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Tom Freston was one of MTV's founding executives and until recently served as CEO of Viacom. Freston is responsible for the generation-defining ad campaign "I Want My MTV." In 1987[…]

Just look at Mao’s Great Leap Forward.

Question: Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic?

Tom Freston: I’m still an optimist. You know I look back over time and you say, “Oh, things have basically improved for the greater lot of mankind.” There’s always been a lot of problems. Right now they’re acute and we’re more interconnected. And problems can infect other parts of the world much more easily. But to date, the lot of mankind I believe has generally gotten better. There’s been big setbacks. Look at World War II. Look at Chairman Mao’s great leap forward. You know the dark ages. But in general, like the Stock Market might have a bull market and a bear market, I think in the end problems can be dealt with, and mankind will continue to improve on a whole.

Recorded On: 7/6/07