Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bill Whittle and Charles N. Steele

Regular readers might know I am something of a fan of Bill Whittle's video work, especially his "Virtual President" series, and have featured him on this blog several times, such as here and here. Thanks to one of my former students, Nathan L., who is now with PJTV, on 10 March I had the opportunity to participate in a panel/interview session for Bill Whittle's PJTV special "Made in China," a three-part series of videos addressing U.S.-China relations and China's role in the world.  I greatly enjoyed the experience of speaking with Bill Whittle and the other guest, Scott Ott.  I thought it was a great discussion.  I would post the video here, or link to it, but it currently seems to be available only to subscribers, although I've watched it at least half a dozen times, as recently as a couple of days ago.  Try this link, click on the first video, and you might get it.  Regardless, for about 6.00 USD, PJTV will sell you the three videos in the series on DVD... or better yet, you should go whole hog and subscribe to PJTV.

I am not an experienced TV interviewee (I believe the last time I was interviewed on television was with CNN at Ben Bernanke's address at the 2009 AEA/ASSA Conference, and before that my 1999 interview in Beijing by China National Television) but I am very happy with my presentation.  I could be a bit more polished, I suppose, but given that I'm averaging 8 years between appearances, I'm pretty darned polished.  To me, the oddest thing about my performance is that only five days before I had had eye surgery, and my right eye was completely dilated, unfocused and blood red (usually not apparent) and the (non-PJTV) camera operator told me to look straight into what I understood to be the camera, but instead I was looking at a slight angle; the whole visual gave me what I think is a rather deranged look.  (OTOH, maybe I simply do have a deranged look.)

Anyway, I am pleased with the interview and think it's worthwhile.  For that matter, I think all of Whittle's guests on all three videos were on target, save for Marion Smith in the second video, who seems to argue that China is an unreformed unrepentant Marxist system.  That's wrong.  If it were true, China's "economic miracle" would be a literal miracle -- for it really has been the greatest lifting of people out of abject poverty to a reasonably decent, or at least adequate, living standard, in history.  Today average incomes in China are more than 30 times greater than they were at the beginning of transformation in 1978, and that's happened for more than one billion people.  No, that miracle was accomplished by substituting the market for Marxist central planning.

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