David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Camus, Orwell, and the Next American Bubble

Question: How can we remedy America’s financial habits?

Newt Gingrich: Well, the most important single political slogan in the next quarter century is 2 + 2 = 4.  I got that frankly from the Polish people who used it in their 10-year long struggle with the Polish dictatorship when Callista and I were doing the movie on John Paul II called, “Nine Days that Changed the World.” 

Starting in 1979, the Polish people were in constant rebellion against the Soviet dictatorship.  And they would say – they would put signs in their windows that said 2 + 2 = 4.  Partly it came from George Orwell, who wrote in his novel, 1984, that the state torturer when he was torturing the innocent citizen said that, “If we tell you 2 + 2 = 5, it equals 5, and if we tell you 2 + 2 = 3, it equals 3.”  And the citizen’s thinking, yeah, but what if it really equals 4?  It also comes from Camus’ novel The Plague, in which he says, “There are times when a man can be killed for saying 2 + 2 = 4 because the authorities can’t stand the truth.” 

And what I tell audiences is very simple. Here’s an American version of 2 + 2 = 4.  I give them half of a sentence.  If you can’t afford to buy a house – and then I stop, and they start giggling, and then someone else will say, “Rent,” or somebody else will say, “Don’t buy it.”  And finally I’ll say, “How many of you agree that if you can’t afford to buy a house, don’t buy one?”  Every hand goes up.  And then I simply point out, for 25 years we’ve lied.  For 25 years the official policy of the United States Government has been, if you can’t afford to buy a house, well you don’t need credit, you don’t need a down payment, you don’t need to pay on principal, we’ll give you a sub par interest, and guess what.  If you do it to one individual and they go broke, it’s a personal tragedy, if you do it to a million people; It’s a bubble which collapses with national consequence.  We had an IT bubble in 1999, we had a housing bubble in 2007, we had a Wall Street bubble in 2008.  The fourth bubble is going to be big government.  We have more government than we can afford, it is going to collapse, the sooner we start cutting it and the sooner we start replacing it, the better off we’re going to be.  We need to get to a smaller, more effective, more modern government as rapidly as possible and every year that we delay, we give more debt to China and more debt to Saudi Arabia, and we guarantee that our children and grandchildren will be paying more taxes to pay interest to Riyadh and Beijing and less money to take home for their own pay.

Question: What are the implications of being in such massive debt to foreign countries?

Newt Gingrich: Well, that is enormously dangerous to have American debt held in huge volume by China and Saudi Arabia.  It’s dangerous with the Saudi’s because you’re going to have more and more influence on behalf of a version of Islam which is very alien to the American system.  It is dangerous with China because the legitimate interest of the Chinese government is very different than ours.  And what are we going to do one morning in a diplomatic crisis if the Chinese announce they’re going to dump $2 Trillion of debt on the world market?  So I think there are very profound reasons for us to be very concerned about a system in which we have Increasing American irresponsibility leading to massive deficits which end up with foreigners owning huge volumes of American debt which also means that the carrying capacity – If you try to pay for the interest on the debt, there are projections that by 2017, we will be paying more taxes for interest on the debt than for all of our national security costs combined.  Now that is an irrational destructive and irresponsible position to be in.

"The single most important slogan of the next quarter century is 2+2=4." As Newt Gingrich explains, the continued failure to acknowledge life’s bare truths is building a system that is doomed for collapse.

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Bubonic plague case reported in China

Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.

(Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Getty Images)
  • The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
  • Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
  • Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Keep reading Show less

Education vs. learning: How semantics can trigger a mind shift

The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.

Future of Learning
  • The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
  • Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
  • Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Keep reading Show less

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less