Return to Transcripts main page
Interview With University Of College London Professor And "Mission Economy" Author Mariana Mazzucato; Interview With Former British Conservative MP Rory Stewart; Interview With China Analyst And China Crossroads Founder Frank Tsai; Interview With "Homecoming" Author Rana Foroohar; Interview With "Armageddon Time" Director James Gray; Interview With "Armageddon Time" Actor Jeremy Strong. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 17, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: We will reverse almost all the tax measures announced in the Growth Plan three weeks ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Yet more stunning U-turns in the U.K. from the new chancellor as the prime minister frantically tries to fix a problem she created. Liz
Truss tries to survive, but at was cost to the people. I asked former Tory MP, Rory Stewart, and economist Mariana Mazzucato. Then --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: China's 20th party Congress begins in Beijing and it's likely to end with an unprecedented third term for President Xi Jinping. We get
inside from China analyst and lecturer Frank Tsai in Shanghai.
Also ahead, economic analyst Rana Foroohar talks to Walter Isaacson about her book "Homecoming: The Path to Prosperity in a Post-Global World". Plus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BANKS REPETA, ACTOR, "ARMAGEDDON TIME": I just wanted to be like you.
JEREMY STRONG, ACTOR, "ARMAGEDDON TIME": I want you to be a whole lot better than me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: "Armageddon Time", actor Jeremy Strong joins me with director James Gray on their new film focusing on race and injustice.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
What's happening in the U.K. right now has heads spinning around Europe and even in the United States. With President Biden diplomatically calling the
prime ministers U-turn on her unpopular tax cutting plan predictable. And even the Greek prime minister has joked recently about it. Telling the
"Sunday Times", that if the U.K. needs experience with the IMF, he's here to help. Referring to the infamous Greek financial meltdown of 2010.
And then there was this. When Liz Truss, last week, walked into a weekly audience with King Charles. He muttered, dear. Oh, dear. as he greeted her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Your, Majesty. So, great to see you again.
KING CHARLES III, KING OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Thank you, dear.
TRUSS: It's a great pleasure.
KING CHARLES III: Dear, oh dear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The prime minister has been on the job, not even six weeks. And spending most of that time scrambling to survive. Her new chancellor,
Jeremy Hunt, today brought down the acts on nearly all of her tax cutting plans after it had caused chaos in the markets and caused the British
people huge pain in their pocketbooks. On top of the high inflation and rising energy costs which have many here extremely anxious about the coming
So, let's try to make sense of this variant British crisis. With Rory Stewart, the former Tory cabinet minister and now president of GiveDirectly
and economist Mariana Mazzucato.
Let me first ask you, Mariana, we've just been hearing about how she can survive. How the prime -- as if that's all that's at stake. How big --
first of all, let's talk about people. How big is this for the people of the U.K.?
MARIANA MAZZUCATO, PROFESSOR UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON AND AUTHOR, "MISSION ECONOMY": I think it's huge. It's huge not only -- well, first of all,
because of the massive instability that it's caused, which means that then the pound sinks. So, people are poor, relatively. And their mortgage bills,
of course, have risen because of what's happened to interest rates.
But they're also going to be more worse off, I think, because of what's about to happen. Which is that in order to show that the politicians and
the -- that the minister is actually serious about getting the economy back on its foot. They're about to embark on another massive wave of what we
call austerity, which we knew doesn't work. Even the World Bank has written articles on how it was futile after the financial crisis to have 10 years
of austerity in the United Kingdom.
What does that mean? It means cuts to public education, public health, areas even, like, public transport. And what's interesting is that the
current chancellor was actually the minister of health in the U.K. for a very long time. He was the, you know, longest minister of health.
AMANPOUR: In that position, yes.
MAZZUCATO: In that position. And he was criticized at the time by doctors, by nurses, by junior doctors, especially. due to the cuts. The real cuts
that were actually made to the NHS. Which of course than once COVID hit, we felt. You know, I mean, just like with climate change. The cost of inaction
is much greater than the cause of action.
So, if you're not actually properly funding the social fabric of society, and in this case, you know, public health systems globally should be
strengthened not weakened. This austerity that we're about to experience in order to pay also for some of the tax cuts, actually that are going to
remain, is a huge problem.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask Rory Stewart about that. Rory is joining us from Africa. We said that you're now president of GiveDirectly, an NGO,
obviously. So, you know about this part and you know about this team because you've worked closely with them in various incarnations.
What do you think will happen, not just to Liz Truss, but to the stability of this country. Do you fear, as the IMF chief has said, that there may
actually be instability on the streets?
RORY STEWART, FORMER BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP, PRESIDENT, GIVEDIRECTLY, AND CO-HOST, "THE REST IS POLITICS" PODCAST: Well, I definitely think we're
going into a terrible situation. I think it's almost inevitable now that we're going into recession along with inflation. I think that Liz Truss,
the new prime minister who's only been in a few weeks, is likely to be toppled almost immediately because within a few weeks, she's taken her
party into a situation where it has 30 points behind in the opinion polls.
If they were good to go to an election on the current polling today, they would be almost wiped out as a party. And most of the members of parliament
would lose their seats. So, I think the great challenge now is whether Liz Truss is able to survive a few weeks. And if she doesn't, who's going to
AMANPOUR: Rory, people have been asking about the mechanism for that. Because -- I mean, to be honest with you, it's also about democracy. And
we're going to get to that in a moment. This leader was not elected by the people but by a fraction of the actual paid-up membership. How -- what is
the process for, "Toppling" this particular prime minister. How does it work?
STEWART: Well, so the answer is that at the moment, the MPs are supposed to firstly put in a letter. So, if enough people put in a letter of no
confidence, that is supposed to bring down the prime minister. But there are rules to try to prevent that from happening within 12 months.
So, all those rules would have to be ripped up. And the truth is, of course, they would be ripped up because it's a parliamentary system of
government. If she can't command enough of her MPs to win a majority, she can't survive. So, the MPs have the power here if they want to use it.
The second thing is that they're than supposed to produce two candidates to the party members. And as you say, the party members only 150,000 largely
quite elderly right-wing people who represent around 0.2 percent of the British population.
So, the real democratic change, actually, paradoxically is to bring power back to the MPs and let the MPs, who are themselves elected, elect the
prime minister. Because although there are few MPs, at least they're elected. Party members are not elected. They just have to pay a few pounds
a year and they produced with Boris Johnson and Liz Truss two disastrous prime ministers in a row.
AMANPOUR: And just to the other point that, you know, the Labour Party, if they -- you know, if there was an election today, they would win according
to the polls. But you can't even trigger an election right without -- because it's a fix term.
STEWART: So, if the MPs wish to stay, they can stay for another two years. And of course, at the moment, they would be as it were turkeys voting for
Christmas, that the conservative MPs dissolve parliament. Two thirds of them would lose their seats.
So, the likelihood is that instead of calling an election, they would try to bring in another leader. They've got 100 percent chance of losing under
Liz Truss. They've maybe got an 80, 90 percent chance of losing under another leader.
AMANPOUR: Mariana, before we get further deeper into the actual financial and economic fallout, what about the democratic situation? I mean, all of
this is taking places, as Rory just laid out, from the second prime minister in several years -- well, since Brexit, who is not elected by the
people. And it's a very hard to see how I can go to an election. Does the democratic part of this trouble you and affect anything to do with the
economic, sort of, the finances, the macro picture?
MAZZUCATO: Well, I'm not a political scientist but for sure, all this instability, as I had mentioned, is not good for the economy. Hence for the
people who require jobs. They'd like to see their wages actually rising due to investments that we're actually making in what should be an
infrastructure program. A green program, like many other countries.
By the way, Europe, which we've decided to leave, has a massive economic plan right now called the Next Gen EU recovery program, it's about two
trillion Euros. Which has been distributed to the member states. Conditional on that they actually have a climate strategy and a digital
divide strategy. But the key word there is strategy.
To have a strategy, you also need to plan. To plan, you need time. You need civil servants that aren't constantly moved from one ministry to another.
Lots of other people that I personally was working with at one point that were in the ministry that Kwasi Kwarteng was running at the time, the
business ministry, then were moved over to the Brexit problem. Now, they're, you know, being shuffled around.
So, this instability at the civil service level is tragic when you're actually trying to implement an economic plan.
Whether it's the leveling up agenda, which is trying to make the north of the country, you know, just as well off of the south. But especially the
kind of investment that we need from both the public and the private side. All of that is about collaborating on particular projects.
If there is no project, there is no planning. There's just lots of instability. This is definitely about for everyone. But I should also say
that, you know, if we're talking about democracy, one of the things that isn't being talked enough about is that part of the plan that hasn't been
changed has been -- you know, for example, an attack on trade unions. It was very explicit in the plan that they were also going to, you know, make
this a low regulation, low tax haven. They've gone back on some of the tax. They haven't got back on the regulation bit and the bit about trade unions.
You know, we've just lived through, in recent months, also a big strike by the rail and transport sector which people actually became a very attuned
to because of how eloquent the, you know, head trade unionist was talking about. The problems we face by working people.
And this isn't about being pro or against, you know, any specific politician or even trade union leader. It's about how do we set a plan
where the trade unions, government and business can together be at the table and plan for the future. And we have the opposite of that. We have
union bashing government. A low regulation government. A low tax mentality, regardless of whether some of these taxes now aren't being changed. And
what we really must be talking about is how do we learn from the mistakes of the past?
And I repeat, the mistakes of austerity are widely recognized everywhere in the world. And what really frightens me is that in order to calm the
financial markets now, given what's just happened last week or so, the austerity is going to be introduced as a way to show that the government
isn't going to be --
AMANPOUR: This serious.
MAZZUCATO: -- irresponsible.
MAZZUCATO: And that is the most irresponsible thing that the U.K. government can do. To reintroduce austerity which weakened health systems,
weakened the public education system, increased inequality, and really reduced the social fabric.
AMANPOUR: Rory, that again is on the back of the people. If you bring austerity again, as we know and as Mariana just outlined again and re-
familiarized us all with. What do you expect people to actually do? I mean, if you go back, you know, decades now. We remember the poll tax, how there
were riots in the streets and how the prime minister then-Thatcher had to do a U-turn. Already, these guys are doing several U-turns.
But how do you expect, for instance, on mortgages and when it comes to public spending to affect peoples -- I guess, you know, willingness to
express it elsewhere on the streets?
STEWART: Well, I definitely think that the majority of the British population would not like to see increases in spending -- on public
spending, not decreases. There is a real risk of increasing numbers of strikes. It's going to be very difficult for the government to keep up with
inflation, inflation running a 10 percent. And the government will not feel that it's able to raise wages by 10 percent so people will feel much worse
And the same time we're in a situation which the financial markets have lost confident. So, there's very little room for maneuver. The government
isn't going to be able to get into a situation of being able to borrow more and spend more to get out of this crisis. And I think the problem,
unfortunately, is one that isn't just going to be a problem for the conservative government.
If it seems likely they lose the next election, the labor government is going to be stuck in a very, very similar situation because some of the
options available to the United States, which is the U.S. -- which the U.S. is the world's reserve currency, are not available to Britain. We simply
don't have the freedom with markets to do that kind of spending and borrowing.
AMANPOUR: I just want to play, and I, sort of, alluded to it at the beginning what President Biden said over the weekend. He was literally in
an ice cream parlor buying and paying for his ice cream. And he was talking about what essentially is the British, you know, this whole Truss and
trickle-down economics. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, it's predictable. I mean, it was -- I wasn't the only one that thought it was a mistake. I think that the idea of
cutting taxes on a super wealthy at a time when -- anyway, I just think -- I disagree with the policy but that's up to Great Britain to make that
judgment. Not me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Rory, he made the judgment but then said it's up to Great Britain. That it's an unwise policy. And we've seen that she's had to U-
turn on it. But your abroad right now. And you've spent a lot of time, you know, abroad for the government as well. What do you think this does to the
British reputation abroad?
STEWART: I think that it's very sad. I think it's very sad to see a U.S. president come out like that publicly and criticize the U.K. domestic tax
policy. I mean, it is a bit absurd, to be honest. Obviously, the taxes on the super wealthy and the United States are far lower than they are in
Britain. And if Biden was serious about what he was saying, he should think about what would happen if he increased taxes to the British level. We've
got the highest tax burden that we've had since the 1950s.
So, I think that actually indicates, in a way, how much Britain is losing credibility that the president of the United States, which is a far more
unequal society than Britain with a very low taxation on the super-rich would-be criticizing Britain just shows how much we're losing control of
And I think one of the saddest things about this is that Britain -- whatever you thought about austerity, at least, had a reputation for
physical prudence. The markets trusted that budgets could be delivered. They trusted that the prime ministers who were elected could deliver on
their mandates. And we're now in a situation where Britain is feeling more like Berlusconi's (ph) Italy.
AMANPOUR: Well, Mariana, reminds me that she's a talent but nonetheless, you probably agree. Do you think this is partly stemming from Brexit and
all the miscalculations and the empty promises about, you know, this great economic free trade here, free trade there. None of which has yet come to
MAZZUCATO: Well, Brexit is and was and will be a total disaster for the main reason that we already have low investment in this country. We have a
financialized form of capitalism. We have lots of companies making money not because they're investing in a productive infrastructure but just
because they're buying and selling, you know, assets.
So how do you actually foster a long-term growth? You need productive investment. And when businesses see the market actually reducing, the
market that they can actually service reducing, which did reduce with Brexit, they invest less. And there has been a massive flight of business
investment away from the U.K. Also, research investment away from the U.K. Research is a key driver of long-term growth.
But I do think that, you know, it's not -- well, I would beg to differ a bit on the fact there is no maneuver. We could, for example, be taxing the
excess profits. Not just profits. It's not about anti-profits, or, you know, communism.
There's excess profits being earned right now from the energy sector, from the gas sector. They could actually be taxed directly because the source of
inflation right now is not demand. It's not about wages. There's no point of just increasing interest rates thinking that that's going to dampen
demands so inflation goes down.
This is mainly being caused by energy crisis and by excess profits in the system which is allowing the markup on profits to rise. And energy
companies are going to be earning an excess of 170 billion profits this year. Why not tax that directly and use that meant (ph) to cap, you know,
energy prices or also to fund what people need? It doesn't have to --
AMANPOUR: And not all --
MAZZUCATO: -- It just come out of the public budget.
AMANPOUR: Yes, which is a third of that -- of those excess profits you're talking about.
MAZZUCATO: And, you know, these are rents in the system. We should go back to using the word rent. And Adam Smith, his definition of the free market
was free from rent.
AMANPOUR: All right. Mariana Mazzucato and Rory Stewart, thank you both so much for joining us tonight.
And now, to the second largest economy in the world, China, where President Xi Jinping is set to consolidate his own power at the 20th Party Congress
underway this week. Xi has vowed to steer China through grave challenges towards national rejuvenation. Some of those challenges, well, Taiwan and
COVID. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest of sincerity and the
utmost effort. But we will never promise to renounce the use of force and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary. This is directed
solely at interference by outside forces in a few separatists seeking Taiwan independence.
In responding to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, we prioritized the people and their lives above all else. And tenaciously pursued dynamic zero-COVID
policy in launching all out peoples' war against the virus. We have protected the people's health and safety to the greatest extent possible.
And made tremendous encouraging achievements in both epidemic response and economic and social developments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, Frank Tsai is the founder and CEO of China Crossroads, working closely with academic and business figures in China. And he is
joining me now from Shanghai.
So, Frank Tsai, welcome back to our program. What stood out for you, despite what we just aired, as the most significant aspect of this Congress
underway now in Beijing?
FRANK TSAI, CHINA ANALYST AND FOUNDER, CHINA CROSSROADS: I think you really didn't was very interesting because to me, I've been hearing the same thing
on zero-COVID in Taiwan for a very long time. So, to me, the story is that there is less chance than we expected. Sometimes when there is continuity,
when you don't expect it, becomes interesting in itself.
So, there were slight changes in what he said this year over five years ago. You noted Taiwan, a more aggressive stance on Taiwan. Of course, he is
promising other documents to reunify the Mainland with Taiwan by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the crowning (ph) country.
Also, more talk about technology and innovation. Of course, you know, we have the export trips from the U.S. just a little while ago. China wants to
make sure it can innovate autonomously.
But I think, really, for me the takeaway was very little change. Especially on zero-COVID.
So, I'm here in Shanghai on the ground, it affects me greatly because, as you noted, I run events, I run lectures in my business and so I care about
this. And there was really no change at all. I mean, he talks about how we have to save lives and how to (INAUDIBLE). We've heard this for a very,
very long time.
You know, two weeks ago, I had hoped that he would say mission accomplished. Let's have a plan. One year plan to open up. And, you know,
you have to step into the mind of the Chinese people. You know, they've been told for two years that this is a great struggle and a great test of
character for the Chinese people to maintain this zero-COVID count and be better than the west. You know, Kennedy, in the '60s also talked about
(INAUDIBLE). It was also test of character. There is an analogy there. But Xi didn't make that move. He has been more conservative.
AMANPOUR: It's really fascinating. And you said you have to get -- try to understand, you know, the mentality, the minds of the Chinese people who've
been under this really draconian zero-COVID policy for two years. And you, yourself, have mentioned that there is also pressure to conform even for
people like you to, you know, under the terms of the Congress not be too aggressively critical. How do you deal with, you know, giving your views to
people like us?
TSAI: Right, let me just give you a bit of backdrop here. So, you know, China is a one-party line (ph) state. There is a party that precedes the
state both legally and historically. So, it's not like the U.K. or the U.S., not even like Russia. Most autocracies are places where some leader
or party took over a state. Well, the party was here and created the state.
So, this party is dedicated to mobilizing society in what it considers to be national aims. It could be COVID control, it could accomplish with the
U.S.A., whatever those aims are, good or bad. That means that it must monopolize all organizational capacity (INAUDIBLE) in society.
Now, I organized lectures in Shanghai. I'm a tiny bit of civil society. I'm not too threatening to the state. But you know, I've been told -- you know,
I was signaled by the authorities that I should lay-low for this week before the party Congress. You know, bars are also told to close here in
Shanghai because they don't want some outbreak to embarrass the party. So, you know, this state is quite concerned that it monopolizes the discord
especially on anything to do with politics.
AMANPOUR: And Frank, he's going to be -- I'm sure, acclaimed unanimously for an unprecedented third term. And I wonder whether you have any thoughts
about what inevitably happens to people and leaders who are in power for just too long.
And I -- you know, there was some incredible banners on the thoroughfare in Beijing just recently, go on strike. Remove dictator. A national traitor,
Xi Jinping. Another one, no to lock down. Yes, to freedom. How extraordinary is that given, you know, the increasing -- I guess
authoritarianism of the system?
TSAI: Well, I mean -- I hate to criticize the global media but those -- that's not representative at all.
TSAI: I mean, there's almost no opposition or protesting in China simply because, as I said, the state is very effective in controlling the
narrative. You know, we can compare it to Russia. So, I don't know, four weeks ago, an official in St. Petersburg went on CNN and said, you know,
Putin should resign. That is never going to happen in China. No official would dare because the state has a great handle on what's going on and
simply has more capacity, moreover, has decades and decades of experience with a party that mobilizes and penetrate society. And you know, United
Russia or Putin doesn't have that.
So, that maybe one insight into how, you know, this particular autocracy, this one party-led in the state, differs from other autocracies. And if I
may add, it is extremely important to understand what China is. You know, if we may consider China the -- I'm an American, as you know. You know, we
may consider the enemy.
But what is the nature of that enemy? Is it that China breaks the international rules. Is it internationally aggressive? Is it engaging
sovereign countries, or is it that its aim is raise on that as a one party- led in the state is to control civil society for national aims?
I would submit it's the latter. And if we know China well, if we understand what its essence is, we can then better compete with it.
AMANPOUR: Well, so it brings me to my final question. How does one compete or try to have some kind of relationship with the country, let's say over
Taiwan. We briefly mentioned it but again, Xi Jinping said that China will, "Continue to strive for peaceful reunification."
AMANPOUR: But then says, we will never promise to renounce the use of force and will reserve the option of taking all measures necessary. As you know,
President Biden has said that the United States would intervene to defend Taiwan, but then that's also been modified by his people. Are you getting
the sense there that there is an increasing drumbeat for doing -- I mean, I guess, Hong Kong on Taiwan?
TSAI: I certainly have a feeling. I mean, there's more and more confidence that Xi has. And he has set a deadline for this at some point. So, we have
to be concerned about the centralization of power in China and how he may - - you know, just to do this because it's part of his reputation.
You know, that being said, let's get inside the mind of the Chinese, OK? To them, Taiwan is not an international issue. The United States doesn't
recognize Taiwan as a country. Let's show (ph) that for a second. I'm not expressing a position on Taiwan. I'm saying that may not necessarily be an
international issue. And the nature of China is not necessarily that it wants to invade other countries.
Nature of China is that it controls civil society, organizers, you know, folks not much larger than I am, and other people in society. That's why we
have no voices coming out. That's why people don't go on CNN. I'm not a Chinese citizen so I don't feel that threatened if I were, I would.
And let me just finally say, if we understand that this is the nature of the state, that's it's continuous with soviet communism, we can then shine
a light on who we are. So, America is the most successful and powerful nation that the world had seen, however its controversial. And NATO is the
most successful and powerful alliance the world has seen.
China knows that. We got to know what our strengths are which are openness and civil society and tolerance. If that -- if those were not our
strengths, China would not be censoring our internet and blocking our social media, right?
TSAI: So, if we know these things, we can better compete with China and understand how we can do better than them in the coming competition of
AMANPOUR: Really fascinating. Especially, to get your perspective from Shanghai as all this is going on. Thank you so much, Frank Tsai.
Now, as the global economy faces increasing pressure, our next guest is making the case that the reign of globalization is over. Rana Foroohar is a
global economic analyst for CNN and a columnist at the "Financial Times". And in her new book, "Homecoming", she examines how events like COVID and
Russia's war in Ukraine have disrupted fragile global supply chains. And she tells Walter Isaacson that the future for the global economy may lie in
local and regional business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank, you Christiane. And Rana Foroohar, welcome to the show.
RANA FOROOHAR, AUTHOR, "HOMECOMING": Thanks for having me.
ISAACSON: You know, we always thought that globalization, free trade, was going to make everything wealthier, nations wealthier. And it has in some
ways allowed workers to go to Walmart on a Sunday night, get a flat screen TV very cheaply. But I think what we didn't understand was it might also
make it so they couldn't get the early morning bus and have a decent life because of a decent job. Tell me about the failures of globalization.
FOROOHAR: You know, it -- you've really hit the nail on the head. Neo- liberal globalization, what we've known for the last 40 years, was all about the idea that money, goods, and people could travel across borders,
wherever they wanted, and that they were going to land up where it was best for everyone.
And so, what we got was cheap capital coming from the U.S. into Asia, the exchange was for cheap labor and we got a lot of cheap stuff. As you say,
we got -- you know, we got low, low prices in Walmart and on Amazon.
But it didn't make up for the fact that even though there was all of this wealth at a global level within countries, within the U.S., within many
European countries, great levels of inequality were growing. And big parts of countries were being hollowed out. In our own country, in the U.S. big
chunks of the Midwest, where I'm from. The south, where you're from. These areas just did not see the kind of wealth that the coast did.
And we have this idea that we could become a country in which everyone was going to be a banker or a software developer and that was going to be fine
and we outsourced a lot of our industrial base and it just didn't work well enough. So, you know, all those cheap goods didn't make up for the fact
that the price of the things that making middle class, right, housing, education, health care in America.
They were rising at multiple times for inflation, even before we have this latest bout of inflation. And I think that that sense that we now need to
reconnect the global economy to national political concerns is really where the action is.
ISAACSON: You call your book "Homecoming". It's not just about international concerns, it's local. It's like every community. It's the
homecomings for that. Explain the concept of "Homecoming".
FOROOHAR: Yes, absolutely. So, one of the trends over the last 40 years has been concentration. Concentration of power, concentration of wealth in the
handful of cities and in a handful of companies. Lots of statistics show that.
My take is that basically if you want to have a functioning liberal democracy, you've really got to spread the wealth. You know, you've got to
get a much broader range of communities feeling that prosperity. And you know, we can look back on the last few elections in the U.S. and see in
places where there was a sense of wealth, a sense of optimism, a sense of, you know, the future might be better.
Those areas tended to vote for Joe Biden. The areas where they did not have that, they tended to vote for Donald Trump. And you know, we've seen
populism not just on the right but on the left as well. Bernie Sanders is, sort of, you know, the other side of the coin in that sense.
So, you've got to start building up local communities. And one of the things that I'm actually very encouraged about is that aside from the
political concerns, which are encouraging new production in the U.S. You've just seen for the first time in half a century two big semiconductor
factories being started in the U.S., one in Ohio, one in Upstate New York. This is great because it's about building manufacturing. It's about
But there's lots of new technologies that are in trained that are allowing things to be done more locally. And this is something I look at carefully
in my book, actually. I spoke to Eric Schmidt, former head of Google. And we talked a lot about something called additive manufacturing, 3D printing.
This used to be something for hobbyists. It is now something that every industry is looking at because it allows you to make parts right on
location. You can make a whole car this way now or even a whole house.
You know, I went out into Texas and saw houses being 3D printed in six days for $250,000. That cuts out seven different supply chains and all the
energy and all the carbon cost to transport those things through far flung areas and to bring that economic growth and activity into local
communities. These are just a couple of examples. But it's happening in pockets everywhere.
ISAACSON: We've been talking a lot about China. And especially recently with supply chains disrupted and then the CHIPS Act saying, OK. We can't be
so reliant on chips from Taiwan, as well as from China. Do you think this whole trend is going to mean we're going to have to wean ourselves away
from our strong economic relationship with China?
FOROOHAR: In a word, yes. I do. I've thought for a long time that decoupling with China was happening. And it's not just something that is
about the U.S. You know, China is always very clear in its five-year plan about where it's going. It made a statement many years ago that it wanted
to be free of U.S. technology, of western technology. That it wanted to have what it calls a dual circulation economy, which is sort of what we've
been talking about. It's keeping production and consumption closer together. That makes sense.
To me, China is a bit like the U.S. in the World War II period where it's a big single language market. It still has room to run. It makes sense for
them to keep more production domestic. That's all fine. The problem is that the U.S. and China have been in sort of a dysfunctional economic
relationship for many decades now. And it is going to take time and difficulty to untangle that.
ISAACSON: Here is one problem though. Take lithium, which is really important to the electric car battery and to what the laptops right in
front of us. China doesn't have that much lithium. But a huge amount of the world supply of refined lithium comes from China.
ISAACSON: Same with most battery component. If you try to start a lithium refining plant, it's going to take forever. Because we don't permit,
because it's not in my backyard, because people are kind of afraid of the word lithium processing. We just can't manufacture in America, not simply
because of this globalization neo-liberalism you talked about but because we've come so constricted. How do we get over that?
FOROOHAR: These are fantastic points. All of it. It kind of plays to that whole notion of, well, cheap isn't really cheap when you start looking at,
what are the environmental costs? What are the labor costs? You know, we just kind of, send everything overseas and said, let them deal with the
pollution, let them employ child labor if they want.
Well, now that we are bringing some of these jobs and industries back, we have to make some hard choices. There are, indeed, rare earth mineral
companies being launched out west. There is one that actually just reopen in Canada recently. So, the U.S. and Europe are looking for more redundancy
in these supplies.
And I would say that that word, redundancy, resiliency and redundancy, that's where the action is going to be. We've had efficient systems,
meaning, you know, they're quick, they're concentrated, they work as long as nothing else is going wrong in the world. But as the pandemic and the
war in Ukraine have shown us, the minute something changes, be it a geopolitical situation, a tsunami, you know, some kind of energy spike.
Well, these supply chains don't work so we anymore. So, we are well advised to start creating some more resiliency and redundancy in our systems.
ISAACSON: If we really want to be self-sufficient at home, more so than we are now, we probably need to be less reliant. And Europe needs to be less
reliant on energy from Russia, from Venezuela, from Saudi Arabia, other places. But we also have problems in this country saying, yes, let's have
some more oil and natural gas leases mean that, let's get some pipelines, like Joe Manchin wants.
ISAACSON: Is it possible to do what you want without saying no, we have to actually in this transition period, wean ourselves from energy from places
like Russia and China?
FOROOHAR: A huge issue and a great point. I would've liked to have seen more U.S. shale (ph) production online. Of course, energy markets are --
they're very tricky. They go up and down. They're highly cyclical. When energy costs are low, as they were until pretty recently you, get people
saying well, $70 shale (ph) just doesn't make any sense anymore. And so, they cut off all production.
I have thought for a long time that we needed a -- what I would call, an industrial policy. You know, when we start to have smart grids that can
manage energy community by community. Sensors in everything that can really help us to just do things more efficiently, more locally and move to those
green technologies which can create more jobs.
You know, imagine if you got every coal miner retrained in clean energy platforms, and guaranteed work, and use federal budgets and purchasing
power to do that. That's what the Biden administration has been trying to do. Not easy though because, you know, we are going out to work with
partners. This idea of friend-shoring becomes much more important.
And you saw an interesting speech, actually last week --
ISAACSON: And friend-shoring means we rely on Canada, Mexico.
ISAACSON: Places that are not as unfriendly as Saudi Arabia or Russia could be at times.
FOROOHAR: 100 percent. Yes, this idea -- and, you know, Janet Yellen, actually, I had a conversation with her when she first brought that term
up. It's about thinking about values and not just prices when it comes to trade.
Chrystia Freeland, the deputy prime minister of Canada actually gave a very interesting speech about this at the Brookings Institute last week. And
said look, we are in a new world. It matters that we get our energy from autocrats. And we are going to need to work together, work with the U.S.
and Mexico to come up with clean energy platforms. We need to get Europe onboard with that. And this is something that's going to be tricky as well.
It's one thing for the U.S. or North America and South America together which are, you know, a big block. We've got food, fuel, consumer demand. We
can kind of hunker down and do localism. Europe feels anxious about this at the moment. And that's because Europe is pulled in many different
directions. Britain, in particular post-Brexit feels very alone.
You know, Germany and France maybe are together still the center of Europe. But will the center hold? You know, southern countries like Greece and
Italy are actually being pulled in some ways into the Chinese orbit through the one belt -- one road strategy.
And so, the world is bumpy. The world is multi-polar. And diplomacy and friendship is still going to be very important even in a more local age.
ISAACSON: Here's one problem I felt when I read your book -- which I love, by the way. But it was --
FOROOHAR: Oh, thank you.
ISAACSON: -- but it was that OK, if we are going to be less dependent on cheap goods globalization, free movement of capital and trade, stuff like
that. It means a whole lot of things are going to cause a little bit more.
ISAACSON: The flat screen TV is going to cost more. But so is the oil and gas, so is solar panel that you've talked about, so will every component
that we buy. We've got a really bad inflation problem. The trend you're advocating, wouldn't that add up to inflation.
FOROOHAR: It would in the short term. And there's no getting around that. Cheap isn't really cheap when you count in the true cost of labor, the true
cost of energy, the true price on carbon. All the emissions that companies are emitting to create the things in Walmart that we get so cheaply. So
yes, there is going to be some short to medium term inflationary pressure.
But I would say that if you asked people -- working people making $25,000 a year, would you rather have more cheap stuff in Walmart and Amazon or would
you rather have a job, a middle-class job that is secure? That would allow you to provide housing, education, health care for you and your family. I
think that they would pick the latter.
And that's what this regionalization and localization is about. It's about using transformative new technologies, all the things we talked about. The
transition to clean energy to start to build productivity and to build a new economy that can bring everyone along.
And if you look historically, the periods where we've had a lot of shared sustained growth have been when there's been a transformative new
technology like the railroads, let's say, or the internet. The government puts a floor under it, supports it, and the private sector commercializes
it in each country. And if we can harness that opportunity and stop thinking so short term. I think we can be in a good place.
ISAACSON: And what about the consumer who can get their goods cheaper at Walmart or through Amazon?
FOROOHAR: They can get them cheap enough to bolster the fact that housing is up 50 percent year on year. It just doesn't --
ISAACSON: But doesn't that hurt these little companies that you write about that are trying to do things in a local good way? Don't they get crushed by
those who know how to play the global supply chain?
FOROOHAR: Well, they have. Although it's interesting, I think that you're starting to see a real shift in Washington around antitrust, for example.
One of the big initiatives of the Biden administration has been to look at these concentrations of power in agriculture, for example.
You know, you remember when the pandemic hit, nobody's going to restaurants. Everybody's lining up at the grocery store. You know, you
can't find things. Well, why is that? Because about four companies are controlling our entire act supply chain. There are two separate supplies,
one for restaurants, one for grocery stores. It's a very concentrated, very fragile system.
And so, Lina Khan of the FTC, Jonathan Kanter of the DOJ, Tim Wu in the White House, all these folks are starting to think about how can we make
sure that there is opportunity for all? Small, mid-size businesses and big businesses but also communities and workers.
ISAACSON: How do you see the prospects of a recession? I know you're talking about longer-term things. But in order to get there, how do you do
that balance that might prevent a bad recession?
FOROOHAR: One of the reasons that we have got an economy that is so financialized and by that, I mean that the financial economy, Wall Street,
you know, all the things that are bought and sold on Wall Street, that is now four times the size of the actual economy that we live in. How did we
Well, over the last half century, we had politicians of both stripes saying, we don't want to take those hard guns and butter decisions. We
don't want to choose between interest groups. So, let's just toss the ball to the market. The market knows best. And what that means in practice is
that they tossed the ball to the central bankers. To the Federal Reserve.
And the Federal Reserve kept interest rates low, really, for a period of about 40 years. And then of course you got the financial crisis. You get a
lot of money being pumped into the economy. Pandemic happens. You get even more money being pumped in. And so, then you get a situation where the
economy is so highly financialized and leveraged.
And it's -- we've enjoyed this kind of saccharin (ph) growth. And I say that because it's not really the real thing. You know, central bankers can
pump up stock prices and house prices. They can't build a new factory. They can't invent the iPhone. They can't really do the new new thing that you
need to create growth in an economy.
But now, they have to try and bring down the inflation. The asset inflation, in particular, that's happened from all this, sort of, you know,
artificial pumping up of things. And they have to do it fast because the inflation is really hitting real folks. And I have argued, as have many,
that they should have started doing some of that right after the financial crisis to give themselves more room to breathe.
ISAACSON: Rana Foroohar, thank you so much for joining us.
FOROOHAR: Thanks, Walter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, sometimes you have to look backwards to look forward. Those of the words of one of my next guests, the director James
Gray. Talking about his new movie, "Armageddon Time". It's set in the 1980s in Queens, New York. It's a coming-of-age tale about Paul, a young Jewish
boy navigating friendship, family, privilege and the injustice of racism and antisemitism. Here is a clip from the trailer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY HOPKINS, ACTOR, "ARMAGEDDON TIME": You can be an artist if you want to be. Nothing's going to stop you.
ANNE HATHAWAY, ACTRESS, "ARMAGEDDON TIME": You're going to college.
JEREMY STRONG, ACTOR, "ARMAGEDDON TIME": He'll have dinner with kings if he plays his cards right.
MICHAEL BANKS REPETA, ACTOR, "ARMAGEDDON TIME": I really like your stickers.
JAYLIN WEBB, ACTOR, "ARMAGEDDON TIME": My stepbrother gave them to me. He's in the air force.
REPETA: That's so cool.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How dare you? A menace.
HATHAWAY: Well, you're not to associate with him again.
REPETA: What do you mean? Why?
HATHAWAY: I think you know what I mean.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: As you can see, it is star-studded. There is Anthony Hopkins, there's Anne Hathaway, and there is also the actor Jeremy Strong. Perhaps
best known for the TV series, "Succession", he plays Paul's father, and he's joining me now from Los Angeles. While Director James Gray, who's last
film was, "Ad Astra" with Brad Pitt joins us from Paris.
Gentlemen, welcome to the program. Can I start with you, James? Because I know this is somewhat autobiographical. And the young boy, Paul, is kind of
based on you or some experience you've had in your life.
JAMES GRAY, DIRECTOR, "ARMAGEDDON TIME": You Know, that's true. I mean, I had been to an art exhibit in Los Angeles and there were these words on the
gallery wall that said, history and myth always began in the microcosm of the personal. So, when I was trying to think of a new film to do, I had
been to outer space before this, and to Amazonia before that. I wanted to make something as directly personal as I could. And I reached back, really,
to my own childhood.
AMANPOUR: But why did you want it? What was the moment in this that lived, obviously, with you for all this time that you've wanted to turn it into a
very personal film unlike all your others.
GRAY: Yes, you know, I -- it's funny, I've been asked this and sometimes it's not easy to answer, you know. It's sort of, like why do you do the
thing that you do? And it's not always so clear to you. But I will tell you that I did see 1980 -- in the fall of 1980 as a, kind of, turning point,
not just for myself personally but in the culture and the history of the country.
So, I had wanted to put my own personal story up against that larger tapestry. I had, basically, two heroes growing up. I had Muhammad Ali and I
had The Beatles. Both of whom represented a kind of integrity for me. And Muhammad Ali have lost a fight in humiliating in fashion. And couple months
later John Lennon was murdered. And Ronald Reagan became president. And I saw the country changing very much. And I was conscious of that. So, all of
this I felt reflected on -- really, on today.
AMANPOUR: Really interesting to hear that perspective. Jeremy Strong, you - - you know, you play the father. So, I guess James just want to -- we won't go too far into the personal. When you play the father in the film. And you
are known for very careful study, very intense study and preparation, the method acting that's so incredibly powerful. This is a bit of a departure,
is it? Tell me how this role is different from ones you played before and why you liked it.
STRONG: Well, I love the contradictions inherent in the role. I mean, it's -- he is a man who is trying to put food on his family's table. And he's
trying to survive in very pressurized circumstance. And he's described the script as a Jewish Stanley Kowalski with a Ph.D. And, you know, sort of --
you're looking for challenge. You're looking for the possibility of, I think, transformation and the possibility of risk. And this offered both of
those things, sort of, exponentially really. In terms of trying to bring James's father to life dimensionally and with precision and hopefully with
AMANPOUR: I'm going to play the clip that we've been sent. We've only got one clip but it's really, really interesting because, you know, it's
obviously, as you say, generations of this family. There's a bit about the American dream in there, of course. And here's a clip that pretty much
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HATHAWAY: Come here.
STRONG: Look at you. A young man. First day of the rest of your life.
HATHAWAY: You look absolutely gorgeous.
REPETA: I look like a total idiot.
HATHAWAY: No, you don't.
REPETA: I can't even have a normal knapsack.
STRONG: A normal knapsack. Why would you want a normal one knapsack when you can have this? This is an attache case. This is class A one. This says,
I am ready to work. I come as a student.
REPETA: I just wanted to be like you.
REPETA: I just wanted to be like you.
GRAY: No. No, big boy. I want you to be a whole lot better than me. That is what I want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's really -- a really, really a good scene. And it's really interesting and important what you say as a dad to a kid, you know. You
don't just want them to be a replica of you. But I want both of you to tell me, this kid went through a real transformative moment in the friendship
with his black friend Johnny.
So, tell me about that, Jeremy. Tell me how the father deals with that issue.
GRAY: Well, I think James is interested in creating, I think, situations where difficult choices have to be made. In a sense, these sort of Gordian
knots that we find ourselves in where class and race are in meshed. And these are, sort of, insoluble choices.
So, this father is forced to a crossroads moment where he has to choose, essentially, to protect his son and his son's future and safeguard his
son's future at great personal cost to him and to his conscience and to his integrity. At the same time, sort of, mapped against a moment where the
country, the United States, began to lose its integrity in the sense of being hole and undivided and its moral compass in a way.
And so, I think what's profound about the film is the doubling quality of the "Armageddon Time" within this nuclear family and within the society at
AMANPOUR: So, James, I want to ask you about that. And also, the significance of the title, "Armageddon Time". But your experience with, you
know, your black friend that is the central nugget of a good deal of this film.
GRAY: Yes, one of the things that was important to me though was to express that there are no solutions that -- it's not like this taught me a lesson
and I turned out to be a terrific guy because of a lesson. In fact, quite the opposite was the case. I felt myself thrown into a state of cognitive
Frankly, I've never really emerged from that because you don't get closure, you don't get catharsis. These things don't exist. What happens is, you get
a feeling that the world is ever more complex. And that history is layered like an onion. And the more you peeled away from it, you never get at the
core. So, I didn't want the film to present a problem that it answered. It's not a lesson that I learned at all in my life. A friendship that I
lost. But it had only profoundly complex implications for me. So, I -- it's a history and it's memoir but it's an open book.
AMANPOUR: You know, it's -- obviously, you had, you know, wonderful reviews, wonderful -- you know, whatever you call it on Rotten Tomatoes.
And -- I mean, it's -- it came to great reviews at the Cannes Film Festival. There's a powerful moment involving Anthony Hopkins, who is
Paul's grandfather in this film. And he tells Paul, a young boy, to stand up to racism and, "Be a mensch." It basically comes after Paul has turned
his back on his friend Johnny when he faces discrimination.
How -- what is Anthony Hopkins saying, and I want both of you to weigh in on this. I'm going to ask you first, Jeremy. What does it mean to be a
mensch when you face this moment of test of your moral conscience?
STRONG: Well, my sense of what he is saying to him, you know, we're all faced in these moments with a choice between essentially social acceptance
or integrity. And I think when he says, be a mensch, I think he is saying in those moments to not choose social acceptance and to speak up and
acknowledge prejudice when you see it and stamp it out.
He's also -- I mean, I think James was interested in the intersection of both being the oppressed and being the oppressor. Because this is a Jewish
family that has known persecution. And that has known the feeling of being ostracized and at the same time can be complicit in perpetuating those same
AMANPOUR: That's what's so deep about it. And did your grandfather tell you to be a mensch, James?
GRAY: All the time. But you know, it's interesting because the -- that statement, I don't know if it had that much meaning to me as a kid. We make
the assumption incorrectly that ethical and moral codes are, sort of, inherited or we are to gather them in the air or something. And I don't
know if I was taught with any true clarity, a kind of moral or ethical code when I was a kid. You know, it's one of my great regrets.
My grandfather was the one person with whom I had that connection. And he was a -- he was the one person who really told me I was wanted and loved,
to be honest. My parents were too busy trying to make a living. So, I relied on him. When he told me that, I'm not even sure I fully understood
what it meant then.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's so interesting because both of you are giving us a roadmap in that ethical dimension with this film. So, Jeremy Strong, James
Gray, thank you both so much. "Armageddon Time".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that is it for now. Thank you for watching. And goodbye from London.