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SPEAKER 1: We've heard so far this morning about different
ways of dealing with systemic or systematic disturbances and
ways social change, ways of responding in positive rather
than negative fashion.
We've heard from Jared Diamond about analyzing the way
societies and individuals and families and cultures respond.
We've heard from Gao Xiqing with his ideas about
possibilities for reform, both United States and China and the
world financial system.
We've just heard from Jennifer Corriero about using web tools
to mobilize the great energy of youth around the world.
We're going to hear now about another way of thinking about,
and dealing with questions of change and wealth, and poverty,
and development, and wealth creation.
We're going to hear about it from two people who basically
need no introduction, so I'll just give you their names.
I'd like you to join me in welcoming Eric Schmidt, the
CEO of Google, who will be in discussion with Carlos
Slim of Telmex in Mexico.
Eric Schmidt and Carlos Slim.
[APPLAUSE]
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: Well first, on behalf of Google, thank you
all for joining us for today.
Last night, today, tonight, and tomorrow it's going to be a
great conference, and it's made special because of
all of you here.
I want to welcome Carlos Slim, my friend, who many people in
the United States don't know.
And what's interesting about Carlos is that we know
him because of the successive Telmex.
We know because of the movement of telecommunications
and technology that he's driving in Latin America.
We don't know much else about what has driven his passion and
his ideas, and I'd like to ask you a little bit about that.
Before we do that, can you tell us a little bit about
your company, Telmex?
Just introduce the company.
What does it do?
CARLOS SLIM: Good morning.
Thank you for your invitation.
When I was in high school I read a book called Mathematics
and the Imagination.
And I look, it was googol.
But we say goggle.
And I was thinking, what happened with goggleplex.
And now I know you have a place, Googleplex.
Congratulations for what you have done, and thank
you for the invitation.
Telmex is a traditional incumbent company that used to
be in Mexico and was privatized at the end of 1990.
And we make a group together with SBC-- today AT&T.
SBC Southwestern Bell, but after that they merged with six
or seven strong companies to make a U.S. national
and France Telecom.
Southwestern Bell has 10% of the company.
France Telecom: 5.1%, and the Mexican group used to have
10.4 from which we have a little more than 3%.
And through a holding: 5%.
This company mobile like all the incumbencies.
Now we're a country that have still electomechanical switches
to a very modern company.
We invest more in Mexico, more than $30 billion
just in landline.
But from there we're a second in the market company in
mobile, in cellular service.
That's called Telcel.
And we begin to grow mostly making them compete.
Actually Telmex is the smallest company, and the big
company is America Movil.
We're in all Latin America.
We have more than 170 million customers.
We grow more than 65% for 17 years.
Every year 65%.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: Wow.
CARLOS SLIM: This was year '67 Well, '67 [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
16 years.
Well we have service every place.
[UNINTELLIGIBLE PHRASE]
We have grown strongly in many countries.
We have pushed the pre-paid.
We believe that we developed the concept of pre-paid.
We call it in '95 or something like that, in our crisis,
the [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
plan to subsidize the concepts to sell-- [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
to sell cards.
I prepared this information.
We can see how the penetration of mobile telephony has
been in our countries.
We have now many countries with more penetration in Latin
America than U.S. Mostly Argentina and Chile
and Venezuela.
The average we have is 72% against 61% of Canada.
That's more penetration than Canada.
But quite interesting also in comparison with China.
China has grown in these five years and one quarter 169%.
And in Latin America we have grown 227.7%.
And it is interesting to make clear that still Latin America
has a bigger gross national product, gross domestic
product than China.
That's one point.
That's the mobile that we are very glad that we have done.
We are near all the countries in Latin America with
a few exceptions.
The penetration, like I'm telling is now-- will be three
out of every four people will have a mobile.
And now we are going to 3G and we're looking now how to take
in our countries the digital culture.
Instead of talking about [UNINTELLIGIBLE], talk
about digital culture.
And we have worked with MIT and Negroponte sometime.
And work with [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
We are pushing it by many ways with multiple platforms.
Looking to have convergence of broadband in our countries
so as soon as possible.
Not only for entertainment, but also for health,
education, and et cetera.
And we're pushing that and we have now formed
[UNINTELLIGIBLE]
companies.
One is Telmex, that is Mexico.
One is America Movil.
That is a big company with this mobile growing.
And now we are developing a international Telmex--
Telmex International.
Working already in Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru,
Columbia, and other countries.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: So you have a reputation and a history for
being an engineer, and being very good with numbers.
One of your hobbies, as I know, is baseball statistics and you
keep it all, and you keep it all in your head.
But you have a strong view of how society will change.
You believe in a new society, not an old society.
Can you describe that for people?
What is the society going to look like over
the next few years?
CARLOS SLIM: What is clear is that advances in technology
and advances in productivity.
But it's also clear that when technology changes, change many
of the sectors of the society, you have a revolution,
a society revolution.
You have a new kind of era, a new civilization.
I think in great numbers we have four civilizations,
four kinds of society.
[UNINTELLIGIBLE]
with the hunting and the collection.
The agricultural society.
I think two steps of the industrial society.
First with the steam engine.
With the steam engine came the railways and the steam boats,
but also the industrial production, mining production,
with agricultural production, with the steam engine.
And then in the 20th century with the electricity and the
internal combustion, you have the modern society.
That changed everything.
But in the last years-- last maybe 40, 50 after the second
war, the technology was advancing so much, and the
productivity was so high that now we are getting a
society of services.
If you look, U.S. maybe 85% of the people employed is in
services, including the construction services.
And what the [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
look is that the paradigms of the old societies are very
different of the new society.
In the agricultural society new need slaves.
You need a workforce, social immobility, ignorance, and
the power were monolithic.
You have the same person, the imperador, the king,
the [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
in America, the Inca in Peru, that was with the political
power, but also came from divinity-- to have
the religious.
He was coming from divinity.
And they have also the military power and the economic power.
And these paradigms were completely different.
Now the paradigms are very general, very interesting,
very motivated.
And the way that we need these new society is
also very positive.
The paradigms today are freedom, democracy, liberty,
creativity, innovation, competition, globalization,
human rights, environment, et cetera.
And these paradigms will change these societies.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: So when you think about Mexico, of course,
you grew up there, you're the most prominent businessmen in
America, literally; in all of America.
How will Mexico change?
U.S. citizens who go to Mexico love the culture.
They see the wealth, they see the poverty, they see the
difference in things.
They see the drug issues, the police issues, and so forth.
Give us a sense of how Mexico with evolve.
And you're doing a lot to change it.
CARLOS SLIM: I think this new society it's very easy to
produce goods, to produce services very efficiently, very
low cost, and produce wealth.
But if you don't make the right conduction, the
change is great crisis.
And that's what we are living, and that's what-- if we don't
make a right conduction of the changes we will have
a lot of crisis.
In the industrial society, we have civil wars, we have two
world wars, and many programs.
A lot of experiments with society in the 20th century.
Social experiments, political experiments, economic
experiments because they don't know how to manage the changes.
For me it's clear that to fight poverty is not with charity,
is not with social programs.
You need to give nutrition from the mother pregnant, nutrition
for the child and for the student, health and employment.
Health and education, excuse me.
You need to bring high quality education to all
grades of education.
That's why I was talking before of digital culture.
You need to have a modern and high quality
education and jobs.
As you have a higher education you have more
diversity of jobs.
You can find jobs easier, more easier than if you only
know how to do one thing.
I think the way for Mexico and all our countries is to take
out people from poverty.
The best investment is to take people out of-- and I'm not
talking only about social issues or ethical issues
or moral issues.
It's an economic need to take out people of poverty to create
middle classes, to take them to modernity, to take
them to the market.
And as much as you can include in the market and in the
society-- 40 million people in our country, [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
out of that.
Or like China is doing with 800 million still in marginal.
Putting 30 or 40 million every year in the modernity.
That's what you need to change.
That's why we need to change.
And we need to have a economic environment, a economic
climate for investment.
Because with this investment you will have economic
activity and employment.
We need to develop employment.
And what are we doing?
Well, we are trying to work in combination with the foundation
and investing in profit and nonprofit companies.
In profit companies we are doing our job, regular job.
That means some employment and some ethics.
But others increase productivity.
Let's say mobile telephony make higher the
productivity of our people.
But the broadband and digital culture will improve the
education and modernize.
But also, look the way to increase employment.
And to increase employment you need to begin to be creative,
to have creativity.
Think of inertia, inertia drive most of the decisions, but you
need to move like you do that in Google to change that.
And the only environment that you need for that is a stable,
financial stability, micro stability, and to push the
activity where employment is.
And employment is mainly in construction, housing,
infrastructure, small business, micro business, middle
business that need to be financed and pushed.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: And you actually have a view, I think,
that businesses should do this ahead of the politicians
because businesses have a longer term view.
CARLOS SLIM: I think that in the past, in this agricultural
society, let's say politicians or governments were everything.
Were everything, [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
with that person were everything.
I think companies want a formula for an agricultural
society, not for a modern society.
And now as the society advances between the paradigms of
freedom, creativity-- you need more activity of
the civil society.
Every time the government will give more space to its
society to do the solutions and to do the things.
And I believe that entrepreneur and many other people in other
activities can't think in long term, and find solutions and
going the way for long-term solutions and not short-term.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: Let's see if we can get some questions
from the audience.
The problem I have with your vision, which I agree with is
we've just spent the last five days going through an
extraordinary financial restructuring.
And there's an article today in the paper that's saying that
banks are so scared of each other that they've stopped
lending to each other and that there's a worldwide credit
crisis about to happen.
Now you've been through a couple of these in Latin
America where you cleverly maneuvered through tremendous
challenges to build Telmex.
What do you think's going to happen to the credit markets,
to the United States?
I mean, a lot of people are very, very concerned.
CARLOS SLIM: I believe that cycles, economic cycles, you
say-- called cycles are OK in an agricultural society, when
you have good weather and bad weather.
But when are talking about services societies, there's
not quite to have cycles.
And what make cycles secure is that the people personally have
problems, and like in society also of euphoria
and pessimistic.
Optimistic and pessimistic.
In one day you have these kind of changes, but the society
like a whole have also these kind.
And I think we will have a few years of euphoria and madness,
thinking that everything will grow in crisis because they
go, prognosis is very usual.
Inertia is very in our minds always.
If it went up five years, it will go forever
or [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
et cetera.
And I think in this madness people in charge of the
financial system were looking for size.
For [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
for businesses.
For volume bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, they
think, will be better and not to make the best job.
Not the efficiency.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: So do you think the current credit crisis
will actually affect the markets that you and I've
been talking about?
CARLOS SLIM: Yeah, they will affect everything, and they
will be worse than now I think.
I would like to be [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
That I am wrong, but I think things will get a little worse.
Because we were talking about the sub-prime [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
But they have sub-prime everywhere.
Sub-prime for acquisitions, sub-prime for derivatives,
sub-prime for commodities, and we're just talking
about [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
Today now they are getting with the real thing.
But what is important is not if it will be worse or better.
It will happen sometime.
The important thing is to get back from that, from this
situation in a better shape as strongly, and to try to
avoid all these problems.
And I think there are many solutions, easy solutions.
Easy, but very costly.
I used to say for 20 years to now that in the developed
countries the crisis are paid by the savers.
In our countries, it's paid by the consumers.
That's always that the savers pay the crisis of the consumers
because of that, the consumers a big social problem.
I think it should be taken out, the speculation.
But there's a bubble of [UNINTELLIGIBLE PHRASE]
because you can buy contracts and commodities with 5% only.
You need to increase the margin for that to avoid
the speculation, mainly in oil and food.
But also, one of the reason is the weakness of the dollar.
There is a big deficit, the weakness of the dollar.
And I think the solution-- they are doing, I think, a good
job, but do a bit more progress in the future.
A good job because they have a low interest rate, negative
interest rate that in the past helped to [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
assets.
Lower interest rates [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
assets.
The worst thing that they can do is to increase the
interest rate, like in '81.
You remember in '81 it went to-- the prime rate was 21%.
That was crazy.
I think with a low and negative interest rate for a while,
making stronger the dollar, and looking that all the
[UNINTELLIGIBLE]
American [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
fall down more to avoid the recession with inflation and
especially for the social issues.
And the interest rate down and the spread of the
[UNINTELLIGIBLE].
The problem is a crisis of the financial system.
And the way that they can go out is with the spread
between what is the active and the passive.
They can have 5%, 4% spread of 6%.
If they love the money, if you're paying 1.5% or 2% and
you are collecting 6 or 8 or 10 or 12 you can correct
that in two years.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: The reason I'm asking about the financial
crisis is because people in the United States have a
stereotype of Latin America financial crises.
And now it seems like we're having a financial crisis, I
wonder what the Latin Americans think about
our financial crisis.
CARLOS SLIM: I told you before that you solve your problems
with the savers that's with low interest rate, with
negative interest rates.
And the monetary fund and other institutions press Latin
America to be paid by the consumers.
And that's great crisis, no?
Consumption get down 15% like Argentina a few
years ago, Mexico in '95.
And I think it's a better social issue to be paid by
savers than by consumers.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: So your view, and you operate in all of Latin
American countries, is that the growth rate will continue.
CARLOS SLIM: What?
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: You believe that the growth rate in Latin
America will continue?
CARLOS SLIM: I think we will have-- [INTERPOSING VOICES]
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: But as you know, 20 years ago we had bad
leadership in Latin America, a number of dictators-- a number
of very, very bad acts by states, and the surprise in the
last 10 years has been the robustness of Latin
American economies.
And in fact, their ability to pay back the loans that they
got, which they fought so hard for 10 years earlier.
Ultimately does Latin America get to be as strong
as the United States?
Is that possible given the resources in the population?
The growth rates are higher?
CARLOS SLIM: I think that the Western world-- U.S. and
Europe has troubles, crisis like we have.
Like we're looking around.
It will be probably worldwide.
You cannot be an island in this world problem.
Maybe China, China has a strong position to move and grow less.
They will not grow at 12% more for a few years, but they can
grow 6, 8% because they can come back and look for
the internal market.
Until now they grow with your market and with Europe and
with the world market.
Now they can turn and accelerate the process of
integrating more faster the part of this population.
But when you have a recession like this everyone will
decrease the growing.
The important thing is that is not costly socially, like
oil crisis in the past.
We have this experience and I think there are tools to avoid
to have this costly situation.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: To finish up and try to understand what your
next steps are, Telmex, for example, and holding companies
that you are associated with are actually thinking about
expanding past Latin America, really becoming international
telephone operators and telephony in business.
Do you see Telmex as really a global company going forward?
CARLOS SLIM: These things we're looking two years ago, three
years ago that maybe a little more things were getting
in not a good way.
And we have, we believe, healthy companies.
What we do is to try to have a healthy position.
The view of the group that-- actually, we have sold some
companies in the last two years or three years because we were
looking that something were going to happen, like
it is happening now.
And what we have is a healthy position.
We know they're in crisis.
It will be a difficult, tough crisis.
Nobody knows how deep, how important, how long, but our
position is to be financially healthy, very healthy.
And we still are buying buybacks.
We have a politics of dividends conservative to have
a stronger position.
And we will be-- we don't know.
We don't know what will happen, but what is clear is that we're
looking to have a healthy financial position to
follow investing.
And one of the things we do in the group, we have a
philosophy of some points.
Is to maintain an austerity in good times.
To avoid lay outs in bad times.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: So the other thing that you're doing is
you're using your personal wealth for good,
for investments.
You recently invested, for example, in the New York Times
in a minority position.
You have many things that you're doing personally.
Can you talk a little bit about, for example, your
philanthropic interests, and where do you think your
personal impact will be felt?
I read, for example, that you've committed up to $7
billion of philanthropic works, and good works, and investments
in the world, which is an extraordinary commitment.
CARLOS SLIM: We're focusing in Latin America-- Mexico
and Latin America.
We have some experience already doing some jobs
like Mexico downtown.
I was in charge of that, or made the efforts, and
it worked very well.
I think the combination of nonprofit organizations
like the foundations, and profit business can work
together in some areas.
Sometimes it's only the nonprofit, let's say for
health and education.
It mainly is nonprofit, but also you can develop profit
companies to support the activity and move in
the same direction.
Let's say if you are talking about [UNINTELLIGIBLE].
You need someone that say, I will invest in that.
Not let's say Central America has 70% of its energy in
thermoelectric when they have a lot of water.
But they don't go hydroelectric because they don't have the
investment and the money to make the investment.
I think we need to change that to 70% hydroelectric and 30%
thermoelectric when they have so much water to use for this
kind of power that is the cycle.
If the others don't invest we're investing already there,
and proposing investment there.
And in this way you have these profit companies, but also when
you're talking about health, one way you go nonprofit
with programs of nonprofit.
Or sports or culture, you go nonprofit.
But sometimes we combine that.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: So my sense, and I want to thank you for
coming and spending time at Zeitgeist, is that Carlos is a
person, who I think exemplifies what you can do as an
individual when you want to have an impact on the world.
Both in terms of the impact that you've been able to
achieve, just in terms of bringing people up with
communications and so forth, and building a great business
in the mean time, and now continuing that set of
principles and really having an impact on a much,
much broader stage.
So thank you very much for coming.
CARLOS SLIM: Thank you.
DR. ERIC SCHMIDT: Thank you.
CARLOS SLIM: Thank you very much.
[APPLAUSE]
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Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google interviews Carlos Slim, Chairman, Carlos Slim Foundation and Chairman, Telmex Foundation

303 Folder Collection
Chia-Yin Huang published on November 11, 2016
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