EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT IT.
I THINK, YOU KNOW, IT'S REALLY
IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE THAT
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT TECHNOLOGICAL
PROGRESS AND AUTOMATION
AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WAYS TO
BRING TECHNOLOGY INTO THE
ECONOMY THAT ALLOWS YOU TO MAKE
MORE STUFF WITH FEWER PEOPLE.
IN OTHER WORDS, YOU'RE
INCREASING THE PRODUCTIVITY OF
THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING.
SO, WE ACTUALLY MEASURE THAT
VERY CAREFULLY.
IT'S ONE OF THE THINGS
GDP-RELATED MEASUREMENT
IS GOOD FOR.
YOU CAN MEASURE WHAT'S HAPPENING
WITH OUTPUT PER HOUR OF WORK,
AND IT'S SLOWING.
PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH IS SLOWING.
PRODUCTIVITY IN THE WESTERN WORD
HAS BEEN DECLINING OVER TIME.
IN THE US IT'S PRETTY MUCH
AT A RECORD LOW,
AND SO THE IDEA THAT WE ARE SORT
OF IN THIS ERA OF ACCELERATING
TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE THAT'S
LEADING TOWARD THESE SORT OF
EVER-GREATER DISRUPTIONS,
UM, IS JUST INCORRECT.
NOW, LOOKING AHEAD, OBVIOUSLY,
THERE'S NO WAY TO PROVE
THE NEGATIVE AND SAY IT IS
IMPOSSIBLE THAT THE THINGS
HE'S DESCRIBING WILL HAPPEN,
BUT I THINK IT'S REALLY
IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND
THE REASONS WHY
IT IS NOT HAPPENING.
THE REASONS WHY IT'S NEVER
HAPPENED WITH PAST TECHNOLOGY,
AND TO AT LEAST USE THAT AS
THE BASIS FOR OUR VIEW OF WHAT'S
GOING TO HAPPEN GOING FORWARD.

Steve says WELL, OKAY, LET ME,
FOR ARGUMENT'S SAKE,
PUSH BACK A LITTLE BIT HERE,
IN AS MUCH AS WE DO HAVE
A GROUP OF PEOPLE
IN NORTH AMERICA TODAY,
ALL OVER THE WORLD, FRANKLY,
WHO ARE UNDEREDUCATED,
WHO ARE MOSTLY WHITE MEN,
WHO CAN'T JOBS,
AND WHO HAVE GIVEN UP
LOOKING FOR WORK.
AND I GUESS ONE OF THE POINTS
HE MAKES IS THAT GROUP IS GOING
TO BE FURTHER AND FURTHER
LEFT BEHIND AS SOCIETY GETS
MORE AND MORE COMPLICATED,
AND I GUESS IT RAISES QUESTIONS
ABOUT WHETHER WE NEED SOME
KIND OF UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME
OR GUARANTEED ANNUAL INCOME
SO THAT THIS GROUP OF PEOPLE
ISN'T COMPLETELY LEFT ON
THE ASH HEAP OF HISTORY.
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON THAT?

Oren says SO, THEY ARE NOT ACTUALLY
BEING LEFT BEHIND BY TECHNOLOGY,
I THINK, IS THE IMPORTANT
THING TO UNDERSTAND.
SO, IF WE TAKE THAT EXACT
GROUP YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT,
AND LET'S TAKE KIND OF
MANUFACTURING AS
THE QUINTESSENTIAL SECTOR.
SO, IN THE UNITED STATES,
MANUFACTURING
PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH,
THE RATE AT WHICH WE
REDUCE THE NEED FOR LABOUR
IN MANUFACTURING WAS HIGHEST
IN THAT POST-WAR PERIOD,
1947 TO 1972.
IT WAS 3.4 percent ANNUALLY,
AND YET DURING THAT PERIOD
WE ADDED FOUR MILLION
MANUFACTURING JOBS.

Steve says THAT IS NOT WHAT PEOPLE THINK.

Oren says WELL, ACTUALLY, IF YOU ASK THEM
WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT THAT
PERIOD OF TIME,
IT IS WHAT THEY THINK.

Steve says WELL, BUT THEY PROBABLY THINK
THAT IT'S NEVER BEEN WORSE
THAN IT IS TODAY.

Oren says WELL, AND THEY ARE CORRECT,
BUT WHY DID WE ADD JOBS WITH
PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH? BECAUSE
OUTPUT GROWTH WENT UP MORE.
RIGHT? IF YOU THINK ABOUT, OKAY,
PEOPLE CAN MAKE TWICE AS MUCH
STUFF AS THEY USED TO,
YOU HAVE TWO CHOICES.
ONE IS TO USE HALF AS MANY
PEOPLE TO MAKE THE SAME STUFF.
THE OTHER CHOICE IS TO USE
EVERYBODY AND MAKE TWICE
AS MUCH STUFF,
AND THAT USED TO BE THE MODEL.
WE GOT THE PRODUCTIVITY MODEL,
WE MADE MORE STUFF, UM,
AND THAT IS THE FORMULA
FOR RISING WELL-BEING,
RISING WAGES, RISING MATERIAL
LIVING STANDARDS.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IF YOU
AT THE 2000 TO 2018 PERIOD,
PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH WAS LOWER.
IT WAS 3.1 percent INSTEAD OF 3.4 percent,
AND YET WE LOST FIVE MILLION
MANUFACTURING JOBS.
NOW, WHY IS THAT?
AGAIN, IT'S NOT BECAUSE
PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH
LOOKED DIFFERENT,
IT'S BECAUSE INSTEAD OF GROWING
OUTPUT AT 4.2 percent PER YEAR,
WE GREW OUTPUT AT 1.3 percent PER YEAR,
AND NOW WE'RE DOWN JOBS.
SO, WHAT'S CHANGED,
WHAT'S LEAVING ALL THOSE WORKERS
ON THE SIDELINE ISN'T SOME
CHANGE IN HOW TECHNOLOGY
IS OPERATING THE ECONOMY,
IT'S A CHANGE IN HOW THE ECONOMY
IS OPERATING.
IT'S A CHANGE
IN WHERE OUR INVESTMENT IS
FLOWING TOWARD, WHAT KIND OF
BUSINESSES WE'RE BUILDING.

Steve says DO WE NEED TO SAVE
THOSE PEOPLE THEN,
WITH A UNIVERSAL BASIC
INCOME OF SOME KIND?

Oren says NO, WE NEED TO RETURN
TO AN ECONOMIC MODEL
WHERE WE INVEST IN
EXPANDING BUSINESSES
AND BUILDING THE KINDS OF-OF-OF
FIRMS AND TECHNOLOGIES AND JOBS
THAT WILL DEMAND THEIR LABOUR,
JUST AS WE HAVE
THROUGH EVERY ERA.
IT'S INTERESTING THAT, UM,
THAT MR. HARARI MENTIONS,
KIND OF, THE INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION, RIGHT?
YOU COULD HAVE TOLD
THE EXACT SAME STORY ABOUT
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.
EVERYONE USED TO WORK ON FARMS,
AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN,
WE NEEDED ALMOST NONE OF
THOSE PEOPLE ON FARMS ANYMORE.
SO, WHY WEREN'T THEY
A USELESS CLASS?
THEY WEREN'T A USELESS CLASS
BECAUSE WE HAD OUR ENTREPRENEURS
AND INVESTORS
AND THE BROADER ECONOMY,
AND THAT'S NOT JUST SORT OF,
YOU KNOW, SILICON VALLEY.
I'M TALKING ABOUT
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS.
THE ENTIRE PROCESS
OF A DYNAMIC ECONOMY.
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT
THE DISRUPTION THAT CHANGES
HOW THINGS ARE GOING TODAY.
IT'S ALSO ABOUT THE RECYCLING OF
THOSE PEOPLE INTO NEW THINGS.

Steve says WE FOUND SOMETHING
ELSE FOR THEM TO DO.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Oren says THAT'S RIGHT,
AND THAT'S WHAT WE'VE LOST,
IS NOW, INSTEAD OF INVESTING IN
NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORKERS,
WE HAVE A MODEL WHERE
WE SEND EVERMORE OF OUR
MOST TALENTED PEOPLE,
OUR INVESTMENT DOLLARS INTO
A NARROW SET OF FINANCIAL
AND TECH INDUSTRIES IN A NARROW
SET OF CITIES,
AND THERE'S NOTHING IN
ECONOMIC THEORY OR NOTHING ABOUT
TECHNOLOGY THAT SAYS IT HAS TO
BE THAT WAY. WE JUST HAVE TO
RECOGNIZE THAT IT MATTERS.
WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT
GROWING GDP WITH THAT MODEL
IS NOT AS GOOD,
AND IS NOT SUSTAINABLE,
AS COMPARED TO A MODEL WHERE GDP
IS GROWING IN A BROAD-BASED WAY
THAT SPREADS PROSPERITY WIDELY.

Steve says IN WHICH CASE, TELL US WHAT
PRODUCTIVE PLURALISM IS.

The caption changes to "The promise of productive pluralism."

Oren says SO, PRODUCTIVE PLURALISM IS
A DESCRIPTION OF WHAT WE
SHOULD BE TRYING FOR
AND IT HAS TWO WORDS.
THERE'S THE PRODUCTIVE,
WHICH WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT
A LOT IN TERMS OF FOCUSING
ON WORK AND PEOPLE'S ABILITY
TO BE PRODUCTIVE CONTRIBUTORS,
AND THEN THERE'S PLURALISM,
WHICH WE'VE ALSO TALKED
ABOUT IN THE IDEA OF, UH,
OF WHAT DEFINES THE GOOD LIFE.
THAT PEOPLE ARE GONNA HAVE
DIFFERENT DEFINITIONS
OF THE GOOD LIFE,
AND SO, FOR INSTANCE,
YOU KNOW, SAYING,
"WELL, YOU CAN STILL GET A JOB,
YOU JUST HAVE TO MOVE TO
A BIG CITY AND LEARN TO
CODE OR SOMETHING," RIGHT?
UM, YOU KNOW, HISTORICALLY,
WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO SUSTAIN
A WIDE VARIETY OF
OPTIONS OF LIFESTYLES
AND SOME PEOPLE WANT
TO LIVE IN BIG CITIES,
SOME PEOPLE WANT TO
LIVE IN SMALL TOWNS,
SOME PEOPLE WANT TO JOURNEY OFF
IN SEARCH OF NEW OPPORTUNITIES,
SOME PEOPLE WANT TO
STAY NEAR THEIR FAMILIES.
HISTORICALLY, YOU COULD
CHOOSE THOSE DIFFERENT THINGS,
AND HAVING THOSE
CHOICES IS ITSELF PART OF
A PROSPEROUS SOCIETY,
AND SO WHAT WE SHOULD BE
DEFINING AS SUCCESS IS NOT JUST
HOW BIG CAN WE MAKE THE PIE,
IT SHOULD BE THIS
PRODUCTIVE PLURALISM.
IT SHOULD BE A PIE THAT, YES,
WE WANT IT TO BE GETTING BIGGER,
BUT IT'S GETTING BIGGER IN A WAY
THAT EVERYONE PARTICIPATES
IN PRODUCTIVELY, AND IT'S
GETTING BIGGER IN A WAY THAT
PRESERVES THOSE KINDS OF CHOICES
ACROSS SOCIETY INSTEAD OF
DRIVING PEOPLE INTO
EVER NARROWER SEGMENTS.

Steve says WOULD THAT REQUIRE
THE SUBSIDIZATION OF THE WAGES
OF PARTICULARLY
LOWER INCOME PEOPLE?

Oren says SO, I DO THINK WE SHOULD
CONSIDER A WAGE SUBSIDY.

Steve says HOW DO WE DO THAT?

Oren says UH, THE BEST WAY TO DO
IT IS WITH WHAT WE CALL
A DIRECT WAGE SUBSIDY,
MEANING THAT YOU LOOK AT WHAT
SOMEBODY'S HOURLY WAGE IS,
AND IF IT'S BELOW
A CERTAIN LEVEL...
SO, IN THE US YOU'D SAY, LIKE,
IF YOU'RE BELOW 15 dollars AN HOUR,
LET'S SAY, WE ARE GONNA MAKE UP
HALF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
YOUR WAGE AND 15 dollars AN HOUR.
SO, IF YOU MADE 10 dollars AN HOUR,
THERE'S AN EXTRA 2 dollars 50 AN HOUR
IN YOUR PAYCHEQUE.

Steve says FROM WHOM?

Oren says FROM THE GOVERNMENT,
UM, AND, YOU KNOW,
THE REALITY IS IN
THE UNITED STATES,
EVEN MORE SO IN MOST
OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES,
WE SPEND ENORMOUS
AMOUNTS OF MONEY.
A VERY SMALL SHARE OF IT WOULD
BE REQUIRED TO FUND THAT KIND
OF WAGE SUBSIDY. THE PROBLEM IS,
THAT THE WAY WE SPEND IT TODAY,
EITHER IT DISREGARDS WORK
OR IN A LOT OF CASES
IT ACTUALLY DISCOURAGES WORK,
BECAUSE WE TAKE IT AWAY WHEN
YOU START WORKING,
AND SO, ONE OF THE KEY IDEAS
IN THIS SHIFT FROM JUST GROW
THE PIE AND SEND CHEQUES TO
EVERYBODY LEFT BEHIND TO
SOMETHING FOCUSED ON WORK,
IS TO SAY MORE OF THE SUPPORT WE
PROVIDE TO PEOPLE SHOULD BE TIED
TO WORK. IT SHOULD BE,
FIRST OF ALL,
BY DOING A WAGE SUBSIDY,
YOU MAKE IT MORE ATTRACTIVE
TO TAKE A JOB, YOU MAKE IT MORE
ATTRACTIVE FOR EMPLOYERS TO
OFFER JOBS OF THOSE TYPES,
AND THEN YOU ALSO GET
MORE MONEY TO THOSE HOUSEHOLDS,
BUT YOU'RE GETTING THE MONEY TO
THE HOUSEHOLDS IN A WAY THAT'S
ATTACHED TO THEIR PRODUCTIVE
CONTRIBUTIONS INSTEAD OF
IN SPITE OF THEM.

Steve says YOU ARE A BIT TOUGH ON THIS,
OREN, I HAVE TO SAY IN THE BOOK.
SO, CAN I QUOTE YOU HERE?
"IDLENESS," YOU WRITE, "IDLENESS
SHOULD BRING A SENSE OF FAILURE
AND SOME MEASURE OF SHAME
THAT NOT WORKING IS A DRAIN ON
SOCIETY THAT HARMS
FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES."
THERE'S A BIT OF NAMING
AND SHAMING THAT, I THINK,
SOUNDS INHERENT IN WHAT
YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE.
DO YOU MEAN TO SAY THAT?

Oren says I DO, AND YOU CHECK VERY
CAREFULLY EVERY SENTENCE IN
THE BOOK BEFORE IT
GOES OFF TO PRESS.

Steve says I JUST MEAN, THAT'S A...
THAT'S A VERY POLITICALLY
INCORRECT THING TO ADVANCE
IN THIS DAY AND AGE,
AND YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE
NO HESITATION DOING IT,
AND I WONDER WHY.

Oren says WELL, I DON'T HAVE ANY
HESITATION AND THE REASON
I THINK IS THAT IT'S IMPORTANT
TO FOCUS ON THE CULTURAL SIDE OF
THIS EQUATION ALSO.
THAT, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF OUR,
KIND OF WHAT YOU'D
CALL CULTURE WAR DEBATES,
ARE THESE VERY AMORPHOUS,
MORAL CHALLENGES,
BUT IN THE CONTEXT OF WORK,
CULTURE ACTUALLY HAS VERY
TANGIBLE CONCRETE AFFECTS,
BECAUSE WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT
WHY PEOPLE WORK,
WHAT VALUE THEY GET OUT OF WORK,
ONE PIECE OF IT
IS THE PAYCHEQUE,
BUT WE'VE ALREADY BEEN TALKING
ABOUT ALL THE OTHER THINGS
THAT YOU GET THAT
ARE ASSOCIATED WITH WORK,
AND AMONG THEM IS THE SENSE OF
HAVING FULFILLED AN OBLIGATION,
YOU KNOW, PLAYED THE ROLE THAT
YOU ARE EXPECTED TO IN SOCIETY,
ATTAIN THE LEVEL OF RESPECT
FROM WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY,
PROVIDED FOR YOUR FAMILY,
AND THAT'S PART OF
THE REWARD OF WORK,
AND IF YOU TAKE THAT AWAY,
IF YOU EITHER STRIP THE DIGNITY
AWAY FROM A LOT OF JOBS,
WHICH I THINK WE HAVE DONE
IN THIS SOCIETY, OR YOU SAY,
"WE HAVE JUST AS MUCH DIGNITY
AND RESPECT ON OFFER FOR
PEOPLE WHO AREN'T DOING A JOB,"
THAT IS EVERY BIT AS TANGIBLE
AN EFFECT ON WORK AS
CUTTING A PAYCHEQUE.

Steve says DESPITE WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE,
I'M NOT ACTUALLY ARGUING
WITH YOU HERE. WE ACTUALLY HAD
A SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PREMIER IN
THIS PROVINCE ALMOST
30 YEARS AGO WHO SAID,
"WE'VE GOT TO STOP PAYING PEOPLE
TO STAY HOME AND DO NOTHING."
SO, THERE IS A RECOGNITION
THAT WORK IS IMPORTANT.

Oren says THERE IS, AND THAT'S WHY,
YOU KNOW, ON THE ONE HAND,
YOU'RE RIGHT THAT IT'S
POLITICALLY INCORRECT,
ON THE OTHER HAND,
I DON'T THINK IT'S ACTUALLY
VERY CONTROVERSIAL,
AND THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT GIVES ME OPTIMISM WHEN WE
TALK ABOUT THIS CULTURAL SIDE
OF THE QUESTION IS THAT
WITH SO MANY OF OUR KIND OF
CULTURAL ISSUES, YOU HAVE
SORT OF ENTRENCHED PARTISANS
ON EACH SIDE,
WHO ARE, YOU KNOW...
THERE'S NOTHING THEY'RE ANGRIER
ABOUT AND DISAGREE MORE ON THAN
THE CULTURAL QUESTION.
WHEN IT COMES TO WORK, THEY'RE,
IF YOU ACTUALLY ELEVATE IT TO
SOMETHING WORTH THINKING ABOUT,
THERE TURNS OUT TO BE
INCREDIBLY LITTLE DISAGREEMENT,
AND I ALWAYS POINT TO
THE EXAMPLE IN THE US,
I THINK IT MADE IT
NORTH OF THE BORDER,
THERE WAS A FORMER STAR OF
THE COSBY SHOW NAMED
JEFFREY OWEN,
AND HE WAS PHOTOGRAPHED
BAGGING GROCERIES
AT TRADER JOE'S,
AT ONE OF OUR GROCERY STORES,
AND THE TABLOID,
SORT OF, TRIED TO USE THIS.
LOOK AT THIS FORMER
TV STAR BAGGING GROCERIES,
AND THE OUTPOURING OF OUTRAGE
FOR WHAT WAS BEING TERMED
"JOB-SHAMING" YOU KNOW,
AND FROM HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITIES.
HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST
THAT THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG
WITH THIS PERSON
DOING HONEST WORK,
DOING SOMETHING
USEFUL IN HIS COMMUNITY,
SUPPORTING HIS FAMILY.
UM, YOU KNOW, HE WAS ON
GOOD MORNING AMERICA
TALKING ABOUT THIS.
IT WAS THIS INCREDIBLE
MOMENT OF CULTURAL UNITY.
THERE WAS NO ONE ON
THE OTHER SIDE OF
"YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT,
THAT IS A LAME JOB.
HE SHOULD FEEL
BAD ABOUT HIMSELF."
AND SO IF YOU ACTUALLY
LIFT THIS UP AND SAY,
"HEY, THIS IS A PROBLEM,
THAT WE'RE REALLY NOT ACCORDING
SUFFICIENT RESPECT TO
A LOT OF KINDS OF WORK,
AND WE'RE NOT RECOGNIZING THAT
WORK AND NOT WORK ARE DIFFERENT
THINGS THAT WE SHOULD
TALK ABOUT DIFFERENTLY,"
EVERYONE AGREES ABOUT THAT,
IT'S JUST A MATTER OF ACTUALLY
POINTING OUT TO PEOPLE
THAT IT MATTERS,
THAT-THAT-THAT SENDING
CONTRARY MESSAGES HAS COSTS,
AND THAT ACTUALLY ELEVATING
THIS BETTER MESSAGE
CAN HAVE REAL BENEFITS.

Steve says I DO WANT TO UNDERSTAND,
THOUGH, VERY CLEARLY,
WHAT YOU'RE SAYING,
BECAUSE DO YOU BELIEVE IN 2019
THAT SOMEONE WHO HAVE ONLY
A HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION,
SHOULD BE ABLE TO
MAKE A LIVING WAGE,
BE THE SOLE BREADWINNER
IN THEIR HOME,
BE ABLE TO AFFORD A HOUSE,
A CAR, AND AN ANNUAL VACATION,
AND DO IT ALL IN THE HOMETOWN
IN WHICH THEY GREW UP?

Oren says YES.

Steve says YOU DO?

Oren says WELL, SO, I MEAN, IT'S FUNNY
THAT THIS IS EVEN A QUESTION.
OF COURSE IT'S A QUESTION TODAY.
CAN WE AGREE THAT THAT
WAS POSSIBLE IN 1970?

Steve says I DON'T KNOW, I THINK WE CAN
AGREE IT WAS POSSIBLE IN 1950.
I DON'T KNOW IF
IT WAS POSSIBLE IN 1970.

Oren says MOST OF THE ECONO... THINGS WENT
PRETTY WELL BETWEEN 1950
AND '70, BUT EVEN IF
WE WANT TO SAY 1950.
IF WE CAN AGREE IT WAS POSSIBLE
IN 1950, AND SINCE 1950,
FROM EVERYTHING WE'VE HEARD,
WE HAVE BEEN ON THIS INCREDIBLE
WINNING STREAK
IN THE WESTERN WORLD,
OF TECHNOLOGIC PROGRESS,
ECONOMIC PROGRESS,
RISING WEALTH. EVERYONE,
WE ARE SO MUCH BETTER OFF,
AND YET IF THE ANSWER TO THAT
QUESTION HAS CHANGED FROM
YES TO NO?
THAT WOULD BE,
THAT WOULD BE CRAZY.
IT WOULD MEAN THAT EVERYTHING
WE'VE SAID ABOUT OUR PROGRESS
OVER THE LAST 70 YEARS
IS ACTUALLY WRONG.

Steve says WELL, IT WOULD MEAN NOBODY NEEDS
TO GO TO UNIVERSITY ANYMORE.
WELL, TO SAY THAT SOMEBODY
"NEEDS" TO GO TO UNIVERSITY
IS A VERY STRANGE CLAIM.
WHY WOULD SOMEBODY
NEED TO GO TO UNIVERSITY?
I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF
REASONS SOMEONE SHOULD WANT TO
GO TO UNIVERSITY, THERE ARE
A LOT OF BENEFITS TO GOING TO
UNIVERSITY, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHY
WE WOULD SAY SOMEBODY NEEDS TO
GO TO UNIVERSITY, AND WE BETTER
NOT SAY EVERYONE NEEDS TO GO TO
UNIVERSITY, BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE
ARE NOT GOING TO SUCCEED
IN A UNIVERSITY.

Steve says I SHOULD HAVE SAID
POST-SECONDARY.

Oren says WELL, POST-SECONDARY, I THINK,
THAT'S A GOOD DISTINCTION,
BECAUSE WHEN YOU TALK
ABOUT SOMEONE WITH JUST
A HIGH SCHOOL DEGREE, UM,
YOU KNOW, WHAT I MEANT IN
ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION
WAS NOT HE WALKS OUT THE DOORS
WITH HIS HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA
AND NEVER LEARNS ANYTHING
OR OBTAINS ANOTHER SKILL.
YOU KNOW, THERE'S
CERTAINLY A LOT OF ADDITIONAL
SKILL DEVELOPMENT THAT NEEDS TO
OCCUR FOR PEOPLE TO
BE PRODUCTIVE. BY THE WAY,
THERE WAS, IN 1952,
AT ANY POINT IN TIME.
NOW, ONE THING THAT WAS
DIFFERENT WAS HIGH SCHOOLS USED
TO INSTILL A LOT MORE PRACTICAL
SKILLS AND SO ONE THING
I DO THINK WE NEED TO CHANGE
IS TO SAY INSTEAD OF
JUST MAKING OUR HIGH SCHOOLS
UNIVERSITY PREP PROGRAMS,
AND THEN IF YOU DON'T GO TO
UNIVERSITY WE KIND OF SAY,
"OH, OOPS. SORRY, THAT'S WHAT...
THAT'S WHAT WE DID WITH YOU
FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS,"
YOU HAVE TO SAY TO PEOPLE DURING
THEIR HIGH SCHOOL YEARS,
"LOOK, WE HAVE DIFFERENT
OPTIONS FOR YOU HERE, TOO.
IF YOU'RE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO
HEAD DOWN THE UNIVERSITY TRACK,
WE KNOW WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE,
BUT FOR AN AWFUL LOT OF FOLKS,
WE OWE YOU AN OPTION
THAT LOOKS DIFFERENTLY.
WE'RE STILL GONNA GET YOU
YOUR CORE ACADEMICS,
BUT WE'RE GONNA GET YOU
INTRODUCED TO DIFFERENT
INDUSTRIES EARLY ON,
MAYBE IN TENTH GRADE.
WE'RE GONNA GET YOU SOME
ON THE JOB EXPERIENCE
IN 11TH GRADE,
AND MAYBE IN 12TH GRADE,
YOU KNOW, WE'LL STILL HAVE YOU
IN THE CLASSROOM OR IN
AN INTERNSHIP SOME OF THE TIME,
BUT WE CAN ACTUALLY PUT
YOU INTO A COLLEGE SOONER
IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'D
LIKE TO BE TRAINING FOR."
SO, PART OF OUR
OBLIGATION IS TO SAY,
"WHEN YOU'RE DONE
WITH HIGH SCHOOL,
IF YOU'RE NOT
HEADED TO UNIVERSITY,
YOU ALREADY COME WITH A LOT MORE
THAN WHAT WE THINK OF AS WHAT
SOMEONE FINISHES
HIGH SCHOOL WITH."
PART OF IT IS HAVING OTHER
POST-SECONDARY PROGRAMS.
SOMETIMES IT'S COLLEGE.
A LOT OF TIMES IT SHOULD BE
SOMETHING THAT IS
MUCH MORE ON THE JOB,
AND THAT'S SOMETHING EMPLOYERS
USED TO DO A LOT MORE OF
WAS ACTUALLY INVEST IN
THE SORT OF CAREER TRAJECTORY OF
THE PERSON AFTER THEY SHOWED UP,
AND SO THAT CAN BE
A PIECE OF THE PUZZLE, TOO.
IT'S NOT THAT, YOU KNOW,
ONCE YOU KNOW WHATEVER IT IS
THEY TEACH IN
HIGH SCHOOL THESE DAYS,
THAT'S ALL YOU
EVER NEED TO KNOW,
BUT WE CAN'T BE HEADED
TOWARD A SOCIETY THAT SAYS ALL THOSE THINGS THAT YOU
DESCRIBED ARE CONTINGENT ON
HAVING A UNIVERSITY DEGREE,
BECAUSE IF YOU'RE TELLING ME
THAT GOING FROM
1950 TO 2020 MEANT,
MEANT THAT WENT FROM YES TO NO,
THEN YOU'RE SAYING WE'VE GONE
BACKWARD AND I DON'T THINK
WE'VE GONE BACKWARD.
I THINK WE'VE MADE A LOT OF
PROGRESS THAT'S GONNA MAKE
PEOPLE'S OPPORTUNITIES
A LOT BETTER IN 2020
IF WE GET... IF WE THINK
ABOUT THINGS THE RIGHT WAY,
IF WE GET THE POLICY
ENVIRONMENT RIGHT,
BUT THAT'S GONNA REQUIRE
CHANGES FROM HOW WE'VE BEEN
DOING THINGS.

Steve says I WOULD LIKE TO READ A STATEMENT
HERE BY A WELL-KNOWN AMERICAN,
AND JUST GET YOU TO TELL ME
WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH
THE SENTIMENT IN THIS STATEMENT.

Another quote appears on screen, under the title "Workers über alles." The quote reads "We can navigate the changes ahead if we embrace economic patriotism and make American workers our highest priority, rather than continuing to cater to the interests of companies and people with no allegiance to America."
Quoted from Elizabeth Warren, Medium. June 4, 2019.

Steve says AGREE OR DISAGREE?

Oren says I AGREE WITH THAT STATEMENT
FROM SENATOR WARREN.

Steve says AH, YOU'RE GOOD. OKAY, YEAH,
THAT WAS MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR
ELIZABETH WARREN.
I GUESS YOU WOULD KNOW THAT.
YOU'RE FROM
MASSACHUSETTS, RIGHT?

The caption changes to "Ideological reshuffling in the offing."

Oren says WELL, HER ECONOMIC PATRIOTISM
PHRASE IS EXTREMELY DISTINCT
BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE WOULD
SAY ECONOMIC NATIONALISM,
BUT SHE COULDN'T SAY THAT,
SO SHE HAD TO COME UP
WITH HER OWN TERM.

Steve says BUT WHAT DOES THAT SAY,
GIVEN WHERE YOU ARE ON
THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM
AND WHERE SHE IS ON
THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM,
THAT YOU TWO ARE ESSENTIALLY
IN AGREEMENT ON SOMETHING
THIS FUNDAMENTAL?

Oren says WELL, I THINK TO
YOUR POINT EARLIER,
I THINK IT WAS CHRIS HEDGES WHO
YOU WERE SAYING ALSO, YOU KNOW,
FOLKS ACROSS THE POLITICAL
SPECTRUM CAN AGREE ON SOME OF
OUR CHALLENGES AND ON,
ON THE DIRECTION WE NEED TO
MOVE IN THE ABSTRACT,
AND SO I AGREE ENTIRELY WITH,
WITH MANY OF THE THINGS
THAT SHE SAYS ABOUT THE ECONOMIC
CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE.

Steve says ARE YOU THE SAME GUY THAT WORKED
FOR MITT ROMNEY'S CAMPAIGN?

Oren says I AM THE SAME GUY WHO WORKED
FOR MITT ROMNEY'S CAMPAIGN.
I THINK YOU WOULD FIND A LOT OF
PEOPLE WHO, WHO AGREE WITH THAT.
THE PROBLEM THAT
ELIZABETH WARREN IN PARTICULAR,
AND A LOT OF THE DEMOCRATS
IN THE UNITED STATES HAVE
IS THERE'S NO WILLINGNESS
TO PUT THEIR MONEY
WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS.
THERE HAVE, I MEAN,
YOU CAN GO BACK EVERY
DEMOCRATIC, YOU KNOW,
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FOR
PROBABLY EVER HAS TALKED ABOUT
THE IMPORTANCE OF JOBS
AND THESE THINGS,
THE QUESTIONS ARE WHETHER YOU'RE
ACTUALLY WILLING TO MAKE ANY
TRADE-OFFS FOR IT.
RIGHT? TRADITIONALLY,
EVERYONE SAYS THEY'RE FOR JOBS
AND THEY HAVE A JOBS PLAN, BUT
COINCIDENTALLY THE LEFT OF
CENTRE JOBS PLAN IS ALWAYS
A CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN
AND A HEALTHCARE PLAN THAT
HAPPEN TO BE GOOD FOR JOBS,
AND THE REPUBLICAN PLAN IS
ALWAYS A TAX CUT PLAN AND A,
YOU KNOW, DEREGULATION PLAN THAT
HAPPENS TO BE GOOD FOR JOBS,
UM, AND THERE ARE TIMES WHEN ALL
OF THOSE THINGS MAY OR MAY NOT
BE GOOD FOR JOBS, BUT IT'S
NOT ACTUALLY ABOUT THE JOBS
IN A SENSE, AND THE WAY YOU
TELL THAT IS YOU FLIP IT AROUND
AND YOU FIND PLACES WHERE
THERE ARE ACTUALLY CONFLICTS,
WHERE SOME OTHER VALUE CONFLICTS
WITH THE INTERESTS OF WORKERS,
AND WHAT YOU FIND, ESPECIALLY
IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
RIGHT NOW, IS THAT AS SOON AS
A CONFLICT ACTUALLY EMERGES,
THE WORKERS SUDDENLY DROP BELOW
WHATEVER THE OTHER TOPIC IS,
AND THAT'S THE PROBLEM.

Steve says LET'S FINISH UP ON THIS.
IF THE APPROACH THAT
YOU'RE SUGGESTING IS NOT
TAKEN UP BY WHICHEVER PARTY
FORMS GOVERNMENT OVER
THE NEXT SEVERAL DECADES,
WHAT KIND OF FUTURE
DO YOU SEE IN YOUR COUNTRY?

Oren says WELL, I THINK WE'RE GONNA SEE
AN INCREASING LEVEL OF WHAT
WE WOULD TYPICALLY
CALL POPULISM,
MEANING POLITICS
THAT'S ORIENTED TOWARD
APPEALING TO THE ISSUES
AND PROBLEMS THAT PEOPLE ARE
ESPECIALLY CONCERNED ABOUT,
BUT NOT NECESSARILY WITH
A LOT OF CONCRETE
OR USEFUL SOLUTIONS,
AND YOU KNOW,
THAT CAN GO ON FOR A LONG TIME.

Steve says SO, TRUMP'S NOT A BLIP THEN?

Oren says I DON'T THINK TRUMP IS A BLIP.
I THINK, I MEAN,
TRUMP HIMSELF IS A BLIP.
I MEAN, HE'S AN ANOMALY IN
SO MANY WAYS IN THE AMERICAN
POLITICAL SYSTEM, BUT YOU KNOW,
YOU LOOK AT HOW CLOSE
BERNIE SANDERS CAME TO
WINNING THE NOMINATION IN 2016,
YOU KNOW, MANY PEOPLE
WOULD CONSIDER HIM A FAVOURITE
THIS TIME AROUND, UM.
I THINK IT'S HARD TO ENVISION
GOING BACK TO A DAY WHERE
THE THINGS THAT MITT ROMNEY
AND BARRACK OBAMA WERE TALKING
ABOUT IN 2012 ARE,
ARE WINNING THE DAY,
AND SO, YOU KNOW, IN ONE
SENSE THAT GIVES ME OPTIMISM.
I THINK, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING
CONSTRUCTIVE THAT TRUMP DID
WAS TO REALLY ELEVATE
A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT WERE
THE SERIOUS PROBLEMS THAT WE
HAD NOT BEEN GRAPPLING WITH
AND THAT DESERVED MORE FOCUS
IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS.
THE QUESTION IS WHETHER WE ARE
GOING TO BRING ALONG WITH THAT
AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE,
AND AS I SAID,
I'M PESSIMISTIC RIGHT NOW ABOUT
WHAT THE DEMOCRATS ARE DOING,
REPUBLICANS,
THERE ARE A LOT OF FIGHTS.
KIND OF, WHAT DOES
"POST-TRUMPISM" LOOK LIKE,
AND WHAT I'M TRYING
TO DO IS OFFER ONE VISION
OF WHAT THAT COULD BE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Wodek Szemberg, @wodekszemberg. Producer, Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman."

Steve says THAT RESPONSE, IF PEOPLE
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE,
IS IN
THE ONCE AND FUTURE WORKER,
A VISION FOR THE RENEWAL
OF WORK IN AMERICA.
IT'S BROUGHT OREN CASS TO OUR
STUDIO TODAY FROM HIS HOME IN
WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS.
WE THANK YOU VERY MUCH
FOR JOINING US
ON TVO TONIGHT.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Oren says THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Watch: A New Conservative Economics