Students and faculty from the Economics department have gathered for a pizza reception in Tory Building.
Around 50 students are in attendance.
The event is hosted by Carleton University Undergraduate Economics Society and sponsored by the Institute for Liberal Studies.
Watson says, "it's a great pleasure to be here at Carleton."
"My opinions have always been somewhat contrarian," he says. "This time they ended up in a book."
Watson is a lively speaker, constantly making jokes and engaging with the audience.
Watson says he argues there are at least three kinds of inequality: good, bad and benign.
Watson moves onto "the poster boy of capitalism," Steve Jobs. Watson says in 2010, US average net worth was $57,000, yet Steve Jobs' net worth in 2011 was $8 billion.
Jobs caused a marginal increase in inequality in the United States. "Is it a problem, how did he get that money?" Watson says. Food for thought for the audience.
The process to develop that (wealth), Watson says, was all a voluntary process.
Next example of wealth in a capitalist society is Sidney Crosby. "Those are his original teeth," Watson jokes, pointing at Crosby's photo on the slideshow.
Once again, a voluntary process. People pay to go see him, Watson says.
Watson's other examples include Bernie Madoff, Jamie Dimon and more.
Watson addresses the drivers of inequality: rising inequality of hours worked, assortative mating, how marrying within your own income group is more common now than it was 50 years ago. This increases the inequality of family incomes. "Should we regulate who we marry?" He asks.
Some social security programs, technological change and trade are also drivers of inequality, he says.
Watson delivers his lines with punching hand gestures and paces in front of the podium.
Another 'familiar idea,' he says is by Fred Hirsch, "If everyone stands on tiptoe, no one sees better." He uses this to refer to positional growth.
Watson uses his cabin in Muskoka Lake as an example. His family used to rent a cabin in Colonial Bay for two weeks in the summer. This is an area with 15,000 cottages in that area. His children used to ask why they couldn't own one, instead of renting. If there's an increase in inequality, does that change anything? The people at the front of the income and wealth line would own the cottages, and get richer. "I wasn't going to get them before, and I'm not going to get them now. Basically I'm not going to get one."
Watson switches his topic over to education, more specifically an elite education and looking at who pays to go to school, and who gets wealthier. "Basically what happens is the prices of goods go up, and they become more out of reach, but they were out of reach anyways," he says.
Watson says he's not so worried about the rising inequality's affect on education for universities, "I think the exclusiveness that goes with rising inequality is exaggerated."
Watson's next topic is politics and money in politics. He talks about presidents and prime ministers Abraham Lincoln, John A. Macdonald, Mackenzie King, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and the influence money had on their political careers, both negative and positive.
Watson argues we should have policies against poverty and privilege.
Watson looks at the trends on rate of low income (LICO) all persons -mostly flatline trend-, unattached seniors -mostly down ward trend-, kids with one parents has lowered from about 60 per cent down to 20 in 2011. He uses graphs from 1976 up until 2013.
How do we look at privilege? Watson suggests the Department of Finance Canada's "Tax Expenditures and Evaluations," Canada Gazette and Departmental Consolidation oaf the Customs Tariff 2016.
Watson argues the arrival of capitalism improved social systems for the better. The purchasing power parity or PPP of the "western offshoot" countries raised the most, to $30,000. Europe came in second with a PPP of just over $20,000.
Another way of looking at this prosperity is looking at is the increase in human height over the past centuries. As well, the increase of human life expectancy, Watson says.
Watson concludes his talk with the first quotation in the book by Margaret Thatcher: "Equity is a very much better principle than equality."
Watson opens for questions from audience.
"You may not want to ask a question, but if you had to ask a question, what would you ask?" he jokes during a pause before the questions begin.
Questions from the audience begin. One audience asks: is this inequality just part of human nature? Stronger and weaker human species as part of history and our human nature.
The next question asked: can you talk to the other side of inequality that you didn't address in your talk, the poor people getting poorer and how this increases crime?
Watson says some low incomes are temporary, for the students in the room. Also mentions that the richer we get, will help out the poorer.
"There do have to be standard rules of behaviour," he says.
In answer to the question "do you favour basic guaranteed minimum income?" Watson says no.
Next question: do you see any benefits in shrinking the economic gap? "I see the benefit in increasing policing to minimize fraud, cheating, providing privilege," he says.
As a student walks out, "you can get the book on kindle," Watson says with a laugh.
"When i was a student, communist china as we called it, was like the far side of the moon," Watson says in reference to globalization's expansion over the past years.
Globalization does not have a negative effect on economic growth, Watson says.
Watson says he's an "anecdotal economist."
Watson believes education at the lower levels is where the help and funding is needed, to help people create more opportunities at younger ages.
Watson ends his speech after question period, as he receives a thank you gift from students.