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The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.
1 day ago
Lockdowns around the world has seen our energy usage plunge, but as restrictions ease will countries build back better? On Business Weekly we get the view of veteran scientist James Lovelock as he celebrates his 101st birthday. We ask him his predictions for planet earth. We also head to Ghana, where we take a look at efforts to reinvigorate the economy by attracting disillusioned African Americans to visit and start a new life there. Plus, if you’re missing watching you’re favourite bands, some artists are coming up with novel ways to get around bans on concerts.
2 days ago
Paid not to work: burden or opportunity?
In order to try and stem a wave of coronavirus-induced unemployment, governments around the world introduced job retention schemes. Many of these are being rolled back or withdrawn and Elizabeth Hotson asks whether the interventions got people out the habit of work or opened up new opportunities. We speak to three workers placed on furlough - gardening enthusiast, Carol Peett; single parent, Naomi Empowers and keen baker, Chinelo Awa. Plus New York law firm partner, Greg Rinckey tells us about some of the unexpected consequences of the CARES act in the US and Sarah Damaske, Associate Professor of Sociology at Penn State University, tells us that furlough wasn’t necessarily a chance to relax. (Picture of Naomi Empowers via Naomi Empowers).
3 days ago
Trump's climate rollback
Environmental regulations are being systematically weakened and repealed by the US government. Justin Rowlatt speaks to someone trying to keep track of it all - Michael Gerrard of Columbia Law School. He also hears from Maria Caffrey, a climate scientist who lost her job at the US National Park Service after blowing the whistle about how her research was being suppressed - and she says she is not the only one. Climate sceptic Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explains why the environmental rollback is good news for the US economy, while climate futurist Alex Steffen says humanity will be the living with the consequences of Trump's delay of climate action for generations to come. With Democratic challenger Joe Biden having unveiled an unprecedentedly ambitious climate plan, it means there is all to play for in the November Presidential elections. (Picture: Donald Trump holds up a "Trump Digs Coal" sign at an event in Huntington, West Virginia; Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
4 days ago
How easy is it to get around sanctions? The US has for some years used financial sanctions to target those it blames for corruption or supporting terrorism. But do these measures work? We hear the latest evidence that it may be quite easy to get round sanctions and asset freezes. (Picture: Suitcase full of cash; Credit: seyfettinozel/Getty Images)
5 days ago
Will live streaming gigs save the music industry?
Musicians tell us how they are finding innovative ways to get around the pandemic and perform live to their fans. It's a very real problem - the BBC's arts editor Will Gompertz tells Ed Butler of the frustrations of performers like Beverley Knight (pictured) having to perform to half-empty auditoriums in order to ensure social distancing. Two singer-songwriters tell us the novel methods they've taken up during lockdown. Dent May describes his first live-stream performance from his own home, while Laura Marling put on a live staged performance for a limited ticketed online audience. The brainchild behind Laura's, music promoter Ric Salmon of Drift Live, says he thinks the concept will prove more than just a quick fix for Covid-19. (Picture: Beverley Knight performing to a live audience at the London Palladium; Credit: Andy Paradise/BBC)
6 days ago
"Gaia Hypothesis" creator celebrates 101 years
Veteran environmentalist James Lovelock reflects on his career and the planet's future, as he turns 101 years old. The independent scientist, Wollaston medal recipient and inventor of the Gaia Hypothesis sits down with the BBC’s Chief Environment correspondent Justin Rowlatt to talk about his humble upbringing between the two World Wars, his inventions that helped propel the green movement, as well as his thoughts on the over-specialisation of the university system, and the future of human life on Earth. (Picture: James Lovelock. Picture Credit: BBC)
1 Aug 2020
It’s estimated that a quarter of a billion people could lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. On Business Weekly we ask whether governments need to rethink the way they deal with mass unemployment. We also head to the salt flats of Bolivia to find out whether the untapped lithium reserves there will be a blessing or a curse for the South American country. Plus, we’ll discover why you’ll need to bring a coat if you go out for coffee in France and find out why doctors are putting pictures of themselves in bikinis on social media. Presented by Lucy Burton.
31 Jul 2020
Homeworking: Is it messing with your head?
Working from home could outlast the pandemic. But workers' experiences with homeworking in lockdown are not all positive. Manuela Saragosa speaks to some office workers who've struggled to adapt to home life, and to Dr Zofia Bajorek, research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies in the UK, who's been surveying workers on the pressures they've faced in lockdown. Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School, explains why face-to-face contact is so important for innovation in the workplace, and why flexible working with a mix of office and home will ultimately make us all happier. (Photo: A woman works from home, Credit: Getty Images)
30 Jul 2020
Bolivia's lithium bonanza
The Salar de Uyuni is a stunning pristine salt flat high in the Andes - it is also the world's biggest lithium deposit, worth many billions of dollars. Ed Butler asks whether this as yet untapped resource will prove a blessing or a curse for the people of Bolivia. It has already played a role in the political instability that brought down the country's long-time socialist president, Evo Morales, last year. Daniela Sanchez-Lopez, an expert in the geopolitics of clean energy at Cambridge University and herself Bolivian, explains how the exploding demand for lithium batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage, means that many powerful nations have their eyes on the salt flat. Among them is Germany. Ed speaks to Wolfgang Schmutz, founder of ACI Group, the clean energy company that had won a contract to develop the lithium deposit, before being dumped during the political unrest last year. We also hear from Gunnar Valda, head of the Bolivian state lithium company YLB. (Picture: Woman standing on the Salar de Uyuni; Credit: hadynyah/Getty Images)
29 Jul 2020
What actually happened in Sweden?
Sweden, a nation of 10 million, has one of the highest death rates per capita in the world, far above its Scandinavian neighbours. A decision was taken early on in the coronavirus pandemic not to put Sweden into lockdown. Lena Einhorn, a Swedish virologist explains why she was opposed to that decision. The state health authority were pursuing a strategy they thought would benefit both the economy and public health, but Jacob Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics says that strategy didn’t do either. That said, Swedish companies, particularly those with domestic focus, have done better than expected, as Esbjörn Lundevall from the Nordic SEB bank explains. (Picture: The Swedish flag flying in Stockholm. Picture credit: Getty Images?)
28 Jul 2020
Are companies really committed to diversity?
US companies are spending around $8 billion a year on diversity training. Neal Goodman has been running “unconscious bias” training for decades, and explains to Manuela Saragosa how it works. But Pamela Newkirk, journalist and author of 'Diversity, Inc.' says diversity training is often more about box ticking than actually getting results. And Betsy Levy Paluck of Princeton University says such training may even backfire if not done right. (Picture credit: Getty Creative)
27 Jul 2020
Dealing with mass unemployment
It’s estimated that the coronavirus pandemic will leave a quarter of a billion people out of work this year. Many of the jobs lost may never come back. Elisabeth Reynolds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says governments must take more radical action. And with its generous benefits system and flexible jobs market, what can Denmark teach us about navigating the post-Covid jobs landscape? We ask Jacob Kirkegaard, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. Photo: A man stands in front of the closed offices of the New York State Department of Labour (Credit: Getty Images).
25 Jul 2020
After the second-longest summit in the bloc's history, EU leaders agree a deal between themselves for a coronavirus economic recovery plan worth hundreds of billions of euros. But will it keep the so-called Frugal Four satisfied? And is now the time to reassess the health insurance industry in the United States? Plus, why Kenyan farmers have been hit by a drop in Muslim pilgrim numbers for the upcoming Hajj.
24 Jul 2020
Brexit: still worth it?
It’s going to be more expensive for British firms to trade with the European Union after the end of this year. That’s when the real Brexit takes place. We ask Alastair Macmillian, a Brexit-supporting business owner, whether he thinks leaving the EU is still worth it. Alex Veitch, head of international policy at the UK Freight Transport Association, explains what the extra red tape means for the industry. And we hear from Peter Foster, public policy editor at the Financial Times. Photo: The flags of the UK and EU are pictured at the European Council headquarters in Brussels (Credit: Getty Images)
23 Jul 2020
TikTok under pressure
Can TikTok survive as a US-based social media platform? The social media app owned by a Chinese company, is prompting suspicion in Washington at the moment. Amidst rising US-China tensions, are suspicions that the company is using spyware justified? James Lewis, a veteran cyber-expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC says the administrations doubts are probably unjustified. Louise Matsakis, a staff writer for Wired magazine says all social media platforms in the US need to be more heavily regulated. Plus Zach King, currently the world's third best paid TikToker who has amassed a staggering 41 million followers worldwide tells Ed Butler about how he uses the site to make millions of dollars. (Picture credit: Getty Images)
22 Jul 2020
Coronavirus: A killer blow to US healthcare?
The coronavirus pandemic is stretching the US healthcare system to breaking point, with tens of millions of people losing their employment-related coverage. One such person is Susan, a breast cancer survivor who has had to avoid vital check-ups after being made redundant as a bartender in New York. And there are many more like her. Kaiser Family Foundation Data Scientist Cynthia Cox explains how difficult it is to know how many people are actually without healthcare right now. Dr Adam Gaffney, a pulmonary and critical care doctor and instructor at Harvard Medical School says the insurance-led model already was in need of a drastic overhaul, while Mary Grealy of the Healthcare Leadership Council counters that the system does still work and offers greater choice to the consumer. And LaRay Brown, who leads the One Brooklyn Health System, describes how the pandemic is having a devastating effect on hospitals’ finances. Will the US health system stand up to the strain of Covid-19, and its…
21 Jul 2020
Changing career in a pandemic
Some people aren’t letting coronavirus put their plans on hold. On today’s Business Daily, the BBC’s Katie Prescott meets several people dealing with the uncertainty of change in a pandemic. We’ll hear from Sharon, who is considering switching employer, and Sandra who is seizing the opportunity of a coronavirus-related redundancy to start her own business. We’ll also hear from entrepreneur and author Margaret Heffernan how we all accept some amount of uncertainty when making changes. (Picture credit: Getty Images.)
20 Jul 2020
Designing a better city
Can the lessons learned during Coronavirus help make urban environments smarter? The BBC’s Jane Wakefield meets the people trying to find out. Guillem Camprodon of the Fab Lab in Barcelona explains how local city sensors can be used to measure noise pollution, while Professor Phil James, director of the Urban Observatory programme in Newcastle, discusses the potential and limitations of collecting data on all aspects of daily life. Richard Sennett, Senior Advisor to the United Nations on its Urban Initiatives Group, says post-pandemic, we might need to rethink how we use space, and Daniela Rus of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, suggests ways we can use task robots to reduce risk to humans. (Picture: An aerial view of Tokyo. Picture credit: Getty Images.)
18 Jul 2020
In Business Weekly, we investigate racial discrimination in the banking system and find out how this affects the businesses owned by people of colour. We also ask why so few governments plan effectively for catastrophes. We hear about the impact that had on the ability to react to Covid-19 and what it might mean for future challenges. Plus, we hear from the Welsh choir who are longing to sing together once again. Presented by Lucy Burton.
16 Jul 2020
Fixing world trade
Trade wars have blighted the global economy in the last four years. What will it take to restore order? Much will depend on who takes over the leadership of the World Trade Organisation, the institution tasked with guiding and policing the rules-based global trading system. There are eight official candidates for the WTO top job. We speak to Mexico’s candidate, Jesus Seade, about how - and what - needs fixing, with commentary from the BBC’s economics correspondent Andrew Walker. (Photo: WTO director general candidate Jesus Seade; Credit: Getty Images)
16 Jul 2020
China's plan to redesign the internet
Huawei's expulsion from the UK's 5G network is the latest development in a growing US-China cyber cold war - but Beijing has bigger plans afoot. Cyber-security consultant Dominique Lazanski explains how the Chinese authorities are proposing to replace the data protocols that underpin the current flexible, open internet with ones that would enable national governments to exert much greater top-down control within their borders. Meanwhile US President Trump continues to focus his ire on telecoms equipment maker Huawei, and major Chinese tech firms. Laurence Knight gets the latest from the BBC's Asia business correspondent Karishma Vaswani. Plus, Justin Sherman of the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington DC fears that if the US doesn't start working with other democracies, then the free, open internet we have grown up with may struggle to survive. (Picture: Abstract Globe With Glowing Networks; Credit: imaginima/Getty Images)
15 Jul 2020
Homeworking's winners and losers
The economic impact of the working-from-home revolution. Edwin Lane speaks to remote tech worker Heather May about why she's swapped the office and the big city for rural Alabama, and to Aaron Bolzle, executive director of Tulsa Remote - a programme to attract remote workers from around the US to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Manuela Saragosa hears from Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom about why a boom in working from home during the coronavirus pandemic could increase inequality, and digital economy researcher Sarah Bana tells us why some countries are better than others at home working. (Photo: A woman works on laptop at home, Credit: Getty Images)
14 Jul 2020
Venture capital's diversity problem
Will the Black Lives Matter movement bring change to an industry accused of being too white? Nick Kelly, a black entrepreneur who runs Axela Ltd, says venture capital funds would only consider a certain kind of business idea from black entrepreneurs. He didn't raise any money from them when he went asking yet his business is now worth around $10 million. Kenny Alegbe of HomeHero, another black entrepreneur says he only got investment from VC funds when he looked outside of the usual set of funds. Plus Manuela Saragosa speaks to Tracy Gray who runs the 22 Fund. She is a rarity in the VC community. She is female and a black investor, and says there has been no change in the VC world for the 20 years that she's worked in it. (Picture: Black businesswoman looking at male colleagues whispering; Credit: XiXinXing/Getty Images)
13 Jul 2020
Why do we ignore catastrophic risk?
Covid-19 is showing up a general failure by most of the world's governments to prepare for the worst. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dr Sylvie Briand at the World Health Organization, whose job is to get the world ready for new infectious outbreaks like coronavirus. What was it like for her exhortations to fall on deaf ears up until this year? How prepared was the WHO itself, and does she fear the consequences if the multilateral organisation is defunded? Meanwhile, author and risk consultant David Ropeik explains why human nature makes us so bad at taking action to ward of disasters that happen once in a blue moon. And Jens Orback, head of the Global Challenges Foundation, says pandemics are only one of a host of terrifying cataclysms that we disregard at our peril. (Picture: Asteroid striking the Earth; Credit: puchan/Getty Images)
11 Jul 2020
On Business Weekly, we look at what's been the biggest corporate scandal of 2020 so far. Wirecard was one of the German stock exchange's largest companies, but it now finds itself embroiled in fraud and corruption claims. How did the technology star fall so quickly from grace? Fergus Nicoll investigates. The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on the education sector and in the United States new rules say foreign students might face deportation if their courses have gone online, throwing their lives into disarray, Rob Young hears their stories. And what’s the formula behind a winning brand? We join Elizabeth Hotson on a quest to bring out a winning range of mushy peas. Presented by Vishala Sri-Pathma and produced by Matthew Davies.
10 Jul 2020
Trump's tax returns
The US Supreme Court has ruled that the US President's taxes cannot be withheld from a grand jury investigation - but what does it mean for his bid to keep his finances private and to get himself re-elected in November? Ed Butler asks John Coffee, professor of law at New York's Columbia Law school, which legal team and which political party should be celebrating more over this complicated ruling. Plus, New York Times investigative journalist Susanne Craig tells us what is already known about Mr Trump's tax affairs and the source of his wealth. And tax journalist David Cay Johnston explains why Mr Trump's finances were so little investigated before he became president. (Picture: US President Donald Trump in the cabinet room of the White House; Credit: EPA/Samuel Corum)
9 Jul 2020
Voting amidst a pandemic
Could electronic voting help the US hold an election? Ed Butler speaks to Nimit Sawhney founder and CEO of Voatz - a US startup that provides voting through a smartphone app, and to Priit Vinkel, the former head of the state electoral office of Estonia where 50% of citizens now cast their votes online. J. Alex Halderman, professor of computer science at the University of Michigan explains why e-voting systems are so risky when it comes to election security. Lori Steele Contorer, former founder and CEO of e-voting company Everyone Counts, argues the case for electronic voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. Producer: Edwin Lane (Photo: Voters line up at polling stations in the US state of Wisconsin earlier this year; Credit: Getty Images)
8 Jul 2020
Rising tensions with China
Why does China seem to be upsetting countries around the world? Beijing's recent clampdown on Hong Kong with a new security law has led many countries to condemn the Chinese leadership. It's also put more pressure on the trade war with the US. So what's in it for Beijing to apparently spur international hostility over Hong Kong and a number of other regional border conflicts? George Magnus, an economist and an associate at the China Centre at Oxford University, believes the domestic unemployment issue is a big determining factor in Beijing's thinking. Yuen Yuen Ang, a political scientist and an expert on China and emerging economies at the University of Michigan, says it's all a symptom of President Xi's and Donald Trump's insecurities at home. And Ian Bremmer the President of the risk consultancy the Eurasia Group, says despite the Chinese always having been thought of long term, strategic thinkers they are now not even thinking six months ahead. (Picture: Cargo containers with US an…
7 Jul 2020
How brands are born
What's the secret to coming up with a brand name? Elizabeth Hotson goes on a mission to create a new line of mushy peas - also known as Yorkshire caviar. With their low fat, high fibre, vegan credentials, mushy peas should be a winner with health conscious millennials, but a great name is still essential to success. We negotiate legal minefields with Kate Swaine, head of the UK trademarks, brands and designs team at law firm Gowling WLG, and get some valuable branding insights from Simon Manchipp and Laura Hussey at design agency SomeOne. Eric Yorkston, associate professor of marketing at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, tells us why analysing the sounds of words can make or break a brand. Producer: Sarah Treanor (Picture: Queen Pea branding by Simon Manchipp of SomeOne)
6 Jul 2020
Africa's tech entrepreneurs
Coronavirus has brought new opportunities to Africa's tech sector, despite the devastating blow it has delivered to economies around the world. Tamasin Ford speaks to one of Forbes Africa’s 50 most powerful women, Rebecca Enonchong, the founder and CEO of AppsTech, a global provider of digital solutions. Claud Hutchful, chief executive of Dream Oval, a technology firm in Accra, Ghana, tells us about payments app Slydepay. Plus we hear from Moses Acquah, chief technology officer of GreenTec Capital Partners, an investment firm that supports African entrepreneurs. He’s also the founder of the networking organisation, Afrolynk. (Picture: Woman using a tablet; Credit: Getty Images)
4 Jul 2020
Big brands are turning away from Facebook over its so-called toxic content - so how will the social network cope? That’s the big question we’ll be asking on Business Weekly. We’ll also be investigating the changing face of make-up as Kim Kardashian West sells a stake in her cosmetics business to the beauty giant Coty. We’ll hear why traditional make-up brands are struggling to keep up with companies born in the age of social media and influencers. Our correspondent in France heads to the sparkling shores of Brittany to see whether businesses there are ready for summer tourists - and we have an interview with the film director, Gurinder Chadha. Presented by Lucy Burton.
3 Jul 2020
Nollywood under lockdown
Coronavirus has brought one of the most prolific film industries to a virtual standstill. Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry, is the third largest in the world after Hollywood and India’s Bollywood. Chijioke Uwaegbute from the entertainment desk at Price Waterhouse Coopers Nigeria explains the financial impact of the virus on Nollywood. Moses Babatope, co-founder of Filmhouse, the biggest cinema chain in West Africa, says that with all his cinemas closed, he’s having to pay furlough money out of his own pocket. Plus actress and screenwriter Alexendra Amon tells us that she has had projects cancelled. And we’ll also hear from Obi Emelonye on using smartphones to overcome restriction during the pandemic. (Image: Nollywood films at a market in Lagos. Picture credit: CRISTINA ALDEHUELA/AFP via Getty Images)
2 Jul 2020
US states resist second lockdown
Coronavirus cases have been rising in two dozen states over the last 14 days. Of these, Texas, Florida, Arizona and California have emerged as the country's latest virus epicentres. And yet governors in many of these states are resisting efforts to close down economic and social activity, or a “second lockdown". Republican strategist Chris Ingram in Tampa, Florida, explains to Business Daily's Ed Butler the thinking behind allowing most Americans, apart from the most vulnerable, to get back to normal life. But some Floridians are not waiting for directions from the government. Ed Boas, owner of Lanes clothing store, describes the precautions he’s taking on his own initiative. Meanwhile Dr Cheryl Holder, at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University, says that while the state is better-equipped to deal with a second wave, she’s concerned many young people think themselves invulnerable. And Wendell Potter, former health insurance broker turned wh…
1 Jul 2020
Brands boycott Facebook
Will the Stop Hate for Profit campaign change the social network's handling of "toxic" content? Big names like Ford, Starbucks and Unilever are pulling ads from Facebook starting this month. Ed Butler speaks to some of the companies involved: Damien Huang, president of outdoor clothing company Eddie Bauer, Mary Ellen Muckerman from tech firm Mozilla, and Ryan Gellert from Patagonia. As the campaign appears to gather momentum, how much will it hurt Facebook's business? Jordan Bucknell, founder and CEO of Upbeat Agency, a facebook and Instagram advertising agency, describes the draw of the platform for many small businesses. And Steven Levy, author of the book Facebook: The Inside Story, explains why the real pressure for change could come from Facebook's own workforce. Producer: Edwin Lane (Photo: Stop Hate for Profit campaign displayed on a smartphone, Credit: EPA)
30 Jun 2020
Rethinking the future
The 2020s will be transformational for humanity, according to the tech prophet founders of RethinkX, Tony Seba and James Arbib talk to Justin Rowlatt about their prediction that a confluence of new technologies - in energy, transportation, and food and materials production - could wipe out poverty and solve climate change in the next 10-15 years, and usher in a new "Age of Freedom" for our species. But while it sounds utopian, they also warn in their new book Rethinking Humanity that it could pose huge civilizational challenges for a planet that still clings to outdated concepts such as democracy, capitalism and the nation state. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Global communications Planet Earth graphic; Credit: metmorworks/Getty Images)
29 Jun 2020
The billionaire and the pandemic
Mohamed Mansour is a household name in Egypt. The billionaire head of the multinational conglomerate Mansour Group has been involved in business and politics in Egypt and abroad for decades, as the BBC’s Mohamed El Aassar explains. Mansour himself sat down to speak with Manuela Saragosa about globalisation, the long-term impact of coronavirus and donating to the UK conservative party. (Picture: Mohamed Mansour. Picture credit: Mansour Group.)
26 Jun 2020
On Business Weekly we’ll be asking why the boss is often the least skilled person in the room? Are incompetent people put into middle management to get them out of the way - or are they just more confident than their more proficient peers? We’ll also be looking at the future of meat and asking whether china will turns its back on pork and embrace plant-based alternatives. And we’ll hear from the pilots who have swapped aviation for empathy. Presented by Lucy Burton, produced by Benjie Guy .
26 Jun 2020
Does the WTO have a future?
With current World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo due to leave his post later in the year, the race is on for a new DG. Abdel Hamid Mamdouh, a former diplomat and candidate for the top job, tells Manuela Saragosa how he imagines the WTO of the future, while the BBC’s Andrew Walker explains how US opposition under President Trump to a global multilateral trading system is putting the organisation’s future in doubt. (Picture: A shipping freighter with cargo containers. Picture credit: Getty Images)
25 Jun 2020
Why your boss is incompetent
Why is it that the boss never seems to know what they’re doing? The famous “Dilbert principle” asserts that companies promote incompetent employees into middle management to get them out of the way. But Professor David Dunning, co-creator of the competing “Dunning–Kruger effect”, says there’s more to it than that, specifically that the more incompetent a person is, the more confident they can be. Meanwhile, Kelly Shue, Professor of Finance at Yale, says an even simpler idea, the “Peter Principle” helps to explain why people get promoted beyond their level of competence. And entrepreneur Heather McGregor explains why the incompetence of a former boss led her to buy her own company (Picture: Getty Images)
24 Jun 2020
Can we guarantee a job for everyone?
One of the long-run impacts of the coronavirus pandemic is dramatically worsened unemployment around the world, with millions of people suddenly unable to support themselves and their families. Aside from the obvious financial implications, Dr Stephen Blumenthal, a clinical psychologist in the UK tells Ed Butler about the tremendous impact this could have on mental health and human life. Meanwhile, some economists are discussing whether societies could, or indeed should, make sure everyone who wants a job can have one. Economist Pavlina Tcherneva lays out “The Case for a Job Guarantee.” (Picture credit: An unemployment line in Chile. Picture credit: Getty Images.)
23 Jun 2020
Lifting the lockdowns
Ever since governments first began trying to contain the coronavirus pandemic, economists and pundits around the world have debated the apparent trade-off between protecting public health, and minimising the economic harm that the containment measure would likely cause. But is the whole idea of health versus wealth wrongheaded? We hear from Jo Michell, associate professor in economics at the Bristol Business School, and from Laurence Boone, chief economist at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Meanwhile, businesses and workers around the UK are holding their breath for the end of lockdown, as the BBC’s Joshua Thorpe has been finding out. (Picture: Woman reopening her small business after Covid-19; Credit: FatCamera/Getty Images)
22 Jun 2020
Will China embrace fake meat?
In today's programme, Elizabeth Hotson asks how supply chain issues in China’s pork industry could help home grown meat alternatives go mainstream. As pork prices rise and China looks to new forms of protein, we hear from David Yeung from Green Monday, the company behind popular mock-pork product, OmniPork. A rival for the synthetic pork crown, Vince Lu from Zhenmeat, tells us why he has high hopes that his meat free tenderloin will corner the hot pot market and Matilda Ho, founder of Bits x Bites, a food tech VC fund, explains why she's investing in the alternative protein market. We also hear from Bruce Friedrich, co-founder of the Good Food Institute which promotes plant-based alternatives to animal protein. And Shaun Rein, Managing Director of the China Market Research Group asks whether the sales match the hype. Picture: Soup dumplings with OmniPork filling via OmniPork
20 Jun 2020
On Business Weekly we ask how international businesses based in Hong Kong are reacting to China’s new security laws. It is finally illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in the workplace in the United States, so, we hear from the man who took his case all the way to the Supreme Court. As the World Bank predicts that remittances will fall by 20% this year, we look at how that will affect communities in the developing world and speak to expat workers who send their wages home. Two big food companies are re-branding products that adhere to racial stereotypes - we consider the importance of this. Presented by Lucy Burton.
19 Jun 2020
#BLM: Are brands cashing in?
Companies are pledging support and money to the Black Lives Matter movement, and an end to systemic racism. Do they mean it? Ed Butler asks Pepper Miller, a market researcher who has campaigned for over 20 years for companies to realise the value of African-American consumers. One business that already has a long history of supporting black equality and other social justice movements is the ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's. But the company is based in Vermont, the second whitest state in America. Ed asks activism manager Chris Miller whether the firm's purported values are also reflected in their own personnel decisions. It's a pertinent question, according to Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business. With the shift in demographics and purchasing power towards young educated liberal urban workers, and the increased scrutiny of company behaviour in the Google era, he says American businesses see commercial opportunity in taking a much more overt positio…
18 Jun 2020
Hong Kong's last gasp?
China's plan to impose its new so-called security law in Hong Kong may flout the territories legal independence. Some say it may jeopardise Hong Kong's status as Asia's largest financial hub. Hedge fund manager Edward Chin tells Ed Butler that the new law will mean an end to the principle of "one country, two systems" and may lead to companies leaving the territory. Victor Shih, an expert in Chinese banking and finance based at the University of San Diego, says it could have a much more detrimental effect on China's banking system and the country's access to the world's financial markets. But James Crabtree from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, thinks Beijing has taken a cool headed decision and is willing to sacrifice some business for the sake of political stability. (Picture: A Hong Kong anti-government protester raises a hand; Credit: Anna Wang/Reuters)
17 Jun 2020
China's debt relief for Africa
China has been one of the biggest financiers of infrastructure projects in Africa, but many African economies have been hit hard by the Covid 19 pandemic. So will China prove to be a generous and understanding creditor? Can it even afford to be? In the edition of the programme we hear from Zhengli Huang, a freelance researcher in Nairobi, on what’s likely to happen to Chinese-financed projects in Africa. Deborah Brautigam, director of the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, looks at what sort of debt relief China can realistically offer; and Ben Cavender, managing director of the China Market Research Group in Shanghai, talks about whether China could cope with the economic hit of many countries suddenly defaulting on their debt repayments. Presented by Manuela Saragosa. Produced by Joshua Thorpe. (Picture: Woman serving Chinese tea in a traditional tea ceremony; Credit: Creative-Family/Getty Images)
16 Jun 2020
How batteries are powering ahead
Tesla's Elon Musk plans to make some big announcements about batteries that could transform cars, electricity and the fight against climate change. Justin Rowlatt gets the inside scoop from Seth Weinbaum, journalist at the electric vehicles news-site Electrek. Meanwhile, battery chemist Paul Shearing of University College London and the Faraday Institution explains how lithium-ion batteries made the smartphone possible, and are now set to revolutionise transport. But electrifying the world's one billion road vehicles is no small task, not to mention building even bigger batteries to stabilise renewable energy sources on our electricity grids. Where on earth will all the lithium come from? Justin speaks to another American tech entrepreneur who thinks he has the answer - Teague Egan of start-up EnergyX. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Battery charging icons; Credit: Iuliia Kanivets/Getty Images)
15 Jun 2020
A conversation with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
The Nigerian economist and former World Bank managing director talks about Africa, Covid-19, boardroom diversity, and her hopes to lead the World Trade Organisation. She is one of several candidates vying for the position, after the current managing director unexpectedly resigned a year early. But at a time when trade is suffering from the ravages of a sceptical Trump administration and a pandemic, is the job something of a poisoned chalice? And what would it mean for an African woman to take over? The former Nigerian finance minister now holds multiple jobs - on the boards of Twitter, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. They give her a unique perspective on many of the challenges now facing the planet. But Manuela Saragosa asks her whether she thinks the pool of Africans invited to these top positions needs to be widened. Correction: During the programme, the departing head of the WTO Roberto Azevedo is erroneously referred to as Mexican.…
13 Jun 2020
Business Weekly continues the conversation around race and racism sparked by the death of George Floyd. We’ll be asking whether African Americans should be paid reparations for their ancestors' enslavement. We’ll hear from Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television. Mae Jamison, the first woman of colour in space, gives us her thoughts on how today’s protesters differ from those in the 1960s when she was a young girl in Chicago. Plus, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that a lot of us work, so we’ll be asking whether office buildings ever be the same again. Presented by Lucy Burton.
12 Jun 2020
Greece: Will the tourists come?
As Greece prepares to reopen its beaches, tavernas and ancient monuments for the summer season, the country is anxious that few tourists will turn up, and those that do could bring the coronavirus back with them. Manuela Saragosa asks tourism minister Harry Theoharis whether his country is being reckless in opening up so quickly, having so successfully contained the virus within its own borders. Meanwhile Florian Schmitz reports from the island of Thassos, where many restaurants and cafes may not bother opening for the season as the demands of social distancing and the expected paucity of customers make it hardly worth the effort. Plus travel writer Simon Calder discusses how the coronavirus is likely to transform the character of tourism this season, and perhaps in the long-term too. (Picture: Empty sun chairs on a sandy Greek beach; Credit: mbbirdy/Getty Images)
11 Jun 2020
Russia's covid crisis
Russia is ending its lockdown as officials congratulate citizens on a shared victory. But with infection rates still sky-high, some say it's premature, and that it's more to do with politics than the best interests of the nation. What's at stake for Russia and its strongman, Vladimir Putin? On this edition of the programme, we hear from Dmitry Nechaev who runs a bicycle workshop in Moscow on his fears for the future. Economist Sergei Guriev talks about the economic impact of the pandemic on Russia's economy and the country's small businesses; and Catherine Belton, author of Putin's People, explains the political fallout of Vladimir Putin's handling of the crisis. (Image: A commuter in a face masks on a Moscow Underground train. Credit: Getty Images).
10 Jun 2020
Reparations for African-Americans
This is an old idea gaining new currency amidst the latest Black Lives Matter protests. Should billions of dollars in damages now be paid to descendents of African-American slaves for the sins of the past. How would this happen? Why? And would modern white America ever agree to it? One man who's long thought so is Bob Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television and RLJ technologies and who became the first US African-American billionaire in the 1990s. Ed Butler also speaks to Professor William Darity, an economist of Public Policy at Duke University. He's written a book on the reparations idea, "From Here to Equality". He also hears from Caitlin Rosenthal, an historian at the University of Berkeley who has studied this era, and the enormous economic boon that slavery brought to the emerging industrial superpower, the United States of America. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
9 Jun 2020
Bill Gates: the ‘voodoo doll’ of Covid conspiracies
Why are there so many conspiracy theories swirling in the online world about billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates? Jane Wakefield explores why people might seek conspiracy theories, and asks if they are just part of the online rumour-mill, or can cause actual harm. Jane hears from Rory Smith from fact-checkers First Draft News, from Marianna Spring from the BBC’s anti-disinformation team, and from Professor Joseph Usinski, who argues that these kinds of theories have always been a part of life, and most die away naturally. But Rory Smith and Bill Gates himself warn that they could harm vaccine uptake, and are more than a bit of online fun. Photo of Bill Gates, photo credit AFP/Getty
8 Jun 2020
Offices and cities after coronavirus
Does commuting into the office have a future? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Mike Hampson, chief executive of Bishopsgate Financial, which has permanently closed its office in London's financial district in favour of home working. Luke Philpott from the commerical property agents DeVono Cresa describes the steep drop in demand for office space during the lockdown, while Tom Carroll from the commercial property company JLL argues that the office still has a crucial role to play in company life. And urbanist Richard Florida from the University of Toronto explains why cities will continue to be vital centres of business and innovation, despite the impact of the virus. (Photo: The skyline of London's financial district, Credit: Getty Images)
6 Jun 2020
Protests over the death of George Floyd have swept across the United States. On Business Weekly we ask what companies should be doing to help in the fight for racial equality. We hear from the National Black Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail federation in the US. Plus we get the point of view of a shop owner in Minneapolis who’s premises was destroyed by in the rioting after George Floyd’s death. This is happening against a backdrop of pandemic - we’ll find out why different US states are taking such radically different steps to defeat the coronavirus. Plus after weeks of lockdown in France bars and cafe’s have re-opened - but it’s not entirely business as usual. Lucy Burton presents.
5 Jun 2020
The precarious world of sex work
Sex workers, like so many others, have seen their incomes disappear overnight since the start of the pandemic. While in some cities businesses are slowly reopening, the sex trade carries with it a high risk of transmitting the coronavirus. It’s an industry where regulations vary wildly across the globe, but sex workers everywhere are deeply anxious about their future and safety. Vivienne Nunis hears from the Daulatdia brothel in Bangladesh, where women and children have been trapped for months. She also speaks to an escort in Australia who has been forced to take her business online. Plus, Teela Sanders, criminology professor at the University of Leicester, explains how sex workers are facing added challenges accessing healthcare, leading to an innovative solution in Nairobi. (Image: Escort Estelle Lucas. Credit: Estelle Lucas)
4 Jun 2020
Black Lives Matter: What should businesses do?
Large corporations around the world are using their social media accounts and PR machines to announce support for those people protesting in the wake of the George Floyd killing. But are corporate expressions of support mere publicity exercises, and do they crowd out the space for more marginalised voices at times of crisis? Manuela Saragosa asks Dometi Pongo, MTV News Host, how he sees the role of corporate media and broadcasting. Also, what proactive steps could the wider business community take to address systemic racism in their society? John Harmon, Board Member of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, explains what can be learnt from the accumulated experience of black business owners. We'll also hear from Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation, and Jim Segal, whose shop in Minneapolis was destroyed in the rioting after George Floyd was killed by police. Producers: Frey Lindsay, Laurence Knight (Picture: Protestors in Manhattan,June 02, 2020. Picture credi…
3 Jun 2020
Nouriel Roubini: The global economy after coronavirus
Economist Nouriel Roubini predicted the 2008 financial crisis. Now he says a new Cold War could be on the way. The BBC's Karishma Vaswani spoke with him in-depth to find out why. Amongst other reasons, Roubini says America's failure in global leadership on coronavirus, trade tensions and the spat over Huawei and 5G could lead China to flex its muscle on the world stage, and he's not sure the US is up to it this time. At the same time, how much should we worry about one economist's predictions? Manuela Saragosa and Karishma discuss. (Picture: Dr. Nouriel Roubini. Picture credit: Getty Images.)
2 Jun 2020
Universities face a shortage of students
Students due to start university or college this autum are in the dark over what kind of education they can expect under social distancing measures. Many are choosing to defer their studies, and institutions may miss out on billions of dollars in fees. Student Jorge Beltrao tells us why he's planning to take a gap year instead of beginning his degree, and Zamzam Ibrahim, president of the UK's National Union of Students, explains why he's not alone. Kim Weeden, professor of sociology at Cornell University in the US, explains why college campuses are such a worry when it comes to the spread of viruses. Professor Professor Peter Mathieson, principle and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh in the UK, says students can expect a good education regardless of restrictions. Simon Marginson, professor of higher education at Oxford University explains why a shortfall in international students in particular could hit universities in the English speaking world. (Photo: High school stude…
1 Jun 2020
Coronavirus in the Red States
Coronavirus outbreaks continue in various patterns around the United States, even as some state governors press ahead with lifting lockdowns. Particularly in rural states, support for getting back to normal has intensified, as some Americans feel their liberties are being trodden on by an overzealous public health regime. For epidemiologists such as Tara Smith, professor at the Emerging Infections Laboratory at Kent State University, this is a worrying trend as many rural areas are yet to fully experience the impact of coronavirus. And the medical and cultural anthropologist Martha Lincoln of San Francisco State University fears coronavirus strategies may have been consigned to the culture wars that have been raging between the left and right in the US for decades. But Florida political consultant and Republican Chris Ingram says there needs to be a balance in the response to COVID-19 and that some parts of the media and public health authorities have lost perspective. Producer: Frey…
30 May 2020
In this episode of Business Weekly we’ll be looking a the idea of covid-19 immunity passports. Could they be a willy wonka-esque golden ticket that frees the owner from lockdown if they’ve had the disease? Some businesses and governments are certainly hopeful. However, the WHO warns that it doesn’t know how much immunity Covid survivors get. We will debate the pros and cons. With Hollywood halted, what will the future of film be after the pandemic? Will we stay happily streaming from our sofas, leaving cinemas obsolete? We’ll also take a look at some of the dubious cures for the Coronavirus that have been advertised on social media. Clearly none of them work, so why are people taken in? And we look back at the life and times of the King of Gambling, Macau’s Stanley Ho, who died this week. Presented by Lucy Burton.
29 May 2020
Is coronavirus the EU's defining moment?
The coronavirus epidemic has wreaked economic destruction across Europe but now the European Union has unveiled an ambitious recovery plan. It will involve all 27 member states working together as one like never before with a 750 billion euro plan to help the worst hit countries, funded by collective debt. Is this the defining moment for the EU that some are claiming? Former Italian PM Enrico Letta thinks that it's a turning point for the EU, but Northern neighbours in Sweden and the Netherlands urge caution. MEP Derk Jan Eppink calls it a 'coup', whilst Sweden's European Affairs Minister, Hans Dahlgren insists that money needs to be paid back. Manuela Saragosa presents. (Image: Ursula von der Leyen, Credit: Reuters)
28 May 2020
The business case for immunity passports
Antibody testing to see if a patient has had coronavirus is becoming more frequent. Many are putting their hopes into using such tests as the basis for immunity ‘passports’ so people can re-emerge back into society without fear of infecting others. Chile and Estonia have begun work on such systems, and we’ll hear from Taavet Hinrikus, the tech entrepreneur who is helping design Estonia’s system. Individual companies are interested in the idea as well, as John Holland-Kaye, the CEO of Heathrow Airport, explains. Meanwhile, companies such as Onfido are racing to design apps to accommodate such a system, while other businesses are wary of whether immunity passports are the right way to get their staff back to work. (Picture: illustration of a SARS-CoV-2 virion. Picture credit: Getty Images.)
27 May 2020
Can 'immunity passports' help us get back to normal?
Countries around the world are working on ways for people to safely get back to normal, people like Pam in Scotland, who is navigating the world of app dating during coronavirus and wondering when, and if, to meet up. One answer is the idea of an immunity passport or certificate: something that shows you have had coronavirus and are now immune. Franz Walt, chief executive of Swiss firm Quotient, says antibody testing is so accurate it could be the basis for such a system. But Professor Robert West at University College London, says we don’t know enough about the illness to guarantee a passport system would work. And Stanford University historian Kathryn Olivarius explains how a 19th century yellow fever outbreak in New Orleans can help us think about it. (Picture: a testing vial. Picture credit: Getty Images.)
26 May 2020
The growth of fake coronavirus cures
In today’s programme, we’ll be looking at how fake coronavirus cures are marketed and why people are buying them. We’ll also be asking if social media platforms need to do more to stop the flow of disinformation. Claire Wardle who leads strategy at First Draft News tells us why social media is a fertile ground for spreading rumours and disinformation. Stephen Lea, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Exeter University tells us why are people paying good money for unproven remedies. Plus, the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani tells us about a supposed herbal remedy being touted by the Madagascan government. (Picture: A bottle of pills, credit: Getty Images).
25 May 2020
The Green New Deal goes global
Plans for gigantic government investments to decarbonise the world economy are gaining traction, but they may hinge on the US election results in November. Justin Rowlatt speaks to Spain's deputy prime minister Teresa Ribera about how her government aims to make the country carbon neutral by 2050, as well as a one-trillion-euro EU green recovery plan expected to be unveiled by the European Commission this week. Meanwhile in the US, the signs are that Democrat Joe Biden will adopt a climate change plan similar in scale to the original 1930s New Deal as the central plank of his election campaign, according to Vox journalist David Roberts. But what about the world's biggest carbon emitter, China? Justin asks Li Shuo of Greenpeace East Asia whether President Xi will prioritise green investments as part of his country's coronavirus recovery plan, currently being fleshed out at the National People's Congress. And what difference would the US election outcome make to China's willingness to…
23 May 2020
On Business Weekly we be look at how our employers are going to keep us safe as we cautiously head out of lockdown and back into the workplace. But if our temperatures are taken and our movements recorded, how will they address that sensitive balance between safety and privacy? As soon as we’re back at work we might want a holiday - but will anywhere be open for tourists? We get the view from Spain the second most visited country on the planet. Plus, the food supply chain the the US is in crisis as a result of the Corona virus. We hear from farmers and unions who are worried for the future. And we find out why there’s a new boss at TikTok and hear from the managing director of a puzzle makers who tells us just why this old fashioned game is more popular than ever. Presented by Lucy Burton.
21 May 2020
The future of movies after coronavirus
With cinemas closed, will our lockdown streaming habits change the film industry for good? Manuela Saragosa speaks to cinema owner Penn Ketchum about the draw of the big screen, and plans to bring audiences back to theatres. Entertainment consultant Gene Del Vecchio explains why we should expect more films to find their way directly to our living rooms after coronavirus, bypassing cinemas all together. And TV and film producer Brian Udovich describes the shutdown in Hollywood, and the challenges of running a film set under social distancing rules. (Photo: Cinema popcorn, Credit: Getty Images)
20 May 2020
Monitoring in the post lockdown office
How much should employers know about their workers as people head back to the office? Companies have a duty of care to make sure their workers are safe, but how much monitoring is reasonable? Is this the end of privacy at work? Manuela Saragosa hears from Dutch privacy and employment lawyer Philip Nabben, as well as Sam Naficy the CEO of Prodoscore which makes software that monitors employee productivity, and Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at University College London. (Image: A security guard checks the temperature of an employee inside an office building in Shanghai. Credit: Getty Images).
19 May 2020
Should we keep paying workers to stay at home?
Governments are spending billions paying wages to workers who are no longer able to work due to the coronavirus pandemic. How long can we keep this up? Are we storing up problems by offering this type of unprecedented state-sponsored handout long-term? We hear from an employee in the tourism industry who has been furloughed, a hotel owner in the North of England who has had to furlough most of his staff, as well as Torsten Bell from the Resolution Foundation think tank who originally proposed the scheme in the UK before it was adopted, and Eamonn Butler from the free-market think tank the Adam Smith Institute who argues that the system is open to abuse. (Image: stock photo of a woman reading in the park. Credit: Getty Images.).
18 May 2020
Venezuela: 'The world's weakest economy?'
A third of Venezuela's population is at risk of malnutrition, according to the UN and the latest gasoline crisis could weaken the country's economy further. Entire villages are said to have been cut off from food supplies because trucks can't get fuel to deliver to them. That’s the context a crisis which has made Venezuela the world’s weakest emerging economy, according to a recent review by the Economist magazine. Earlier this month the situation became even more volatile when two Americans were caught apparently trying to launch a coup attempt against the government. We hear from Adam Tooze, a professor of history at Columbia University and we get the views of Venezuelan opposition politician Manuela Bolivar. (Picture of a woman wearing a face mask walking next to graffiti reading Don't be a slave of the dollar in Caracas, photo by Federico Parra via Getty Images).
16 May 2020
How do you feed a world in lockdown? We’ll be looking at the pressures on the global food supply chain in this episode of Business Weekly. As many choose to buy more locally produced food we’ll ask whether new habits will stick. Two renowned economists tell us that any governments handing out Coronavirus bailouts must learn the lessons from the financial crisis of 2008 and impose tighter conditions. ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus speaks to us about life in Sweden during the pandemic and gives us his thoughts on fellow countrywoman Greta Thunberg. Plus - has the coronavirus forever changed the workplace as we know it? Lucy Burton presents.
15 May 2020
Coal vs coronavirus
Coal has suffered the brunt of the huge slump in electricity demand as the world has gone into lockdown. It has highlighted the fossil fuel's Achilles Heel: When there is too much supply on the grid, it's coal-fired power stations that get switched off, not solar or wind. Justin Rowlatt speaks to the head of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol, as well as analysts covering the two countries most central to coal's future. Delhi-based Sunil Dahiya says that India is already reckoning with renewable energy that is cheaper 24/7 than the cost of operating its existing coal fleet. Meanwhile Shirley Zhang of energy analysts Wood Mackenzie says that China's plans to build new coal-fired power stations is already baked in. Plus, Business Daily's favourite chemistry professor, Andrea Sella of University College London, explains why coal played such a central role in getting the Industrial Revolution started, with the help of an uncooperative steam engine. (Picture: Cooling towers at t…
14 May 2020
Billionaires and the Pandemic
Some of the world’s richest people have been digging deep during the pandemic, donating their own money to help fight Covid-19. With some of the wealthiest 1% already funding medical research, we ask how comfortable we should be with billionaires taking on an even bigger role in public health. Vivienne Nunis speaks to David Callahan, editor of the website Inside Philanthropy and Rob Reich, Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University. Chris Anderson, the head of the ideas-sharing platform, TED, tells us philanthropy needs a shake-up. And, neuroscientist Dr. Christof Koch explains what it’s like to work at a medical research institute funded by private money. (Picture: a charity savings jar. Credit: Getty)
14 May 2020
Feeding a world in lockdown
Lockdowns and the coronavirus pandemic have disrupted global food supply chains and limited the range of products on supermarket shelves in the rich world. Could new buying habits stick even after lockdowns end? Will less choice and seasonal produce become the 'new normal'? Manuela Saragosa talks to Guy Singh Watson of Riverford Organic Farmers in the UK, who welcomes the change in what's on offer, and Abdoul Wahab Barry of the International Fund for Agricultural Development in Cote D'Ivoire, who tells us what the disruption means for farmers in West Africa. And Professor Richard Wilding from Cranfield School of Management, a logistics and supply chain expert, gives us his take on what supply chains will look like in the future. (Image: Nearly empty pasta shelves in supermarket; Credit: Press Association)
11 May 2020
How to build a bailout
Coronavirus is prompting the biggest government bailout effort of all time. Billions of dollars are being spent rescuing companies hit by the economic damage caused by the pandemic, but there are already criticisms that money is not going where it is most needed. In the US small and medium sized firms have been refused bailout loans, while larger firms have been borrowing millions; Ed Butler mulls the inequities in the system with Amanda Fischer of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and Amanda Ballantyne of the Main Street Alliance. Eric de Montgolfier, Chief Executive of Invest Europe, an umbrella body representing private equity firms argues that all companies should be treated the same and Carys Roberts at the UK’s Institute of Public Policy Research suggests that certain criteria should be adopted by governments when they step in and that businesses themselves need to be responsible. (Image: UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, Credit: AFP Getty)
9 May 2020
On Business Weekly we hear from New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton who’s lost her life's work to the pandemic and is worrying about her future and that of her staff. What help are governments giving to small businesses like hers? As New Zealand announces that it has no new cases of Covid-19 we find out how businesses are adapting to a new way of working as the country begins to lift lockdown restrictions. Advertising mogul Sir Martin Sorrell tells us about the effect the pandemic is having on his industry - and we’ll hear from the editor of a newspaper who tells us how he’s coping with a fall in advertising revenue.Plus, as parents struggle with working from home and looking after children, we find out what life is like for single parents at the moment.Presented by Lucy Burton.
8 May 2020
Markets and the economy: Two staggering drunks
Why are stock markets so buoyant as the global economy slides into a possible coronavirus-induced depression? Some 33 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past two months of the pandemic, yet the Nasdaq market is now higher than it was at the start of the year. The financial markets and the economy have been described as two staggering drunks tied together by a rope. Manuela Saragosa explores this odd analogy and how it applies to the current disconnect between share prices and jobless claims, with the help of Jane Foley, financial strategist at Rabobank. Meanwhile emerging markets are experiencing unprecedented financial outflows that risk undermining their ability to limit the damage Covid-19 does to their economies, according to Martin Castellano of the Institute of International Finance. Yet in the US, the Federal Reserve had no problem staving off financial calamity by promising to do whatever it takes, says Fed economist Julian Kozlowski. (Photo: Drunken couple. Credi…
7 May 2020
Bringing back football
The English Premier League's plans to finish the season after weeks of shutdown. Almost all major European football leagues have been on hold since March due to coronavirus. Ed Butler speaks to BBC Sports journalist Emlyn Begley about missing live football and his new love for the Belarusian league - the only place in Europe still staging matches. Football finance expert Kieran Maguire explains why failing to finish the season could cost the Premier League more than $1bn. And football club chairman Mark Palios says the current plan of playing matches behind closed doors is not an option for less wealthy clubs in lower leagues. (Photo: Anfield Stadium, home of Liverpool FC, after the shutdown of the league in March. Credit: Getty Images)
6 May 2020
How coronavirus broke Brazil's economic dream
Could economy minister Paulo Guedes be the next key ally to abandon embattled President Bolsonaro? A corruption scandal has already seen the popular justice minister walk away. Meanwhile Bolsonaro fired his health minister as he seeks to reverse his own government's lockdown on the economy. With the official number of Covid 19 cases in the country surpassing 100,000, we hear the frustration of a doctor on the frontline. As for the economy minister, the BBC's South America business correspondent Daniel Gallas explains how this proponent of spending cuts and privatisation is coming to terms with a hugely expensive income support programme backed by Bolsonaro. Plus economist Monica de Bolle of the Peterson Institute explains why she fears that despite these measures, her country could be on the verge of a depression. Presenter: Manuela Saragosa Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: People using protective masks wait in line outside a Caixa Economica Federal bank branch in Sao Gonca…
5 May 2020
After Coronavirus: A Trans-Tasman travel bubble?
New Zealand is seen by many as a great example of surviving coronavirus, but with such a tourism-heavy economy there are concerns a further shock is to come. One idea mooted to help alleviate this is the so-called “trans-Tasman bubble” in which travel restrictions between Australia and New Zealand would be reciprocally lifted, before all the world’s borders open up, to stimulate commerce between the two nations. This programme features Colin Peacock in Wellington, Maggie Fea from Gibson Valley Wines in Queenstown, Veteran New Zealand politician Peter Dunne and Pacific health policy expert Dr. Colin Tukuitonga. (Picture: The Australia and New Zealand flags. Picture credit: Getty Images)
4 May 2020
Losing your business to the pandemic
Gabrielle Hamilton used to run the celebrated New York restaurant Prune. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. After being forced to shut the place that was her life's work, she wonders if there will still be a place for it in the New York of the future. (Picture: Gabrielle Hamilton preparing food in the kitchen of her now closed restaurant Prune; Credit: Eric Wolfinger)
2 May 2020
Welcome to Business Weekly
The most compelling reports and interviews from the BBC's business programmes over the past week, examining the huge issues facing policymakers and asking what the future holds for our working lives. This week we ask a big moral question - will the deliberate shutting down of economies in an effort to slow Covid-19 kill more than the virus itself? Or as some have predicted will a recession actually save lives? We have a report from Brazil where conflicting messaging has sown confusion and fear. And we'll hear from small business owners, musicians and even horticulturalists. Presented by Lucy Burton.
1 May 2020
Single parents in lockdown
Living under lockdown is challenging for everyone, but for hundreds of millions of single parents around the world, it can be a terrifying ordeal. It’s not only emotionally draining, but can also be financially crippling, as Tamasin Ford has been finding out. She speaks to Sarah Cawley who delivers lunches to people who can’t leave their homes; she's from One Parent Family Scotland. We also hear from single mums, Fatia Islam in Paris and New Yorker, Thea Jaffe. Victoria Bensen, CEO of Gingerbread, the charity for single parent families in England and Wales talks about the mental and financial strain on single parents and Neferteri Plessy, founder of the charity Single Moms Planet paints a picture of lockdown in Santa Monica, in the US. Picture of Neferteri Plessy and one of her children, cr Neferteri Plessy.
30 Apr 2020
The rise of contact tracing apps
Governments around the world are planning to roll out contact tracing apps to help contain the spread of coronavirus. But will they work? Ed Butler speaks to BBC technology reporter Chris Fox about the technology that underpins them, and to researcher Natalie Pang from the National University of Singapore about the experience of Singapore's TraceTogether app, launched last month. But conventional human contact tracing has been around for decades. UK contact tracer Karen Buckley describes the challenges of the job, and John Welch from the non-profit Partners in Health describes his experience of contact tracing amid the Ebola outbreak in Africa and argues that apps are no substitute for an army of dedicated human contact tracers. (Photo: A man holds a smartphone showing a contact tracing app launched in Norway this month. Credit: Getty Images)
29 Apr 2020
The ethics of pricing lives
In today's Business Daily we're asking some awkward, often neglected questions - will the economic recession itself prove more fatal than coronavirus? How do and how should governments put a value on human life? To help answer these questions we speak to Bryce Wilkinson, a senior fellow at the New Zealand Initiative; US science journalist and biostatistician, Lynne Peeples and John Broome, a Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University. (Picture of a wallet via Getty Images).
28 Apr 2020
Remittances: When the money stops coming in
The World Bank has warned global remittances, which is the money migrant workers send home, will fall by around 20% in 2020 because of coronavirus. The bank predicts this will affect the income of at least tens of millions of families. One such family is that of Smitha in Kerala, whose husband is stuck in Dubai unable to work due to lockdown. But it’s not just about subsistence. Michael Clemens at the Centre for Global Development says remittance flows are a crucial resource for helping families and communities pull themselves out of poverty, and the effects of this sharp fall in remittances will be felt for many years to come. Meanwhile, Yvonne Mhango, Sub-Saharan Africa at Renaissance Capital, explains how the impact felt in Africa will differ across regions. And Michael Kent, CEO of digital payments service Azimo, explains how services like his could fill the gap left by the shuttering of brick and mortar transfer shops. Producer: Frey Lindsay. (Picture: Smitha and her family. Pic…
27 Apr 2020
Coronavirus: Can small businesses survive?
Coronavirus has derailed the global economy, closing entire business chains across the world. Big companies may have the collateral to withstand the storm, but what about smaller ones? We speak to three business owners to find out. Ramjit Ray in Calcutta in India, Victoria Brockelsby in High Wycombe in the UK and Mustafa Jaffer in Allentown in the US. (Picture description: Coronavirus calculator via Getty Images).
24 Apr 2020
A new normal
Countries in Europe are planning to scale back lockdown measures and reopen their economies. But what will the new normal look like? Ed Butler speaks to the BBC's China media analyst Kerry Allen about the experience of Hubei province in China, which ended its lockdown earlier this month, and to Markus Dulle, owner of several DIY stores in Austria, where some shops have begun trading again after a month of shutdown. Experts agree that a programme of testing for the coronavirus is needed before lockdown measures are scaled back - Oxford University economist Daniel Susskind explains why selecting specific groups of people would be more effective than testing everybody at random. And Michel Goldman, professor of immunology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, explains why a return to 'normal' could take generations. (Photo: A staff member hands out masks at a reopened DIY store in Austria, Credit: Getty Images)
23 Apr 2020
A moment of truth for the EU
A crunch meeting of EU leaders today aims to finally show Italy and others solidarity in the struggle against coronavirus. A plan is gaining momentum for the European Commission to raise a trillion-plus-euro fund to invest in the recovery of the European economy, something that could mark a major step towards federalism if it succeeds, but many fear could trigger the unravelling of the European project if it fails to win approval. Manuela Saragosa, herself half-Dutch and half-Italian, asks whether the plan can bridge the bitter divide between her two parent nations over how to handle the crisis. Dutch economist Esther Rijswijk says the Netherlands won't want to hand over money without conditions attached, but Italian MP Lorenzo Fioramonti says the very word "conditions" has become a taboo in an increasingly angry and euro-sceptical Italy. Meanwhile, one of the plan's co-authors, former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, explains why he thinks he's come up with a solution that a…
22 Apr 2020
Coronavirus: End of the global supply chain?
With factories around the world shuttered during the coronavirus outbreak, we’re asking whether the world’s intricate global supply chains will come out of the pandemic intact. We’ll hear from garment factory workers in Bangladesh who are finding themselves out of work, and from David Hasanat, CEO of the Viyellatex group, which has seen its orders drying up. And David Simchi-Levi, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, thinks the pandemic will lead to global supply chain restructuring, potentially meaning higher prices for consumer goods. (Picture: A garment worker in Dhaka, Bangladesh who has been laid off following cancelled orders at her factory. Picture Credit: Salman Saeed/BBC)
17 Apr 2020
Climate change and the pandemic
In many cities, pollution has reduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, but what will happen to the environment when economies get going again? The year after the financial crisis, global carbon dioxide emissions jumped by nearly 6% as nations put in place stimulus packages driven by cheap fuel and energy-intensive sectors like construction. There are also fears companies which had planned to invest in clean energy could put those plans on hold as market conditions change. Vera Mantengoli of the newspaper La Nuova Venezia tells us how nature has begun to reclaim its place along Venice's famous canals. We also hear from Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Lucy Siegle, an environmental writer and journalist says that although the UN's climate change conference has been postponed to 2021, we can't lose sight of the urgency for action on climate. And we hear from the International Energy Agency's group executive director, Dr Fatih Birol. Picture: Cl…
16 Apr 2020
Tenants v landlords
The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.
15 Apr 2020
Amazon sees itself as providing an essential service during the coronavirus pandemic, but staff at its huge network of warehouses are worried they’re being put at risk. Ed Butler speaks to William Stolz, a picker at an Amazon fulfilment centre in Minnesota in the US, and to Christy Hoffman, general secretary of the UNI Global Union, about why some workers feel unsafe. Logistics analyst Marc Wulfraat discusses Amazon’s response and what it means for their reputation. And Frank Foer, author of World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, explains why Amazon’s future beyond the pandemic remains uncertain. (Photo: A package is processed at an Amazon fulfilment centre in Sosnowiec, Poland. Credit: Getty Images)
14 Apr 2020
Coronavirus in Africa
Coronavirus has been slow to arrive in Africa but the continent has been warned the wave is coming. South Africa has so far been the hardest hit and it’s responded with some of the harshest lockdown restrictions in the world. Faeza Meyer lives in a township in the Cape Flats on the outskirts of Cape Town and is finding social distancing and getting enough food difficult in cramped conditions. Businesses have also been hit hard as we hear from Thato Rangaka-Maroga in Johannesburg who runs five family businesses - all but one of which are now closed. We also talk to Dr Mary Stephen, from the World Health Organisation’s Africa office in Brazzaville, Congo and Isaac Matshego, an economist at Nedbank in Johannesburg. (Picture: The South African National Defence Force patrols the streets of Cape Town during the national lockdown by Brenton Geach for Getty Images).
13 Apr 2020
The great coronavirus oil glut
Demand for fuel has collapsed amid the coronavirus lockdowns, but the world keeps on pumping more crude and is fast running out of space to store it all. Justin Rowlatt finds that even his local petrol station is struggling, with streets of London - like every other city in the world - largely empty of cars. Alan Gelder of energy consultants Wood Mackenzie describes the lengths to which oil producers are going to stockpile all the unwanted fuel products. Meanwhile Opec and Russia agreed a major cut in production in recent days, but will it be enough to stabilise the market? Or will the Covid-19 pandemic prove the watershed moment in the history of mankind's consumption of oil? Justin speaks to Harvard professor and former US national security advisor Meghan O'Sullivan, and to clean energy consultant Michael Liebreich. (Picture: Crude oil spilling out of a drum; Credit: Moussa81/Getty Images)
10 Apr 2020
Comedy in a crisis
From marauding goats to comedy dance routines in gardens, Business Daily’s Vivienne Nunis takes a look at the memes and videos helping many of us get through uncertain times. Why does seeing the lighter side of life matter? We hear from some of the content creators, such as Joe Tracini, whose dances – including the now infamous “sexy kitten” move - have been shared tens of millions of times, to stress management coach and advocate of laughter Loretta LaRoche, business expert and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan, and Business Daily’s old friend, comedian Colm O’Regan. (Picture: A man laughing at his smartphone. Picture credit: Getty.)
9 Apr 2020
Coronavirus and the surveillance state
In the continued struggle to keep people clear of others infected with coronavirus, one tech company, ClearView, says its controversial facial recognition technology could help medical professionals clamp down on the virus’ spread. Indeed, technology has already been deployed in countries around the world to monitor the contact between its citizens. But researcher Stephanie Hare says this technology would be almost useless without increasing testing for the virus. And some, such as Gil Gan-Mor at Association for Civil Rights in Israel, are concerned the coronavirus emergency might be used as an excuse to increase the surveillance state. Though the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones thinks a lot of people would trade some of their civil liberties in exchange for going outside again.
8 Apr 2020
Coronavirus in Asia’s biggest slum
In one of the most densely populated areas in the world, the residents of Mumbai’s Dharavi slums have little recourse to practice the social distancing required to avoid coronavirus, as we hear from many residents of Dharavi in their own words, and from Vinod Shetty who runs Acord, a local aid agency. Meanwhile, many people around India are falling through the cracks in the government’s promised food scheme, as Radhika Kapoor from the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations explains. And India’s problems might be yours too. Stefan Vogel, international food strategist at Rabobank, describes how the coronavirus hit to India affects global agricultural supply chains. Producer: Frey Lindsay. (Picture: People carrying out food items in Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India. Photo credit: Getty Images)
7 Apr 2020
Can technology deliver in African skies?
Katie Prescott reports from Rwanda, where technology is central to the government’s economic plans. Katie sees the challenge of a sparse road network, and at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo hears how technology might be able to cut waiting times for vital medicines and medical tests, at the first ever Lake Kivu Challenge. Katie hears from Temie Giwa-Tubosun, CEO of Nigerian company Lifebank, which delivers critical medical supplies such as blood across Africa, by road, boat and now air. Temie explains why the challenge of infrastructure costs lives, and how technology could help. At the inaugural African Drone Forum in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Katie speaks to technology enthusiasts and those who caution whether Africa is ready. Katie hears from the World Bank’s Edward Anderson, from Wingcopter’s Selina Herzog, and from Uhurulabs’ Freddie Umbuya. Producer: Sarah Treanor (Picture: Temie Giwa Tubason. Picture credit: Lifebank.)
6 Apr 2020
Who will foot the coronavirus bill?
Governments are throwing trillions of dollars at rescuing their economies from the Covid-19 pandemic, but how can they afford it all, and whatever happened to austerity? How much debt are governments running up? How much will markets be willing to lend? Can central banks help with the financing without risking their independence or undermining confidence in the currency? Who will ultimately repay the debts? And having made such huge interventions to contain the virus, will governments continue to play a much bigger role in running the economy in the future? Manuela Saragosa follows the money with the help of the BBC's global trade correspondent Dharshini David, and economist and former UK Treasury official Richard Hughes of the Resolution Foundation think tank. (Picture: Benjamin Franklin on the 100 dollar bill wears a face mask against Covid-19 infection; Credit: Diy13/Getty Images)
3 Apr 2020
Coronavirus pushes Europe to the edge
As the deaths and economic damage from Covid-19 continue to rise, Italians are asking why the EU is doing so little to help in their time of need. The pandemic is reinfecting old wounds in the EU, reopening the divide between the wealthy north and the heavily indebted south. In Italy angry citizens have taken to burning the EU flag in viral YouTube clips (pictured). There are calls for "coronabonds" to finance a rescue package for the hardest hit nations, but Germany and the Netherlands remain reticent. Business Daily's Manuela Saragosa - herself half-Italian, half-Dutch - asks journalist Antonello Guerrera of Italian newspaper La Repubblica, whether the country could turn its back on Europe. Dutch political economist Jerome Roos of the London School of Economics says the EU's future is at stake. We ask Clemens Fuest of the IFO German economics think tank whether Chancellor Angela Merkel is prepared to make an act of historic European solidarity. Producer: Laurence Knight
2 Apr 2020
Will there be a vaccine?
A vaccine is the magic bullet that would end the coronavirus pandemic, but how many months will it take to find, and will it be available to all? Justin Rowlatt speaks to a pioneering researcher of coronaviruses - not just the one behind the current Covid-19 outbreak. Susan Weiss of Pennsylvania University says the fact it was such a neglected area was one of the things that first attracted her to study these microbes. Today we know much more, but still not enough about how to inoculate against it, according to Leeds University virologist Stephen Griffin. But with dozens of medical companies now racing to find a cure, the big question is whether governments will make it available to everyone who needs it on the planet - the only certain way to defeat the pandemic - and who will pay for it? Healthcare venture capitalist Peter Kolchinsky is positive that when a vaccine is found, the businesspeople behind it will do the right thing. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: A researcher in…
1 Apr 2020
Coronavirus: The race to find a treatment
Researchers at universities and pharmaceutical companies are rushing to identify drugs that might help cut the number of deaths from Covid-19 and take the strain of hospitals. Justin Rowlatt speaks to Richard Marsden, the chief executive of one such company, Synairgen. He hopes that a medicine his company originally developed to help asthma and flu sufferers could also now be put to use in alleviating the lung infections of Covid-19 patients. Meanwhile virologist Stephen Griffin of Leeds University in the UK explains the three main ways in which existing drugs might be used to attack the virus. Plus Theodora Bloom of the British Medical Journal tells Justin about her night job at the online research sharing server MedRxiv, which has played a central role in helping researchers get immediate access to each other's work, accelerating their response to the pandemic. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Medical worker wearing protective gear treats a patient infected with the Covid-19 a…
31 Mar 2020
Coronavirus in confinement
While much of the world is trying to practice social distance, people in confinement have little option to do so. We take a look at the famously overcrowded prisons in Uganda. Doreen Namyalo Kyazze, Africa Programme Manager at Penal Reform International, says the Uganda prison service are not doing anything to contain the virus while a spokesperson for the service says they’re doing all they can. There’s also the tens of millions of refugees and displaced people around the world, many in confinement. Dr. Siyana Mahroof-Shaffi is a healthcare practitioner working in the Moria detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos. She says the consequences of an outbreak in the camp are unimaginable. And Dr. Josiah Rich, professor of epidemiology at Brown University and prison physician, explains why those who think we don’t need to worry about prisoners are wrong. Producer: Frey Lindsay. (Picture: a group of asylum seekers at the Moria detention centre. Picture credit: Getty images.)
30 Mar 2020
Coronavirus: Preppers and the Pandemic
They’ve been preparing for the worst for decades, but are survivalists, or “preppers,” really ready for the coronavirus outbreak? Ron Hubbard, owner of Atlas Survival Shelters, is banking on it as he sells survival shelters which he says are more in demand than ever. But writer Mark O’Connell, author of the upcoming “Notes from an Apocalypse” is not so certain the preppers have it right. And Beth Healey, a British medical doctor who spent a year at Concordia Station in Antarctica, has some insight into the psychological effect radical self-isolation can have. Producer: Benjie Guy
27 Mar 2020
Giving care in crisis
As the coronavirus outbreak worsens in many areas, the mental health of those providing frontline care is under strain. We’ll hear from one care worker in Spain afraid of passing the virus to her family, as well as health care workers around the world who are scared. Laura Hawryluck, associate professor at the Toronto Western Hospital Critical Care Response team in Canada, tells us what the SARS outbreak can teach us about the experience and resilience of care workers and Dr Alys Cole-King, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board in Wales, UK, explains what advice there is for those who have to get up and go to work every day. If you are depressed and need to ask for help, there's advice on who to contact at BBC Action Line. Outside of the UK, visit Befrienders International for more information about support services. Producers: Vivienne Nunis, Frey Lindsay (Picture: Health care workers speak with an elderly woman in Ontario, Canada. Picture credit: Getty Im…
26 Mar 2020
The cost of lockdown in the developing world
India has been put in lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Already the growing restrictions have caused turmoil in India's big cities. Hundreds of thousands of migrant wage labourers have suddenly found themselves jobless. Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, says there is a critical lack of planning for the hundreds of millions of people who are near the breadline. Meanwhile, poor countries around the world are seeing their citizens suffer under restrictions. So is the price of lockdown in the poor world just too high? American political scientist Ian Bremmer thinks it's a question we need to take seriously. Producer: Frey Lindsay. (Picture:Mumbai Police checking ID card during restrictions on citizens' movement. Picture credit: Getty Images.)
25 Mar 2020
Are there exit strategies for coronavirus?
As many countries and cities around the western world go into lockdown, China is beginning to ease restrictions, claiming several days with no new domestic cases of coronavirus. But people have their doubts whether this is true, as the BBC’s Kerry Allen explains. Meanwhile, president Trump wants to ease restrictions as well, hoping for an Easter end date to the lockdown. Dr. Susy Hota, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the University Health Network in Toronto, explains why it might not pan out that way. But are we looking for exits too early? Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, has an ear to the conflicting priorities governments are dealing with. (Picture: Passengers reappear at Wuhan Railway Station on March 24, 2020. Picture credit: Getty Images)
24 Mar 2020
The working from home challenge
Snapshots of working from home across the world, as the coronavirus outbreak increases in intensity. From Kaitlin Funaro in LA to Katy Watson in Brazil and Kinjal Pandya in New Delhi: how is the global workforce coping with enforced home working? And is working from home even possible when there are bored children running around?
23 Mar 2020
Do we have the right data on coronavirus?
As we face an economic collapse caused by the global coronavirus outbreak, data becomes more valuable than ever. John Ioannidis, Stanford professor of epidemiology, worries about our lack of hard data about the disease, while Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist Michael Levitt says he may have spotted a ray of hope in all the noise. And economist Vicky Pryce joins the programme live to discuss economic responses to the crisis. (Picture:The Diamond Princess cruise ship. Picture credit: Getty images)
20 Mar 2020
Life under lockdown
What is life like under lockdown in some of the world’s poorest cities? We hear from Nairobi and Manila, two cities facing tough measures to combat Covid-19. But is the cure worse than the disease? We’ll also hear from Mohammed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, who is concerned about the impact on the streets if the whole economy freezes up. (Picture: A worker sprays disinfectant to curb the spread of COVID-19 in a residential area on March 19, 2020 in San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines. Picture credit: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
19 Mar 2020
Coronavirus: Where's the joined-up thinking?
What can be learned from East Asia's response to Covid-19, and from West Africa's Ebola epidemic? And why hasn't there been a unifed global response to the pandemic? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Francois Balloux, professor of computational biology at University College London, about the difficult options facing the world as we seek to manage coronavirus over the next year or two without crushing the global economy. But what lessons are there from the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa for the likely long-term impact of the pandemic? Mykay Kamara, chief executive of workplace wellness platform Welbot, was in Sierra Leone during the epidemic and helped recruit medical staff to the region. Producers: Laurence Knight, Frey Lindsay (Photo: A worker fixes a WHO coronavirus prevention poster to a billboard in Mumbai, India; Credit: Getty Images)
18 Mar 2020
Can the private sector help struggling hospitals?
Hand-gels, face masks, even nasal swabs – as the coronavirus spreads, health services are reporting a growing number of shortages at the moment as supplies and supply chains freeze up. Increasingly governments are calling on private companies and individuals to meet the urgent demand. Chad Butters, founder of the Eight Oaks Farm Distillery in Pennsylvania, has turned his facilities over to producing hand sanitizer for local people in need. Meanwhile Project Open Air is crowdsourcing the design of ventilators and other medical equipment, but Rich Branson, a respiratory therapist and professor at the University of Cincinnati, says we need to take care using such equipment. (Picture: A UK hospital. Picture credit: Getty Images)
17 Mar 2020
Can airlines survive coronavirus?
Travel restrictions and a slump in demand due to the coronavirus have forced airlines to cancel most flights and temporarily reduce staff. Will this mean a permanent end to the low-cost travel that many of us have become used to? Travel expert Simon Calder joins the show to round up the latest industry news and what it means for travellers, while aviation consultant John Strickland explains why the airlines were so vulnerable to begin with. Meanwhile, calls are rising for governments to bail the airline industry out, but finance expert Frances Coppola argues there are many sectors that are just as deserving. (Picture: Plane interior with passengers wearing masks; Credit: Getty Images)
16 Mar 2020
Coronavirus: Can the risk be contained?
The US has cut interest rates to almost zero and launched a $700bn stimulus programme in a bid to protect the economy from the effect of coronavirus. Ed Butler asks Chris Ralph, chief global strategist at St. James’s Place Wealth, whether anything can prop up the financial markets and minimise the economic impact as the US and Europe go into lockdown, with governments shutting down nightlife and ordering the elderly to stay home. Professor Liam Smeeth, epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, talks to us live about how much these measure can help contain the virus. Can we expect the virus to ease off as the northern hemisphere heads towards summer? When and how will the pandemic end? And what is the best strategy to contain or at least limit the pathogen's progress? (Picture: President Trump at a White House press conference on Sunday; Credit: Getty Images)
13 Mar 2020
Wet markets and the coronavirus
Where the coronavirus came from and why these diseases aren't a one-off. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dr Juan Lubroth, former chief veterinary officer at the UN's Food and Agricultural Association in Rome, about the risks around so-called 'wet' markets prevalent in East Asia and South East Asia where live animals are sold. Professor Tim Benton, research director of the emerging risks team at the think tank Chatham House tells us why animals are often the source of pathogens that go on to affect humans. Patrick Boyle, a bioengineer with US biotech company Gingko Bioworks, describes the work to develop vaccines. Catherine Rhodes from the Biosecurity Research Initiative at Cambridge University tells us why she's not surprised governments are underprepared for the pandemic. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: A wet market in Taipei, Taiwan. Credit: Getty Images)
12 Mar 2020
The great North Korean crypto hack
Crypto-currency and cybercrime have together provided the DPRK with the hard currency it needed to continue with its nuclear weapons programme. Ed Butler speaks to sanctions specialist Nigel Kushner of W Legal about how Bitcoin and the like are used by sanctioned individuals to continue doing business outside the official banking system. In North Korea's case, much of the business involves outright theft - be it the Wannacry ransomware attack, the hacking of the Bangladeshi central bank's accounts, or robbing of various crypto-exchanges in recent years. Priscilla Moriuchi of the internet security firm Recorded Future explains how North Korea built this surprisingly sophisticated cybercrime business, while Jesse Spiro of blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis describes the money laundering schemes the country has employed. Producer: Joshua Thorpe (Picture: North Korea flag button on computer keyboard; Credit: alexsl/Getty Images)
11 Mar 2020
How to stop coronavirus crashing your economy
As much of Italy goes into self-imposed quarantine, what can the authorities do to stop empty shops and restaurants going bust? It's an urgent question for Marco d'Arrigo, who runs the California Bakery chain in Milan, who has spent his day reassuring nervous staff at their eerily empty branches. Nations facing spiralling coronavirus cases and to need to lock down entire cities, do have macroeconomic tools at their disposal. But in Italy's case, those tools are not entirely in Rome's hands. Ed Butler speaks to Francesco Giavazzi, economics professor at Bocconi University, and to Ferdinando Giugliano, economics columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, both of whom have confined themselves to their Milanese homes. Plus what crisis-management lessons can governments draw from the experience of the US during the 2008 financial crisis? Ed speaks to someone who was at the epicentre - former deputy secretary to the US Treasury Sarah Bloom Raskin. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: An Italian St…
10 Mar 2020
The psychology of panic buying
How the spread of coronavirus is changing consumer behaviour. Elizabeth Hotson goes on the hunt for toilet paper and hand sanitizer on the streets of London. Ed Butler speaks to Charlene Chan, marketing researcher and consumer psychology researcher at Nanyang School of Business in Singapore about how feeling a loss of control influences our buying behaviour. Steven Taylor, a clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Canada, tells us what panic buying says about the psychology of pandemics. (Photo: Shoppers stock up on toilet paper and other supplies as Canadians purchase food and essential items in Markham, Ontario, Canada. Credit: Getty Images)
9 Mar 2020
How to predict the future and beat the wisdom of the crowds. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Warren Hatch, chief executive of Good Judgement, a consultancy that specialises in superforecasters - individuals with a knack for predicting future events - and the techniques they use to make their guesses. We also hear from Andreas Katsouris from PredictIt, a political betting platform that harnesses the wisdom of the crowds in making predictions about politics. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: a crystal ball, Credit: Getty Images)
6 Mar 2020
The great face hack
Tech start-up Clearview scraped billions of people's public photos off social media, and then sold their facial recognition service to police forces, private security firms and banks around the world. Were the company's actions an invasion of privacy? Were they even illegal? Is their technology as reliable as they claim? Or could it have resulted in multiple false arrests of misidentified suspects? Manuela Saragosa explores the thorny questions raised by the latest data privacy scandal. She speaks to Buzzfeed technology reporter Caroline Haskins, private investigator and former NYPD detective Mark Pucci, and Georgetown University privacy and technology researcher Clare Garvie. Producer: Edwin Lane (Picture: Polygon facial recognition mesh on woman's face; Credit: Erikona/Getty Images)
5 Mar 2020
Coronavirus: Global recession?
Central banks are rushing to provide liquidity as many fear that the disruption from the coronavirus outbreak could push the world into technical recession. We hear from a host of eminent economists trying to navigate the uncertainty: Sarah Bloom Raskin, deputy secretary to the Treasury under US President Barack Obama; former ECB chief economist Peter Praet; and Cornell University professor of trade policy Eswar Prasad. Plus Ed Butler looks at one of the industries feeling the most pain - airlines. Peter Morris of the aviation consultancy Ascend by Cirium says that while the long-term growth outlook remains strong, some carriers may struggle to survive the plethora of flight cancellations over the next few months. And what does it mean for China, the epicentre of the outbreak? China consultant Diana Choyleva of Enodo Economics says it could prove a heavy blow, coming at a time of trade tensions and a general slowdown in exports. Producer: Stephen Ryan (Picture: A Kuwaiti trader we…
4 Mar 2020
Do stock-pickers have a future?
Research suggests that they underperform robot traders, and most can't even beat the market, so are the days of the celebrity investors and stock market tipsters numbered? Ed Butler speaks to David Aferiat, whose computer-based trading system Holly has been picking the best performing stock picking algorithms since 2016. He claims that Holly consistently outperforms the market. So why rely on humans to make these decisions? Among those weighing the case for man versus machine are an old hand of the City of London, Justin Urquhart Stewart of Seven Investment Management; financial journalist Robin Powell; Ken Merkley of the Kelley School of Business in Indiana; and the veteran fund manager and robo-sceptic Paul Mumford. Producer: Joshua Thorpe (Picture: CNBC's Jim Cramer on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange; Credit: Steven Ferdman/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
3 Mar 2020
Moving Uighur workers in China
A new report brings together fresh evidence of the forced transportation of Uighur Muslims from Xinjiang province to provide labour in factories across China. Ed Butler speaks to one of the report authors, Nathan Ruser from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. In some cases the factories are linked to major brands like Nike, Apple and Volkswagen. Yuan Yang, Beijing correspondent for the Financial Times, says she for one is not surprised by the reports. (Photo: Protesters attend a rally in Hong Kong on December 22, 2019 to show support for the Uighur minority in China, Credit: Getty Images)
2 Mar 2020
Trump's immigration crackdown
How fewer Latin Americans crossing the US border is affecting the economy. Alice Fordham reports from Juarez on the Mexican side of the border on the migrants forced to make Mexico their home while they await the outcome of their asylum cases in the US. Ed Butler speaks to Jessica Bolter from the Migration Policy Institute in Washington DC about the slowing rate of people trying to cross into the US illegally. And Giovanni Peri, economist at the University of California, Davis, discusses the impact tighter immigration policies are having on the US labour market. (Photo: Children look through the border fence in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on January 31, 2020. Credit: Getty Images)
28 Feb 2020
Firestone and Liberia
Rubber is Liberia's most important cash crop, and the Firestone Libera rubber plantation is the country's biggest employer. But the company faces accusations that it pollutes rivers and violates labour rights. US-based Bridgestone Corporation, Firestone Liberia's parent company, denies this. Tamasin Ford investigates the allegations. (Photo: A Firestone-branded tyre used at an IndyCar Series racing event in Texas in 2020, Credit: Getty Images)
27 Feb 2020
Coronavirus: Fake news goes viral
Misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak is undermining the efforts of health officials and medical researchers to contain it. Doctors find themselves under attack from conspiracy theorists who believe they are concealing the truth about the origin of the epidemic. Meanwhile bogus and sometimes highly dangerous advice is spreading on social media about how to protect yourself against the disease. Ed Butler asks Cristina Tardaguila of the International Fact-Checking Network who is promoting these malign rumours. And Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen of the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Culture tells him that mainstream media also bear some responsibility for stoking public hysteria. Plus Peter Daszak, president of the US-based health research organisation EcoHealth Alliance, says one of the most worrying aspects of the conspiracy theories is that it is driving many medical researchers to stop sharing their findings. (Picture: Viruses; Credit: wildpixel/Getty Images)
26 Feb 2020
What can soap boxes, sweet wrappers and tin cans tell us about our shopping history? Manuela Saragosa visits Robert Opie at his Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in west London. He's been keeping discarded items and packaging since he was a school boy - well over 50 years. In the process he's created a collection that charts the retail revolution of the past century. It's one that showcases how the whole idea of branding and packaging evolved, and tells us something about how we once lived. Repeat of programme first broadcast on 20 August 2018.
25 Feb 2020
A single West African currency
Some West African countries already use a single currency - the CFA franc. Now there are plans to introduce a broader shared currency - the eco - across 15 states. But the region's economic powerhouse Nigeria has put those plans in doubt. Tamasin Ford speaks to business people in the region about what difference a new single currency would really make. (Photo: CFA franc banknotes, Credit: Getty Images)
24 Feb 2020
Cognac and hip hop
How brands forge strong relationships with music, from Cognac brands like Hennessy and Courvoisier to Coca Cola's Sprite. Elizabeth Hotson speaks to cultural critic and music journalist Candace McDuffie about the history of Cognac in African-American culture, and to journalist Oris Aigbokhaevbolo about the efforts of Hennessy to associate with hip hop in Nigeria. Aaliyah Shafiq, group director for the Sprite brand at Coca Cola explains the success of its partnership with hip hop in the US dating back to the 70s, and Marleen Heemskerk from branding agency First Day of Spring, describes the potential pitfalls for brands wanting to tap into the music scene. (Photo: Hip hop artist Missy Elliot with a bottle of Courvoisier at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2019, Credit: Getty Images)
21 Feb 2020
The Airbnb rental scammers
As the holiday lettings platform prepares for an IPO, what is Airbnb doing to clamp down on bogus, unregulated and unsafe property listings? Ed Butler speaks to Wired magazine journalist James Temperton, who uncovered one complex London-based scam involving fake listings, sham reviews and a block of grubby apartments that was in flagrant breach of the city's property rules. London councillor Heather Acton tells us she is horrified by the findings. So is Airbnb allowing professional landlords to profit by side-stepping property regulations and taxes? According to Murray Cox of the campaigning website Inside Airbnb, it is hard to gauge the true scale of the problem worldwide, because the online platform has been so cagey about releasing data. (Picture: Young man in despair sat on a dockside with his baggage; Credit: pankration/Getty Images)
20 Feb 2020
Could the much-hyped technology of 3D printing have found a useful application - producing personalised prescription pills? Ed Butler visits the lab of Dr Mohamed Alhnan at King's College London, to see this cottage manufacturing process in action - in this case making caffeine tablets. Meanwhile entrepreneur Melissa Snover has launched the world’s first 3D-printed personalised and chewable vitamin supplement provider, called Nourished. But what about prescription pills? Can this technology reliably produce powerful medicines at scale, and meet the necessary regulatory requirements? Karen Taylor, research director of the Centre for Health Solutions at Deloitte, isn't so sure. Producer: Joshua Thorpe (Picture: White pills against a red background; Credit: BiffBoffBiff/Getty Images)
19 Feb 2020
Why you should hire an ex con
Should employers simply stop asking job applicants if they have a criminal record? Tamasin Ford speaks to one American bakery that did exactly that. Lucas Tanner of the Greyston Bakery in New York explains why his Buddhist founder opted for a policy of "open hiring" - no questions, no interview, no CV, no background checks. Today there is a campaign to "ban the box" that applicants must tick to indicate whether they have a past conviction. But doing so has perversely led to greater racial bias in employment outcomes, according to Jennifer Doleac of the Texas A&M University. Instead of making the ban obligatory, Nicola Inge of the UK charity Business in the Community suggests that a more productive approach may be to encourage employers to make it part of their own hiring policies. Producer: Edwin Lane (Picture: Man's handcuffed hands; Credit: fotoedu/Getty Images)
18 Feb 2020
A robot future and how to handle it
What will happen to our working lives when the robots take over? Daniel Susskind, an economist at Oxford University, discusses his new book A World Without Work. He talks to Ed Butler about the effects on employment, the link between automation and inequality, and whether something like a universal basic income could be a solution. (Photo: A humanoid robot on display at a trade fair in 2018, Credit: Getty Images)
17 Feb 2020
EU farm subsidies: who's benefiting?
Is the European farm subsidy system being left vulnerable to corruption? Each year the EU pays out billions of euros to landowners. But a New York Times investigation found that in parts of Eastern Europe, EU farm subsidies have created what it calls a "new kind of feudalism". We speak to the New York Times investigative reporter Matt Apuzzo, and we hear a response from the European Commission's agricultural policy spokesperson Daniel Rosario. Producer: Joshua Thorpe. (Picture: A combine harvester on a corn field. Credit: Getty Images).
14 Feb 2020
The case for free trade
Does the backlash against globalisation ignore the huge benefits of world trade? And how realistic are post-Brexit Britain's ambitions to become a global trade powerhouse? Manuela Saragosa asks Cambridge economics professor Meredith Crowley how much access the UK can expect to retain to the European market, given that the country wants to diverge from EU regulations. It's an example of a problem that all countries in our globalised economy face - the "globalisation trilemma". Meanwhile Fred Hochberg, former head of the US Export Import Bank and author of Trade Is Not a Four-Letter Word, says that without free trade we wouldn't have wonders of the modern world such as the iPhone or the taco bowl. Producers: Laurence Knight, Frey Lindsay (Picture: Container ships docked at Port of Felixstowe in the UK;. Credit: Getty Images)
13 Feb 2020
Firing workers in Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is finding a surprising new application - training managers how to handle delicate situations such as dismissing employees or giving presentations. Manuela Saragosa looks at how the technology is being used to play out scenarios such as consoling a sobbing staff member, or responding to a heckler in the audience, all while in the safe space of VR. Plus producer Josh Thorpe tries out Microsoft's latest augmented reality headset, the HoloLens 2. The programme features interviews with Marianne Schmid Mast, professor of organisational behaviour at the University of Lausanne; Alexis Vartanian, chief technical officer at French VR company TechViz; and Microsoft director of communications Greg Sullivan. Producer: Josh Thorpe (Picture: Man wearing virtual reality headset; Credit: xubingruo/Getty Images)
12 Feb 2020
Tesla: To infinity and beyond
Tesla's share price has tripled in the last six months - can anyone stop it, or even make sense of it? Ed Butler speaks to Craig Irwin, stock analyst at Roth Capital in New York, who is perplexed by the latest crazy surge in Tesla's valuation, even though he wouldn't particularly describe himself as a Tesla bear. David Bailey, professor of business economics at Birmingham Business School in the UK, says that the optimism is being driven by a growing perception that the electric vehicle revolution may finally be upon us. But one industry veteran remains hugely sceptical. Bob Lutz has served on the board of all three of America's giant carmakers, and pours scorn on the idea that we will all be driving electric anytime soon. Producer: Edwin Lane (Picture: Tesla Roadster launched into orbit by one of Elon Musk's SpaceX rockets; Credit: SpaceX via Getty Images)
11 Feb 2020
Coronavirus: A shortage of masks
The business impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Ed Butler speaks to the BBC's Robin Brant in Shanghai about the partial return of Chinese workers in the city. Bloomberg economist Maeva Cousin discusses the economic impact on China and global supply chains. Mike Bowen, vice president of Prestige Amaritech in Texas, one of the few manufacturers of medical masks outside of China, explains why a shortage of masks globally is not good news for his business. Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer prize-winning author of a book The Coming Plague, explains why she's concerned countries like the US are underprepared for outbreaks like the coronavirus. (Photo: A women wears a mask while walking in the street on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Credit: Getty Images)
10 Feb 2020
When a work colleague dies
How companies and staff deal with death at work. Manuela Saragosa hears from Carina, an employee at a global marketing company who saw the mistakes her employer made when a colleague died. Kirsty Minford, a psychotherapist, describes how organisations can do better at dealing with death. And how do you approach your job if there's a real everyday risk of death? Lisa Baranik, assistant professor of management at the University at Albany School of Business, tells us what we can learn from firefighters. This programme was first broadcast on July 29, 2019. Producer: Frey Lindsay. (Photo: Death at work, Credit: Getty Images)
7 Feb 2020
Out of jail but not out of work
Unemployment in the US and UK is at near-historic lows. In such a tight labour market, many companies are seeking new pools of talent to recruit from. One relatively untapped source is people with criminal records, who often struggle to find work after completing their sentences. One person who knows that struggle is Ali Niaz, who has gone from convicted London drug dealer to international music entrepreneur. Ali sat down with Manuela Saragosa to recount his journey. Manuela also spoke to Celia Ouellette of the Responsible Business Initiative for Justice about how other people can follow in Ali’s footsteps. (Picture: Ali Niaz. Picture credit: Mark Chilvers.)
6 Feb 2020
Saudi money, English Football
A multi-million pound takeover of the English Premier League team Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund could be in the works. BBC Sports reporter Alistair Magowan explains what we know so far about the deal. In the meantime Ellen R Wald, author of Saudi Inc, speculates on Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman's motivation for wanting to buy Newcastle. It’s not likely to be profit, explains football finance expert Kieran Maguire. Perhaps prestige? But given that the Saudi state’s record on human rights is abysmal, as Felix Jakens from Amnesty UK explains, is it appropriate that they should be allowed to buy the team? We hear from Norman Riley, Newcastle United diehard and deputy editor of the True Faith fanzine. Producers: Edwin Lane, Frey Lindsay. (Picture: Newcastle supporters in the crowd. Picture credit, Getty Images)
5 Feb 2020
Will immersive tech ever go mainstream?
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have been around for years, and billions have been spent on popularising them, so far to little avail. Ed Butler dons an Oculus Rift at London's Natural History Museum to experience a VR journey through its collection, and speaks to John Casey, chief executive of Factory 42, which designed the experience. But despite big investments by the likes of Google, Facebook, Imax, Disney and others, sales of VR and AR headsets are still a fraction of traditional gaming consoles such as Sony PlayStation. Jeremy Dalton, who heads the AR/VR team at consultancy PwC, says that's about to change. But Stephanie Riggs, author of “The End of Storytelling", says that first content producers need to get out of their comfort zone of traditional narrative telling, and embrace AI-generated stories. Producer: Joshua Thorpe (Picture: Man using Oculus Rift VR headset; Credit: dangrytsku/Getty Images)
4 Feb 2020
So is the future hydrogen?
The gas could provide the critical missing piece in decarbonising the global economy. But can the hydrogen itself be sourced cheaply and carbon-free? One exciting new application could be to replace the coal used in steel-making. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Martin Pei, chief technical officer at Swedish steel company SSAB, which is collaborating on a pilot scheme for the new technology. He says hydrogen produced from renewable energy can generate the intense heat needed in many heavy industries like his, that is currently only achieved by burning fossil fuels. Could hydrogen also be used to replace the natural gas currently used for winter heating in many homes in northern latitudes? That is the contention of Marco Alvera, chief executive of Italian gas pipeline operator Snam. The key question is whether the cost of producing hydrogen from solar and wind energy can be brought down to a competitive level. Pierre Etienne Franc of French industrial gas company Air Liquide says they're w…
3 Feb 2020
Does coal have a future?
Burning coal to generate electricity is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions. But climate change aside, does it even make commercial sense anymore? Laurence Knight speaks to clean energy investor Ramez Naam, who relays the story of how he managed to convince one major Asian bank chief executive to stop lending to new coal power projects on the grounds that he was unlikely to get his money back. Another bank to have renounced lending to the coal industry is Standard Chartered. Their head of environmental and social risk, Amit Puri, explains why he thinks others will soon join the bandwagon. Meanwhile Laura Cozzi of the International Energy Agency warns that whatever the bankers may think, the fact is that most of the world's coal plants are in China, where it is the government that decides what gets built. Plus, what to do with a derelict coal-fired power station? Laurence visits London's iconic Battersea Power Station (pictured) and speaks to Simon Murphy the man in charge…
31 Jan 2020
Brexit day, Brexit visions
As the UK officially leaves the EU, what kind of economic future should it aim for? Should it be left entirely open to free market forces, or should the state play a bigger role? Manuela Saragosa hosts a debate between two people with opposing views. Tim Worstall of the pro-free-market think tank The Adam Smith Institute, and Miatta Fahnbulleh, chief executive of the left-of-centre think tank, the New Economics Foundation. Plus the BBC's Victoria Craig speaks to the owner of a Swedish café in London who has started helping EU citizens living in the city to complete the necessary paperwork for them to be allowed to stay on post-Brexit. (Picture: The EU and UK flags sit atop a sand castle on a beach; Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
30 Jan 2020
Does quarantining do more harm than good?
How will China's efforts to contain the corona virus affect the country's economy? Ed Butler asks our economics correspondent Andrew Walker, as well as a sceptical Lawrence Gostin, professor of health law at Georgetown University, who says the belated attempts to stop the spread of the epidemic are simply shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Moreover, how does quarantining affect those caught up in the net? Ed speaks to Ben Voyer, professor of psychological and behavioural science at the London School of Economics. He also hears the personal story of a survivor of the West African Ebola outbreak. Plus the BBC's China social media editor Kerry Allen explains how the Chinese authorities are doing their best to be transparent about the spread of the disease, while avoiding panic. (Picture: A health worker checks the temperature of a man entering the subway in Beijing; Credit: Betsy Joles/Getty Images)
29 Jan 2020
Britain's Huawei gamble
The UK's decision to give the Chinese telecoms equipment maker partial access to its 5G network risks trade retaliation from the US. But a decision to exclude Huawei altogether might have risked infuriating China. Ed Butler looks at the actual technical hurdles to making 5G broadband networks secure from foreign snooping with the help of BBC technology reporter Zoe Kleinman, and analyst Emily Taylor of Oxford Information Labs. Plus Norbert Ruttgen, chairman of the German parliamentary committee for foreign affairs, explains why he believes his own nation should stand strong and not succumb to the threat of foreign trade retaliation when making decisions about national security. (Picture: A Huawei staff member uses her mobile phone in Shenzhen; Credit: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images)
28 Jan 2020
Chinese forced labour: The brands
Are Western brands doing enough to keep forced labour out of their supply chains? Ed Butler speaks to researcher Darren Byler at the University of Colorado, who says tracing products from slave labour institutions in China's Xinjiang province to the west is not easy. Alan McClay from the Better Cotton Initiative explains what they do to monitor slave labour. Kate Larsen, a private consultant specialising in supply chain problems, says Western firms are only slowly understanding the scale of the problems they face, and what they have to do to tackle them. (Photo: The Chinese flag behind razor wire at a housing compound in China's western Xinjiang region, Credit: Getty Images)
27 Jan 2020
Forced labour in China
We hear from the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, where perhaps 1.5 million Uighur Muslims are believed to be held in what Chinese authorities call 're-education' camps, and where we hear testimony of forced labour in factories. Vice News journalist Isobel Yeung tell us what she saw on a recent visit to the province. Darren Byler, a social anthropologist affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder, tell us about the extent of the forced labour operation there. (Photo: A watchtower on a high-security facility near what is believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, on the outskirts of Hotan, in China's northwestern Xinjiang region, Credit: Getty Images)
24 Jan 2020
What next for Africa's richest woman?
Isabel dos Santos faces charges in her native Angola. The daughter of the former long-time president is accused of corruption after a leak of documents. Ed Cropley, former Reuters sub-Saharan Africa bureau chief, discusses what could happen next. Mark Hays from the campaign group Global Witness explains why the role of international banks and accountants in the scandal shouldn't be a surprise. Tom Keatinge from the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank, argues that countries like the UK have made some progress in tackling money laundering. (Photo: Isabel dos Santos in 2018, Credit: Getty Images)
23 Jan 2020
The products used again and again and again...
Why don't more manufacturers embrace the principles of the circular economy? It's a pertinent question, given the dire state of the recycling industry. Manuela Saragosa speaks to one company that has already implemented the principles of the circular economy. Cardboard box manufacturer DS Smith tracks its products throughout their life, and can reuse the fibres they contain up to 25 times, according to the firm's sustainability lead, Sam Jones. So why don't more manufacturers do the same? Manuela speaks to circular economy expert Alexandre Lemille, Jarkko Havas of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Josephine von Mitschke-Collande of EIT Climate-KIC in Switzerland. (Picture: Old plastic water bottle on a beach; Credit: s-c-s/Getty Images)
22 Jan 2020
Katie Prescott revisits the efforts of the Zanzibar government to chart its territory by flying drones across the African spice island. A year ago she met planning minister Mohammed Juma, the brains behind this ambitious project that aims to clarify land property rights, provide information to local residents about the location of services and amenities, and help the government plan everything from flood management to urban redevelopment. Katie catches up with Edward Anderson of the World Bank, who headed up the drone mapping project, to find out how the data they have gathered is now being crunched by artificial intelligence algorithms, and being made available to the public. Producer: Sarah Treanor (Picture: Aerial view of Zanzibar beach; Credit: den-belitsky/Getty Images)
21 Jan 2020
Cities at a standstill
How strikes and protests affect the economies of major cities. Will Bain visits Paris to see how strikes on the transport network are affecting local businesses, while Ed Butler speaks to author and former Hong Kong civil servant Rachel Cartland about the economic impact of anti-China protests in the region. (Photo: Protests against the policies of French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris in January, Credit: Getty Images)
20 Jan 2020
Being watched at work
The monitoring of employees in the workplace is becoming commonplace. Ed Butler speaks to Sean Petterson, boss of StrongArm Technologies, a company that monitors construction and warehouse workers to reduce workplace accidents. Griff Ferris from the anti-surveillance campaign group Big Brother Watch explains why workplace monitoring could be imposed without employees' consent. Brian Kropp from the advisory firm Gartner questions the value of all the data being generated by monitoring technology. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
17 Jan 2020
Insomnia and the smartphone
Modern tech is accused of interfering with our sleep, keeping us up late anxiously staring at our phone screens. But could a phone app provide the cure? Roughly one in three people in most developed countries typically tell surveys that the suffer from insomnia. The BBC's Laurence Knight is one of them. He seeks the advice of sleep physician Dr Guy Leschziner of Guy's Hospital in London, who explains how sleep and anxiety can become a vicious circle. The good news is that there is a new non-drug treatment that is proving remarkably successful - cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia. The bad news is that there are nowhere near enough trained clinicians able to provide treatment. That provides a gap in the market - and one that Yuri Maricich of US medical tech firm Pear Therapeutics hopes to fill with a mobile phone app of all things. (Picture: Cell phone addict man awake at night in bed using smartphone; Credit: OcusFocus/Getty Images)
16 Jan 2020
Microworkers teaching robots
How the rise of 'microwork' is helping develop artificial intelligence. Ed Butler speaks to New York Times reporter Andy Newman about his experience on Mechanical Turk - the Amazon-owned platform that offers tiny jobs for tiny wages. Microworker Michelle Munoz explains how she makes a good living from online microwork in Venezuela. Ronald Schmelzer, analyst at Cognilytica, an AI market research firm, explains why data-labelling tasks common on microworking sites play a central role in developing artificial intelligence. And researcher and author Mary Gray warns about the impact of microwork on workers' rights. Producer: Edwin Lane (Photo credit: Getty Images)
15 Jan 2020
Where has all the good soil gone?
Soil degradation is reducing crop yields and adding to climate change. It's a big headache not just for farmers, but for all of us. But fear not, as Ed Butler heads to a wheat field in eastern England where farmer Simon Cowell thinks he has a simple, counter-intuitive solution to the problem: Cut back on fertilisers and pesticides, and plough less. He claims it restored his land in two years. But if it's this simple, why isn't everyone doing it? And what happens if we don't do anything? How quickly will we run out of usable soil, and how much carbon will our soils emit into the atmosphere? The programme also features interviews with Ronald Vargas of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization; professor of soil conservation Jane Rickson of Cranfield University; and geologist David Montgomery of the University of Washington. Producer: Josh Thorpe (Picture: Close-up young plant growing in the soil; Credit: Mintr/Getty Images)
14 Jan 2020
The power-hungry internet
Why our growing use of technology is a threat to the planet. Ed Butler speaks to Ian Bitterlin, a visiting professor at the University of Leeds in the UK and an expert in the data centres that underpin the internet and use vast amounts of energy. Ruiqi Ye, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace in Beijing, explains why data centres are adding to the climate change problem. Halvor Bjerke from Norway's DigiPlex, the Nordic region’s leading data centre supplier, tells us why putting more data centres in colder parts of the world could be part of the solution. Producer: Josh Thorpe (Photo: Servers in a data centre in the UK, Credit: Getty Images)
13 Jan 2020
The next big thing
How easy is it to predict where tech will take us in the next decade, and have we hit a plateau in the pace of innovation? Manuela Saragosa speaks to author and artist Douglas Coupland, who retells how a mind-bending run-in with a Google research team left him convinced that the next huge development hurtling towards us like a meteor is what he calls "talking with yourself". Science fiction predictions of the future are notoriously wayward - where are the hoverboards and ubiquitous fax machines promised by the Back to the Future films? Nonetheless, forecasting tech developments can be 85% accurate over a 10-year time horizon, according to professional futurologist Dr I D Pearson. But while tech may continue to take us to new and strange places in the long term, has Silicon Valley run out of earth-shattering new products, at least in the short term? The BBC's Zoe Kleinman reports from a rather subdued CES 2020 tech conference in Las Vegas. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Cracke…
10 Jan 2020
Brand Meghan and Harry
Royal brands and the value of the monarchy. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the BBC's royal correspondent Jonny Dymond about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to move away from the royal family. David Haigh from the consultancy Brand Finance outlines the value of the British monarchy to the economy and discusses what Harry and Meghan might do next. Mauro Guillen, professor of international management at the Wharton School in the US, discusses the economic impacts of monarchies around the world. (Photo: The British royal familyon the balcony of Buckingham Palace, Credit: Getty Images)
9 Jan 2020
Are millennials being given a financial raw deal by their parents' generation? And who do the Baby Boomers expect to pay for their retirement? Manuela Saragosa looks at the intergenerational contract - the promise that the younger generation will see an improvement in their living standards, in return for which they will care for the older generation in their old age. But is the contract broken? Many of those born in the developed world in the 1980s and 1990s face inflated housing costs and student fees, stagnant wages and insecure jobs, and little prospect of saving for their retirement. Manuela speaks to one such Millennial - BBC colleague Faarea Masud, whose own podcast series About The Money! charts the precarious financial state of her generation. Plus Laura Gardiner of think tank The Resolution Foundation explains how the different generations need to work together to manage the demographic challenge of an ageing population, rather than get mired in the "OK Boomer" culture war…
8 Jan 2020
North Korea: Suffering under sanctions?
How does North Korea raise foreign currency, and are the toughest economic sanctions in the world actually having any effect? Ed Butler looks at one of the country's major sources of income - migrant workers. According to Artyom Lukin, professor of international relations at Russia's Far Eastern Federal University, the workers who used to frequent his hometown of Vladivostok have been shooed away by the Russian authorities. But analyst Lee Sang Hyun of South Korea's Sejong Institute is sceptical that the Chinese are clamping down heavily on Pyongyang, while Ian Bremmer of US think tank the Eurasia Group says the American government has little to show for the pressure it has been applying. (Picture: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un; Credit: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
7 Jan 2020
Uber and Lyft vs California
A battle is looming over the future of the gig economy. A law classifying Uber and Lyft drivers as employees came into force in California on 1 January, but the ridesharing giants say their drivers are independent contractors, and proposed their own laws. Ed Butler speaks to Edan Alva, a Lyft driver in San Francisco and a member of the advocacy group Gig Workers Rising, and to Stacey Wells, spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect App-Based Drivers & Services – the group sponsored by Uber and Lyft to push alternative legislation in California. And Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, tells us what this means for the broader gig economy. (Photo: Lyft and Uber pickup point in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Getty Images)
6 Jan 2020
The US and China in 2020
How the battle of the superpowers might unfold this year. Ed Butler speaks to Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group, Linda Yueh, economist and author of The Great Economists, and Ngaire Woods, professor of global economic governance at the University of Oxford, and founding chair of the Blavatnik School of Government. (Photo: Chess pieces representing the US and China. Credit: Getty Images)
3 Jan 2020
LA's housing crisis
Regan Morris looks at the housing crisis in LA where around 60,000 rough sleepers bed down each night. In a city of sky high rents and scarce availability, are dormitories the answer for young professionals struggling to rent or buy a place of their own? We take a tour of the city's 'pod' accommodation which houses multiple men and women in one room for $50 a night. We also look at zoning - a controversial policy which designates specific areas on the sidewalk for rough sleepers and would cut down the space available to bed down. And will tough restrictions on Airbnb help ease the pressure on housing? Picture description: A man closes his tent after a night on the streets of Los Angeles, California Picture by Frederic.J.Brown for AFP via Getty Images
2 Jan 2020
The workplace re-imagined
As a new decade dawns, Elizabeth Hotson asks if workplace design needs to be rethought to make work a more positive experience. We visit London-based customer finding company, MVF, which allows employees to bring their dogs into the office. The canine theme is continued at Sanity Marketing, where a Chihuahua called Lola calls the shots in the morning meeting. We try out the giant slide in the office of cloud computing company, Rackspace and visit The Wing which provides a work space for a mostly female membership base. We crowd into the sauna at global money transfer company Transferwise and Joshua Zerkel from technology firm, Asana in California extols the virtues of one meeting-free day a week. Meanwhile, Tom Carroll from property consultancy JLL, tells us what employees really want from workplaces. Photo Description: Some offices have a dog-friendly office policy Photo by Elizabeth Hotson
1 Jan 2020
Rights of nature
In July 2019 Bangladesh took the unusual step of granting all its rivers “legal personhood”. It was the result of a long fight by environmental campaigners, alarmed by the damage done to the country’s vital river system by pollution and the effects of climate change. But does passing a law recognising that nature has rights, just as humans do, automatically guarantee its protection? According to its supporters, the movement for the Rights of Nature is an expanding area of law, but are those laws anything more than just symbolic? We talk to Dr Mohammad Abdul Matin by the banks of the Buriganga River in Dhaka about the future for the country’s rivers and in New Zealand to Chris Finlayson, who was attorney general in the centre right government that in 2017 passed a law recognising the Whanganui River as a living entity. And Cardiff University law professor, Anna Grear, tells us why giving natural phenomena the same legal status as humans is no safeguard against exploitation.…
31 Dec 2019
Phosphates and the disputed corner of north-west Africa
Phosphate mining is crucial to global food production, given that phosphorus is an essential ingredient in commercial fertilisers. By far, the largest reserves of the world’s phosphates are in Morocco. And while Morocco is the third-largest miner of phosphates, a small percentage of its production comes from the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Morocco considers the territory as part of its country, something the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Polisario Front vehemently disagree with. Matt Davies travels to Morocco to speak to Nada Elmajdoub, an executive at the national phosphate company OCP. He also hears from Mohamed Kamal Fadel, a spokesperson for the Polisario Front, which is bringing legal challenges against Morocco's phosphate exports in its bid to win independence for Western Sahara. Meanwhile Professor Stuart White of the University of Technology Sydney questions the sustainability of the planet's usage of mined phosphates to boost crop yields, plus Stephen…
30 Dec 2019
Can corporations be repurposed to prioritise society and the environment over profit? Ed Butler discusses the question with BBC Business Editor Simon Jack, who says he sees signs of real change. With a climate emergency upon us, many people in business and finance appear to be having a genuine change of heart about economist Milton Friedman's famous maxim that the corporation's sole purpose should be to maximise shareholder value. Perhaps corporations have other responsibilities too? Among the capitalists talking this new talk are Stephen Badger, chairman of the giant family-owned US confectionary company Mars, and Alan Jope, chief executive of Anglo-Dutch consumer goods conglomerate Unilever. (Picture: A cute piggy bank sits astride a large pile of coins; Credit: Petmal/Getty Images)
27 Dec 2019
Are friends electric?
When will artificial intelligence be capable of providing intelligent conversation? Jane Wakefield looks at two AI systems that still fall well short in the so-called Turing Test of passing themselves off as human. Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa may be capable of ordering your groceries or even cracking a joke, but shockingly she has never heard of Business Daily. Despite this clear evidence of limited intelligence, head scientist Rohit Prasad insists that his baby has smarts. Meanwhile a more glamorous build-you-own-buddy is Sophia (pictured), the android capable of 60 facial expressions, which apparently was enough to earn her Saudi citizenship. But is she more than just a pretty latex face? Jane speaks to her creator and biggest fan, David Hanson. (Picture: The humanoid robot Sophia, which was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia; Credit: Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
26 Dec 2019
Hack my brain
Facebook and Elon Musk are among those interested in the potential use of brain probes to read minds and enhance human capabilities. Jane Wakefield looks at the technology of inserting electronic implants into the brain, and the ethical implications. Dr Ali Rezai of the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute uses the probes to treat people with conditions such as epilepsy and drug addiction, but fears where commercialisation of the technology could lead. Jane also speaks to bioethicist Dr Sarah Chan of the UK’s Royal Society; and with Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Sheffield. (Picture: MRI scan of a patient treated with a deep brain stimulation implant at Grenoble University Hospital in France; Credit: BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
25 Dec 2019
Will flying taxis ever take off?
Will giant drones one day ferry us all through the heavens all on our way to and from work? Jane Wakefield speaks to two German companies who are working on that vision. Daniel Wiegand, co-founder of Lilium, says his company's sleek battery-powered creation can neither be seen nor heard as it whizzes through the air - which apparently is a good thing. Meanwhile Alexander Zosel, founder of rival Volocopter, assures Jane that commuters will be perfectly safe as they are raised aloft in his pilotless aircraft. But aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia questions whether these services will ever be affordable to the average bus or train passenger. Plus Jeremy Wagstaff. (Picture: Visitors watch a prototype of the first flying taxi, the eVTOL by the company Lilium, at the Digital Summit in Nuremberg, Germany; Credit: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images)
24 Dec 2019
Smart cities: Big Data's watching you
City streets are becoming a valuable source of big data, so should we care who is gathering it and how it is being used? In Shenzhen in China, the authorities are using video footage and facial recognition technology to reward or punish citizens' good or bad behaviour - such as littering or running red lights - via "social credit" systems. Meanwhile in the Canadian city of Toronto, a new waterfront redevelopment is introducing similar sensors and smart tech from Google subsidiary Sidewalk Labs. But does this just represent another data bonanza for the tech giant at the expense of people's privacy? Jane Wakefield speaks to Sidewalk Labs' head of urban systems Rit Aggarwala, local activist Julie Beddoes, as well as tech consultant Charles Reed Anderson, (Picture: CCTV security camera front of a city office building; Credit: nunawwoofy/Getty Images)
23 Dec 2019
Smart cities: How Barcelona learned to listen
Smart sensors can improve citizens' lives, especially when residents are put in charge of gathering the data. Jane Wakefield reports from the Placa del Sol in Barcelona, where Guillem Camprodon of the city's Fab Lab explains how his initiative of placing noise detectors around the square helped residents finally get the city council to take the problem of night-time disturbances seriously. Michael Donaldson, the city's commissioner for digital innovation argues that public authorities ought to be able to collect more user data, in the same way that online businesses do, in order to improve public services. But tech consultant Charles Reed Anderson warns that the hype around the potential for smart cities far exceeds what is currently achievable, while Sandra Baer of Personal Cities argues that humans need to remain at the centre of such efforts. (Picture: Noise level sensor in Barcelona; Credit: BBC)
20 Dec 2019
How 24/7 life is rewiring our brains
A group of artists look at how our modern hyper-connected always-on lifestyles are affecting our behaviour and interfering with our sleep. Their work has been brought together in an exhibition at London's Somerset House, called 24/7: A Wake-Up Call for our Non-Stop World. Manuela Saragosa takes a tour with director and co-curator Jonathan Reekie. Plus the Canadian artist and author Douglas Coupland tells Manuela how he religiously guards his sleep hours in the name of creativity, and how he remembers the moment he realised his brain was being rewired by the internet back in the 1990s. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Sprites I by Alan Warburton, showing at Somerset House; Credit: Alan Warburton via Somerset House)
19 Dec 2019
Our digital afterlife
What happens to your online presence when you die, and who owns your data? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Carl Ohman, a researcher in the digital afterlife from the Oxford Internet Institute, and Dr Elaine Kasket, a counselling psychologist and author of All The Ghosts In The Machine: Illusions of Immortality in the Digital Age. (Picture: Cloud in the form of a mouse cursor arrow; Credit: cinek20/Getty Images)
18 Dec 2019
Have you paid your taxes?
Tax evasion is rife in many parts of the world, but might that be partly because we are we taxing the wrong things? Ed Butler looks at two countries overwhelmed by the problem. Bolivia has the proportionately largest tax-avoiding black economy in the world (at least of countries that gather statistics on these things). Katy Watson reports from a hilltop flea market where paying tax is simply considered bad for business. Meanwhile Greek economist Nicholas Economides discusses his country's clampdown on the 30% of the economy that operates below the tax radar by encouraging a shift away from cash towards electronic payments that can be more easily monitored. But are all these efforts being directed at the wrong targets? Most of the tax burden falls on labour in the form of income tax, but comedian and author Dominic Frisby says wealth, land and capital are let off far too lightly. (Picture: Bolivian woman carrying her baby; Credit: hadynyah/Getty Images)
17 Dec 2019
When women aren't counted
Gender bias in data collection. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Caroline Criado Perez, author of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, winner of the Financial Times business book of the year. Why are there no female crash test dummies? We ask Lotta Jakobsson from the Volvo Cars Safety Centre in Gottenburg in Sweden. And The BBC's Stephanie Hegarty on efforts to steps to make the city of Barcelona more women-friendly. (Photo: Crash test dummy heads on display, Credit: Getty Images)
16 Dec 2019
Brexit: What happens next?
Three experts on the next steps for Boris Johnson, Britain and the EU, after a big win for the sitting British prime minister in national elections. Ed Butler speaks to Jill Rutter from the research group UK in a Changing Europe, Sir Andrew Cahn, former head of UK Trade & Investment - a UK government department, and Rebecca Christie, visiting fellow at the Bruegel Institute in Brussels. (Photo: Boris Johnson after his election victory, Credit: Getty Images)
13 Dec 2019
The death of expertise
Why do so many people think they know best? And are they putting dolts in charge of government? Ed Butler speaks to Professor Tom Nichols of the US Naval War College, himself an expert on national security, who wrote a book about why everyone from surgeons to electricians to academics find themselves under attack from novices and ignoramuses who think their opinions should have equal weight. We also hear from Michael Lewis, whose new book The Fifth Risk examines the extent to which President Trump has neglected the US civil service. Is there a risk of something going catastrophically wrong - for example a nuclear waste containment or a natural disaster response - through the sheer inattention and incompetence of the people put in charge? Plus, might the root of the problem be the Dunning-Kruger Effect - a psychological trait whereby the inept are unaware of their own ineptness? We ask Professor David Dunning from the University of Michigan. Producer: Laurence Knight Repeat. First b…
12 Dec 2019
Old city v new city
Should we protect historic neighbourhoods from redevelopment when new homes are desperately needed? Manuela Saragosa looks at two cities at opposite ends of the spectrum. Historian Qin Shao tells of the destruction of her home city of Shanghai over the last 30 years, as entire districts have been demolished to make way for sparkling new high rise buildings. Meanwhile Laura Foote of the campaigning group Yimby Action explains why young residents of San Francisco like her are demanding the construction of many more affordable homes. So is it possible to strike a balance between the need to conserve and the need to build? Manuela visits one London building recently saved from the developers - the Smithfield market in London's financial district - and asks Chris Costelloe of the Victorian Society where he would draw the line. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: An old residential building being demolished to make room for skyscrapers in Shanghai; Credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
11 Dec 2019
Surviving the surveillance state
Facial recognition tech is spreading everywhere, but it can still be fooled with a bit of face paint. So should we be worried? Ed Butler speaks to Professor Alan Woodward, professor of computer science at the University of Surrey, and James Stickland, chief executive of facial recognition tech developer Veridium. Meanwhile the BBC's China media analyst Kerry Allen tells the grim story of a man who tried to use a dead girl's face to get a bank loan. Plus Ed's face is transformed into a Mondrian painting by anti-surveillance activists The Dazzle Club. (Picture: Ed Butler's face covered in anti-surveillance paint; Credit: Ed Butler)
10 Dec 2019
Delivering in the gig economy
How online shopping is fuelling insecure work for delivery drivers. British film director Ken Loach talks about his new film Sorry We Missed You, looking at the impact of insecure work on family life. The BBC's Edwin Lane rides along with a gig economy worker delivering Amazon parcels. And analyst Andrew Lipsman from eMarketer explains how Amazon Prime is driving demand for faster delivery times. (Photo: Amazon-branded delivery vans seen in May 2019, Credit: Getty Images)
9 Dec 2019
US drug companies and the NHS
Is Britain's health service really up for sale? Ahead of a general election in the UK, Ed Butler looks at why the NHS probably gets a good deal on drug prices compared with other countries, and why US drug companies might want the health service on the table in any post-Brexit trade deal between the US and the UK. We hear from the BBC's health editor Hugh Pym, US pharmaceutical industry analyst Nielsen Hobbs and Professor Allyson Pollock, director of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University. (Photo: Protestors show support for the NHS at a protest in London, Credit: Getty Images)
6 Dec 2019
A machine to break down all language barriers
The BBC's Kizzy Cox in New York tries out the developers at tech firm Waverly Labs say can translate between any of 20 spoken languages in just a couple of seconds. Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley describes what happened when one Chilean company switched from Spanish to English overnight. And Melanie Butler, editor of the English Language Gazette, explains why there's a global shortage of English teachers. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: Hello in different languages, Credit: Getty Images)
5 Dec 2019
How 'cheap' English is conquering the world
English language proficiency has become a basic skill worldwide, and kids are picking it up in some surprising places. Manuela Saragosa - herself trilingual - asks Melanie Butler, long-time editor of the English Language Gazette, how English has become the unavoidable common currency of global communications. Meanwhile linguistic sociologist Jan Blommaert of the University of Tilburg says a new generation is growing up into a vast plethora of global English-speaking communities, from academic conferences to online computer gaming. Plus Mario Monti, the former European commissioner and Italian prime minister, explains why he thinks the European Union should continue to use the English language as its main means of internal communications, despite the imminent departure of its major English-speaking member state. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: Man wearing headphones playing video games late at night; Credit: Kerkez/Getty Images)
4 Dec 2019
Taking football global
The pitfalls when soccer tries to break into the US and Asian markets - and when American football tries to break into Europe. Ed Butler looks at the plan by Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, to take the top-flight Spanish football league international. It includes an as yet unsuccessful attempt to stage a regular football fixture in the USA. Dan Jones, head of the sports business group at Deloitte, says Tebas is correct to see great opportunities, but Spanish sports journalist Alvaro Romeo explains why he's run into so much resistance. Tebas can look to the success of the UK's Premier League in internationalising its brand, or indeed America's National Football League. But has the NFL actually made any profit from its long-running campaign to build a fan-base in the UK? Ed speaks to the their UK director Alistair Kirkwood. (Picture: Marcelo of Real Madrid takes the shot on goal during the International Champions Cup Friendly match between Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid at Met…
3 Dec 2019
Why the owners of movies and artworks don't want you to see them. Tamasin Ford explains why Disney is removing a catalogue of movies from the cinema circuit following its deal to buy 21st Century Fox, and why artwork is being hidden in tax-free warehouses around the world instead of being displayed in galleries. Producer: Frey Lindsay. (Photo: An illustration of Mickey Mouse at the Disney store in New York, Credit: Getty Images)
2 Dec 2019
China moves from imitator to innovator
Chinese tech giants are gaining further ground in innovation, with development in e-commerce, social media and more, even outstripping the west. Rebecca Fannin, author of Tech Titans of China, explains the rapid growth and how it’s changing domestic consumption. But amid concerns of Chinese state intervention and difficulties in translating domestic apps for a global market, can Chinese tech companies truly enter the world stage? William Bao Bean of Chinaccelerator explains how AI can help tech firms adapt to foreign markets. (Picture: A customer making a payment on a self-service cashier at a supermarket in Jiangsu province, China. Picture credit: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
29 Nov 2019
Meetings, meetings everywhere...
It's not unusual for office workers to complain about the number of meetings they have to attend, but are they a distraction from real work, as some claim? And why are we having more meetings than ever? It's a question researchers at the University of Malmo in Sweden tried to answer. Patrik Hall, the university's professor of political science, tells us it has to do with the growing number of large organisations. The BBC's former Indonesia correspondent Rebecca Henschke tells us about meeting culture in that country, and Joseph Allen, professor of industrial and organisational psychology at the University of Utah, gives advice on how to make meetings more efficient.
28 Nov 2019
The sea they plan to cover in turbines
Offshore wind power is about to hit the big time in northern Europe, yet 20 years ago many saw the plan to build such complex engineering in the middle of the sea as madness. Laurence Knight investigates how the North Sea - once famous for its oil and gas industry - has now become the global centre for a carbon-free energy industry. Wind enthusiast Dr Robert Gross of Imperial College London talks about the colossal scale of modern turbines. Mud enthusiast Dr Carol Cotterill of the British Geographical Survey describes the Ice Age landscape she has helped explore at the bottom of the sea. And sea enthusiast Michiel Muller of the North Sea Wind Power Hub describes his consortium's plan to build islands and generate lots of hydrogen. (Picture: Wind turbines of the Thorntonbank offshore wind farm in the North Sea at sunset; Credit: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
26 Nov 2019
How to change your career
Ever thought about changing your career? With people living longer and job security decreasing, sticking with the same career for the whole of your working life is becoming a thing of the past. Edwin Lane speaks to John McAvoy, an armed robber turned record breaking rower, about his career in crime, and when he realised it was time for a change. And Business Daily regular Lucy Kellaway talks about her decision to give up her career in journalism and become a teacher, while labour market economist John Philpott discusses the challenges facing mid-life career switchers. Plus Freakanomics professor Steven Levitt on deciding to make big changes. Repeat (Picture: Businessman tearing off his jacket and shirt; Credit: bowie15/Thinkstock)
26 Nov 2019
What happened to austerity?
As the UK approaches a general election, both major parties have been promising billions of extra pounds to go into hospitals, social care and other public benefits. All this spells an apparent end to ten years of a policy of limited government spending, also known as austerity. The BBC’s Andy Verity explains austerity and what it was meant to do. But why has it ended now? Economists Vicky Pryce and Ryan Bourne debate the relative merit of austerity, whether it succeeded, or indeed whether it was a good idea to begin with. And if indeed the UK is returning to an age of more spending, Alberto Gallo of Algebris Investments warns those funds ought to be spent wisely. (Picture: A man holds up an anti-austerity banner outside Number 10 Downing Street on October 20, 2012 in London, England. Picture credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
25 Nov 2019
Cryptocurrency's new frontier
Cryptocurrency mining is booming across parts of the former Soviet Union, with a number of regions expending gigawatts of power on mining operations. Ed Butler visits a facility in Georgia run by a firm called BitFury. We’ll also hear why the breakaway Russian-speaking regions of Abkhazia and Transnistria are getting into ‘bitmining’ and what concerns that is raising for environment and corruption investigators. (Photo: A cryptocurrency mining centre in Kirishi, Russia, on August 20, 2018. Credit: Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images)
22 Nov 2019
Why Americans are loving trade unions again
Trade unions in the United States have seen a historic decline since their heyday in the mid-20th Century. But in many sectors labour organisation is making a come-back, particularly in new media and gig economy jobs. Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America East explains how they have helped a number of digital websites unionise, and Tyler Sandness, a Lyft driver and unionist in Los Angeles, explains the challenges facing gig workers. We also hear from Janice Fine, assistant professor of Labour Studies and Employment Relations at Rutgers University in New Jersey, on why support for trade unions is at its highest in years. (Photo: Rideshare drivers wave flags as they line up their cars during a protest outside of Uber headquarters on 27 August 2019, San Francisco, California. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
21 Nov 2019
Mental health in Africa
One of the continent's most neglected issues is finally getting some attention. Africa is affected by mental illness just like everywhere else, but with the added challenges associated with past civil wars and poverty, and a rapidly growing and urbanising population. Yet just 1% of government health budgets have typically been spent funding mental health services. Manuela Saragosa reports from the Mental Health in Africa Innovation and Investment conference, where policymakers, investors and practitioners have gathered to learn some of the innovative ways that Africans are promoting mental wellbeing despite the lack of resources. The programme features interviews with Dr Victor Ugo, founder of the Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative; Dr Florence Baingana, advisor at the WHO regional office for Africa; Olayinka Omigbodun, professor of psychiatry at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria; Dr Nick Westcott, director of the Royal African Society; and Dr Julian Eaton of the London School of Hy…
20 Nov 2019
The fight over the Parthenon Marbles
Greece hopes to regain the ancient sculptures from the British Museum, which were taken from Athens two centuries ago by the Earl of Elgin. Tamasin Ford is given a personal tour of the marbles by the museum. But Dr Elena Korka of the Greek Ministry of Culture expresses the outrage felt by her country at the loss of these national treasures, including statues that were physically dismembered in order for sections to be carted away. Both sides assert a legal right to the marbles, although the matter has yet to be definitively settled. We hear the claims and counter-claims from barrister Geoffrey Robertson, as well as from Dr Tatiana Flessas, associate professor of law and the London School of Economics. (Picture: A marble sculpture from the Parthenon in Athens depicting a battle between a centaur and a lapith, on display at the British Museum; Credit: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images)
19 Nov 2019
Africa's tech hub explosion
What impact has it had on the continent's tech startup scene? Tamasin Ford speaks to Bosun Tijani, founder of the CcHub in Lagos, about why tech hubs have been so important in driving innovation in recent years, and Ghanaian entrepreneur Charles Ofori Antipem who discusses what tech hubs can do better. The BBC's Massa Kanneh reports from Liberia on the challenges affecting tech hubs in Africa's less developed countries. (Photo: An IT professional in a server room, Credit: Getty Images)
18 Nov 2019
The scramble for Nollywood
The international companies investing in Nigerian cinema. France's Canal+ and streaming giant Netflix are among those who see potential for Nollywood, both inside and outside Africa. Are they right? Presented by Tamasin Ford. (Photo: Nollywood film DVDs on sale in Lagos, Nigeria, Credit: Getty Images)
15 Nov 2019
Live long and prosper?
The longevity industry aims to let everyone enjoy a healthy, active life well past the age of 100. But the question everyone will be asking is... will it happen in my lifetime? Manuela Saragosa reports from the Longevity Forum conference in London, where hundreds of researchers, investors, entrepreneurs and policymakers have gathered to try and answer this question. Among them, she speaks to billionaire investor Jim Mellon; London Business School economist Andrew Scott; the youthful venture capitalist Laura Deming; Columbia University geriatrician Linda Fried; and cryonics fan Anders Sandberg of the Future of Humanity Institute. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Retired couple larking about on a moped; Credit: stevecoleimages/Getty Images)
14 Nov 2019
Quantum computers: What are they good for?
Google claims to have achieved a major breakthrough with "quantum supremacy". But what could quantum computers actually do, and how soon will they be useful? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Harvard quantum computing researcher Prineha Narang, who says that the devices she is working on are annoyingly "noisy", but could still make an important contribution to tackling climate change in the next few years. There are fears that quantum computers could one day crack modern encryption techniques - rendering private communications and financial transactions unsafe. But IBM cryptography researcher Vadim Lyubashevsky says don't worry, they've got the problem in hand. Plus, the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones delineates the greatest paradox of quantum computers - that nobody can explain how they work. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Engineer working on IBM Q System One quantum computer; Credit: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)
13 Nov 2019
The ethics of AI
One of the world's top thinkers on artificial intelligence, tells us why we should be cautious but not terrified at the prospect of computers that can outsmart us. Professor Stuart Russell of the University of California, Berkeley, tells Ed Butler where he thinks we are going wrong in setting objectives for existing artificial intelligence systems, and the risk of unintended consequences. Plus IBM fellow and computer engineer John Cohn talks about blockchain, deep neural networks and symbolic reasoning. (Picture: Ponderous robot; Credit: PhonlamaiPhoto/Getty Images)
12 Nov 2019
The billionaires who want to pay more tax
Liesel Pritzker Simmons and her husband Ian Simmons are billionaires who come from successful US business families. Liesel's family is best known for founding Hyatt hotels. Both say the the US government should be collecting more tax from super-rich people like them. We asked them why. And Dr Ted Klontz, associate professor of practice and financial psychology at Creighton University in the US, explains the psychology of a billionaire. (Photo: A gold Ferrari parked outside an expensive boutique in London, Credit: Getty Images)
11 Nov 2019
Who wants to be a billionaire?
Should the richest be taxed out of existence? Manuela Saragosa hears from Emmanuel Saez, a US-based French economist advising US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren on a wealth tax targeting the super rich. The arguments against taxing billinaires more come from Chris Edwards, an economist at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington DC. (Photo: Bill Gates and Warren Buffet at an event in 2017, Credit: Getty Images)
8 Nov 2019
Fake me an influencer
The murky world of fake Instagram followers, fake comments, fake likes. Edwin Lane turns to the dark side in his quest for more followers for his Instagram account, with help from Belgian artist Dries Depoorter. Evan Asano from the influencer marketing company Mediakix describes how a mass following of bots almost landed him a marketing deal, and Andrew Hogue, founder of a company called Authentique, explain how artificial intelligence is being used to spot fake influencers. (Photo: Instagram logo. Credit: Getty Images)
7 Nov 2019
Make me an influencer
How hard is it to make money on Instagram? Ed Butler hears from successful influencer Laura Strange, who makes a living from her Gluten-free food themed profile, and the BBC's Edwin Lane tries to become an influencer himself, with advice from Harry Hugo co-founder of the influencer marketing agency Goat, and Marie Mostad, influencer expert at the platform Inzpire.me. (Photo: Instagram logo displayed on a laptop. Credit: Getty Images)
6 Nov 2019
The Cambridge Analytica whistleblower
Brittany Kaiser was one of the whistleblowers who brought down her former employer, Cambridge Analytica. She helped to expose how the data analysis firm had collaborated with Facebook to profile millions of voters around the world, in order to target them with tailor-made propaganda. In an extended interview, she tells the BBC's Jane Wakefield how our data is still open to abuse by those seeking to undermine democracy by manipulating the way we vote. (Picture: Brittany Kaiser in Washington, DC; Credit: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
5 Nov 2019
The world's youngest Nobel-winning economist
Esther Duflo discusses her work on the economics of poverty, for which she won this year's Nobel prize, along with her husband Abhijit Banerjee and co-author Michael Kremer. The 46-year old French-American MIT economist is the youngest person ever to be awarded the prize, and only the second woman. Ed Butler asks her how she and her collaborators examined how people in poverty respond differently to economic incentives, and her views on how her profession could benefit from being less male-dominated. (Picture: Esther Duflo; Credit: Patrick Kovarik/AFP via Getty Images)
4 Nov 2019
A hydro-powered Bitcoin boom in Georgia
How hydroelectric dams are powering cryptocurrency mining on the eastern edge of Europe. Ed Butler travels to Georgia to visit the Bitcoin mines benefiting from cheap electricity and tax benefits. (Photo: A hydroelectric dam on the Inguri River in Georgia, Credit: Getty Images)
1 Nov 2019
Tweaking your face
How social media is fueling the modern cosmetic surgery industry. The BBC's Regan Morris visits a Botox party in Los Angeles and Sarah Treanor investigates a cosmetic surgery industry event in London. Researcher Matt van Dusen from Alliant International University in San Diego discusses what the rise of cosmetic surgery tells us about how our identities are being defined by social media. (Photo: Botox treatment, Credit: Getty Images)
31 Oct 2019
The cancer scammers
How social media is being used to target cancer patients with fake cures. Tamasin Ford hears from cancer bloggers dealing with a flood of 'snake oil' salespeople. A former naturopathic doctor Britt Marie Hermes gives the inside story. British chemist and Youtuber Miles Power and researcher Corey Basch from Willian Paterson University in New Jersey describe how social media algorithms are facilitating the scams. (Photo: Pills and capsules on a keyboard, Credit: Getty Images)
30 Oct 2019
The diverse economy of the Lone Star State
Texas is the second-largest state economy in the United States and if it were a country it would be the 11th largest in the world. Although it produces more oil than any other state in the US, Texas is rapidly becoming known for renewable energy and a vibrant tech sector. Professor John Doggett at the University of Texas at Austin explains just what Texas is doing right. At the same time, the state retains a lot of its tradition, as Elizabeth Hotson finds out at the Texas State Fair. And Sarah Carabias-Rush at the Dallas Regional Chamber explains why people are coming to Texas, and what it could mean for the state. (Picture:The "Big Tex" sign of the Texas State Fair in Dallas, Texas. Picture credit: Elizabeth Hotson.)
29 Oct 2019
Can airlines pivot fully to biofuels?
As pressure grows on airlines to reduce their climate change impact, and “flight shame” grows among people concerned about their own impact, ever more research is being put into alternative, “cleaner” sources of fuel. Katie Prescott travels to Oslo to see new projects to bring more so-called biofuels into the system. Air BP’s commercial development manager, Tom Parsons, explains the difficulties in implementing and costing biofuels, while Dr Andrew Welfle at the University of Manchester describes the potential sources and applications of biofuels. (Picture: At a plant near Chiang Mai, Thailand, cooking oil and palm oil are processed to produce biodiesel. Picture credit: John van Hasselt/Corbis via Getty Images)
28 Oct 2019
Goodbye Super Mario
This week marks a changing of the guard at the European Central Bank, one of the world’s most important financial institutions. The bank, under the stewardship of outgoing president Mario Draghi, was instrumental in averting a collapse of the Euro earlier in the decade, as the BBC’s Andrew Walker recounts. Now, with former IMF Chairman Christine Lagarde on her way in, veteran bond buyer Mohamed El-Erian says there will still be an uphill battle to keep the currency stable. One issue in particular, as Jana Randow, economy editor at Bloomberg in Frankfurt, explains, is keeping German savers from revolting against continued low interest rates. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Christine Lagarde speaks with Mario Draghi in Luxembourg on June 18, 2015. Picture credit: THIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images)
25 Oct 2019
A meatless future?
The food we'll be eating in the future may look the same, it may even taste the same, but it may well have been grown in a lab. In today's programme we're talking volcanic fungi, eggless scrambled eggs and meat that doesn't come from an animal. But will it all get past regulators and fussy eaters? Manuela Saragosa and Regan Morris investigate the California companies involved in the race to replace the meat we eat. (Photo: Non-meat burgers from Beyond Meat, Credit: Getty Images)
24 Oct 2019
Industry awards - worth the effort?
Does coming second in a prestigious professional competition still boost the bottom line? Is it worth the time, money and emotional investment? Manuela Saragosa visits Pied-a-Terre, a one-star Michelin restaurant, and speaks to its owner David Moore about what it would mean to him and his staff if they could regain a second star. Plus Sam Jordison of the small independent publishing house Galley Beggar Press tells of the joy, sales lift and resulting logistical nightmare of printing more books that they experienced when their author Lucy Ellmann was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for her novel Ducks, Newburyport. (Picture: Novelist Lucy Ellmann poses with her book Ducks, Newburyport during the 2019 Booker Prize awards ceremony; Credit: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
23 Oct 2019
What is the Green New Deal?
The radical plan to transform the economy and tackle climate change has taken off in Washington DC, with the backing of the left-wing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, as well as most of the Democratic candidates for the US presidency. But what is the plan? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Saya Ameli Hajebi, a 17-year-old spokesperson for the Sunrise Movement of young people lobbying for action, as well as to one of the plan's original authors, British economist Ann Pettifor. And Ms Pettifor isn't the only economist calling for radical economic change. Nobel prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz says why he thinks the American economy is failing most of its people and what needs to change. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Los Angeles youth at a nationwide school strike for the Green New Deal; Credit: Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
22 Oct 2019
Bringing Uber back to Earth
Investors are losing faith in Uber's promise of rapid growth and market disruption, and are demanding to see actual profits. Oracle's founder Larry Ellison has gone as far as to describe the transport app company as "almost worthless". Manuela Saragosa speaks to Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, who says the company's problem is that it is a great brand and great app that have been built upon a fundamentally unprofitable market - ride hailing. Meanwhile Patricia Nakache of Trinity Ventures says that Silicon Valley venture capitalists such as hers are becoming increasingly wary of businesses that generate rapid growth by simply burning through billions of dollars of cash. Producer: Edwin Lane (Picture: An UberChopper helicopter in Gdynia, Poland; Credit: Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
21 Oct 2019
The business case for sleep
The demands of the working day and our 24-hour economy mean many of us don't get the recommended seven to eight hours sleep a night. Experts say all that sleep deprivation comes at an economic cost. Manuela Saragosa looks at the business case for sleep. Contributors: Danielle Marchant, Executive Coach. Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science. (Picture: Tired young businessman sleeping on his desk inside of the office during the day; Credit: PeopleImages/Getty Images)
18 Oct 2019
Is the sun setting on Saudi oil?
Is the Saudi state oil company Aramco finalising its much-delayed share offering just as financial markets are losing faith in the future of fossil fuels? Manuela Saragosa speaks to energy geopolitical analyst Indra Overland, who says that the transition to electric vehicles could happen much faster than expected, posing a direct threat to what is the world's biggest oil company. Meanwhile Andrew Grant of the think tank Carbon Tracker says that big institutional investors are beginning to take the financial risks posed by climate change far more seriously. But according to oil industry consultant Cornelia Meyer the highly profitable Saudi company could still prove an attractive proposition for Western investors. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: A Saudi petroleum plant silhouetted at dusk; Credit: Scott Peterson/Liaison)
17 Oct 2019
Concrete's dirty secret
Cement and concrete have one of the biggest carbon footprints of any industry, and eliminating it is no easy task. By volume concrete is the most heavily used resource by humanity apart from water. Our houses, offices, dams, roads, airports and so on all depend on pouring vast quantities of this magical, versatile material. But not only does making cement - the glue that binds concrete - involve huge amounts of energy. The chemical process itself also produces carbon dioxide as a bi-product, and nobody yet knows how to avoid that. Manuela Saragosa speaks to three people who offer partial solutions. Architect Simon Sturgis of pressure group Targeting Zero wants to design most of the concrete out of buildings, and recycle what's left. Benjamin Sporton, chief executive of the Global Cement and Concrete Association, is trying to coordinate global research efforts. Meanwhile Professor Mohamed Saafi of Lancaster University says the answer may lie in carrots and sugar beet. Producer: Laure…
16 Oct 2019
How China slam-dunked the NBA
Does the China-NBA bust-up mean that the Chinese are falling out of love with US basketball - and US business in general? One thoughtless tweet in support of Hong Kong protestors by Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets Basketball team, has kicked off a diplomatic storm, with Chinese TV stations cancelling the planned airing of NBA exhibition basketball games. It certainly reflects a much more prickly, nationalistic mood in China at a time when the country feels under attack from the US government's trade sanctions. Fenella Barber of China business consultancy Bao Advisory says it is typical of the cultural misunderstandings that still occur when Western businesses try to break into the country's gigantic fast-growing consumer market. But Andrew Coflan of geopolitical strategists Eurasia Group says the kerfuffle says a lot more about internal Chinese politics than the business environment, which Beijing is actually working hard to make more foreigner-friendly. Meanwhile…
15 Oct 2019
Is the West really meritocratic?
We hear the arguments of leading US academic and author, Daniel Markovits, whose book The Meritocracy Trap argues that meritocracy in the United States and other Western free-market economies is a myth that fuels inequality. Temba Maqubela, the head of The Groton School - one of America's top private schools - outlines the role that elite establishments such as his could play in helping less advantaged students. Meanwhile Samina Khan, director of undergraduate admissions at Oxford University, says top universities like hers are working hard to target a more diverse range of applicants. Plus Kiruba Munusamy, an advocate at the Supreme Court of India, describes how a system of positive discrimination helped her get a top job despite India's caste system. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: Signposts for Yale and Harvard, Credit: Getty Images)
14 Oct 2019
How to be angry
From hotheads to curmudgeons, is anger always bad for business? Can anger management techniques help? Or should we put our wrath to profitable use? Laurence Knight speaks to an entrepreneur who hit the headlines following an air rage incident about his chronic fits of rage. Anger management expert Dr Gina Simmons explains why he may want to consider doing press-ups. We also hear from Mustafa Nayyem, who helped initiate the bitter Euromaidan protests that brought down Ukraine's last government. Plus evolutionary psychologist Aaron Sell explains the circumstances most likely to bring out our inner beast. (Picture: Frustrated businessman screaming of disappointment and looking up; Credit: skynesher/Getty Images)
11 Oct 2019
The vaping scare and big tobacco
Why health concerns over vaping is bad for cigarette companies. In the US hundreds of illnesses and even some deaths have been linked to vaping. That's bad news for a tobacco industry looking for a long-term replacement for cigarettes. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, Anna Gilmore, professor of public health at the University of Bath in the UK and a spokesperson for STOP - a global industry watchdog aimed at stopping tobacco organisations and products - and Richard Hill, head of vapour products at the tobacco company Imperial Brands. (Photo: A young woman vaping, Credit: Getty Images)
10 Oct 2019
Losing your mind at work
On World Mental Health Day, we hear the experiences of people who've suffered a mental health breakdown at work, and ask what employers can do to support them. We hear from Ian Stuart, the UK CEO of the global bank HSBC, Paul Farmer from the mental health charity Mind, American comedian and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax, Dean Yates, the head of journalist mental health and wellbeing strategy at the news agency Reuters, Geoff McDonald, global advocate and campaigner of Minds at Work, and Dr Claire Douglas, head of occupational health and wellbeing at SCS Railways in the UK. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: Depiction of workplace stress, Credit: Getty Images)
9 Oct 2019
Why whistleblowers need protection
A new EU directive grants new legal rights to those reporting corporate and government misbehaviour. Ed Butler asks David Lewis, professor of employment law at Middlesex University, how significant the new legal framework is and why it was needed. Plus we replay an interview from 2016 in which lawyer Mychal Wilson retells his early experiences as a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company in Los Angeles, and why he blew the whistle on underhand practices. And practicing Louisiana doctor William LaCorte talks about his reputation as a serial whistleblower - making tens of millions of dollars from exposing the wrongdoing of big pharma and hospitals. (Picture: Whistle hanging in front of blue background; Credit: thomas-bethge/Getty Images)
8 Oct 2019
Choose your own pay
What happens when a company lets its employees decide what their salaries should be? Will anyone ask to be paid less? A number of tech companies are finding out, as they see it as a way of achieving greater fairness and transparency, as well as motivating staff to raise their effort to match their remuneration. Ed Butler speaks to Heather McGregor, executive dean of the Edinburgh Business School, and to David Burkus, the California-based author of a book about pay transparency, Under New Management. (Picture: Woman covering face with fan of dollar bills looking at camera on yellow background; Credit: SIphotography/Getty Images)
7 Oct 2019
The George Soros conspiracy
Why one financier is the target of a global conspiracy theory. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the BBC's Mike Rudin, who made a recent documentary on the Soros conspiracy, and to Joe Uscinski, associate professor of political science at the University of Miami - and an expert in conspiracy theories. And the BBC's Dhruti Shah speaks to David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes, the company trying to debunk fake news for the last 25 years. (Photo: Anti-Soros placards during a political demonstration is Macedonia in 2017, Credit: Getty Images)
4 Oct 2019
End of the road for US truckers?
Truck drivers and the robots that could replace them. Jahd Khalil visits a truck stop in the US state of Virginia to find out why there's a chronic shortage of truckers in the US. Robert Brown from the robotics company TuSimple and Greg Hastings, associate partner at McKinsey & Co, tell Manuela Saragosa why long-distance driving is exactly the kind of job suited to robots. (Photo: A truck stop on the US-Mexico border, Credit: Getty Images)
3 Oct 2019
The right to repair
Why is it so hard to fix your own things? Ed Butler speaks to those campaigning for manufacturers to make it easier for us to fix our electronics goods - everything from tractors to smartphones. Clare Seek runs a Repair Café in Portsmouth, England, a specially designated venue for anyone who wants to get their stuff to last longer. And Ed travels to Agbogbloshie in Accra in Ghana, one of the places where our mountains of e-waste end up being pulled apart and melted down for scrap. The programme also features interviews with Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of The Repair Association; Kyle Wiens, founder of iFixit; intellectual property lawyer Jani Ihalainen; and Susanne Baker, head of environment and compliance at techUK. (Photo: Broken iPhones, Credit: Getty Images)
2 Oct 2019
The search for sustainable fabric
Modern textiles are environmentally problematic. Cotton needs gallons of water to produce, while polyester comes from crude oil. So could organic materials such as mushrooms and banana leaves hold the answer? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dr Richard Blackburn, chemistry professor at Leeds University, who has been studying the ecological impact of the garments industry for decades. Meanwhile the BBC's Elizabeth Hotson investigates innovative new fabrics preparing to hit the market, including MycoTEX, a material made from fungal mycelium, developed by Aniela Hoitink. (Picture: Branch of ripe cotton; Credit: Gargonia/Getty Images)
1 Oct 2019
The onward march of Chinese debt
Is the rapid build up of consumer and corporate credit a threat to China's economic wellbeing? On the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic, Ed Butler asks whether the increasing dependence on debt of this officially communist nation is becoming a problem. The programme includes interviews with Shanghai-based journalist Liyan Ma, Shaun Rein of business strategy consultants China Market Research Group, and economist Linda Yueh. (Picture: People's Liberation Army personnel participate in a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China; Credit: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)
30 Sep 2019
Brexit and the currency speculators
Some traders are betting on the UK crashing out of the EU without a divorce agreement. Should we be concerned that they wield too much political influence? Both the British Prime Minister's sister Rachel Johnson, and the former Conservative finance minister Philip Hammond, have publicly voiced concerns in recent day that Boris Johnson is backed by financiers speculating on a sharp fall in the pound following a possible no-deal Brexit on 31 October. Manuela Saragosa asks how credible are such claims? How are the markets positioned for Brexit? And is there any way of even knowing who is "shorting" the pound, ready to profit from an unexpected fall in its value? The programme includes interviews with David Riley, chief investment strategist at Bluebay Asset Management, and with Jane Foley, head of currency strategy at Rabobank. Plus the BBC's Edwin Lane learns how to play the foreign exchange markets from Piers Curran of Amplify Trading. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: A woman lo…
27 Sep 2019
WeWork and the cult of the CEO
How WeWork's Adam Neumann lost his job after a disastrous attempt to list the company on the stock market. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the Wall Street Journal's Eliot Brown about the charisma of Adam Neumann and how it helped raise billions from investors, and to Andre Spicer from the Cass Business School about the cult of the founder-CEO. Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business, explains why WeWork's IPO failure should be a lesson to the markets. (Photo: Adam Neumann, Credit: Getty Images)
26 Sep 2019
Climate Action: Should we plant more trees?
Ed Butler speaks to Professor Tom Crowther from the Swiss university ETH Zurich, who says planting billions of trees around the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle climate change. Marcelo Guimaraes, chairman of Mahogany Roraima, a commercial timber and reforestation plantation in the northern Amazon rainforest, discusses how that would work in practice. (Photo: A tree in a deforested area of the Amazon rainforest, Credit: Getty Images)
25 Sep 2019
Climate Action: The moral imperative
What is our ethical duty to eliminate carbon emissions? Was Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg right to express such anger at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York this week? Justin Rowlatt asks leading moral philosopher Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University, whether someone driving a petrol- fuelled car can really be held responsible for increasing the risk of drought in Africa. And why should we give up taking long-haul flights, if the tiny amount of carbon emissions that saves will make practically no difference in the grand scheme of things? Plus climatologist Emily Shuckburgh explains why she is not despondent about climate change - despite seeing the effects first-hand on polar research trips - and how a new institute she is heading at Cambridge University is generating a lot of excitement among academics. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Dead cow in drought-struck Kenya; Credit: muendo/Getty Images)
24 Sep 2019
Climate Action: Uninhabitable Earth
Just how bad will it get if the world fails to get to grips with climate change? On day two of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, Justin Rowlatt speaks to David Wallace-Wells, author of the apocalyptic book Uninhabitable Earth, which lays out the dire predictions of climatologists for the coming decades if humanity continues to put ever more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere unabated. Yet despite the potentially terrifying outlook, it remains very difficult to motivate politicians and the public to take meaningful action to cut emissions. Why is that, and how might that change? Kelly Fielding is a social psychologist at the University of Queensland in Australia, and has some of the answers. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Dead bumblebee from the cover of Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells; Credit: FXseydlbast/Getty Images)
23 Sep 2019
Climate Action: Greta Thunberg's mission
The Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg explains how she aims to get the world's governments gathered for the UN Climate Action Summit in New York to take meaningful action on global warming. Justin Rowlatt speaks to her about her ambitions for her transatlantic trip, and whether one person can really make that much of a difference. In order for her mission to succeed, it will mean rebuilding the global economy from the ground up, including the phasing out of most of the oil and gas industry. John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell's US subsidiary, claims the big oil companies are ready and willing to do their part, if the politicians will only give them the green light. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Greta Thunberg testifies at the US Congress in Washington DC; Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
20 Sep 2019
The future of Facebook
What next for the social media giant? Jane Wakefield speaks to one former mentor of Mark Zuckerberg, and a British member of parliament about what changes Facebook needs to make after data scandals and concerns over its power. (Photo: Facebook logo, Credit: Getty Images)
19 Sep 2019
Robot race cars and AI
What robots driving cars can tell us about artificial intelligence. Ed Butler speaks to Bryn Balcombe, chief strategy officer of the autonomous vehicle project Roborace. Gary Marcus, professor of psychology at New York University, explains why he thinks AI development is fundamentally limited. Yoshua Bengio, professor of computer science at the University of Montreal in Canada, gives a defence. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: A Roborace robot-driven car in action on the track, Credit: Getty Images)
18 Sep 2019
Trading tinned fish and powdered milk
How economies spring up in extreme places from refugee camps to prisons. Ed Butler speaks to economist Richard Davies, author of a new book called Extreme Economies, who describes the economic activity in extreme places, from a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan to one of the toughest prisons in the world, in the United States. Former US prisoner Lester Young fill us in on how to trade behind bars. (Photo: A prison in Louisiana State Penitentiary, Credit: Getty Images)
17 Sep 2019
Whom should the corporation serve?
Should shareholders come first? Or should companies also serve their employees, customers, and society in general? Ed Butler explores the growing backlash against "shareholder primacy" - the idea espoused in the 1970s by economist Milton Friedman that businesses should only care about maximising the bottom line for the benefit of their investors, and that other stakeholders' interests should not be their prerogative. He speaks to Lenore Palladino, economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who has a list of changes she wants to see in the way that American companies are governed, plus Ken Bertsch of the Council of Institutional Investors, who says that the real problem is not the role of investors like the ones he represents, but too much focus on short-termism. Meanwhile Chris Turner thinks he has the solution - he works for the non-profit organisation B Lab, which provides an objective assessment to hundreds of corporations of whether they are having a positiv…
16 Sep 2019
Africa's mobile credit revolution
Will the roll out of online lending stimulate economic boom or just a credit binge in Africa? Ed Butler speaks to many of the businesspeople providing the continent with much needed banking services via mobile phones. They are optimistic that financial inclusion for small businesses, farmers and rural consumers could stimulate much faster economic growth. But is there a dark side to the sudden availability of east loans? The programme includes interviews with Matthew Davie, chief strategy officer at the US micro-lending fin-tech Kiva; Omotade Odunowo, chief executive of the Nigerian digital wallet service Fets; Joshua Oigara, chief executive of Kenya's biggest commercial bank KCB; and Kevin Njiraini, regional director for southern Africa and Nigeria at the International Finance Corporation. (Picture: Young African woman using a mobile phone; Credit: wilpunt/Getty Images)
13 Sep 2019
The cost of sending money home
Why it's time to start paying attention to the global remittances industry. Ed Butler speaks to Monica, a nurse from the Philippines working in the UK - one of millions of people around the world who regularly send money back to their families abroad. Dilip Ratha from the World Bank describes the scale of the money flows, and the persistently high costs of international money transfers. Ralph Chami from the IMF highlights the challenges such big inflows of cash can have on developing countries. And Elena Novokreshchenova from the company Remitly explains how technology can help reduce costs. (Photo: A bank teller counts bills in Manila, Philippines, Credit: Getty Images)
12 Sep 2019
The cannabidiol craze
The cannabis extract CBD or cannabidiol is legal in many countries, and now it's finding its way into everything from soaps to cosmetics. But is it just a fad, and are its health claims bogus? Manuela Saragosa asks Harry Sumnall, professor in substance use at Liverpool John Moores University, whether it is true that CBD is not a psychoactive substance - unlike the more infamous cannabis extract THC. And is it true that it can be used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's, anxiety and cancer amongst others? Meanwhile Katie Prescott explores the booming market for CBD products. She speaks to Jim McCormick, president of cannabis brand Ignite International; Eveline van Keymeulen, head of life sciences regulations at law firm Allen & Overy; Alex Brooks of financial services firm Canaccord Genuity; and Chris Tovey of GW Pharmaceuticals. (Picture: Cannabis leaf; Credit: digihelion/Getty Images)
11 Sep 2019
Going after Google
The attorneys general of 48 out of the 50 US states have come together to challenge the control of the search giant over what we buy or view online. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones about why the US anti-trust authorities have decided to join their EU counterparts in taking on Google. Jonathan Tepper, author of the new book The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, takes us through the history and significance of anti-trust legislation. But are anti-monopoly laws equipped to deal with the tech giants of today? And can these companies even be called monopolies? We'll also hear from Sally Hubbard of the Open Markets Institute, and Alex Moazed, co-author of the 2016 book Modern Monopolies. (Picture: The Google logo displayed through a magnifying glass; Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images)
10 Sep 2019
Tackling the male fertility crisis
Sperm counts worldwide have been in steady decline for decades, and a group of tech start-ups are finally giving the problem attention. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the heads of two such companies: Tom Smith of Dadi Inc, which provides home kits for freezing sperm, and Mohamed Taha of Mojo Diagnostics, which is using artificial intelligence to make male fertility testing more reliable. Plus Mylene Yao of Univfy Inc, which focuses on female fertility, says she has noticed a generational shift in her clients' attitudes, with much more focus now on the joint responsibility of men in achieving a pregnancy. But why is there such a crisis in male fertility in the first place, and what can men do to improve their chances of having a child? Manuela asks Professor Richard Sharpe of the Centre for Reproductive Health at Edinburgh University. (Picture: Human sperm and egg cell; Credit: koya79/Getty Images)
9 Sep 2019
The world is running out of sand
The global construction boom is fuelling an illegal trade in sand used to make concrete, causing environmental degradation and spawning sand mafias in parts of the world. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Prem Mahadevan of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, on what is becoming a global phenomenon. Campaigner Sumaira Abdulali, founder of the Awaaz Foundation NGO in India, recounts how she confronted illegal sand miners who were destroying a stretch of beach she owns south of Mumbai, and John Orr, Cambridge University lecturer in concrete structures, on how we could use less sand in construction. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: Illegal sand mining in Senegal, Credit: Getty Images)
6 Sep 2019
Can technology read minds?
The business of brain data. Real-life mind-reading technology is being developed right now, and it's already being used in places like China. Ed Butler investigates what the technology can really do, and what the implications might be for our privacy and freedoms. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: A brain scan, Credit: Getty Images)
5 Sep 2019
Brand Britain and Brexit
What the rest of the world makes of the UK's Brexit crisis. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Jane Foley, head of foreign exchange strategy at Rabobank, about what the pound's value says about the state of the nation. Jiao Li, co-founder of a company called Crayfish, which helps UK companies better engage with China, explains why cheaper British goods are making them more attractive to Chinese buyers. And Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum on the view from Europe. (Photo: Union Jack paraphernalia, Credit: Getty Images)
4 Sep 2019
The hipster company that wants to save the world
Is WeWork an exciting new tech firm with lofty ideals worth $47bn, or is it just an over-priced office rental business? Manuela Saragosa speaks to two sceptics. Rett Wallace of investment advisory firm Triton says the prospectus for WeWork's forthcoming stock market flotation is long on aspirational zen, but rather short on hard financial details. Meanwhile Vijay Govindarajan, business strategy professor at Dartmouth College, is unimpressed by the company's attempt to brand itself as a tech firm. But plenty of WeWork's tenants are convinced of the value of the service they provide, among them Matt Hubert of software engineers Bitmatica, although he wishes his landlord would cut some of the philosophical waffle and focus on what they are good at. (Picture: WeWork member works in her office space at WeWork Union Station; Credit: Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
3 Sep 2019
Air pollution gets personal
Can a greater understanding of how poor air quality harms us, enable us to tackle this urgent problem? Jane Wakefield meets British artist Michael Pinsky and explores an interactive art instillation mimicking the air of five parts of the world. She hears from Romain Lacombe of the personal pollution sensor company Plume Labs how tracking the air around you can help to design better policies at a city level. Plus Robert Muggah of the Igarape Institute talks through how his interactive maps tracking global pollution can be used by policymakers and city mayors. (Picture: Woman wearing face mask because of air pollution in the city; Credit: Jun/Getty Images)
2 Sep 2019
Hollywood vs Netflix
How are movie producers making money in the age of online streaming? In Hollywood, if you produce a hit show or blockbuster movie, a cut of the profits can lead to extraordinary wealth. That could mean producers lowering their salaries to get a percentage of the box office. But Netflix and other streaming services don’t play by old Hollywood’s rules. The BBC’s Regan Morris speaks to executives and producers about how Hollywood’s business model is changing as a content arms race from the streaming services transforms the film industry. She speaks to YouTuber Lizzy Sharer; Producers Guild of America co-presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher; producer Rob Henry; and Disney executive Kevin Mayer. (Picture: 35mm film reel and movie clapper on wooden background; Credit: fergregory/Getty Images)
30 Aug 2019
Can we trust Rwanda's data?
Is Rwanda's economic success story really all it's cracked up to be? Ed Butler speaks to Tom Wilson, east Africa correspondent at the Financial Times, about some supposedly dodgy statistics behind the economic miracle, and the World Bank aid money reliant upon it. And a former economic advisor to the Rwandan president Paul Kagame describes how economic statistics were routinely distorted during his time in government. (Photo: Rwandan president Paul Kagame, Credit: Getty Images)
29 Aug 2019
Dying for insulin in the USA
Why do Americans have to pay so much for this life-saving drug? There are reports of some uninsured diabetics dying as a consequence. Even the health insurers and drug manufacturers say the pricing system is broken. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Laura Marston, a type-1 diabetes sufferer and campaigner from Washington DC, about how she had to sell her house and leave her hometown just to get access to affordable insulin - and she says she is one of the lucky ones. Meanwhile the US Congress and various state law enforcement agencies are now looking into why the price of insulin is so many times higher in the US than in other developed countries. So who is to blame? Robert Zirkelbach, executive vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, represents the drugs companies, while David Merritt, executive vice president of public affairs at America's Health Insurance Plans, represents the insurers. (Photo: Insulin being produced at a factory in France; Credit: Ge…
28 Aug 2019
How can women take charge of their finances?
Is the wealth management industry still too geared towards male clients? And how do women plan their finances in countries where they don't even have an equal right to inherit? Katie Prescott explores the financial literacy gender gap, and how it is slowly being bridged. She speaks to Natasha Pope, private wealth advisor at Goldman Sachs, who explains how their increasing number of wealthy female clients can take a very different approach to planning their financial futures. Meanwhile the BBC's Georgia Tolley speaks to women in Dubai about the precarious position many Emirati women find themselves in, as the traditional paternalistic role of men in caring for female family members erodes, yet the law does not yet provide genuine financial equality to both genders. (Picture: Woman analysing financial documents; Credit: Natee127/Getty Images)
27 Aug 2019
Why not buy Greenland?
What does Donald Trump's shock proposal to buy the island from Denmark tells us about modern-day sovereignty and Arctic geopolitics? Manuela Saragosa puts the question to two law professors. Joseph Blocher of Duke University explains why the practice of nations buying and selling large tracts of land fell out of favour, and whether it could make a comeback, while Rachael Lorna Johnstone of the University of Akureyri in Iceland says the reaction from the Danish government to Trump's Greenland offer shows how Europeans take the self determination of formally colonised peoples seriously. Plus Mikaa Mered, professor of Arctic & Antarctic geopolitics at the Ileri School of International Relations in Paris, says the Trump's offer belies his administration's claim not to believe in climate change. And if you cannot buy another country, why not just carve out your own one? Kevin Baugh is the self-styled President of the Republic of Molossia, a few acres of desert in Nevada and California th…
23 Aug 2019
The challenges facing Syrian refugees in Turkey
As authorities in Istanbul start evicting undocumented migrants from their city, we look at the challenges facing Syrians generally in Turkey. Shrinking wages, child labour, and increasing hostility from many locals, are Syrians now paying the price of Turkey's economic slowdown? (Photo: Placards are displayed by people gathered to protest against the Turkish government's recent refugee action, July 27, 2019. Credit: Getty Images.)
21 Aug 2019
Ecommerce in Africa - still finding its way
Will Jumia and other online retailers overcome a lack of infrastructure, wealth and consumer trust to conquer the African market? Jumia is widely seen by investors as Africa's answer to Amazon and Alibaba. It launched its shares onto the New York Stock Exchange in April. But despite a billion-dollar valuation and rapid sales growth, the company is not yet turning a profit. Ed Butler speaks to Kinda Chebib at Euromonitor Digital, as well as Aanu Adeoye, managing editor at Nigeria's leading online technology magazine TechCabal.com, to understand the challenges facing Jumia and other ecommerce platforms, not least the problem that many customers do not trust its delivery people or payments systems. Jumia's Ugandan CEO, Ron Kawamara, tells us why he is confident that these problems can be overcome. Meanwhile Daniel Yu, founder of the rival business-to-business platform Sokowatch, explains why he draws inspiration from the success of similar firms in China, India and other developing cou…
20 Aug 2019
Helping Africa feed itself
Much of east Africa has the potential to be a food basket for the region. But 250 million Africans remain undernourished and many depend on international food aid. That aid is often tied to donor countries export plans, there are wars, drought and famine made worse by climate change. Amy Jadesimi of the Nigerian logistics hub Ladol explains the impact that globalisation and aid dependency have had on African farmers. So what can be done? We hear about the success of the Africa Improved Foods project, started 2 years ago in Rwanda. (Photo: A fruit seller woman poses for a photo at a market in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Credit: Getty Images.)
20 Aug 2019
The singing president who disappeared
Turkmenistan's authoritarian president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow mysteriously vanished for a few weeks, while his country faced economic crisis. Then he reappeared. What happened? Ed Butler asks what is going in this Central Asian nation, considered one of the world's most secluded after North Korea. The president's life and superhuman deeds normally dominate state television, so did his brief disappearance from the airwaves herald ill health or a fall from power? If so, who might succeed him? And how will any new leader tackle the gas-rich country's cash crisis and food shortages? The programme includes interviews with Bruce Pannier of Radio Free Europe, Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch, Ruslan Myatiev of Turkmen.news, and Adam Hug of the Foreign Policy Centre. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow performs his song Karakum on state television; Credit: Hronika Turkmenistana via YouTube)
16 Aug 2019
Are stock buybacks a corporate scam?
Share buybacks are when a publicly-listed company uses some of its spare cash to buy up shares in itself, in order to drive the share price up and benefit shareholders. The practice has become so common that the amount of buyback money extracted from corporations exceeds their profits. Rita McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School, explains how stock buybacks emerged. But are stock buybacks a good idea? Is it perhaps better to use that money to grow the business in other ways? And crucially, with so many executives paid in shares, is this just a way for them to maximise their own take? Nell Minnow of Value Edge explains why she thinks buybacks are ripe for abuse. But Ken Bertsch, Executive Director of the Council of Institutional Investors says buybacks don’t need to be totally reined in, but can be used for good. Photo: Getty Images
15 Aug 2019
Has 3D printing met the hype?
A few years back 3D printing was seen as the ground-breaking technology that promised a new industrial revolution. The revolution has not arrived yet. So, were we sold a lie? Or did the hype just get the better of us? Ed Butler talks to Sarah Boisvert, a co-founder at Potomac Photonics, a micro-fabrication company in the US. She explains why the buzz about 3D printing, invented back in 1980, really started to take off only some five or six years ago. She says that the 3D revolution is not untrue, it's just that the hype around it kicked in a little too soon. Ed also visits a start up called Climate Edge which manufactures meteorological equipment and supplies weather data for farmers in Africa. And without printers like this one, its lead designer Gabriel Bruckner says, it probably wouldn't exist. The US research and advisory firm, Gartner has coined the term "The Hype Cycle", describing a five-stage process around any new technology, which invariably seems to involve disillusionment b…
14 Aug 2019
Should workers be offered unlimited paid leave?
A new idea has emerged in the business world over the last few years: maybe employees should take time off whenever they feel like it, and get paid while they do it. Lila MacLellan from online business site Quartz explains why, with people ever more expected to be available around the clock on email, phone or in the office, it might be better to leave it to the worker to decide when they do and don’t need time off without having to justify it. Some companies have embraced this idea. Dr Amantha Imber at Inventium and Felicity Tregonning of Spacelab explain why their companies have decided to let employees take as much time off as they want. But not everybody is convinced. Ben Gateley explains why his company scrapped just such a scheme after seven years. (Picture: A white sand beach on the island of Koh Phangan off the coast of Koh Samui. Picture credit: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
13 Aug 2019
Vanuatu's sacred drink
Kava is a traditional drink that's popular across the Pacific. It's made from the root of the Kava plant. Proponents say it's a recreational beverage that helps with anxiety. Vivienne Nunis visits the tiny nation of Vanuatu, which hopes to scale-up its Kava industry and significantly boost exports. But not everyone thinks that's a good idea. Producer: Sarah Treanor. (Photo: Kava grower Nicole Paraliyu holds a young plant. Credit: Chris Morgan/BBC)
12 Aug 2019
What can music festivals teach us about toilet technology? Vivienne Nunis tries out some portaloos at a music festival in the UK and asks if the same technology can help address a shortage of clean toilets around the world. (Photo: Loowatt toilets at Wilderness Festival in the UK, Credit: Loowatt)
9 Aug 2019
A Brexit game of chicken
Is the UK's government really serious about a 'no-deal' Brexit? Ed Butler speaks to Brexit blogger Professor Chris Grey and Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, about what Prime Minister Boris Johnson's strategy really is. Maddy Thimont-Jack, senior researcher at the Institute for Government, explains why parliament may not be able to stop a no-deal Brexit even if it wanted to, and Alan Soady from the UK's Federation for Small Businesses, explains why planning for such an eventuality is so difficult. (Photo: Boris Johnson, Credit: Getty Images)
8 Aug 2019
How to be ambitious
We hear about the negative effects ambition can have, and the tools you need to relieve them, with Neel Burton of Oxford University. Author Rachel Bridge defends the thesis of her book 'Ambition: Why it's good to want more and how to get it'. And what happens when you decide to re-direct your ambition? Joe Udo tells his story of becoming a stay at home dad. Also in the programme, writers Elizabeth Schenk and Hana Wallace discuss the results of a project they launched looking at the careers of their old university sorority members. Plus, top tips on achieving your goals from Peter Gollwitzer, experimental psychologist at New York University. This programme was first broadcast on 1 Aug 2017 PHOTO: Little boy in a superhero costume. Credit: Getty Images
7 Aug 2019
The smart home hype
Has technology really made our homes better? Ed Butler talks to Henry Shepherd from the company Cornflake, which installs high-end smart home systems in London. So why haven't more of us installed the latest technology? Brian Solis, principal analyst and futurist at tech research firm Altimeter in California explains. (Photo: A smart speaker at home, Credit: Getty Images)
6 Aug 2019
Vanuatu's missing women
What happens when a country has an all-male parliament? Vanuatu is one of only three countries on the planet with zero female elected representatives. We find out why only men win votes in Vanuatu and what that means for the economy. Next year the country heads to the polls, so will anything change? Yasmin Bjornum of online platform Sista and Hilda Lini, from a newly-formed all-female political party, give us their view. Photo: Hilda Lini, an organiser with Vanuatu’s women’s party. Credit: Chris Morgan, BBC.
5 Aug 2019
Sunscreen under the microscope
Sunscreen is a multi-billion dollar industry. We’ve long been encouraged to apply it daily, to block out the sun’s rays. But one dermatologist argues some sunlight is necessary and sunscreen could be preventing our skin from carrying out a vital function. Dr Richard Weller explains what happened when he took his findings to sunscreen manufacturers. Also in the programme, Holly Thaggard, founder and chief executive of Supergoop, tells us why US regulators are taking a closer look at common sunscreen ingredients. PHOTO: Woman applies sunscreen on a man, Copyright: Getty Images
2 Aug 2019
A global gig economy
Are freelancing sites threatening worker's rights? Manuela Saragosa and Edwin Lane investigate the rise of platforms like Upwork, which allow anyone in the world with an internet connection to become a gig economy worker. We hear from Ray Harris, a data consultant who has built his business through Upwork, and Nekait Arora, who works for a software development company in India where Upwork is a major source of new business. Mark Graham, professor of Internet geography at the Oxford Internet Institute, explains why he thinks this developing global gig economy could be a threat to workers' rights. (Photo: A remote worker, Credit: Getty Images)
1 Aug 2019
America's fracking revolution has made the US the world's largest oil and gas producer and that's had political consequences the world over. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Meghan O Sullivan, professor at Harvard Kennedy School and author of Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power. Morena Skalamera, assistant professor of Russian Studies at Leiden Univesrity, talks about the effect on the giant Russian gas producer Gazprom; and we hear too from Trevor Sikorsi, head of natural gas and carbon research at the consultancy Energy Aspects. Producer: Laurence Knight (Image: Workers on a Russian gas pipeline. Credit: Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
31 Jul 2019
A lesson in pioneering education
We look at the disruptive models of educating young minds across the globe. Is traditional schooling, the detailed study of literature, history, and science really the best way to prepare for life and work? Marc Prensky tells us about less traditional methods - where students aren't always facing forward in the classroom, which makes a huge difference, according to the educational author and writer. We go to the Mpesa Foundation Academy in Kenya to hear about lessons accessible to everybody, which still manages to personalise lessons for each student. We learn their secret. (Image: Senior three high school students write words of encouragement on the blackboard for the upcoming 2019 National College Entrance Exam. Credit: VCG / Contributor)
30 Jul 2019
Can our planet afford meat?
A battle between the US and Latin American producers has ensued, to feed an increasingly beef-hungry world – mostly people in Asia. We assess who is dominating the meat market – and if our planet can afford to keep the herds grazing. Author of 'Red Meat Republic', Joshua Specht, tells us why the meat production line impressed industrialists and the middle classes - which helped the industry grown exponentially. And we speak to charity Friends of the Earth to hear how younger people relate - or don't - to eating meat, and the pattern of change in appetites. (Image: Raw Angus beef steaks. Credit: Reda & Co / Getty Images)
29 Jul 2019
When a work colleague dies
How companies and staff deal with death at work. Manuela Saragosa hears from Carina, an employee at a global marketing company who saw the mistakes her employer made when a colleague died. Kirsty Minford, a psychotherapist, describes how organisations can do better at dealing with death. And how do you approach your job if there's a real everyday risk of death? Lisa Baranik, assistant professor of management at the University at Albany School of Business, tells us what we can learn from firefighters. (Photo: Death at work, Credit: Getty Images)
26 Jul 2019
Are we too scared of nuclear energy?
The world needs sources of low-carbon fuel, so why are we so afraid of nuclear energy? Justin Rowlatt speaks to Geraldine Thomas, professor of molecular pathology at Imperial College London, about the cancer rates in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in Soviet Ukraine in 1986, and to Spencer Weart, former director of the Center for the History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics about the evolution of "nuclear fear". Dr Arjun Makhijani from the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Washington DC gives the case for why we really should be afraid. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: An early nuclear test at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1950s, Credit: Getty Images)
25 Jul 2019
The truth about natural gas
A bridge to a renewable future or just hot air? The energy industry touts natural gas as the cleanest of all fossil fuels and a bridge to a renewable future. Others say we should stop using it all together. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Marco Alvera. the boss of Snam, one of Europe's biggest gas pipeline operators, about the future for gas, and Anthony Marchese from Colorado State University, who's done research into the impact of gas leaks. Charlie Kronick, senior climate adviser at Greenpeace UK, explains why gas shouldn't be part of the long term energy mix. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: Gas flaring at an oil field in Montana, United States, Credit: Getty Images)
24 Jul 2019
Britain's Brexit saviour?
Boris Johnson has promised to get the UK out of the European Union by 31 October,"do or die" - but can the incoming Prime Minister deliver anything more than gusto? Andrew Rosindell thinks so. The Conservative Member of Parliament and supporter of Mr Johnson tells Ed Butler what the Brexit plan is, and why the worst case scenario of the UK crashing out of the EU with no deal at all is nothing to fret about. Will the EU countenance any further renegotiation of the divorce deal already struck with Mr Johnson's predecessor? We ask Ryan Heath, political editor at the website Politico Europe. Plus Allie Renison of Britain's Institute of Directors gives us a business perspective on what a no-deal scenario would mean, and the trade issues we should be most concerned about. (Picture: Newly elected Conservative party leader Boris Johnson poses outside the Conservative headquarters; Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
23 Jul 2019
The death of Venice?
Many Venetians say cruise ships and tourist hordes are killing their city - almost literally after one gigantic liner crashed into the harbour on 2 June. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the activists fighting back: Tommaso Cacciari of No Grandi Navi ("No Big Ships"), Sebastiano Giorgi of Gruppo 25 Aprile, and Matteo Secchi who fears his home town is being steadily transformed into a gigantic theme park. But it's no simple matter of simply banishing the visitors. Venice receives 30 million tourists each year - some 600 times the number of city residents, most of whom now depend on tourism for their livelihoods. Manuela asks Italian transport minister Danilo Toninelli what the government's plan is. Meanwhile, Jan Van Der Borg of Venice University explains why the economics of tourism is far more lopsided than most policymakers appreciate. (Photo: A cruise ship in the Giudecca canal, Venice, Credit: Getty Images)
22 Jul 2019
Is air traffic control fit for purpose?
Our system for keeping planes in the sky dates back to the 1940s, and still relies on a patchwork of national authorities using radar and VHF radio. Vivienne Nunis asks whether its time for a complete overhaul. That's the objective of Andrew Charlton, of lobby group the Air Traffic Management Policy Institute, who says the organisation of airspace and the technology deployed are worryingly antiquated. It is an objective shared by the European Union, which has long aimed to knit its dozens of authorities into a "single European sky". Thomas Reynaert of industry body Airlines for Europe explains why the EU has still failed to deliver on this promise. Meanwhile Vivienne speaks to one of the most technologically advanced air traffic control operators in Europe, the UK's semi-privatised Nats. Jamie Hutchison runs one of its main control centres, while Fran Slater has been working the screens there for over two decades. (Picture: Aair traffic controller looking at screen; Credit: 18perce…
19 Jul 2019
Life on Mars
What are the obstacles are for a permanent base on the Red Planet? Ed Butler puts that question to Dennis Bushnell, the chief scientist at Nasa's Langley Research facility. He also hears from Ariel Ekblaw, the founder and lead of the Space Exploration Initiative at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chris Lewicki, President and CEO of the firm Planetary Resources and Therese Griebel, the deputy associate administrator for programs within Nasa's Space Technology Mission Directorate. (Photo: Nasa InSight spacecraft launches onboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket on May 5, 2018, from Vandenberg Air Force base in California. Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
18 Jul 2019
Rome: Drowning in rubbish
The Italian capital is in the midst of a waste management crisis as mountains of uncollected rubbish are left to rot on the eternal city's streets. Manuela Saragosa hears from disgruntled residents and the war of words between those who say the blame lies with the anti-establishment mayor, Virginia Raggi of the Five Star Movement party, and the mayor's supporters, who argue Rome's rubbish crisis has its roots in an historically corrupt and inefficient waste disposal system. We hear from Massimiliano Tonelli, founder of the Roma Fa Schifo blog, Marco Cacciatore, the Five Star Movement city council alderman responsible for Rome's waste management, and Mr. Cacciatore's counterpart, Massimiliano Valeriani, at the Lazio regional government. Will Rome's recurring rubbish crisis ever be resolved? (Picture: Waste overflows on the street in the Tor Sapienza neighborhood, on June 30, 2019 in Rome, Italy. Picture credit: Simona Granati - Corbis/Getty Images)
17 Jul 2019
Why has Italy fallen out of love with the euro?
Italy's economy remains in the doldrums, with many Italians blaming the European single currency. Meanwhile the Italian populist government has taken a markedly more friendly line towards Russia, with a scandal brewing about alleged business deals between Moscow and the ruling Lega party. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Alessandra Maiorino, an Italian MP for the Five Star Movement and Lorenzo Codogno, economist with the European Institute at the London School of Economics, about growing anti-European sentiment in Italy. And journalist Stafano Vergine explains why prosecutors are now looking into links between Italy's Lega Nord party and Russia. (Photo: An Italian euro coin; Credit: Getty Images)
16 Jul 2019
A degree from a screen?
As more of daily life gets taken over by technology, we ask what technology’s place is in the future of education. Pearson, the world's largest education publisher for example has just announced that it plans to phase out physical books, and adopt a "digital first" strategy. So will lectures of the future be conducted purely on a virtual screen, with professors and students interacting digitally across hundreds or even thousands of miles? Ben Nelson, chief executive of the Minerva Project, an online learning project, thinks so. But Princeton historian Kevin Kruse is not convinced. He tells Ed Butler how he has had to deal with the dark side of “education” on the internet. Also in the show, Oliver Thorn delivers philosophy education and entertainment on his YouTube channel Philosophy Tube. While "study-tuber" Ruby Granger can help you, and her 350,000 other subscribers, with revision. (Picture: A female student lying in bed, holding a coffee mug and looking at her tablet comput…
15 Jul 2019
Banning foreign home buyers - the New Zealand experiment
It’s been a year since New Zealand put all but a stop to foreigners buying houses. The near-total ban followed years of astonishing price increases - fuelled in part by Chinese money and American tech billionaires buying up some of the country's most desirable plots. With the help of seasoned property reporter Greg Ninness, and New Zealand’s biggest real estate firm Barfoot & Thompson, we’re in Auckland to investigate whether the law has improved housing affordability. Photo: The Auckland skyline, credit: BBC
12 Jul 2019
How will China's credit binge end?
Hasty borrowing by Chinese consumers and corporates may leave the country's economy with a debt hangover. That's the contention of independent China economist Andy Xie. Business Daily's Ed Butler asks him whether ordinary Chinese are carelessly running up huge debts without appreciating the consequences, and whether the rest of the world should be concerned. And it's not just China. Most East Asian countries have seen a rapid rise in household debts in recent years. Among them is Vietnam, where journalist Lien Hoang of Bloomberg BNA explains that it is in large part a bi-product of the government's policy to introduce its citizens to the wonders of online banking. (Picture: Chinese woman holding phone and credit card; Credit: RyanKing999/Getty Images)
11 Jul 2019
The US consumer debt pile
Payday loans, auto loans and student loans are overwhelming a sector of American society - what can be done to help them dig their way out of their debts? Ed Butler speaks to Dean, a military veteran who says his debts wrecked his health and forced him into personal bankruptcy. Plus student Melissa says her inability to keep up with the interest on her student loans, despite working a well remunerated middle class job, is typical of her Millennial generation. Such stories are becoming commonplace among the young and the poor in the US. In search of solutions to their plights, Ed speaks to Mary Jackson of the Online Lenders' Alliance, Harvard economist Ken Rogoff, and Martha Wunderli of the AAA Fair Credit Foundation in Utah. (Picture: Senior man receiving bank debt documents; Credit: THEPALMER/Getty Images)
10 Jul 2019
From Pride-inspired cappuccinos to LGBT supermarket sandwiches, you can’t walk down the street in some cities without seeing the multi-coloured marketing which symbolises the modern Pride movement. But is the promotion of the rainbow logo a step forward for diversity or a cynical corporate take-over? Elizabeth Hotson hears from flag-bearers at Pride in London and the event's director of marketing, Tom Stevens. Marketing strategist Sonia Thompson explains why authenticity is key to getting the message across. Plus Mark Sandys, global head of beer, Baileys and Smirnoff at Diageo, and Adam Rowse, managing director of branch banking at Barclays, explain how and why they get involved in LGBT campaigns. (Picture: Giant rainbow flag at Pride in London; Credit: Elizabeth Hotson for BBC)
9 Jul 2019
The economics of Indian cricket
With the Cricket World Cup reaching its final stages we look at the current state of the sport in India. In this episode presented by Rahul Tandon, we hear from former Indian cricketer, Deep Dasgupta, Ramjit Ray who runs advertising firm Matrix Communications, head of Uber South Asia, Pradeep Parameswaran, IT firm owner Sabyasachi Mitra and cricket writer Sharda Ugra. Rahul also speaks to cricket writer Neeru Bhatia and Nissan's Global Head of Marketing and Brand Strategy, Roel De Vries. Plus Rumella Dasgupta looks at the state of play for women's cricket. (Photo: India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni; Credit: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)
8 Jul 2019
Should we be ashamed of flying?
The aviation industry is one of the world's biggest contributors to climate change - but does a social movement begun in Sweden now threaten to stigmatise air travel? It's called "flygskam", and Manuela Saragosa speaks to one of its originators, Susanna Elfors, whose tagsemester Facebook page helped convert her fellow Swedes to the environmental virtues of train travel. Meanwhile John Broderick, professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University explains just how big a carbon footprint an individual long-haul flight can have. The movement is already having an impact on Scandinavian travel habits, and threatens to go worldwide. So what does the industry make of it? We ask Michael Gill of the International Air Transport Association, as well as Boet Kreiken of Dutch airline KLM, which is already calling on its customers to "fly responsibly". Plus Manuela asks Tony Wheeler, founder of the Lonely Planet guidebooks that first popularised travel to exotic corners of the globe,…
5 Jul 2019
Hong Kong crisis: The business impact
After a controversial extradition law sparked mass protests, is Hong Kong's position as a global financial centre under threat? Vivienne Nunis speaks to business owners in Hong Kong about the recent protests, hedge fund manager Edward Chin on the impact the crisis is already having on Hong Kong's financial reputation, and former investment banker and governance campaigner David Webb about the history of Hong Kong and China and whether the 'one country, two systems' policy is being dismantled. (Photo: Protestors take to the streets in Hong Kong in June, Credit: Getty Images)
4 Jul 2019
The truth about cookies
3 Jul 2019
Fast fashion: The ugly side of looking good
The hunger for quick short-lived clothes is bringing garment sweatshops back to the UK and harming the environment. Katie Prescott travels to Leicester, the British city whose garment factories claimed to "clothe the world" a century ago, where unregulated factories are making a comeback, paying immigrant workers less than the minimum wage to turn around clothing designs as quickly as possible. Meanwhile Manuela Saragosa speaks to author and journalist Lucy Siegle about how the trend towards the ever faster turnover in consumers' wardrobes is leading to shoddier synthetic fibres that only last a handful of wears. (Photo: Woman sitting on a throne of discarded clothes. Credit: Ryan McVay/Getty Images)
2 Jul 2019
New sanctions from the Trump administration are forcing European and Asian firms to choose between their US and Iranian business interests. The EU has created a special purpose vehicle called Instex to circumvent the US sanctions, but sanctions lawyer Nigel Kushner of W Legal says that the Iranians are right to feel unhappy with the effectiveness of this workaround. Manuela Saragosa speaks to one British businessman who has already given up on trading with Iran, or indeed recovering the proceeds from his past transactions that remain trapped in an Iranian bank account. She also asks BBC Persian correspondent Jiyar Gor how the latest round of American sanctions are affecting the lives of ordinary Iranian citizens. (Picture: A woman walks past a mural painting on the wall of the former US embassy in Tehran; Credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)
1 Jul 2019
Money management for millennials
The financial literacy gap. Manuela Saragosa talks to US podcaster and writer Gaby Dunn about why millennials like her are so bad with money. Regan Morris hears the stories of young coffee shop workers in Los Angeles, and psychologist Martina Raue explains why having role models can help when it comes to saving money. (Photo: A smashed piggy bank, Credit: Getty Images)
28 Jun 2019
Making money out of music festivals
It's not as easy as it looks. Dominic O'Connell reports from the biggest festival in the world Glastonbury, which kicks off this weekend. Manuela Saragosa hears from music industry analyst Chris Cooke on the growth in the industry over the last decade, and from Paul Reed, CEO of the UK's Association of Independent Festivals, about the challenges of putting on your own event. (Photo: Glastonbury Festival in 2017, Credit: Getty Images)