In what year?
Kapitsa: That was 1979, something like that, '80 maybe.
And Leontieff had just completed a study of the world economy using
his networks, his matrix methods, that was recognized by the Nobel
Prize. It was a very interesting conversation. I was
sitting just opposite him, and next to me was sitting Zamcev at
this lunch, and I asked her, "Wow, it would be great Leontieff
on television." So he said, "It's a good idea."
He was always so very diplomatic. And then I got to thinking
about what I'm going to talk to Leontieff about, and then I said,
no, maybe you could join us. I think you could be much better
party for such a conversation. Oh yes, but if we do that,
it has to be authorized. But he's an advisor to Brezhnev,
the head of the whole government. And I asked him, "Now
whom do you think it will be worth authorizing with."
Most say Latvin, now Latvin was the head of the television; also
a Brezhnev man. By that time, lunch had been finished and
we were moving over to the drawing room for cognac and coffee.
I walked out, got immediately on telephone to Latvin, told him about
the whole thing. He was also diplomatic and said, "Well,
if Zamcev thinks it's worth the effort, go ahead." So
I came back, surprisingly to him may I say, and got the authorization
from Latvin himself.
after that it was a question of timing, because that was on a Wednesday.
On Friday evening, Leontieff was leaving for Leningrad. I
had one day. That day, the Thursday, they were busy,
so we could only shoot I think from one to two on Friday.
So I immediately made arrangements and we had to shoot in the studio.
We had all the necessary equipment and the best place to go.
on Thursday, a friend of mine, Schaumburg, with whom we played tennis
here, I called him over here--he's an economist, he worked for Zamcev
in those days. Now, explain to me everything that really matters
in world economy today. But be brief. We spent all Thursday
playing tennis and being briefed on the economy. The next
day I went to Zamcev's place where they had a sort of press conference,
and after that, we had to leave for the studio. It was an
hour's drive through Moscow in the middle of the summer. And
I was sure that Leontieff would have a car attached to him, and
you know these grand limousines that carted him around, but neither
of them had a car. And I had a miserable way of two cars in
those days; this was my wife's car, a rather derelict car.
So I put these two great economists in this car and I had to drive
all through Moscow in the middle of the summer. The traffic
wasn't as bad as it is today, but still it was a hell of a job.
never used to go to theater in my own car. I used to take
a taxi, and that would be the easiest thing, but taxis were not
available at that moment, so I have to take them. Discussing
what we're going today to talk about. We arrived ten minutes
before the deadline and then decided that we should go and have
a cup of coffee. We went to the Coffee Cup, and Leontieff
was looking very miserable and crestfallen and looking like a hungry
cat at all the nice things and the professor. I said, "Maybe
you would like to have something to eat." "Oh, yes,"
he said, "I missed my breakfast this morning." He
was low on sugar, you see. And he had something to eat, and
then we went and taped for an hour and five minutes, I remember,
discussing world economy.
were absolutely brilliant, these two gentlemen. They exactly
know how and why, what they can, and how it should be said.
And Leontieff then developed an image, a metaphor, to which he came
back many times, that the real breakthrough was, he was speaking
of having elements of a market economy--that you cannot control
it all through central power. And Zavcev also was sort of
in a very sort of way, but doing it very artfully, he was agreeing
with this point.
Leontieff--he developed the image, he says that the role of government
in this case is like the helmsman on a sailing ship. You have
to control the sails and your rudder to keep the boat running--the
ship running in the right direction, but it will be fueled by the
forces of the market. That otherwise, if there was no control
over the ship by the helmsman, it would go wherever the wind would
take it. And he developed this idea in a very skillful manner,
and it's a very good model, I must say, of the interaction of the
government and the State and the free market.
that was shown twice in the huge cycle. We got about five
thousand letters, including many letters denouncing the whole effort
as undermining the Marxist ideal, and we were accused of sort of
ideological crimes of the worst nature. But I was speaking
to the advisor of Brezhnev, to the top man in our country, speaking
to one of the foremost economists in the world, who spoke perfect
Russian--that also helped--discussing these most pressing matters
that were facing our country those days, ten years before anything
started happening. So there you see. And it was authorized
and supported at the highest level you can imagine.