Sunday, November 3, 2013

Michael Bloomberg: Society Will Be Demanding More Than the Average Person Can Learn.

Michael Bloomberg on the past and future of New York. Interviewed by Fareed Zakaria. GPS. CNN, November 3, 2013. Video at the Internet Archive. Bloomberg interview starts at clip 36:00.

In Conversation: Michael Bloomberg. By Chris Smith. New York Magazine, September 7, 2013.

Michael Bloomberg: Higher Education Demands More Resources. Video. Time, September 20, 2013. YouTube.

Tyler Cowen’s Future Shock: No More Average People. By Michael Barone. NJBR, October 8, 2013. With related articles.

Average Is Over. By Tyler Cowen. NJBR, September 7, 2013. With related articles and video.

Was America’s Prosperity an Accident of History? By Benjamin Wallace-Wells. NJBR, July 22, 2013. With related articles and videos.

Bloomberg/Zakaria Transcript:

ZAKARIA: How do you make a city thrive and survive in today’s economy?
With all the challenges that the economy has today, what do you think the key to the success of a city is?
BLOOMBERG: It has to be open to everyone. A very diverse population really makes a big difference. You have to have a raison d’etre. The city has got to have a spirit and a reason why people want to go there and live there.
And one of the problems with Washington, DC is everybody lives there, but they look out. They never think they're going to stay there for the rest of their lives. They’re always waiting to go home.
New York City or other great cities, people want to come there. And today, there are many people that are moving to New York City than leaving for the first time in decades. We have more tourists than ever before. More people have jobs than ever before.
And that creates a dynamic place where the best and the brightest want to be.
And if the best and the brightest want to be there, they’ll create and generate a tax base so that you can take care of the less fortunate.
But the real key – and it’s not a populist thing to say – not popular to say, because it’s not populist, but you have to have the wherewithal, those people who are willing to think out of the box try new things, start new businesses, take risks, if you're ever going to have a future.
Otherwise, you do the same thing. And if you do the same thing, we know where that ends, not prettily.
ZAKARIA: You’ve also talked about how it’s very important for a city like New York to have a bunch of very rich people so you could tax them . . .
BLOOMBERG: Sure. Sure.
ZAKARIA: You are . . .
BLOOMBERG: A very small . . .
ZAKARIA: – unapologetic about that.
BLOOMBERG: No, very small – well, the fact of the matter is a very small percentage of the people pay the preponderance of the taxes. And if you don’t want the tax revenue, then you can lose those people. But if you want to have the ability to go and invest in infrastructure, invest in cultural institutions, have social programs that can really help people who are less fortunate, you have to have the dynamic drive, the people that are creative and the revenue. and that comes from people who do well. And in our city, the poor actually are a little bit better than the poor in other big cities. But the real reason for this great inequality, as people describe it, or gap in income, is we have been very successful in attracting the very, very wealthy. Those come here and they spend money and they create businesses.
And they can go elsewhere, as they are very mobile. They’re the one group that has the resources to go.
But interestingly enough, if you were to take the top 20 percent out and look at just the 80 percent that’s left, the income or net worth is 100 percent correlated to academic achievement. And more and more, we are going to be facing the fact that the demands for society are greater and perhaps greater than we can teach or the average person can learn.
And how that works out, I don’t know. But it is – it is clear that if you have a better education and if you can be more creative, you will do better. And if you don’t, then, unfortunately, well – you’re going to be struggling.
ZAKARIA: What are you worried about when you look at New York after Bloomberg?
What are you worried about being undone or a legacy that, you know, of government that will be perhaps eroded or atrophied?
What . . .
BLOOMBERG: Well, I think most of the things we've done, hopefully, if we’ve done a good job, will stay in place. Yesterday, I was in London. The weather was nice, so you think better of any city when the sun is shining. But London is a real competitor to New York.
And we’ve got to understand if I we were to stop improving, stop diversifying, stop investing, we will get pushed back and other places will take over. I was in Paris the day before and I had dinner with some people, all of whom talked about all their friends moving out of – out of Paris and out of France because the tax rates are so high.
Those are the people who are going to create the jobs and pay the taxes down the road.
You can’t – you can’t hold the waves from coming in. You’ve got to keep making your society open and you’ve got to keep providing opportunities.
But if you start to focus on equal results rather than equal opportunity, unfortunately, you start to dumb everything down. And if you do that, you’re going to get hopelessly left behind.