David Loevinger is an analyst in the Emerging Markets Group at TCW. He joined TCW in June 2012 after serving in the U.S. Treasury Department as Senior Coordinator for China Affairs. Before taking part in a Zócalo/UCLA Anderson event titled “What Will Trump’s Trade Wars Do to the U.S. Economy?” at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in downtown Los Angeles, he spoke in the green room about Beijing traffic, having his house bugged, and his favorite L.A. jazz venues.
You lived in Beijing. What do you miss and not miss?
I miss the great Chinese cuisine—really cheap great Chinese cuisine. There was a lot of excitement [in the mid-2000s]. It was a period of very high growth, the Olympics, our financial crisis. The other thing I really liked, when China was growing 10 percent a year, there was this incredible kind of ambition and sense among the Chinese that they could make their lives better and their children’s lives better.
What don’t you miss?
Pollution! Traffic! Though I get a little bit of both in L.A., but much less than in Beijing. Foreigners in a way tend to be on the outside, looking in. And not being a Mandarin speaker kind of makes you even more feel that you’re really a foreigner.
Did you have a feeling that people were looking over your shoulder?
I was a diplomat. So if you’re asking was my house bugged, were my phones bugged, were my computers bugged, was my cellphone—absolutely. My life was pretty boring, so maybe I was just clogging up the system!
What do you do to relax?
I love jazz music, play a little saxophone. I love to exercise, I love skiing, hiking, being in the outdoors. Coming to California was good for all that. I live in La Cañada Flintridge, so you just go up to Mt. Wilson and it’s like 20, 30 minutes away.
What are you reading for pleasure?
I haven’t read a good book in a long time. It’s one of my weaknesses.
What are you watching on Netflix for pleasure?
Oh, I’m not helping you here!
You’re too busy hiking and listening to music. Do you go to some of the live jazz here?
Baked Potato, and the Blue Whale, and the Catalina Club. All great!