Transcript: Steven Levitt and Richard Harris | Apr 08, 2007

[Theme music plays]

The opening sequence rolls. The logo of "Big Ideas" featuring a lit lamp bulb appears against an animated blue slate.
Then, Andrew Moodie appears in the studio. The walls are decorated with screens featuring lit lamp bulbs, and two signs read "Big Ideas."
Andrew is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short curly black hair. He's wearing a black robe.

Andrew says HI, I'M ANDREW
MOODIE.
THIS IS
BIG IDEAS.
AND I HAVE A CONFESSION TO
MAKE.
WHEN I WAS IN MY 20s I, UH...
I STOLE AN APPLE.
I WAS LIVING IN HULL QUEBEC AND
I WAS AN ACTOR AND I WAS
STARVING AND I KNOW IT DOESN'T
MAKE IT RIGHT, I KNOW.
IT'S ALSO PRETTY EASY TO ADMIT
TO, ISN'T IT?
I MEAN, IT WAS AN APPLE, BIG
DEAL.
OKAY, NOW WHAT IF I WERE TO
ADMIT THAT I'VE DOWNLOADED
MUSIC OFF THE INTERNET AND THAT
I DIDN'T PAY FOR IT?
LOTS OF MUSIC.
WELL, I'D BE OPENING UP MYSELF
UP TO BE SUED BY THE IRAA AND
THAT IS A LITTLE MORE SERIOUS.
NOW OF COURSE I'VE NEVER
DOWNLOADED MUSIC ILLEGALLY EVER
BUT IF I HAD I WOULD BE
CHEATING THE ARTIST OUT OF HIS
OR HER HARD EARNED INCOME.
RIGHT NOW THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS
USING A PRETTY INEFFICIENT
METHOD TO GO AFTER PEOPLE WHO
THEY BELIEVE ARE CHEATING THEM
OUT OF THEIR PROFITS BUT WHAT
IF THERE WAS A GROUP OF
MATHEMATIC EQUATIONS THAT COULD
HELP TO PREDICT CHEATING?
WELL, THAT'S THE KIND OF
QUESTION THAT STEVEN LEVITT LOVES.
HE IS BEST KNOWN AS THE AUTHOR
OF THE RUNAWAY BEST SELLER FREAKONOMICS
AND HE
TEACHES ECONOMICS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO AND HE
BELIEVES THAT HE HAS DEVELOPED
A SYSTEM TO CATCH ALL YOU
CHEATERS OUT THERE.
SO LISTEN UP.

A clip plays.

The cover of a book appears on screen against a green background. The title reads "Freakonomics. A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything." It features a picture of a green apple sliced to reveal it's actually an orange inside.

Then, Steven Levitt stands behind a transparent podium and addresses an unseen audience. He's in his twenties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and colourful tartan tie.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Steven Levitt. Author 'Freakonomics.' Rotman School of Management. May 16, 2005."

Steven says IF YOU LOOK
OUT AT WHAT ACADEMICS HAVE DONE
ON CHEATING THERE HAS BEEN A
LOT OF THEORY ABOUT CORRUPTION
AND VERY LITTLE EMPIRICAL WORK
AND I THINK THE ANSWER, THE
REASON IS SIMPLE IT'S THAT THE
PEOPLE WHO ARE ENGAGING IN
CHEATING BEHAVIOUR ARE VERY
GOOD AT COVERING THEIR OWN
TRACKS THAT UNLIKE YOU KNOW,
THE QUESTIONS ECONOMISTS
USUALLY ASK DOES EDUCATION LEAD
TO HIGHER INCOMES WHICH ARE
SOMETIMES EASY QUESTIONS FROM
THE PERSPECTIVE THAT YOU GO TO
THE CENSUS DATA AND YOU CAN GET
PEOPLE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS
RELATIVELY HONESTLY ABOUT THEIR
EDUCATION AND THEIR INCOME.
UH, WHEN YOU
ASK ABOUT CHEATING, OR DRUG USE
OR THINGS LIKE THAT IT'S HARD
TO ILLICIT GOOD ANSWERS AND SO
IT'S HARD TO MAKE HEADWAY SO
MOST ECONOMISTS HAVE TAKEN THE
APPROACH WHICH IS WELL I CAN'T
ANSWER VERY WELL THE QUESTIONS
I REALLY CARE ABOUT LIKE UM,
YOU KNOW, HOW DO YOU KEEP
GOVERNMENT, YOU KNOW, HOW MUCH
CORRUPTION IS GOING ON IN
GOVERNMENTS?
OR HOW DO YOU CATCH TERRORISTS
OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND SO I
SAID WELL, LET'S MOVE ONTO SOME
QUESTIONS WE CAN ANSWER BETTER.
SO I KIND OF TOOK A DIFFERENT
APPROACH AND SAY WELL, I CAN'T
REALLY ANSWER THE QUESTIONS I
CARE ABOUT WITH RESPECT TO
CHEATING SO WHY DON'T I ANSWER
A BUNCH OF QUESTIONS I DON'T
CARE ABOUT UH, TO AT LEAST SEE
WHETHER I CAN ANSWER THOSE AND
MAKE SOME HEADWAY WHICH IS NOT
YOU KNOW, WHICH I CAN
UNDERSTAND WHY OTHER PEOPLE
DON'T DO IT BUT I'M A VERY
SELF-CENTRED UM, ECONOMIST.
MAYBE THERE'S NO OTHER KIND BUT
I'M SELF-CENTRED IN THE SENSE
THAT I'VE ALWAYS JUST STUDIED
THE QUESTIONS I FIND
INTERESTING I DON'T CARE
WHETHER ANYBODY ELSE DOES
ANYWAY AND SO OBVIOUSLY THAT
HAS TO BE TRUE IF YOU LIST
AMONG THE KIND OF TOPICS YOU
STUDY TRYING TO CATCH
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS
CHEATING, SUMO WRESTLERS AND
HOW THEY CHEAT AND PERHAPS THE
THIRD ENTRY IS EVEN THE LOWEST
OF THE LOW WHICH IS WHAT YOU
LEARN FROM BAGEL THIEVES IN
OFFICE PARKS IN WASHINGTON D.C.
SO I WAS GONNA TALK ABOUT THOSE
THREE STUDIES THAT I'VE DONE
VERY BRIEFLY AND THEN I'VE
ALWAYS USED... I'VE ALWAYS
PRETENDED AND IT REALLY WAS
PRETENDING THAT THE REASON I
WAS DOING THESE STUDIES IS
BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT SOMEDAY
BY HONING THESE TOOLS I WOULD
BE ABLE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS WE
CARED ABOUT.
BUT IT REALLY WAS JUST A ROUSE.
I WAS JUST DOING IT SO THAT
OTHERS WOULD ALLOW ME THE
OPPORTUNITY TO ANSWER THESE
RIDICULOUS QUESTIONS BUT THEN I
MADE THE OFFHAND COMMENT TO A
REPORTER ONCE THAT I WANTED TO
STUDY TERRORISM AND I HAD THE
MIXED BLESSING OF PEOPLE
READING THAT AND ACTUALLY
TAKING ME UP ON IT AND GIVING
ME THE KIND OF DATA THAT ONE
MIGHT USE TO STUDY TERRORISM.
I'LL JUST TALK FOR A MINUTE OR
TWO AT THE END ABOUT HOW A GUY
LIKE ME UH, WOULD GO ABOUT
TRYING TO CATCH TERRORISTS AND
UH, AND HOW I'M DOING THAT.

A slate showing the cover of the book reads "1. Cheating schoolteachers."

Steven continues OKAY, SO
LET'S START WITH THE CHEATING
TEACHERS.
SO LIKE JUST
ABOUT EVERYWHERE ELSE THE
CHICAGO SCHOOLS HAVE BEEN
MOVING TOWARDS HIGH STAKES
TESTING.
SO THE IDEA THAT THEY GIVE
THESE STANDARDISED TESTS AND IT
REALLY MATTERS MORE TODAY FOR
THE TEACHERS AND THE KIDS THAN
IT DID UH, 20 OR 30 YEARS AGO.
AND AT THE SAME TIME IN CHICAGO
SCHOOLS THE DISTRICT WENT FROM
BEING OF THE VERY WORST URBAN
DISTRICTS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY
TO BEING PRETTY GOOD OVER THE
COURSE OF ABOUT 10 YEARS SO I
HAD A GRADUATE STUDENT BRIAN
JACOBS WHO IS THE CO-AUTHOR ON
THIS PAPER WHO WAS DOING UH,
RESEARCH ON THIS QUESTION AND
HE WAS VERY YOU KNOW, HE WAS A
FORMER TEACHER, VERY
ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THE ROLE OF
SCHOOLS AND SHAPING STUDENTS
AND WHATNOT AND HE WAS VERY
OPTIMISTIC THAT THE GAINS HAD
BEEN REAL IN THE SCHOOLS.
AND I HAD COME FROM A DIFFERENT
PERSPECTIVE I ALWAYS THINK
EVERYONE IS CHEATING OR A
CRIMINAL OR SOMEHOW TRYING TO
GAME THE SYSTEM AND I SAID
WELL, HOW DO YOU KNOW THEY'RE
NOT JUST CHEATING?
WHICH LAUNCHED US ON A PROJECT
WHERE WE WERE LOOKING AT TRYING
TO FIGURE OUT WHETHER OR NOT
THERE WAS CHEATING GOING ON AND
THE OBVIOUS KIND OF CHEATING WE
LOOKED FOR WASN'T STUDENTS
CHEATING BECAUSE WE DIDN'T
REALLY THINK THERE HAD BEEN ANY
INCREASED OPPORTUNITIES FOR
STUDENTS TO CHEAT BUT INSTEAD
THE TEACHERS AND THE
PRINCIPALS.
AND SO AS IT TURNS OUT THE WAY
THEY DO THESE TESTS ARE IN
CLASSROOMS AND THE TEACHERS
SOMETIMES PROCTOR AND SOMETIMES
DON'T PROCTOR THE EXAMS
THEMSELVES BUT UM, BECAUSE
THEY'RE SO CONCERNED ABOUT TEST
SCORES BEING HIGH THE PROTOCOL
IS THAT AFTER THE TEST THERE'S
AN HOUR WHERE THE TEACHERS AND
ADMINISTRATORS HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY TO GO OVER THE
EXAMS AND MAKE SURE THERE'S NO
STRAY MARKS AND YOU KNOW, WADS
OF GUM AND WHATNOT BECAUSE THEY
DON'T WANT ANYTHING KEEPING A
CORRECT ANSWER FROM BEING READ
INTO THAT MACHINE.
OKAY, SO YOU'VE GOT THE FOX
GUARDING THE HEN HOUSE.
THEY'VE SET UP THIS SYSTEM IT'S
VERY EASY FOR THE TEACHERS AND
THE ADMINISTRATORS TO CHEAT.
OKAY, AND SO HOW DO YOU GO
ABOUT DOING THIS?
WE WERE FACED WITH THIS MASS OF
DATA, THIS INCREDIBLE PILE OF
DATA BECAUSE WE HAD FOR SEVEN
YEARS WE HAD YOU KNOW, 20 OR
30,000 STUDENTS AND EVERY
INDIVIDUAL ANSWER THEY HAD
GIVEN EACH OF FOUR DIFFERENT
TESTS AND WE WERE PRETTY MUCH
OVERWHELMED BY THE DATA AND WE
WANTED TO DO IS COME UP WITH AN
ALGORITHM FOR TRYING TO FIGURE
OUT HOW YOU WOULD CATCH THESE
CHEATERS.
AND SO IT'S
ACTUALLY PRETTY EASY, RIGHT, IF
YOU JUST START THINKING FOR
EVEN JUST A FEW MINUTES ABOUT
HOW YOU'D TRY TO CATCH THEM
THERE ARE SOME OBVIOUS THINGS
YOU MIGHT WANNA DO.
THE FIRST ONE IS YOU LOOK FOR A
BIG INCREASE IN TEST SCORES IN
ONE YEAR AND THE SAME KIDS THE
NEXT YEAR WOULD FALL DOWN.
RIGHT?
BECAUSE THE TEACHER CHEATS
CHANGES THE ANSWERS, THEY GET A
HIGH TEST SCORE BUT THERE'S NO...
THERE'S NO MEMORY, RIGHT?
THEY DIDN'T ACTUALLY LEARN
ANYTHING SO THEY'RE NOT GOING
TO DO ANY BETTER NEXT YEAR AND
THAT'S THE OBVIOUS KIND OF
FIRST PATTERN YOU WOULD LOOK
FOR IN TERMS OF LOOKING FOR THE
CHEATING AND INDEED WHEN YOU
LOOKED THERE ARE CERTAIN
CLASSROOMS THAT DO THAT BUT
IT'S HARD, RIGHT?
SO HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE TO
DRAW THE LINE?
HOW DO YOU DRAW THE LINE
BETWEEN JUST RANDOM
FLUCTUATIONS AND WHAT'S REALLY
REAL?
SO IT TURNS OUT THERE'S ANOTHER
SET OF INDICATORS WHICH ARE
MUCH MORE IMPORTANT FOR
CATCHING CHEATERS AND IT'S NOT
THE TEST SCORES THEMSELVES BUT
THE PATTERNS OF THE ANSWERS.
SO THE A, B, B, B, A KINDS OF
ANSWERS SO THE OBVIOUS WAY TO
CHEAT IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE
INCENTIVES FOR THE TEACHERS
THEY DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME.
THEY HAVE AN HOUR AND THE EASY
WAY TO CHEAT IS REALLY TO TAKE
A BLOCK OF ANSWERS AND TO
CHANGE THEM FOR A BUNCH OF
STUDENTS.
SO QUESTIONS 25 TO 30 FOR ALL
THE STUDENTS IN THE CLASS SOME
OF THOSE STUDENTS AND IT'S
BETTER TO DO IT AT THE END OF
THE TEST BECAUSE THERE TEND TO
BE MORE BLANK ANSWERS THERE AND
ALSO THEY'RE THE HARDER
QUESTIONS AND SO YOU'RE SORT OF
CHANGING... YOU'RE GETTING MORE
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK.
OKAY, THAT'S AN OBVIOUS WAY AND
YOU CAN FIND CLASSROOMS WHERE
IT'S JUST YOU KNOW, THE CHANCES
THAT YOU WOULD HAVE SO MANY
STUDENTS ANSWERING THE SAME
ANSWERS NEAR THE END OF THE
TEST UM, IT'S JUST
INCONCEIVABLE IT COULD'VE
HAPPENED BY CHANCE.
HERE WE HAVE A HANDFUL OF THOSE
AND I SHOULD SAY THE KIND OF
CHEATING WE'RE TALKING ABOUT I
DIDN'T REALLY MAKE THIS CLEAR
WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT TEACHING
TO THE TEST OR GIVING A LITTLE
EXTRA TIME WE'RE REALLY TALKING
ABOUT THE KIND OF CHEATING THAT
INVOLVES A TEACHER OR
ADMINISTRATOR ERASING BUBBLES
AND FILLING IN NEW ONES SO
VERY, VERY DIRECT KINDS OF
CHEATING AND WHAT'S INTERESTING
IF YOU SEE THESE BLOCKS OF
ANSWERS LOTS OF TIMES MIXED IN
WITH THE CORRECT ANSWERS WILL
BE INCORRECT ANSWERS.
SO YOU SEE YOU KNOW, 15 KIDS
HAVING ALL THE SAME ANSWERS YOU
KNOW, FOR SEVEN QUESTIONS IN A
ROW AND MAYBE TWO OR THREE OF
THEM WILL ACTUALLY BE WRONG AND
SO IT'S BEEN A DEBATE BETWEEN
MY CO-AUTHOR AND ME WHY, WHY
DOES THIS HAPPEN?
NOW I WAS THINKING
STRATEGICALLY AND I WAS
THINKING IF I WAS A CHEATING
TEACHER I MIGHT WANNA THROW A
WRONG ANSWER OR TWO IN THERE SO
WHEN I GET HAULED INTO THE
PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE I CAN SAY
WHAT, YOU DON'T THINK I KNOW
THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS?
WHY WOULD I CHANGE YOU KNOW,
RIGHT ANSWERS TO WRONG?
NOW MY CO-AUTHOR HE HAD TAUGHT
IN THE NEW YORK PUBLIC SCHOOLS
FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS AND HE
SAID I'M NOT SURE YOU
UNDERSTAND THE KIND OF PEOPLE
WE'RE ACTUALLY DEALING WITH
HERE.
A LOT OF THE TEACHERS I WAS
WORKING WITH THEY WOULDN'T BE
ABLE TO GET THE RIGHT ANSWERS
TO THE QUESTIONS AND THAT'S WHY
THE WRONG ANSWERS COME UP.
SO ACTUALLY WE'VE NEVER DONE IT
BUT THERE IS A GOOD WAY TO
RESOLVE THIS DEBATE AND THAT IS
AND WE SHOULD'VE DONE IT, WE
NEVER DID.
IS TO COMPARE IN THE THIRD
GRADE CLASSROOMS TO THE EIGHTH
GRADE CLASSROOMS BECAUSE I
THINK THE THIRD GRADE TEACHERS
HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF GETTING
THIRD GRADE QUESTIONS RIGHT
THAN THE EIGHTH GRADE TEACHERS
HAVE GETTING THE EIGHTH GRADE
QUESTIONS RIGHT SO IF THE
EIGHTH GRADE TEACHERS HAVE A
LOT OF MISTAKES BUT THE THIRD
GRADE TEACHERS DON'T I THINK IT
ANSWERS THE QUESTION THEY JUST
DON'T KNOW WHAT THE ANSWERS
ARE.
SO IT TURNS OUT THERE ARE LESS
OBVIOUS KINDS OF PATTERNS AND I
WON'T DWELL ON THEM BUT THE
SINGLE BEST WAY IT TURNS TO
CATCH A CHEATING CLASSROOM IS
TO FIND A CLASSROOM WHERE THE
STUDENTS GET THE EASY QUESTIONS
WRONG AND THE HARD QUESTIONS
RIGHT.
OKAY, IT TURNS OUT THAT NEVER
IS IT THE CASE THAT IF THE
STUDENTS DON'T KNOW THE EASY
QUESTIONS SO IF THEY CAN'T TELL
THAT FIVE PLUS FIVE EQUALS 10
THE CHANCES THAT THEY'RE GONNA
BE ABLE TO YOU KNOW, SOLVE FOR
THE YOU KNOW, A SQUARED PLUS B
SQUARED EQUALS C SQUARED AND
THE WHATEVER IT'S CALLED THE
PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM I'D BE ONE
OF THOSE TEACHERS GIVING THE
WRONG ANSWERS MYSELF PROBABLY.
THAT IT JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN AND
SO STILL THERE'S REALLY ONLY
ONE INSIGHT IN THIS PAPER AND I
HAVEN'T TOLD YOU ABOUT THE
INSIGHT YET.
WHICH IS HOW DO YOU... HOW DO
YOU KNOW WHERE TO DRAW THE
LINE?
THAT'S THE HARD PART.
SO WHY CAN'T SOMEONE SAY WELL,
I DON'T REALLY KNOW HOW MUCH
VARIATION THERE SHOULD BE
THERE'S JUST A LOT OF VARIATION
IN CLASSROOMS ON YOUR MEASURES
HOW DO I KNOW WHO'S CHEATING OR
NOT?
AND WHAT YOU WANT IS SOME KIND
OF CONTROL GROUP.
IF YOU HAD A CONTROL GROUP OF
CLASSROOMS WHERE YOU KNEW
NOBODY WAS CHEATING THEN YOU
COULD USE THAT AS YOUR BASELINE
AND COMPARE THE ACTUAL
CLASSROOMS TO THAT BASELINE.
IT TURNS OUT WE COULDN'T FIND A
CONTROL GROUP WHERE THERE
WEREN'T PEOPLE CHEATING.
IN EVERY GROUP WE COULD THINK
OF IT SEEMED THERE WAS A LITTLE
BIT OF CHEATING GOING ON.
THIS IS EVEN WHEN THERE WAS LOW
STAKES TESTING ETCETERA.
AND SO INSTEAD WHAT TURNED OUT
TO BE THE ANSWER IS THAT WE HAD
THESE TWO VERY DIFFERENT KINDS
OF MEASURES.
WE HAD THE MEASURES THAT WERE
BASED ON THE BIG INCREASE IN
SCORES AND BIG DECLINE AND WE
HAD MEASURES THAT WERE BASED ON
HOW FINDING THE ANSWER STRINGS
HAD LOOKED AND WHAT WAS
INTERESTING IS IF YOU JUST KIND
OF TOOK THE CLASSROOMS THAT
DIDN'T LOOK VERY SUSPICIOUS ON
THE ANSWER STRINGS SO SAY THAT
75 percent OF CLASSROOMS WHOSE
STUDENT'S ANSWERS JUST KIND OF
LOOK LIKE YOU'D EXPECTED THEM
TO LOOK.
THERE WAS ALMOST NO
RELATIONSHIP WHATSOEVER BETWEEN
HOW SUSPICIOUS THEIR ANSWERS
LOOKED AND WHETHER THEY HAD A
BIG TEST SCORE INCREASE OR
DECREASE.
AND UH, BUT IT'S REALLY AMAZING
AND IT'S A VISUAL AND IT'S THE
ONLY REASON I WISH THAT I HAD
ACTUALLY BROUGHT MY LAPTOP TO
SHOW YOU BECAUSE IT'S THE ONLY
VISUAL THAT I HAVE THAT'S ANY
GOOD IS THAT IF YOU JUST TRACE
IT OUT SO IT'S BASICALLY A FLAT
LINE AS YOU GRAPH IT BETWEEN
OUR TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF
CHEATING MEASURES AND THEN ONCE
YOU GET ABOUT TO THE 95th
PERCENTILE YOU SEE IT JUST
TAKES A TURN SO IT'S BASICALLY
EVERY CLASSROOM THAT IS REALLY
SUSPICIOUS ON THE ANSWER
STRINGS IS ALSO GETTING A
REALLY BIG TEST SCORE INCREASE
[Unclear] BY A BIG DECLINE BUT
UP UNTIL ABOUT THE 95th
PERCENTILE THERE'S NO
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO
MEASURES AT ALL AND IT TURNS
OUT AND I'M NOT SAYING IT VERY
ARTICULATELY TODAY BUT IT TURNS
OUT THAT WHEN YOU SEE THAT
PICTURE YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I
MEAN.
IT'S THE MOST
VISUAL EXAMPLE OF CHEATING YOU
COULD EVER FIND AND YOU CAN
JUST SEE BY THAT RIGHT TURN
THAT THAT LINE MAKES THAT YOU
KNOW THAT THEY'RE CHEATING
OKAY, AND THE OTHER WAY WE KNOW
THEY'RE CHEATING IS THAT
THERE'S A VERY FORWARD LOOKING
HEAD OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN
CHICAGO AND WHEN HE HEARD OUR
RESULTS INSTEAD OF YOU KNOW,
CLOSING RANKS AND SAYING OH,
YOU KNOW THESE ARE A BUNCH OF
EGGHEADS THEY DON'T KNOW
ANYTHING.
THERE'S NO
CHEATING IN OUR SYSTEM HE SAID
WHAT I CARE ABOUT ARE THE KIDS
AND IF THERE'S CHEATING GOING
ON THAT'S HURTING MY KIDS.
SO WHY DON'T YOU COME IN I'LL
LET YOU AUDIT 120 CLASSROOMS SO
BASICALLY RIGHT AFTER THEY TAKE
THE FIRST... THE TEST.
I'LL GIVE YOU THE ANSWERS, YOU
HAVE 24 HOURS TO TELL ME WHICH
CLASSROOMS I SHOULD AUDIT AND
HE SAID I DON'T CARE HOW YOU DO
IT SO I WAS EVEN ABLE TO SET IT
UP AS AN EXPERIMENT SO I WAS
ABLE TO TAKE A BUNCH OF
CLASSROOMS WHO WE THOUGHT WERE
CHEATING BASED ON THEIR ANSWER
STRINGS IN THE TEST SCORES, A
BUNCH OF CLASSROOMS THAT HAD
REALLY BIG TEST SCORE GAINS BUT
WE REALLY DIDN'T THINK THEY
WERE CHEATING BECAUSE THEIR
ANSWER STRINGS LOOKED OKAY AND
THEN JUST A RANDOM SET OF
CLASSROOMS AND THEN EVEN A
FOURTH GROUP MAYBE THIS IS THE
MOST IMPORTANT GROUP OF ALL
WHICH IS THE CLASSROOMS WHO
DESPITE HAVING VERY AVERAGE
TEST SCORE GAINS LOOKED TO BE
CHEATING FROM THE ANSWER
STRING.
THOSE ARE THE TEACHERS YOU
REALLY GOTTA GET RID OF BECAUSE
THOSE ARE THE ONES WHO ARE
CHEATING JUST TO GET BACK THE
AVERAGE, RIGHT?
THEY'RE NOT TEACHING THE
STUDENTS ANYTHING BUT THEY'RE
KEEPING THEIR JOBS BY BEING
TOTALLY AVERAGE.
AND SO IT TURNED OUT WHEN WE
WENT AND THEN TWO WEEKS LATER
THEY RETESTED THEM THESE
CLASSROOMS THAT THE CLASSROOMS
LOOKED LIKE THEY WERE CHEATING
UH, YOU KNOW, THEY WENT FROM
BEING THE BEST CLASSROOMS IN
THE SYSTEM TO BEING BELOW
AVERAGE SO THEY BASICALLY LOST
MORE THAN A YEAR'S WORTH OF
LEARNING, "LEARNING" IN QUOTES
IN TWO WEEKS IN BETWEEN WHEN
THEY GOT TESTED WITH THE
TEACHER HANDLING THE EXAMS AND
WHEN THEY GOT RETESTED UNDER
CONTROLLED CIRCUMSTANCES.
BUT THE CLASSROOMS THAT HAD
REALLY GOOD TEST SCORE GAINS
BUT THAT DIDN'T HAVE SUSPICIOUS
ANSWER STRINGS SO THOSE WERE
THE GOOD TEACHERS THEY ACTUALLY
INCREASED THEIR SCORES WHEN
THEY WERE TESTED A LITTLE BIT
LATER SO WE HAD THIS STARK
CONTRAST BETWEEN THIS SET OF
CLASSROOMS WHO IDENTIFIED A
PRIORI AS BEING CHEATERS AND
NOT CHEATERS AND THEY WENT FROM
BEING LIKE THIS TO BEING LIKE
THIS IN TWO WEEKS TIME AND
INDEED THE BEST YOU KNOW, WHAT
I WAS HAPPIEST ABOUT WERE TWO
THINGS ONE WE COULD CATCH THIS
CLASSROOMS THAT THE TEACHERS
WERE TERRIBLE AND THEY WERE
JUST CHEATING TO GET BACK TO
AVERAGE BUT THE HAPPIER SIDE IF
ALL OF THIS IS THAT IT GAVE YOU
A WAY TO KNOW WHO THE REALLY
GOOD TEACHERS WERE.
SO THE TEACHERS WHO WERE REALLY
GOOD YOU KNOW, THEY ALWAYS HAD
THE STIGMA BEING CHEATERS,
RIGHT?
YOU JUST CAN'T TELL THEM APART.
IT'S VERY EASY TO SAY IF
SOMEBODY'S DOING WELL, IF YOUR
COMPETITOR IS DOING WELL HE'S
JUST DOING IT BY CHEATING.
I MEAN, LANCE ARMSTRONG IS A
GOOD EXAMPLE.
NOW I DON'T KNOW WHETHER LANCE
ARMSTRONG IS CHEATING OR NOT
BUT HE IS PAYING THE PRICE OF
NOT BEING ABLE TO DEFINITIVELY
PROVE THAT HE'S NOT CHEATING
AND THAT'S THE SAME WITH THESE
SCHOOLTEACHERS HERE.
UM, AND THEN THEY GOT FIRED BUT
THE BAD NEWS... THE GOOD NEWS
WAS THAT SOME OF THE REALLY
ROTTEN APPLES GOT FIRED, THE
BAD NEWS WAS THAT THE RULE THEY
USED FOR FIRING THEM WAS
PERHAPS THE DUMBEST RULE YOU
COULD EVER USE AND ANYONE KNOW
WHAT THAT RULE IS?
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET
FIRED?
YOU HAD TO CONFESS.
SO IF YOU DIDN'T CONFESS THEY
WOULDN'T FIRE YOU BUT IF YOU
CONFESSED YOU GOT FIRED WHICH
IS THE FIRST RULE, I STUDIED
ECONOMICS OF CRIME IS PERHAPS
NO MORE FUNDAMENTAL RULE THAN
THAT YOU CANNOT IN THE LONG RUN
HAVE A SYSTEM WHERE YOU ONLY
GET PUNISHED WHEN YOU CONFESS
BECAUSE IT'S NOT AN EQUILIBRIUM
BECAUSE NOBODY WILL CONFESS THE
SECOND TIME AROUND BUT IT IS
TRUE THE NEXT YEAR AFTER THESE
PEOPLE GOT FIRED THAT CHEATING
FELL BY ABOUT 40 percent IN THE
CHICAGO SCHOOLS SO THE
DETERRENCE WORKED QUITE
EFFECTIVELY.

A new slate reads "2. Bagels and human behaviour."

Steven continues SO LET ME
TALK UH, ABOUT THE UM, THE
BAGEL THIEVES WHICH IS YOU
KNOW, PROBABLY THE LOW EBB IN
SOME SENSE OF THE
RIDICULOUSNESS OF THE PAPERS
THAT I'VE WRITTEN.

[Laughter]

Steven continues SO A GUY
APPROACHED ME UM, AND HE SAID
I'VE COLLECTED THIS DATA FOR 20
YEARS AND I'VE OFFERED IT TO
PROBABLY 50 ECONOMISTS AND
THEY'VE ALL SAID NO BUT I THINK
YOU MIGHT BE THE ONE WHO WOULD
BE INTERESTED IN IT.
AND I GET A
LOT OF PEOPLE DOING THIS AND
IT'S ALWAYS... IT'S ALWAYS
SOMETHING YOU'D NEVER WANT BUT
IT TURNS OUT THIS GUY HAD BEEN
AN ECONOMIST.
HE HAD ACTUALLY TRAINED UNDER
PAUL SAMUELSON AT MIT AND HE
HAD GONE AND WORKED AS A
PROFESSIONAL ECONOMIST FOR 20
YEARS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND
THEN HE JUST... HE WOULD BRING
BAGELS AND DONUTS FOR HIS TEAM
AFTER THEY'D WIN A BIG PROJECT
AND PRETTY SOON HE GOT KNOWN AS
THE BAGEL MAN BECAUSE NOBODY
CARED ABOUT THE ECONOMICS HE
DID.
ALL THEY CARED ABOUT THE BAGELS
AND HE STARTED TO BRING DOZENS
AND DOZENS OF DOZENS OF BAGELS
AND DONUTS AND FINALLY HE GOT
SO DEPRESSED ABOUT BEING AN
ECONOMIST HE SAID WHY DON'T I
DO SOMETHING MORE SOCIALLY
PRODUCTIVE WHICH IS I'M GONNA
GO, QUIT MY JOB AND JUST SHOW
UP AT THE MORNING AT OFFICE
PARKS AND PUT A BIG BOX OF
BAGELS AND DONUTS IN AN OFFICE
BUILDING WITH A... YOU KNOW, IN
AN OFFICE WITH A UM, WITH A
LOCK BOX AND ON THE HONOUR
SYSTEM PEOPLE CAN BUY THE
BAGELS AND DONUTS, PUT THEIR
MONEY IN AND AT THE END OF THE
DAY I'LL TAKE THE MONEY IN THE
LOCK BOX AND I'LL TAKE THE
LEFTOVER BAGELS AND DONUTS AND
SO FOR 20 YEARS HE HAD BEEN YOU
KNOW, DELIVERING TO ABOUT 40 OR
50 COMPANIES A DAY AND TYPING
IN THIS DATA IN THIS BIG EXCEL
SPREADSHEET AND SO THERE WAS
ENORMOUS DATA AND SO... AND SO
HE AND I BOTH RECOGNISED THAT
THIS WAS A GREAT WAY TO START
THINKING ABOUT WHITE COLLAR
CRIME.
NOW IT'S NOT SERIOUS WHITE
COLLAR CRIME BUT IN SOME WAYS
IT STILL IS WHITE COLLAR CRIME.
IT'S LIKE
WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT
INFLUENCE IN AN OFFICE
ENVIRONMENT WHEN PEOPLE STEAL
AND WHAT THEY STEAL AND HOW
MUCH THEY STEAL AND SO FROM
THIS DATA WE ACTUALLY LEARNED A
BUNCH OF LESSONS AND I THINK
THE FIRST LESSON IS THAT PEOPLE
ALL IN ALL WERE PRETTY HONEST
SO HIS TAKE HOME RATE WAS ABOUT
90 percent OF THE POSTED PRICES.
YOU KNOW WHICH IS SURPRISING.
IT'S NOT THAT
IT WOULDN'T BE HARD I THINK
THIS IS A CASE WHERE IT'S NOT
THE PRIMARY THING PEOPLE WERE
WORRIED ABOUT WAS WHETHER OR
NOT THEY WOULD BE CAUGHT
STEALING YOU KNOW, BY THEIR
FRIENDS AND OFFICE WORKERS.
I THINK IT HAD MORE TO DO WITH
THE FACT THAT PEOPLE JUST...
YOU KNOW, SOCIETY HAS DONE A
VERY GOOD JOB ON MOST OF US OF
INSTILLING THIS LIKE RIGHT AND
WRONG KIND OF THE FEAR.
LIKE WE SUFFER INTERNAL
PENALTIES AND AS I SAY TO MY
STUDENTS IN MY ECONOMICS OF
CRIME CLASS THE NUMBER ONE
QUESTION YOU FACE WHEN THINKING
ABOUT CRIME IS NOT WHY IS THERE
SO MUCH CRIME BUT WHY IS THERE
SO LITTLE CRIME?
RIGHT?
THERE'S SO MANY CHANCES WE ALL
HAVE TO STEAL AND TO ROB AND TO
YOU KNOW, PLUNDER AND WE HARDLY
EVER DO IT AND WHY DO WE NOT DO
IT I THINK IT'S BECAUSE OUR
PARENTS AND SOCIETY ARE GOOD AT
IT AND SOCIETY HAS GOTTEN MUCH
BETTER IN THE BOOK WE ACTUALLY
SHOW OVER TIME HOW HOMICIDE
RATES HAVE FALLEN AND
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD HOMICIDE
RATES EVEN IN PLACES LIKE
SWEDEN HOMICIDE RATES USED TO
BE SKY HIGH YOU KNOW BACK IN
THE OLD DAYS AND SOMEHOW
SOCIETY'S DONE A MUCH BETTER
JOB OF UM, INDUCING LAW AND
ORDER.
IT'S ALSO INTERESTING TO LOOK
AT WHAT CHANGES THE CHEATING
RATE SO IT TURNS OUT THAT
AROUND THE HOLIDAYS OF
THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS AND
VALENTINES DAY PEOPLE STEAL A
LOT MORE.
THEY ARE RELATIVELY ARE LESS...
THEY'RE MORE... MORE READY TO
STEAL.
WE DON'T EXACTLY KNOW WHY YOU
CAN THINK UP YOUR OWN
HYPOTHESES ABOUT WHY THAT MIGHT
BE BUT OTHER HOLIDAYS THAT ARE
JUST MORE LIKE A DAY OFF UH,
AND DON'T COME WITH THE IDEAS
OF EITHER YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO
SPEND MONEY OR THERE'S A LOT OF
PRESSURE, PEOPLE DON'T CHANGE
THEIR BEHAVIOUR.
IT TURNED OUT AFTER 9-11 PEOPLE
BECAME MUCH MORE HONEST.
SO HE HAD LIKE A 15 percent JUMP IN
HOW MUCH PEOPLE WERE GIVING HIM
IMMEDIATELY AFTER THAT WHICH IS
SUSTAINED ESSENTIALLY TO THIS
DATE UM, WHEN WE WROTE ABOUT
THIS IN A LITTLE SHORT PIECE IN
THE NEW YORK TIMES IT TURNED
OUT PEOPLE GOT MORE GENEROUS
WITH HIM AS WELL.
SO THAT WAS ANOTHER CASE WHERE
I SAID SOMETHING ONLY HALF
BELIEVING WOULD BE TRUE I TOLD
HIM WELL, YOU REALLY WANT ME TO
WRITE THIS PIECE IN THE NEW
YORK TIMES ABOUT YOU BECAUSE HE
WAS VERY AFRAID OF PUBLICITY
UH, I SAID YOU SHOULD DO IT
BECAUSE IT'S GONNA PUT A LOT OF
MORAL PRESSURE ON THE PEOPLE
WHO YOU DELIVER TO AND IN FACT
THAT TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE SO
THAT WAS GOOD.
BIG OFFICES STEAL MORE THAN
SMALL OFFICES AND IT TURNS OUT
THAT THE ONLY GROUP HE HAS HAD
REALLY BAD LUCK WITH IT TURNS
OUT ARE TELEMARKETERS.
TELEMARKETERS STEAL SO MUCH YOU
CAN'T EVEN BREAK EVEN.
HE'S GOTTA PULL, HE'S GOTTA
PULL OUT OF THOSE WHOLE
OPERATIONS AND THE OTHER THING
YOU COULD DO WITH THIS DATA
WHICH IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT NOT
ABOUT CHEATING IS YOU CAN
ACTUALLY FIGURE OUT WHETHER
YOUR PROFIT MAXIMISES SO A GOOD
QUESTION FOR A BUSINESS SCHOOL
SO YOU'VE GOT ECON PHD TRAINING
BY PAUL SAMUELSON ONE OF THE
GREAT ECONOMISTS OF ALL TIME
WHO'S GOT THE SIMPLEST BUSINESS
IN THE WORLD.
HE DROPS OFF BAGELS AND DONUTS
IN THE MORNING AND HE PICKS
THEM UP IN THE AFTERNOON.
HE GETS FEEDBACK ON A DAILY
BASIS ABOUT THE QUANTITY HE'S
DELIVERING AND SO THE QUESTION
IS CAN THIS GUY IF THIS GUY
CAN'T PROFIT MAXIMISE WHO CAN I
GUESS IS HOW I KIND OF THINK
ABOUT IT.
AND UM, WHAT
DO WE FIND?
IT'S KIND OF INTERESTING.
SO IT TURNS OUT IN TERMS OF HOW
MANY HE DELIVERS, HOW MANY
BAGELS AND DONUTS HE DELIVERS
HE'S OUTSTANDING BECAUSE IT'S
NOT A TRIVIAL PROBLEM.
I ACTUALLY SPENT ABOUT A WEEK
TRYING TO WRITE DOWN THE
FORMULAS TO FIGURE OUT WHAT'S
RIGHT AND IF YOU TRY YOU'LL SEE
IT'S SUBTLE BECAUSE YOU
CERTAINLY DON'T WANT PEOPLE TO
EAT ALL THE BAGELS AND DONUTS
BECAUSE THAT MEANS YOU KNOW,
HE'S GOT A BIG MARK-UP SO HE
ACTUALLY WANTS TO... HE ONLY
WANTS THE PROBABILITY OF THAT
LAST BAGEL BEING EATEN TO BE
ABOUT 30 percent.
AND SO IT DEPENDS ON HOW HIS
MARK-UP'S CHANGING, HOW MUCH HE
WANTS TO... WHAT THE
PROBABILITY IS AND ALSO TO THE
EXTENT THAT BAGELS AND DONUTS
ARE SUBSTITUTES AND SOME PEOPLE
WHEN THEY RUN OUT OF BAGELS
WILL INSTEAD EAT A DONUT YOU
WANT IT PLANNED SO IT'S ALL
SORTS OF MARGINS BUT HE'S
INCREDIBLE.
HE'S SO GOOD AT THAT MARGIN NOW
WHAT'S INTERESTING OKAY, IF YOU
KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ECONOMICS
I'M GOING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING
THAT IS AMAZING TO YOU PROBABLY
SO IT TURNS OUT THAT HE'S
PRICING ON THE [Unclear] PART
OF THE DEMAND.
HE'S PRICING AT SOME PLACE
WHERE UM, YOU WOULD NEVER EVER

- LIKE THE FIRST RULE OF
PRICING IS YOU WOULD NEVER WANT
TO DO THIS SO WHAT HE DOES,
WHAT HAPPENS IS WHEN HE RAISES
PRICES AND HE DOES IT FOUR
TIMES HE RAISES PRICES EVERY
TIME HE RAISES PRICES NOT ONLY
DOES HIS PROFITS GO UP BUT EVEN
HIS REVENUE GOES UP.
OKAY, SO HE IS BASICALLY DOING
WHAT YOU WOULD NEVER EVER WANNA
DO OKAY, AND HE KNOWS HE
SHOULDN'T WANNA DO IT BUT HE
DOESN'T... HE DOESN'T KNOW
ANYTHING WHAT HIS DEMAND
ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE BECAUSE HE
NEVER GETS FEEDBACK, RIGHT?
BECAUSE HE GETS FEEDBACK ON
QUANTITIES EVERYDAY BUT UNLESS
YOU'RE CHANGING PRICES AND
EXPERIMENTING YOU HAVE NO IDEA
WHAT A DEMAND COULD LOOK LIKE
AND SOMETHING ECONOMISTS TEND
NOT TO THINK ENOUGH ABOUT IS
HOW HARD IT IS TO PRICE.
IT TURNS OUT PRICING IS JUST
INCREDIBLY HARD AND SO THIS GUY
HAS BEEN THROWING AWAY $25,000
A YEAR THAT WOULD'VE GONE
DIRECTLY INTO HIS POCKET FOR
THE LAST 20 YEARS BECAUSE HE
DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO PRICE AND
HE'S NEVER EXPERIMENTED AND SO
IT'S AN INTERESTING CASE OF HOW
YOU CAN ACTUALLY LEARN
SOMETHING ABOUT ECONOMICS FROM
A DATA SET THAT SEEMS SO
TRIVIAL THAT YOU DON'T THINK
REALLY ABOUT BUSINESS THAT
YOU'D EVER THINK YOU'D EVER
LEARN ANYTHING.
OKAY, SO LET
ME SAY THE LAST THING ABOUT
TERRORISM.
SO LET ME START BY SAYING I
ACTUALLY DON'T THINK TERRORISM
IS AN IMPORTANT PROBLEM.
I THINK IT'S
TOTALLY OVERRATED AND PEOPLE
ARE OVERREACTING AND WE'RE
PUTTING A LOT OF INCONVENIENCE
AND VIOLATING CIVIL LIBERTIES
AND WASTING A LOT OF TIME OVER
SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T MATTER
VERY MUCH SO I'M KIND OF
EMBARRASSED TO SAY THAT I'M
TRYING TO STUDY IT MYSELF IN
LIGHT OF THAT AND UM, BUT AT
THE SAME TIME IT'S A HARD
PROBLEM SO WHAT I'VE TRIED TO
DO... IN FACT IT'S AN
INCREDIBLY HARD PROBLEM.
SO LET'S SAY
YOU HAVE 300 MILLION AMERICANS
AND LET'S SAY YOU GOT 30
MILLION CANADIANS AND LET'S SAY
THERE ARE I DON'T KNOW 30 OR 50
TERRORISTS AROUND AND YOU
ACTUALLY THINK YOU'RE GOING TO
FIND THEM SOMEHOW.
SO IF YOU HAD
AN ALGORITHM THAT COULD FIND
EVERY TERRORIST WITH CERTAINTY
AND WAS 99 percent ACCURATE AT SHOWING
A NON-TERRORIST AS BEING NON-
TERRORIST, RIGHT?
YOU THINK YOU'D BE DOING PRETTY
WELL LIKE HAS AN ECONOMIST EVER
DONE THAT WELL IDENTIFYING
ANYTHING IN THE HISTORY OF
MANKIND?
IT'S LIKE THAT WOULD BE
INCREDIBLY GOOD OKAY, BUT IT
WOULD BE WORTHLESS BECAUSE AT
THE END OF THE DAY YOU WOULD
HAVE 300,000 NON-TERRORISTS WHO
YOU'RE FALSELY CALLING
TERRORISTS AND YOU'D HAVE 50 OR
30 WHATEVER THE NUMBER WAS
TERRORISTS THAT YOU CORRECTLY
IDENTIFIED SO YOU WOULD'VE
BASICALLY MADE ALMOST NO
HEADWAY ON THE PROBLEM SO WHAT
YOU REALLY NEED TO BE IS
SOMETHING LIKE 99.9999 percent
ACCURATE IN SEPARATING OUT
TERRORISTS AND NON-TERRORISTS
AND YOU KNOW, PROBABLY
IMPOSSIBLE BUT THOSE ARE THE
KIND OF THE QUESTIONS I LIKE...
I LIKE TO TACKLE.
THE ONES THAT BEFORE YOU START
SEEM IMPOSSIBLE AND UH, AFTER
YOU'RE DONE ACTUALLY MAKE SOME
SENSE AND SO... SO HOW WOULD
YOU CATCH TERRORISTS?
SO ONE WAY TO CATCH TERRORISTS
I THINK IS WITH HUMAN
INTELLIGENCE THAT'S OBVIOUSLY
THE BEST WAY IF YOU CAN
INFILTRATE UH, YOU KNOW AND GET
THE RIGHT HAND MAN OF OSAMA BIN
LADEN TO BE YOUR GUY YOU KNOW,
IN THE CIA THEN YOU'RE IN VERY
GOOD SHAPE AND OBVIOUSLY UH,
THE U.S. HAS HAD A VERY
DIFFICULT TIME DOING THAT YOU
KNOW, THEY CAN'T DO IT.
ANOTHER THING IS WITH UM, IS
WITH UH, YOU KNOW, INTERCEPTING
CELL PHONES AND CHATTER AND
THIS MYTHICAL STUFF, I DON'T
EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING
ABOUT BUT IT SOUNDS GOOD.
IT SOUNDS LIKE IT SHOULD WORK
BUT I DON'T KNOW IF IT WORKS OR
NOT.
BUT GIVEN HOW MANY CHATTER HAS
LEAD THEM TO RAISE THE YOU
KNOW, THE RATING OF HOW
DANGEROUS THINGS ARE AND
THEY'VE ALL BEEN FALSE ALARMS
I'M GUESSING CHATTER DOESN'T
WORK VERY WELL EITHER.
SO THEN WHAT PEOPLE TALKED
ABOUT IS FOLLOWING THE MONEY,
RIGHT?
FOLLOWING INTERNATIONAL MONEY
LAUNDERING.
AND I THINK THIS IS... THIS IS
I THINK JUST A TERRIBLE IDEA.
MAYBE I'M WRONG ABOUT IT BUT
THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF MONEY USED
TO FINANCE THE 9-11 ATTACKS WAS
ABOUT $300,000.
OKAY?
SO HOW YOU THINK IN THIS SEA OF
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF
FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS ARE
GOING ON YOU'RE SOMEHOW GOING
TO FIND $300,000 WHICH COULD BE
SPREAD OUT OVER YEARS IT JUST
SEEMS TO ME THAT THAT'S AN
IMPOSSIBLE TASK.
I JUST DON'T SEE HOW YOU DO IT.
SO WHAT I'M FOCUSSED ON AND
WITHOUT GIVEN AWAY ANYTHING UH,
THAT WOULD, WOULD UH, ENDANGER
MY CO-OPERATION WITH THE
COMPANIES I'M WORKING WITH OR
MAKE THE TERRORISTS THINK THAT
THERE'S ACTUALLY SOME REASON
THAT THEY SHOULD ABDUCT ME AND
TORTURE ME AND TRY AND FIGURE
OUT WHAT I'M DOING IS I'M
TRYING TO USE ANOMALOUS
BEHAVIOUR IN EVERYDAY LIFE.
SO IN SOME SENSE IF YOU THINK
ABOUT WHAT TERRORISTS ARE DOING
THEY HAVE VERY DIFFERENT
OBJECTIVES.
THEY SPEND THEIR DAYS DOING
DIFFERENT STUFF SO HOW CAN YOU
FIND KIND OF THE CONTRAILS THE
LIKE HOW DO YOU FIND JUST LIKE
THE REMNANTS OF THE FACT THAT
THEY'RE JUST ON THEIR DAILY
LIVES JUST LIVING A VERY
DIFFERENT WAY SO THAT'S KIND OF
MY APPROACH SO I DOUBT IT WILL
WORK BUT I THINK IT'S YOU KNOW,
AS I THINK ABOUT THE
POSSIBILITY OF WORKING SO I
THINK THERE'S LIKE A ONE IN 100
CHANCE MAYBE THAT I'LL BE GOOD
ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY CATCH THEM
WHEREAS IF I WERE TRYING TO DO
INTERNATIONAL MONEY LAUNDERING
I THINK THE CHANCE WOULD BE
MORE LIKE MORE LIKE ONE IN A
MILLION.

The clip ends, and Andrew reappears in the studio with a caption that reads "Andrew Moodie."

He says I HAVE TO ADMIT I
LIKE TO THINK THAT I'M NOT A
BAGEL THIEF HOWEVER IF I WAS
WORKING AS A TELEMARKETER I'D
BE SNEAKING AWAY THOSE BAD BOYS
LIKE THEY WERE GOING OUT OF STYLE.
LEVITT HAS STUMBLED
UPON A UNIVERSAL TRUTH THAT
RARELY GETS ANY KIND OF
ANALYSIS IN SERIOUS ECONOMICS.
CHEATING IS CONNECTED TO
ALIENATION.
THE LESS FULFILLED YOU ARE THE
MORE ALIENATED YOU ARE AND THE
MORE LIKELY YOU ARE TO BREAK
THE RULES, SIMPLE.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WELL, NOT
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT IT'S STILL
ONE PERSON SPEAKING FROM BEHIND
THE PULPIT.
THE SUBJECT IS DIFFERENT
THOUGH.
RICHARD S. HARRIS, HE TEACHES
GEOGRAPHY AT MCMASTER
UNIVERSITY.
HE'S AN EXPERT IN 20th CENTURY
URBAN GEOGRAPHY.
HE IS THE AUTHOR OF
CREEPING CONFORMITY
HOW CANADA BECAME
SUBURBAN
AND HE'S HERE
TO TALK ABOUT CITIES.

A clip plays in which Richard Harris stands on a stage and addresses an audience. He's in his sixties, with short white hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a yellow short-sleeved shirt.

He says CITIES AS A
HISTORICAL AGENT.
YES, I KNOW IN THE PROGRAM IT
SAYS ACTORS, I DECIDED TO USE
THE TERM AGENTS BECAUSE IT'S A
LITTLE BIT MORE PRECISE, MORE
ACCURATELY REPRESENTS WHAT I
WANT TO SAY.
AGENTS HAS A NICELY,
AMBIVALENT, AMBIGUOUS MEANING.
IT CAN MEAN A PASSIVE CONDUIT,
A SIMPLE CHANNEL THAT TAKES
SOMETHING FROM A TO B OR IT CAN
MEAN SOMETHING MORE ACTIVE.
SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY IN AND
OF ITSELF CHANGES THINGS AND
BOTH OF THOSE MEANINGS I WANT
TO USE TODAY AND I'LL BE
EXPLAINING MORE ABOUT THAT IN A
FEW MINUTES.
THE OTHER TERM I SHOULD EXPLAIN
IS CITIES.
NOW SOMETIMES WHEN PEOPLE TALK
ABOUT CITIES UH, WHAT THEY MEAN
ARE BIG PLACES MORE THAN A...
WITH A POPULATION OF MORE THAN
100,000 OR A MILLION OR 10
MILLION AND THAT'S NOT WHAT I
MEAN TODAY.
THERE'S NOTHING... THERE'S
NOTHING MAGICAL ABOUT ANY
PARTICULAR NUMBER.
HAMILTON FOR EXAMPLE MY ADOPTED
HOMETOWN UH, DIDN'T BECOME A
DIFFERENT KIND OF A PLACE WHEN
ITS POPULATION REACHED 100,000
OR 500,000 AS IT IS NOW.
OF COURSE THE FOLKS FROM
TORONTO ARE SAYING WHAT A PITY
BUT US FOLKS IN HAMILTON WE
HAVE THICK SKINS AND WE IGNORE
THOSE KINDS OF CHEAP SHOTS.

[Laughter]

Richard continues THERE IS NO
MAGICAL NUMBER, RIGHT?
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A
CONTINUUM.
SHANGHAI TODAY WITH ITS
POPULATION OF WHATEVER IT IS
BUT IT'S CERTAINLY MORE THAN 10
MILLION AND GROWING RAPIDLY IS
OBVIOUSLY VERY, VERY DIFFERENT
FROM A PLACE LIKE BASSETERRE
WHICH IS A CITY THAT I HAVE
BEEN LOOKING AT.
UM, IN THE 1930s VERY DIFFERENT
YES, BUT THERE ARE CERTAIN
QUALITIES THAT IT SHARES,
THEY'RE ON A CONTINUUM AND
THAT'S THE WAY WHEN I TALK
ABOUT CITIES TODAY ANYWAY I'M
TALKING ABOUT CITIES OF ALL
SIZES.
WELL, IT SEEMS TO ME AND THIS
IS REALLY I SUPPOSE THE MAP OF
THE REST OF WHAT I WANT TO SAY
TODAY IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THERE
ARE THREE WAYS OF LOOKING AT
CITIES.
UH, NOW I HAVE LABELLED THESE
THE DUMB, THE PASSIVE AND THE
ACTIVE AND JUST TO CLEAR UP ANY
CONFUSION AND MAKE SURE THAT I
DON'T OFFEND ANYONE THESE
ADJECTIVES REFER TO OR ARE
MEANT TO REFER TO THE
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CITIES
AS SEEN BY EACH OF THESE THREE
DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW.
THEY ARE NOT MEANT TO REFER TO
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE
PEOPLE WHO ADOPT THESE POINTS
OF VIEW SO DUMB MEANS THE DUMB
VIEW IS THAT CITIES THEMSELVES
ARE DUMB.
THAT THEY DON'T TELL US
ANYTHING.
THEY DON'T SAY ANYTHING BECAUSE
THEY DISEMBODIED DISTRACTIONS
AND I'LL SAY A LITTLE BIT MORE
ABOUT THAT.
UH, THE SECOND VIEW, THE
PASSIVE VIEW IS THAT CITIES ARE
PASSIVE CARRIERS, AGENTS AS I
REFERRED TO IT BEFORE IN THE
PASSIVE SENSE OR EMBODIMENTS OF
CULTURE AND I THINK THE BEST
WORD ACTUALLY IS EMBODIMENT SO
THAT'S THE ONE THAT I'M GOING
TO BE USING UM, A LITTLE BIT
LATER AS OPPOSED TO THE THIRD
VIEW, THE ACTIVE VIEW WHICH
SEES CITIES AS AGENTS OF
HISTORICAL PROCESSES NECESSARY
FOR THOSE... THOSE PROCESSES
AND ALSO AGENTS OF CHANGE.
AND I'LL BE EXPLAINING THE
DISTINCTION BETWEEN UM, THE
AGENTS OF PROCESS AS OPPOSED TO
AGENTS OF CHANGE, I'LL COME TO
THAT LATER AND THIS CAN BE
ARGUED IN TERMS OF THE
POLITICAL ENTITIES THAT ARE
SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS
CITIES, MUNICIPALITIES IF YOU
LIKE.
BUT IT CAN ALSO BE ARGUED IN
TERMS OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
AND THE SOCIAL NETWORKS THAT
ARE TIED UP LOOSELY BUT
NEVERTHELESS TIED UP WITH THAT
BUILT ENVIRONMENT.
SO LET ME SAY SOMETHING VERY
BRIEFLY ABOUT THE UH, WHAT I'VE
CALLED THE DUMB VIEW I'LL BE
SPENDING MUCH MORE TIME ON THE
OTHER TWO JUST AS A
COUNTERPOINT, I SUPPOSE.
UM, WHEN PEOPLE TALK ABOUT UH,
UH, THE GTA, THE GREATER
TORONTO AREA OFTEN THEY TALK
ABOUT IT AS HAVING A GREAT
SIGNIFICANCE BECAUSE AFTER ALL
IT CONTAINS FOUR MILLION OR SO
PEOPLE THREE MILLION OR SO
CONSUMERS, TWO MILLION OR
WHATEVER IT IS GIVE OR TAKE
VOTERS UH, THAT IT HAS GREAT
WEIGHT FOR THAT REASON AND
CLEARLY IT DOES I MEAN,
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND
IN OTHER WAYS THE GTA IS A
STATISTICAL, GEOGRAPHICAL,
ENTITY MAPPED HERE DOES HAVE
SIGNIFICANCE BUT IT'S A
SIGNIFICANCE THAT REALLY IS
JUST AS AN AGGREGATION THERE'S
NO SUGGESTION IN THAT POINT OF
VIEW AS IT'S USUALLY
ARTICULATED BUT THERE IS SOME
IMPORTANCE TO THE WAY THAT ALL
THESE PEOPLE ARE GATHERED
TOGETHER THE WAY THAT THEY
INTERACT NOT JUST SOCIALLY BUT
ECONOMICALLY AND SO ON AND SO
FORTH THE NOTION THEN IS AS I
SUPPOSE MARX MIGHT HAVE PUT IT
UM, WE HAVE A SACK OF POTATOES,
A LARGE SACK OF POTATOES AND I
THINK THAT'S VERY COMMON.
MUCH OF THE URBAN LITERATURE
FROM MY POINT OF VIEW OR FROM
THE POINT OF VIEW THAT I'M
TRYING TO EXPRESS TODAY IS NOT
REALLY ABOUT CITIES IN AN
IMPORTANT SENSE THEY'RE...
THEY'RE CITIES ARE THESE
DISEMBODIED DISTRACTIONS WITHIN
WHICH... WITHIN WHICH THINGS
HAPPEN AND THAT'S ALL AS
OPPOSED TO WHAT I'VE CALLED
PASSIVE SECOND VIEW.
NOW THIS IS MUCH CLOSER TO MY
OWN HEART IT'S SOMETHING THAT I
GREW UP WITH.

A slide appears on a giant projection screen behind him, with the title "2. Passive: embodying culture."

Richard continues FROM THIS POINT OF VIEW THE
CITY, THE URBAN LANDSCAPE IS AN
EXPRESSION OF CULTURE OR SOME
PEOPLE PERHAPS IN THE OLDER
DAYS WOULD USE THE
CIVILISATION.
LET ME GIVE YOU JUST A FEW
EXAMPLES UM, OF UH, HOW CERTAIN
FEATURES, CERTAIN ASPECTS OF
THE CITY COULD BE VIEWED OR
HAVE BEEN VIEWED FROM THIS
POINT OF VIEW.
IF WE THINK OF SOCIAL HISTORY,
IF WE THINK OF THE HISTORY OF
REALLY UH, CULTURE MORE
GENERALLY THERE'S A WHOLE
CLUSTER OF IDEAS, SOCIAL
PRACTICES, VALUES ASSOCIATED A
CLUSTER OF THEM PRIVACY, HOME
AND FAMILY OFTEN OF COURSE
REPRESENTED IN A VERY IDEALISED
FORM.
THAT'S A PRIVATE SORT OF A
SPACE THE SINGLE FAMILY HOME
WHAT ABOUT MORE PUBLIC OR QUASI
PUBLIC SORTS OF SPACES THE CAFE
FOR EXAMPLE.
THE CAFE OFTEN ASSOCIATED
HISTORICALLY WITH THE
INTELLECTUAL LIFE, WITH
INTELLECTUAL SUBCULTURES,
ARTISTIC SUBCULTURES.
WELL, IF WE'RE THINKING IN THOSE TERMS
WE'RE THINKING PARIS AND IF
WE'RE THINKING PARIS WE'RE
THINKING ABOVE ALL OF
[Speaking French]
PICASSO HUNG OUT IN THE
30s AND THE 40s AND THE 50s.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Richard Harris. Professor of Geography, McMaster University. 'Cities as historical agents.' York University. May 30, 2006."

Richard continues IT'S EASY AND PEOPLE HAVE DONE
IT TO LOOK AT UH, THOSE SORTS
OF CAFE ENVIRONMENTS AS
EMBODIMENTS OF, REFLECTIONS OF
AN INTELLECTUAL CULTURE OR
SUBCULTURE.
LET'S INCREASE THE SCALE VERY
SLIGHTLY.
UM, IN TERMS OF PRIVACY PICKING
UP ON THAT THEME AGAIN BUT ALSO
PRIVILEGE AND EXCLUSION AND
OTHER THINGS BESIDES THE GATED
COMMUNITIES THAT WE'VE BEEN
READING AND HEARING A LOT ABOUT
IN THE LAST 15 OR 20 YEARS
PARTICULARLY IN THE UNITED
STATES ARE OBVIOUSLY
EMBODIMENTS OF THAT SET OF
VALUES AND ASSOCIATED SOCIAL
PRACTICES.
UM, ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE UP
THERE THE BIG BOX STORES,
MODERN BIG BOX STORES AS
EXPRESSIONS OF A COMMERCIAL UH,
COMMERCIAL AND RETAILING AND
SHOPPING CULTURE.
A GENERATION AGO THE IMAGE
WOULD'VE BEEN OF THE SUBURBAN
ENCLOSED MALL.
A GENERATION BEFORE THAT IT
WOULD'VE BEEN PERHAPS THE
DOWNTOWN DEPARTMENT STORE BUT
EACH OF THESE ARE EMBODIMENTS
OF AND HAVE BEEN READ AS
EMBODIMENTS OF A PARTICULAR
TYPE OF CULTURE OBVIOUSLY ONE
THAT HAS EVOLVED AND CHANGED
OVER TIME.
AND AT THE LARGEST SCALE, THE
METROPOLITAN SCALE, UH, THIS IS
CALGARY IN 1987 BUT IT COULD BE
ALMOST ANY NORTH AMERICAN CITY,
ESSENTIALLY IT COULD BE ALMOST
ANY NORTH AMERICAN CITY WITH
THE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION OF NEW
ORLEANS AT THE MOMENT.
UM, WE CAN READ THIS AND AGAIN
IT HAS BEEN READ BY MANY PEOPLE
AS AN EXPRESSION OF A RANGE OF
THINGS OF AFFLUENCE, OF
MOBILITY.
IF YOU LOOK AT THE SINGLE
FAMILY HOUSING THAT YOU CAN SEE
UP THERE UM, IT'S UH, ALSO AN
EXPRESSION OF INDIVIDUALISM IF
YOU FOCUS AS THE PHOTOGRAPH
LEADS YOU TO FOCUS UH, ON THE
DOWNTOWN YOU SEE CORPORATE
TOWERS, YOU THINK IN TERMS OF
CORPORATE POWER, OF
COMPETITION, CHANGE, DYNAMISM,
SO ON AND SO FORTH.
WE CAN READ CITIES AS
EXPRESSIONS OF CULTURE AND OF
COURSE SINCE THERE ARE
DIFFERENT CULTURES UH, CITIES
WILL REFLECT AND EMBODY
DIFFERENT CULTURES UM, I
MENTIONED A LITTLE EARLIER THAT
I WAS IN HOLLAND THE LANDSCAPE
OF AMSTERDAM OBVIOUSLY THERE'S
NO MISTAKING THAT.
IT IS VERY DISTINCTIVE
ARCHITECTURE.
NOT JUST THE ARCHITECTURE BUT
THE TALL, NARROW BUILDINGS.
ONE THING I LEARNED TWO WEEKS
AGO WAS THAT ONE OF THE REASONS
THEY'RE SO TALL AND NARROW IS
BECAUSE OF THE PROPERTY TAX
SYSTEM THERE OR AT LEAST WHEN
THOSE WERE BUILT WHICH WAS THAT
YOU DIDN'T PAY TAXES BASED ON
THE SIZE OF THE LOT OR THE SIZE
OF THE BUILDING OR THE SQUARE
FOOTAGE OF THE BUILDING BUT
GUESS WHAT?
ON THE FRONTAGE.
SO THE WIDER THE FRONTAGE THE
MORE YOU PAID.
OBVIOUSLY THE BUILDERS AND
DEVELOPERS CONCLUDED THE WAY TO
DO... OR THE THING TO DO WAS TO
BUILD VERY NARROW BUT VERY
TALL.
THERE MAY BE SOMETHING IF YOU
WANT TO PROMOTE DENSITY MAYBE
THERE'S AN IDEA THERE.
UH, DIFFERENT CITIES OBVIOUSLY
REFLECT DIFFERENT CULTURES
THAT'S A REALLY OBVIOUS POINT.
IT COULD BE ILLUSTRATED AND HAS
BEEN ILLUSTRATED MANY, MANY
TIMES.
UH, THERE ARE MANY CITIES,
TORONTO WOULD BE ONE BUT THERE
ARE EVEN MORE OBVIOUS EXAMPLES
OF CITIES WHICH EXPRESS THE
JUXTAPOSITION OF CULTURES AND
THE MOST OBVIOUS EXAMPLES OF
COURSE TEND TO BE THOSE
COLONIAL CITIES WHERE YOU HAVE
TWO OR OFTEN MORE THAN TWO
CULTURAL GROUPS OFTEN QUITE
SHARPLY SEGREGATED WITH THEIR
VALUES AND PRACTICES AND
STANDARDS OF LIVING AND SO
FORTH BEING EMBODIED AND
REFLECTED IN THE CITY.
UH, THIS IS UH, ONE EXAMPLE
FROM I'VE BEEN DOING SOME WORK
ON KENYA KASUMU IS A PROVINCIAL
TOWN THIS IS A MAP OF KASUMU IN
1962 JUST AT THE POINT OF
INDEPENDENCE YOU HAVE THE CORE
OF THE TOWN WHICH IS
PREDOMINANTLY EUROPEAN UH, AND
TO SOME CONSIDERABLE DEGREE
ALSO SOUTH ASIAN.
YOU HAVE TO THE SOUTH YOU HAVE
RESIDENTIAL QUARTER WHICH IS
ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY EUROPEAN
LEADING DOWN IN THE DIRECTION
OF THE YACHT CLUB AS YOU CAN
SEE UM, AND THEN ELSEWHERE YOU
HAVE UM, OFFICIALLY YOU HAVE
MUNICIPAL DISTRICTS FOR THE
AFRICAN POPULATION TWO IN
PARTICULAR AS WELL AS INFORMAL
SETTLEMENTS KNOWN LOCALLY BY
THE BRITISH AS THE SEPTIC
FRINGE WHICH TELLS YOU
SOMETHING ABOUT THE QUALITY OF
THE UM, LIVING STANDARDS THERE
BUT VERY MUCH INFORMAL
SETTLEMENTS WHICH THE
CARTOGRAPHER HERE HAS
REPRESENTED AS SORT OF STYLISED
HUTS AND YOU CAN SEE THEM WHICH
THEY EFFECTIVELY SURROUND THE
CITY.
WELL, THAT'S A CARTOGRAPHIC
REPRESENTATION OF VERY, VERY
CONTRASTING SORTS OF
LANDSCAPES.
VERY CHARACTERISTIC OF THE
COLONIAL CITY OF COURSE BUT IN
VARYING DEGREES A
CHARACTERISTIC OF MANY CITIES
TODAY AS WELL.
FINE BUT SO WHAT?
WELL, UP TO THIS POINT WHAT I
TRIED TO GIVE YOU A FLAVOUR OF
IS A VIEW OF CITIES WHICH SEES
THE EMBODIMENT OF CULTURE IN
THE CITY DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF
CULTURE.
THE PRIVACY, THE DESIRE FOR
EXCLUSION, DIFFERENT CULTURAL
PRACTICES AND DIFFERENT
COMMERCIAL PRACTICES,
INTELLECTUAL LIFE, SO ON AND SO
FORTH.
ALL OF THESE THINGS FIND THEIR
EMBODIMENT IN THE CITY.
ALL OF THESE THINGS... THE CITY
HAS BEEN READ AS EMBODIMENTS OF
ALL THESE THINGS BUT ULTIMATELY
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
UH, THEY MAY LOOK ATTRACTIVE OR
SOMETIMES UNATTRACTIVE IN THE
CASE OF THE BIG BOX STORES.
UM, BUT WHY SHOULD WE CARE
ABOUT IT?
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE BE STUDYING
LANDSCAPES OF THAT KIND UNLESS
THEY HAVE SOME SIGNIFICANCE
BEYOND THEIR OWN SORT OF
PHYSICAL PRESENCE.
WHAT IT SEEMS TO ME IS IT'S THE
ACTIVE VIEW WHICH PROVIDES OR
STARTS TO PROVIDE US WITH SOME
ANSWERS TO THAT QUESTION WHY WE
SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN
PARTICULAR THE BUILT
ENVIRONMENT.
NOW HERE IN HIS ACTIVE VIEW
THERE'S A LOT THAT COULD BE
SAID ABOUT THE ROLE OF
MUNICIPALITIES AS POLITICAL
ENTITIES AND IN CERTAIN PLACES
AND CERTAIN TIMES VERY
OBVIOUSLY THESE HAVE BEEN
ENORMOUSLY IMPORTANT I THINKING
OF GERMANY IN THE 17th OR WHAT
IS NOW GERMANY IN THE 17th AND
18th CENTURIES CITIES AS
POLITICAL ENTITIES WERE
ENORMOUSLY IMPORTANT IN
MILITARY TERMS, IN POLITICAL
TERMS, COMMERCIAL, IN EVERY WAY
MAYBE NOT QUITE SO DRAMATICALLY
TRUE IN CANADA NOW UH, CITIES
AS MUNICIPALITIES HAVE A HARD
TIME GETTING THEMSELVES ON A
POLITICAL AGENDA AND WE'VE BEEN
HEARING ABOUT THAT IN RECENT
YEARS BUT EVEN TODAY
MUNICIPALITIES DO MATTER AND
HERE I'M GONNA BE MAKING THAT
DISTINCTION I MENTIONED BEFORE
BETWEEN OR THAT I IMPLIED
BEFORE I SHOULD SAY UH, BETWEEN
CITIES AS ENABLERS OF CHANGE AS
OPPOSED TO MORE ACTIVE AGENTS
OF CHANGE IN THEIR OWN RIGHT.
I'LL EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT MORE
FULLY.
UM, EACH OF
THOSE THINGS.
FIRSTLY, THE ENABLING SIDE OF
THINGS, LET'S GO BACK TO THOSE
CAFES UH, THAT I MENTIONED
BEFORE [Speaking French] FOR
EXAMPLE WE CAN CERTAINLY SEE IT
AS YES, AS I SAID BEFORE AS A
REFLECTION, AN EMBODIMENT OF A
CERTAIN INTELLECTUAL CULTURE
THAT SATRE, PICASSO AND OTHER
PEOPLE BROUGHT TO THOSE PLACES.
BUT IT'S REALLY HARD TO BELIEVE
THAT THEY DIDN'T ALSO THOSE
INDIVIDUALS AS INDIVIDUALS OR
AS GROUPS DIDN'T BRING
SOMETHING FROM THAT EXPERIENCE,
FROM THAT EXCHANGE, FROM THAT
PLACE WHICH YES, EMBODIED
CERTAIN VALUES, CERTAIN
PRACTICES BUT ALSO HELPED TO
SHAPE.
INCREASING THE SCALE A LITTLE
BIT I SHOWED YOU A CAFE, I
SHOWED YOU A COUPLE OF
DWELLINGS WHAT ABOUT A
NEIGHBOURHOOD OR A DISTRICT
PERHAPS IS A BETTER TERM AND
I'VE TAKEN THESE IMAGES FROM
UH, A PIECE THAT GUNTHER GAD
AND DEREK HOLDSWORTH PUT
TOGETHER FOR THE HISTORICAL
ATLAS OF CANADA A FEW YEARS AGO
NOW.
UH, LOOKING AT THE TORONTO
PLUTOCRAT IN 1913 AND THERE YOU
HAVE OSLER AND MACKENZIE AND
PELLET AND SO ON AND SO FORTH
AND IN THE TOP LEFT HAND CORNER
THERE YOU HAVE UH, SORT OF A
DIAGRAMMATIC REPRESENTATION OF
THE INTERCONNECTIONS AMONG THEM
IN TERMS OF UM, UH, IN TERMS OF
THEIR DIRECTORSHIPS, COMPANY
DIRECTORSHIPS.
UH, BELOW THAT YOU HAVE A MAP
SHOWING THE LOCATION OF THEIR
UM, OF THE OFFICES OF THOSE
COMPANY PRESIDENTS.
UH, AND YES, YOU COULD READ THE
MAP AS AN EMBODIMENT OF THAT
NETWORK BUT WHAT I WOULD ALSO
SUGGEST IS THAT AND GUNTHER GAD
AND DEREK HOLDSWORTH SUGGEST
THAT THAT MAP ALSO IS PART OF
OR THAT UH, PATTERN THAT IS
MAPPED THERE IS ALSO SOMETHING
THAT ENABLED THAT PARTICULAR
SET OF INTERCONNECTIONS TO
ARISE AND TO BE MAINTAINED SO
AGAIN WE HAVE A BUILT
ENVIRONMENT AS ENABLING.
SIMILARLY AND I HAVE TO HAVE
SUBURBAN EXAMPLES I'M SORRY, I
HAVE TO HAVE SUBURBAN EXAMPLES
IN HERE UM, SUBURBAN TORONTO IN
THAT SAME PERIOD OF TIME THE
1910s LOOKING AT THAT SCENE
THERE WHICH IS A WATERCOLOUR
PAINTING DONE IN 1911 BY A
VISITOR FROM BRITAIN UH, CALLED
THE TWO STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
IN ELLS COURT WHAT YOU'RE
SEEING IS OBVIOUSLY WORKING
CLASSES ALSO MOSTLY IMMIGRANT
HOUSING, OWNER BUILT, YES,
OWNER BUILT IN STAGES STARTING
WITH SHACKS BEING IMPROVED,
EXTENDED, REPLACED AND SO ON
AND SO FORTH.
YOU CAN READ THAT LANDSCAPE
MANY PEOPLE HAVE.
UH, READ THAT LANDSCAPE AS AN
EMBODIMENT OF A SET OF VALUES.
BUT WHAT I WOULD ALSO INSIST IS
THAT THAT LANDSCAPE, THAT
HOUSING THE ABSENCE OF BUILDING
REGULATIONS, THE CHEAP LAND WAS
SOMETHING THAT ENABLED THE
REALISATION OF THOSE VALUES, IT
DIDN'T JUST EMBODY IT, IT MADE
THEM POSSIBLE.
PERHAPS A MORE FAMILIAR, MORE
OBVIOUS CERTAINLY ON A LARGER
SCALE SORT OF EXAMPLE TO THE
SUBURBS OF TODAY.
IT'S A VERY MUCH FAMILIAR
ARGUMENT.
VERY MUCH OUT THERE IN THE
MEDIA AS TO THE LONG-TERM
CONSEQUENCES OF CURRENT FORMS
OF SUBURBAN GROWTH SUCH AS WE
SEE HERE, SUBURBAN DENVER AND
THE VERY RECENT UH, PAST THERE
WAS A DOCUMENTARY, QUASI
DOCUMENTARY VERY [Stammering]
TENDENTIOUS DOCUMENTARY A
COUPLE OF YEARS AGO CALLED
THE END OF SURBURBIA
WHICH SOME OF YOU MAY HAVE
SEEN.
SHE WAS TRYING TO MAKE THE
CONNECTION BETWEEN THE
DECLINING AVAILABILITY OF OIL
AND THE DECREASING VIABILITY OF
MANY OF THESE MORE MODERN
SUBURBS.
OBVIOUSLY VERY RELIANT UPON
FOSSIL FUELS OBVIOUSLY ALSO
VERY DAMAGING IN TERMS OF THEIR
ENVIRONMENT AND CONSEQUENCES
THIS IS AGAIN JUST TO UNDERLINE
A REALLY OBVIOUS POINT I THINK
THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT
ANYONE INTENDED BUT IT'S
SOMETHING THAT'S OUT THERE AS A
CONSEQUENCE SO IT'S A
CONSEQUENCE OF THE BUILT
ENVIRONMENT THE PARTICULAR TYPE
OF BUILT ENVIRONMENT.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE FROM PARIS,
SUBURBAN PARIS IN THE 1920s
LOOKED SURPRISINGLY LIKE
SUBURBAN TORONTO IN THAT SAME
PERIOD OF TIME AND IT WAS VERY
WORKING CLASS, TOO.
SUBURBAN PARIS OF THE POST WAR
PERIOD LOOKS A LOT MORE LIKE
WHAT YOU SEE ON THE RIGHT HAND
SIDE OR HERE THIS IS AN IMAGE
THAT WAS SENT TO ME BY A
STUDENT OF A COLLEAGUE IN PARIS
WHO'S DOING RESEARCH ON SOME OF
THESE SUBURBS THAT EXPERIENCE
THE DISRUPTIONS, THE RIOTS,
UNDOUBTEDLY YOU'RE ALL FAMILIAR
WITH I GUESS IT WAS LAST
NOVEMBER.
MANY THINGS OBVIOUSLY WENT INTO
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THOSE THE
FORMATION, THE FOSTERING OF
THOSE RIGHTS BUT WHILE I THINK
CLEARLY IT WAS THE ISOLATION
AND THE CHARACTER OF THE SORTS
OF SUBURBAN ENVIRONMENTS THAT
THE PEOPLE WERE LIVING IN.
IT'S EASY TO FIND NEGATIVE
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES BUT
THERE ARE ALSO POSITIVE
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES WHICH
I'D LIKE TO DRAW YOUR ATTENTION
TO.
UH, I HAVE ALREADY SAID THAT I
WAS IN HOLLAND A COUPLE OF
WEEKS AGO THIS IS NOT MY SUMMER
HOLIDAY PHOTOGRAPHS FROM MY
SUMMER HOLIDAY.
WE THINK OF AMONG OTHER THINGS
HOLLAND IS A PLACE WHICH HAS
THIS WONDERFUL SYMBIOTIC SORT
OF RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A BUILT
ENVIRONMENT AND PEOPLE WHO USE
BICYCLES WHO ARE ALWAYS BEING
TOLD WE SHOULD BE USING
BICYCLES, RIGHT?
FOR ALL SORTS OF VERY GOOD
REASONS BUT OF COURSE IT'S A
SYMBIOSIS WHICH WAS A HAPPEN
CHANCE I MEAN, THE BUILT
ENVIRONMENT OF DUTCH CITIES AS
OF COURSE OF MANY EUROPEAN
CITIES THEY GREW UP HIGH
DENSITIES BEFORE BICYCLES WERE
THOUGHT OF.
BICYCLES CAME ALONG AND IT
TURNED OUT THAT THEY WERE IDEAL
FOR GETTING AROUND IN THOSE
KINDS OF ENVIRONMENTS.
THERE'S AN UNINTENDED
CONSEQUENCE IF YOU LIKE.
ANOTHER UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE
UM, CLOSER TO HOME AND I'M
SORRY I'M USING SO MANY TORONTO
EXAMPLES IT'S A REFLECTION I'M
AFRAID OF MY OWN RESEARCH TO A
LARGER DEGREE.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF AN
UNINTENDED EFFECT HAS TO DO
WITH THE WAY THE TRANSIT
EVOLVED IN TORONTO NOW I'M GLAD
I'M GIVING THIS TALK TODAY AND
NOT YESTERDAY.
BECAUSE WHAT
I WAS GOING TO SAY IS THAT YOU
KNOW, SINCE THE 1960s TORONTO
HAS LIKED TO THINK OF ITSELF AS
HAVING A WONDERFULLY EFFICIENT
TRANSIT SYSTEM UM, UH, WELL
RUN, WELL USED, A MODEL BY
NORTH AMERICAN STANDARDS AND
CERTAINLY THAT IS THE WAY THAT
IT WAS REPRESENTED PARTICULARLY
IN THE 1970s AND INTO THE 1980s
AS WELL BUT REALLY RIGHT
THROUGH TO THE PRESENT.
WELL, WHY IS IT WE MIGHT ASK
THAT TORONTO DOES HAVE A
TRANSIT SYSTEM THAT IS WHEN IT
RUNS UH, QUITE WELL USED WELL,
IT'S NOT JUST BECAUSE
TORONTONIANS ARE VIRTUOUS OR
MAYBE HAVE NOTHING TO DO
WHATSOEVER WITH VIRTUE IN A
CIVIC OR AN INDIVIDUAL SENSE.
UM, IT HAS AN AWFUL LOT TO DO
WITH THE WAY THAT TORONTO GREW
UP IN THE FIRST UH, THREE
DECADES PARTICULARLY THE FIRST
TWO DECADES OF THE 20th CENTURY
BECAUSE IN THAT PERIOD OF TIME
UH, IN THAT PERIOD OF TIME AT
LEAST UNTIL 1921 THE TRANSIT
SYSTEM AS MANY OF YOU ALL KNOW
WAS RUN BY A PRIVATE COMPANY
WHICH HAD THE MONOPOLY, WHICH
REFUSED TO EXTEND THE STREETCAR
LINES OUT TO THE SUBURBS OR IT
EVEN REFUSED TO EXTEND ITS
LINES OUT TO THE CITY LIMITS.
AND SO DEVELOPERS AND BUILDERS
AND OWNER BUILDERS WHO ARE
BUILDING BEYOND THE CITY LIMITS
DID SO AT VERY HIGH DENSITIES
AND OF COURSE THAT'S A VERY
FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT FOR PUBLIC
TRANSIT SO WHEN THE TTC WAS
FORMED IN 1921 IT BEGAN TO
EXTEND LINES OUT INTO THE
SUBURBAN AREAS IF YOU SEE ON
THE RIGHT HAND SIDE IT WAS
BUILDING LINES OUT INTO AREAS
THAT ALWAYS EXISTED AND NOT
ONLY ALREADY EXISTED BUT WERE
ALREADY DEVELOPED AT HIGH
DENSITIES.
WELL, NO ONE PLANNED THAT.
I MEAN, CERTAINLY BEING THE
PRIVATE COMPANY THAT HAD THE
FRANCHISE UNTIL 1921 WASN'T
THINKING THAT GOSH, IF WE DO
THIS THEN IN 60 YEARS TIME
TORONTO WILL BE ABLE TO BOAST A
RELATIVELY EFFICIENT TRANSIT
SYSTEM THAT WASN'T IN THEIR
MIND AT ALL.
THEY WERE DOING IT FOR GOOD
ECONOMIC, IMMEDIATELY CURRENT
REASONS.
BUT THE LONG-TERM EFFECT WAS
INDEED UM, BENEFICIAL.
THERE ARE MIXED UNINTENDED
EFFECTS NOT OBVIOUSLY NEGATIVE,
NOT ENTIRELY POSITIVE WE MAY
SAY.
THOSE CAFES BACK TO THOSE CAFES
UH, NOW OF COURSE ARE TOURIST
DESTINATIONS BECAUSE THEY HAVE
THESE ASSOCIATIONS THESE
HISTORIC ASSOCIATIONS.
YOU CAN BUY REPRODUCTION
[Speaking foreign language]
ON amazon.com THAT'S THE TRUTH.
UH, THEY'RE TOURIST
DESTINATIONS IT'S A VERY MOOT
POINT AS TO WHETHER THERE ARE
ANY CURRENT FRENCH
INTELLECTUALS WHO WOULD BE SEEN
DEAD IN THOSE PLACES.

[Laughter]

Richard continues BUT HEED IT
OR NOT I DIDN'T GET A REPLY I'M
SURE I NEVER WILL.
I DID ACTUALLY SEND EMAILS TO A
COUPLE OF PROMINENT FRENCH
SOCIAL THEORISTS TO FIND OUT
WHERE THEY WOULD BE SEEN DEAD
IN THOSE PLACES.
BUT I HAVEN'T HEARD BACK YET
SO.
NEVER MIND.
IS THIS GOOD OR BAD?
I DON'T KNOW.
I MEAN, IT'S GOOD FOR THE LOCAL
ECONOMY FOR THESE CAFES AND FOR
THE IMMEDIATE DISTRICT
SURROUNDING THEM I GUESS UM,
WHAT ELSE ONE MIGHT MAKE OF IT
I GUESS IS OPEN TO DEBATE.
AND THEN
THERE ARE INSTANCES WHICH WERE
OBVIOUSLY WERE CONTESTED NOT
JUST MIXED RESULTS,
CONSEQUENCES BUT OBVIOUSLY
CONTESTED AND CONTESTED AT THE
TIME.
AND THIS IS
AN EXAMPLE I GUESS IT'S
ACTUALLY JUST ABOUT MY
FAVOURITE EXAMPLE BECAUSE IT
COMES FROM BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND
WHICH IS MY ORIGINAL HOMETOWN
AS OPPOSED TO MY ADOPTED
HOMETOWN.
UH, THIS IS A UH, UH, AN IMAGE,
A LITHOGRAPH IN FACT FROM 1832
ENTITLED THE GATHERING OF THE
UNIONS.
BIRMINGHAM AS YOU MAY OR MAY
NOT KNOW SAW IN THE EARLY 1830s
A SERIES OF THESE VERY LARGE
GATHERINGS.
THIS WAS SUPPOSEDLY THE LARGEST
OF THE LOT UH, OF
DEMONSTRATIONS WHICH EVENTUALLY
LED TO THE GREAT REFORM ACT OF
1834 WHICH WAS A MOMENT OF SOME
SIGNIFICANCE IN THE POLITICAL
HISTORY CERTAINLY OF BRITAIN
UM, IT WAS AN ENORMOUS
GATHERING I MEAN, SOME
ESTIMATES OF THE SIZE OF THE
CROWD HERE PUT IT AT BEING
SUBSTANTIALLY LARGER THAN THE
POPULATION OF BIRMINGHAM ITSELF
AT THAT TIME AND THAT'S
ACTUALLY POSSIBLE BECAUSE
PEOPLEAY HAVE BEEN COMING IN
FROM SURROUNDING AREAS, THE
BLACK COUNTRY AND SO ON.
THAT KIND OF A GATHERING IS
ONLY POSSIBLE WAS AND ARGUABLY
EFFECTIVELY IS ONLY POSSIBLE IN
AN URBAN AREA NOT JUST BECAUSE
THE URBAN AREAS HAVE LARGE
POPULATIONS THAT COULD SUPPORT
IT BUT ALSO HAVE THAT MODALITY
THAT CENTRALITY THAT ENABLES
PEOPLE TO COME IN OR TO BE
BROUGHT IN FROM EXTENSIVE
REGIONS AND I HAVEN'T SAID UH,
IN MY TALK AND I'M NOT GOING TO
SAY ANYMORE ABOUT THE ISSUE
ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
THE CITY AND ITS SURROUNDING
REGIONS AND SO FORTH THAT'S
ANOTHER TALK AND YOU'LL BE
DELIGHTED TO KNOW I'M NOT
GIVING THAT TODAY BUT UM, BUT
VERY MUCH CONTESTED OBVIOUSLY
AT THE TIME UH, THIS WAS
SOMETHING I MEAN, THIS WAS...
THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT MANY
PEOPLE WELCOMED.
THIS KIND OF PRESSURE AND THERE
WERE OTHERS OBVIOUSLY WHO THE
LAST THING ON EARTH WANTED TO
SEE WAS A LITHOGRAPH LIKE THAT.
COMING TO THE PRESENT WE MAY
ASK I MEAN, IF WE THINK NOW
TODAY WHERE IN THE WORLD IS
URBANISATION HAPPENING ON THE
LARGEST SCALE AND WITH THE
GREATEST POSSIBLE SIGNIFICANCE
WELL, OF COURSE WE HAVE TO BE
THINKING ABOUT CHINA.
UM, WHICH WAS WHICH HAD FOR
SEVERAL DECADES BOTTLED IN OR
CONTROLLED THE RATE OF
URBANISATION WHICH IS NOW
OBVIOUSLY THROWING OPEN THE
DOORS TO THE CITY AND WHERE WE
SEE ON A SCALE UNPRECEDENTED
UH, WHETHER IT BE IN TERMS OF
FACTORIES, WHETHER IT BE IN
TERMS OF URBAN ENVIRONMENTS UM,
AND ALSO OF COURSE THE
REDEVELOPMENT OF THOSE URBAN
ENVIRONMENTS WHICH ITSELF IS A
HIGHLY CONTESTED ISSUE WAS IN
THE 1960s IN NORTH AMERICA IT
IS VERY MUCH CONTESTED EVEN IN
THE POLITICAL CONTEXT OF CHINA
TODAY.
SO WHAT I WOULD SUGGEST IS THAT
OBVIOUSLY IN PRESENT AND IN
FUTURE AS MUCH AS IN THE PAST
URBANISATION AND ALL OF THE
ISSUES SURROUNDING THE THINGS
THAT I'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT
TODAY ARE GOING TO BE VERY
IMPORTANT.
THANK YOU.

[Applause]

The clip ends, and Andrew reappears in the studio.

He says NOW I HAVE TO ADMIT
MY OWN PERSONAL BIAS.
I MEAN, I WAS RAISED IN A
SUBURB JUST OUTSIDE OF OTTAWA
AND I LOVED IT.
I DID.
IT HAD AN INCREDIBLY DIVERSE
COMMUNITY FOR 1970s OTTAWA AND
IT WAS SAFE AND THERE WAS LOTS
OF GREEN SPACE HOWEVER NOW THAT
I'M A PARENT I'M NOT SURE HOW
LONG I COULD SURVIVE IF I
COULDN'T WALK TO THE CORNER
STORE AND I HAD TO COMMUTE
EVERYDAY.
IT'S IMPORTANT TO KEEP OUR
CITIES VIBRANT AND SAFE THAT IS
THE CANADIAN DREAM.
TO STAY SAFE AND INFORMED ABOUT
WHAT IS COMING UP ON
BIG IDEAS
SEND US AN
EMAIL TO bigideas@tvo.org AND
EVERY FRIDAY YOU WILL GET AN EMAIL.
I'M ANDREW MOODIE, SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

[Theme music plays]

The end credits roll.

bigideas@tvo.org

416-484-2746

Big Ideas. Producer, Wodek Szemberg.

Producers, Lara Hindle, Mike Miner, Gregg Thurlbeck.

Logos: Unifor, Canadian Media Guild.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2006, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Steven Levitt and Richard Harris