I sat down with one of my greatest heroes, Paul A. Volcker, to talk about the state of the economy and U.S. government as well as learn about the principles that guided his incredible career. We also discuss the decline of civil service and how Paul hopes to revitalize the field with The Volcker Alliance by working with universities and the government to train people effectively and efficiently and minimize the bureaucratic hurdles that deter people from pursuing government jobs.
Paul A. Volcker & Ray Dalio: State Of The US Economy & Government
Hello, I'm Ray Dalio and I'm happy to be here with Paul A. Volcker who is my greatest hero and probably to many people the greatest living American. And that's a big statement. I've watched Paul evolve since 1970 when he was undersecretary of the treasury of monetary affairs all the way through the president. And during those years he had more effect on the world economy and built up more credibility and has been at the center of more economic decision making than any man alive in his 91 years. He's affected the world in profound ways that we some of which are very famous and some of which are just a reflection of his credibility for example when the issue the controversial issue of the monies that Jews were lost in the Holocaust went into Swiss banks and that very delicate subject very different from regular economics. The man that they chose to examine that question was Paul A. Volcker.
Paul in many many different occasions and in many different times shaped many many different issues. So this is a man who has extraordinary principles. I've known him to be the most principled person that I know and also been at the center of most important economic decision making during those many many years that for many decades and to see things from the top. This is a man with great perspective. And so I'm here today to pull out the principles out from Paul and to understand how he got those principles. So Paul to start off.
Please give me what you consider to be what your most important principles.
First of all thank you for those very generous comments and let me say I'm glad to see you here at this point I have been a little under the weather. I hope I'm. Recovering but you know spoke or just wrote. We got something to talk about us from our principles and the first thing that comes to mind changeover to later is my first principle is effective governance. I go back and. You can discuss this in more detail Alexander Hamilton put it all in a nutshell. Alexander Hamilton is an old Treasury. Finance guy. He restored the credit of the United States so he's a hero of mine. He said the true test of good government is his ability to administer. Not to great policy. Can they carry out the policies effectively and economically. Good government is not just high policy it's making the machine work. Day after day he efficiently. Faith of the American people and our government. Today. Is really distressing. You have been polls taken every year. Ask the same question and see how the trend changes. Do you trust your government to do the right thing most of the time didn't sound the right thing. Most of the time didn't sound like all that difficult the test. You get maybe 20 percent say yes. You asked about the Congress will be less than 20 percent. And it's no great secret that were torn apart by ideological and other differences now. So we've got a real challenge. So yes my principles my first principle is good governance.
When you talk about principles down the family and. We were not a family that spent money easily. We'd like to economize and be sure how we were spending money. I like to think we carry this over or I carry it off when I have some responsibilities in government to try to do as efficiently not only as accurately but as efficiently as possible. You know my mom asked my father he took over as city manager of this bankrupt town. In 1930 and lasted for 20 years but he became the principal figure in the town no question who is the best known and fortunately highly respected but he was a fanatic for disclosure. He would do a very detailed budget every year and distributed to everybody and when he went down to how many police cars he bought many fire engines they bought and He professionalized the police department and. Fire Department to. Two two departments that are essential obviously in any town. And he just he was a bug for. Not spending more than he had to spend misspend what was necessary.