Business Daily

By BBC World Service

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Reviews: 8

 Mar 4, 2020

 Feb 6, 2020

A Nuther
 Dec 17, 2019
labelling of podcasts not always reliable. Brexit: what next appears to be Women not counted. So you can hear the same thing under 2 different headings.

 Aug 22, 2019
very nice program covering a variety of important economic related topics

 Jun 28, 2019


The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.

Episode Date
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. (Picture: Temie Giwa Tubason. Picture credit: Lifebank.)
Apr 07, 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)
Apr 06, 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
Apr 03, 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 Brazil works on virus replication in order to develop a Covid-19 vaccine; Credit: Douglas Magno/AFP via Getty Images)
Apr 02, 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 at the intensive care unit in Prague; Credit: Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images)
Apr 01, 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. (Picture: a group of asylum seekers at the Moria detention centre. Picture credit: Getty images.)
Mar 31, 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.
Mar 30, 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. (Picture: Health care workers speak with an elderly woman in Ontario, Canada. Picture credit: Getty Images)
Mar 27, 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. (Picture:Mumbai Police checking ID card during restrictions on citizens' movement. Picture credit: Getty Images.)
Mar 26, 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)
Mar 25, 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?
Mar 24, 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)
Mar 23, 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)
Mar 20, 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)
Mar 19, 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)
Mar 18, 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)
Mar 17, 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)
Mar 16, 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. (Photo: A wet market in Taipei, Taiwan. Credit: Getty Images)
Mar 13, 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)
Mar 12, 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 State Police officer and a soldier stand guard at a checkpoint at Milano Centrale train station; Credit: Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images)
Mar 11, 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)
Mar 10, 2020
The superforecasters
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. (Photo: a crystal ball, Credit: Getty Images)
Mar 09, 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)
Mar 06, 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 wearing a protective mask at the Kuwait stock exchange during the coronavirus pandemic; Credit: Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images)
Mar 05, 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)
Mar 04, 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)
Mar 03, 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)
Mar 02, 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)
Feb 28, 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)
Feb 27, 2020
Supermarket archaeology
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.
Feb 26, 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)
Feb 25, 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)
Feb 24, 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)
Feb 21, 2020
3D-printed pills
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)
Feb 20, 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)
Feb 19, 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)
Feb 18, 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).
Feb 17, 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)
Feb 14, 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)
Feb 13, 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)
Feb 12, 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)
Feb 11, 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. (Photo: Death at work, Credit: Getty Images)
Feb 10, 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.)
Feb 07, 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)
Feb 06, 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)
Feb 05, 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 working on it. (Picture: High pressure hydrogen fuel filler nozzle for refueling hydrogen powered commercial vehicles; Credit: Stephen Barnes/Getty Images)
Feb 04, 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 of its redevelopment. (Picture: Battersea Power Station; Credit: Johnny Greig/Getty Images)
Feb 03, 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)
Jan 31, 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)
Jan 30, 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)
Jan 29, 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)
Jan 28, 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)
Jan 27, 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)
Jan 24, 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)
Jan 23, 2020
Mapping paradise
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)
Jan 22, 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)
Jan 21, 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)
Jan 20, 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)
Jan 17, 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)
Jan 16, 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)
Jan 15, 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)
Jan 14, 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: Cracked egg containing computer circuitry; Credit: sqback/Getty Images)
Jan 13, 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)
Jan 10, 2020
OK Boomer...
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 that has broken out on social media. Producers: Laurence Knight, Sarah Treanor (Picture: Close-up of irritated Millennial man with Boomer father looking on; Credit: SDI Productions/Getty Images)
Jan 09, 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)
Jan 08, 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)
Jan 07, 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)
Jan 06, 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
Jan 03, 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
Jan 02, 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. Join Tamasin Ford on the foreshore of the River Thames to find out more about the rights of nature. (Photo: Fisherman throwing his net into the Buriganga River, Credit: BBC)
Jan 01, 2020
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 Zunes, a professor of Middle East politics at the University of San Francisco, explains the history of the Western Sahara conflict and how Morocco gained the upper hand. (Picture: Phosphate rock; Credit: prim91/Getty Images)
Dec 31, 2019
Reinventing capitalism
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)
Dec 30, 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)
Dec 27, 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)
Dec 26, 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)
Dec 25, 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)
Dec 24, 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)
Dec 23, 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)
Dec 20, 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)
Dec 19, 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)
Dec 18, 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)
Dec 17, 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)
Dec 16, 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 broadcast on 13 November 2018. (Picture: Two-year-old girl plays with carpentry tools; Credit: lisegagne/Getty Images)
Dec 13, 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)
Dec 12, 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)
Dec 11, 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)
Dec 10, 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)
Dec 09, 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)
Dec 06, 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)
Dec 05, 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 MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, America; Credit: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)
Dec 04, 2019
Hidden art
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. (Photo: An illustration of Mickey Mouse at the Disney store in New York, Credit: Getty Images)
Dec 03, 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)
Dec 02, 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.
Nov 29, 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)
Nov 28, 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)
Nov 26, 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)
Nov 26, 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)
Nov 25, 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)
Nov 22, 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 Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. (Picture: Young man hiding his face; Credit: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Nov 21, 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)
Nov 20, 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)
Nov 19, 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)
Nov 18, 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)
Nov 15, 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)
Nov 14, 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)
Nov 13, 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)
Nov 12, 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)
Nov 11, 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)
Nov 08, 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 (Photo: Instagram logo displayed on a laptop. Credit: Getty Images)
Nov 07, 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)
Nov 06, 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)
Nov 05, 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)
Nov 04, 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)
Nov 01, 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)
Oct 31, 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.)
Oct 30, 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)
Oct 29, 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)
Oct 28, 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)
Oct 25, 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)
Oct 24, 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)
Oct 23, 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)
Oct 22, 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)
Oct 21, 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)
Oct 18, 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: Laurence Knight (Picture: A shoe print in the cement of a sidewalk; Credit: Morgan Frith/Getty Images)
Oct 17, 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 journalist and businessman James MacGregor explains why so many US companies are thinking about exiting China - and it's not just because of the escalating trade war. (Photo: Lakers fans with Chinese flags at an NBA game in Shenzhen. China: Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Oct 16, 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)
Oct 15, 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)
Oct 14, 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)
Oct 11, 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)
Oct 10, 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)
Oct 09, 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)
Oct 08, 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)
Oct 07, 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)
Oct 04, 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)
Oct 03, 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)
Oct 02, 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)
Oct 01, 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 looks at a chart showing the drop in the pound against the dollar after the UK vote to leave the EU in 2016; Credit: Daniel Sorabji/AFP/Getty Images)
Sep 30, 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)
Sep 27, 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)
Sep 26, 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)
Sep 25, 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)
Sep 24, 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)
Sep 23, 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)
Sep 20, 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)
Sep 19, 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)
Sep 18, 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 positive impact on society. (Picture: An American flag is displayed on a trading screen at the New York Stock Exchange; Credit: Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images)
Sep 17, 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)
Sep 16, 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)
Sep 13, 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)
Sep 12, 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)
Sep 11, 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)
Sep 10, 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)
Sep 09, 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)
Sep 06, 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)
Sep 05, 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)
Sep 04, 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)
Sep 03, 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)
Sep 02, 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)
Aug 30, 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: Getty Images)
Aug 29, 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)
Aug 28, 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 that has its own customs, passports and national anthem. (Picture: Old map depicting Greenland and Iceland; Credit: JeanUrsula/Getty Images)
Aug 27, 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.)
Aug 23, 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, 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 countries. (Picture: A Jumia delivery man looks at his phone as he sits on a transporter in Abidjan, Nigeria; Credit: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)
Aug 21, 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.)
Aug 20, 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, 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)
Aug 20, 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
Aug 16, 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 before ultimate widescale adoption. Pete Basiliere of Gartner believes 3D printing is a classic case in point, with only a few industries taking it up. PHOTO: 3D printer creating a hand. Copyright: Getty Images
Aug 15, 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)
Aug 14, 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)
Aug 13, 2019
Radical toilets
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)
Aug 12, 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)
Aug 09, 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
Aug 08, 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)
Aug 07, 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.
Aug 06, 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
Aug 05, 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)
Aug 02, 2019
Gas-powered politics
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)
Aug 01, 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)
Jul 31, 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)
Jul 30, 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)
Jul 29, 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)
Jul 26, 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)
Jul 25, 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)
Jul 24, 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)
Jul 23, 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: 18percentgrey/Getty Images)
Jul 22, 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)
Jul 19, 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)
Jul 18, 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)
Jul 17, 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 computer; Credit: FatCamera/Getty Images)
Jul 16, 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
Jul 15, 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)
Jul 12, 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)
Jul 11, 2019
Brand Rainbow
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)
Jul 10, 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)
Jul 09, 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, whether he feels guilty about having enabled the casual flying culture. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Aeroplane vapour trails; Credit: yellowpaul/Getty Images)
Jul 08, 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)
Jul 05, 2019
The truth about cookies
Should you let websites track your online movements? Vivienne Nunis speaks to Frederike Kaltheuner from Privacy International and investigates the split-second auction process where firms bid to put targeted ads in front of your eyes. We hear from DuckDuckGo, the search engine that promises to protect your privacy, and controversial Israeli firm The Spinner, which uses cookies to subliminally change people’s behaviour. (Photo: Chocolate chip cookies, Credit: Getty Images)
Jul 04, 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)
Jul 03, 2019
Isolating Iran
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)
Jul 02, 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)
Jul 01, 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)
Jun 28, 2019
Shutting down the internet
Governments in Africa and elsewhere are routinely shutting off the iInternet in the name of national security. It is having a significant economic impact. Ed Butler speaks to Dr Dawit Bekele, bureau director for Africa at the Internet Society, and Berhan Taye, an Ethiopian campaigner at Access Now, a global digital rights group. Otto Akama, editor of a technology blog in Cameroon called Afro Hustler, and Darrell West, director of the Center for Technology and Innovation at the Brookings Institution, discuss the effect these shutdowns have on business and the economy. (Photo: A demonstration by Zimbabwean citizens in Pretoria earlier this year. Credit: Getty Images)
Jun 27, 2019
Protecting kids from porn
The UK plans to introduce compulsory age verification for anyone in the country to access online porn - but is this a good way of restricting children's access, or a serious threat to privacy? Ed Butler speaks to Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, who fears that the move could have terrible unforeseen consequences if it enabled for example a major leak of data about people's identities and porn habits. Systems of blocking access to children do already exist, as Alastair Graham, co-chair of the Age Verification Providers Association, explains. But ultimately is relying on technology to stop children stumbling across graphic hardcore images enough? Claire Levens of advocacy group Internet Matters, who welcomes the move, says parents also need to be willing to open up a dialogue with their own children. (Picture: Young boy looking at phone screen; Credit: Clark and Company/Getty Images)
Jun 26, 2019
Get a job?
Is unemployment in the developed world so low because people have simply given up on finding work? Ed Butler speaks to economist Danny Blanchflower of Dartmouth College, who says that a decade after the global financial crisis, workers in the US and Europe continue tp face a terrible jobs market that is not reflected in the official statistics. Is the problem that all the well paid jobs are being created in a few rich, expensive cities that are simply inaccessible to the underemployed? That's the contention of Enrico Moretti, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. And according to Christina Stacy of the Urban Institute in Washington DC, even within these cities, service sector workers are finding themselves priced out of the property markets where the job opportunities exist. (Photo: A homeless man sleeping on a sidewalk in San Francisco, California. Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
Jun 25, 2019
Life in an unrecognised state
How do you do business with the rest of the world when nobody officially accepts that your nation state even exists? Rob Young looks at the struggles facing unrecognised breakaway states such as Abkhazia, Transnistria and Nagorno Karabakh. Thomas de Waal of think tank Carnegie Europe explains how many of them have turned to smuggling and even Bitcoin mining as a way of making ends meet. Meanwhile the BBC's Ivana Davidovic reports from Nicosia in Cyprus where the city's main thoroughfare is still physically divided between the prosperous Greek south and the unrecognised Turkish north. Plus how can these nations compete international football? Sascha Duerkop has the answer. He is general secretary of Conifa, the international football league for teams that Fifa refuses to recognise. (Picture: Children wave the North Cypriot flag; Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Jun 24, 2019
The Facebook currency
Why Facebook's Libra project will attract the attention of regulators. Rob Young hears from the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones about why Facebook is launching its own currency. Charles Cascarilla, founder of the digital currency company Paxos explains why the Libra project is so ambitious. Rebecca Harding, chief executive of the data and analytics group Coriolis Trade Technologies and former chief economist at the British Bankers’ Association, explains why regulators will be paying attention. (Photo: Illustration of Facebook and digital currency, Credit: Getty Images)
Jun 21, 2019
The next agricultural revolution
We need to transform the way we grow food if we are to head off disaster - so say leading agronomists. But can it be done? The modern agricultural industry, borne out of the Green Revolution that has multiplied crop yields since the 1960s, has contributed to multiple new crises - obesity, soil degradation, collapsing biodiversity and climate change. To address this "paradox of productivity" a whole new revolution is needed, according to Professor Tim Benton of the University of Leeds and think tank Chatham House. The BBC's Justin Rowlatt travels to the world's longest running scientific experiment, a collection of wheat fields dating back to the 1840s at the Rothamsted agricultural research centre just outside London, to ask resident scientist John Crawford whether our past success in staving off global hunger can be sustained in the coming decades. Plus what role should the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation play, especially as that body prepares to appoint new leadership? Justin speaks to the former UN Rapporteur for the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: The Broadbalk research wheat fields at Rothamsted; Credit: BBC)
Jun 19, 2019
Istanbul's vexed elections
The Turkish commercial capital must vote again for a new mayor after March's election result was overturned by the government. Ed Butler visits the city and meets Ekrem Imamoglu, who narrowly won in March but spent just 17 days in office before the decision was made to re-run the election. Mr Imamoglu says he saw overspending and waste, and that around 10% of the city's budget could be saved. The country is also experiencing an economic slowdown, and Ed speaks to Deniz Gider of the Turkish construction workers' union, about how it's affecting his members. Plus economist and political scientist Atilla Yesilada explains how Turkey finds itself in this current economic crisis. (Picture: Supporters of Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu protest against the re-run of the mayoral election in Istanbul; Credit: Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images)
Jun 19, 2019
Hostile environment for immigrants
The attitude towards immigration in Europe and America is hardening under a wave of populist politics, and businesses are finding that despite labour shortages in many sectors, bringing workers in from abroad is becoming harder. The BBC's Frey Lindsay reports from Stockholm on a phenomenon dubbed "talent expulsions" - highly skilled workers being ordered to leave the country because their paperwork is not perfectly in order. A similarly bureaucratic approach has been taken in the UK, where it is dubbed the "hostile environment" for immigrants. Since the 2016 Brexit referendum some three million EU citizens suddenly find themselves subject to it. Dutch campaigner Monique Hawkins tells how she was told to leave the UK despite having lived there more than three decades. Meanwhile Danny Brooks of international recruitment firm Virtual Human Resources says UK businesses are already finding it much tougher to attract the talented employees they need. We also get the view from Singapore. About half the city-state's residents are immigrants, after several decades of a successful pro-business immigration policy. We ask former diplomat Kishore Mahbubani what is the secret of his country's success. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: "Denied" rubber stamp; Credit: bankrx/Getty Images)
Jun 17, 2019
The next financial crisis
It's more than a decade since the global financial crisis. Central banks have pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system to support markets and the broader economy. But there are warning signs that major risks may be re-emerging in the financial markets. This month, fund manager Neil Woodford suspended trading in his largest fund after rising numbers of investors asked for their money back. Could this highlight a vulnerability in the financial system that runs right through the investment management business? The BBC's Manuela Saragosa and Laurence Knight speak to two veterans of the investment community: Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz and former head of Pimco in California; and Lord Paul Myners, the former head of Gartmore in the UK. Both worry that investors are unaware of the risk they are running that they won't be able to access their money when they most need it, and warn that regulators could be blindsided by the next big crisis. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: A trading screen flashes red; Credit: Getty Images)
Jun 13, 2019
The global trade in trash
Asian countries have told the West to stop dumping its plastic waste on them - and it could spell the end of the recycling industry. China imposed a ban on imports last year, and now Malaysia and others are returning the stuff back its senders. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Jim Puckett, founder of the Basel Action Network, who has successfully lobbied for the international trade in recyclable waste to be curtailed, because he believes it is actually bad for the environment. Arnaud Brunet, director of the Bureau of International Recycling, explains why he thinks that's an unfair depiction of his industry. (Picture: A man scavenges for plastic for recycling at a garbage dump site in Bachok, Malaysia; Credit: Mohd Samsul Mohd Said/Getty Images)
Jun 10, 2019
Oil, guns and pollution
The Niger Delta is Africa's biggest oil producing region. It has also become a security and environmental nightmare thanks to dozens of spills and theft by armed rebels. Oil and gas giant Shell has long been criticised for its operations in the region. Igo Weli, one of the company's directors in Nigeria, tells Manuela Saragosa how the threat of violence makes it hard for them to clean up their act. But while Shell claims it is trying its best in challenging circumstances, Mark Dummett of Amnesty International says the company could be doing a lot more and is still under-reporting the extent of the problem. Manuela also speaks to Jumoke Ajayi of Nigerian oil conglomerate Sahara Group, and Erabanabari Kobah, who acts as a spokesperson for one of the Niger Delta communities. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: A member of the Nigerian navy forces patrols on an abandoned site of an illegal oil refinery in the Niger Delta region; Credit: Stefan Heunis/AFP/Getty Images)
Jun 05, 2019
Is it time to tax robots?
With ever more jobs at risk of automation, should the automatons be taxed the same as humans? Ed Butler speaks to Dr Carl Frey of the Oxford Martin School, who co-authored a report five years ago claiming that almost half of US jobs could made redundant by emerging technology in the next 30 years. His new book, The Technology Trap, looks to the history of the Industrial Revolution as a guide to current developments. He worries that millions of workers could soon find their careers devastated, while the ultimate benefits of technology may only felt decades in the future. It is perhaps then not surprising that many politicians, academics and businessmen - including Microsoft founder Bill Gates - now advocate a tax on automation to level the playing field with humans. We pit an advocate of such a tax - Ryan Abbott of the University of Surrey - against critic Janet Bastiman, chief scientist at StoryStream, which provides AI services to the automotive sector. (Picture: Robot call centre; Credit: PhonlamaiPhoto/Getty Images)
Jun 04, 2019
Jobs for prisoners
The challenge of getting ex-offenders back into work. Vivienne Nunis hears from Lester Young Jr, an ex-offender in the US where low-paid work for prisoners is commonplace, while Daniel Gallas reports from Brazil where female prisoners are allowed to operate businesses from their cells. Keith Rosser from the recruitment company Reed describes the challenge of persuading employers to take on convicts in the UK. Elizabeth Hotson meets Max Dubiel, founder of Redemption Roasters, a coffee company that makes a virtue of hiring former prisoners.
May 31, 2019
Is Google too big?
Is the search engine's share of our attention and our data too dominant, and should regulators step in and break their business up? Ed Butler gets to pitch these and other questions to Google's former chairman Eric Schmidt. Google, along with other Silicon Valley leviathans such as Facebook, Amazon and Apple, faces increasing criticism from commentators, regulators and politicians for its monopolistic power. Among them is the tech journalist Franklin Foer of The Atlantic magazine, who tells Ed that the political tide is now turning against big tech in the US. (Picture: The Google logo is reflected in the eye of a girl; Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
May 29, 2019
Romantic fraud
The cruel multi-million-dollar business of scamming lonely hearts out of their money by posing online as the perfect lover. Vishala Sri-Pathma speaks to victim David in the UK, who gave almost $20,000 to a woman he met online and hoped to marry and start a family with, before discovering "she" was actually a fraudster. Meanwhile Australian Eliza tells of her amazement at the amount of homework the con artist she encountered must have done researching her background before attempting to swindle her. Such cases are becoming ever more common thanks to the internet, which enables scammers to mine would-be victims' social media sites for valuable information, while concealing their own identity on dating apps. David Clarke, chair of the UK fraud advisory panel, says it has made romantic fraud a valuable international criminal enterprise. (Picture: Woman looks at smartphone while biting lip; Credit: DeanDrobot/Getty Images)
May 28, 2019
Europe votes for uncertainty
Election results leave the European parliament more fragmented than ever. The greens, liberals and far right are up. The traditional left and right, which have dominated European politics for decade, declined further. How will this affect business sentiment on the continent, as well as the EU's economic reform agenda? Ed Butler hosts a live discussion with Ben Butters of the European Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry; Allie Renison, head of Europe and Trade Policy at the UK's Institute of Directors; and the BBC's economics correspondent Andrew Walker. (Picture: Young supporters of the European Green party react to exit poll results; Credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images)
May 27, 2019
India election: Modi's report card
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has secured another five-year term after winning a landslide general election victory. His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks set to win about 300 of the 543 seats in parliament, in what Mr Modi hailed as "a historic mandate". Fergus Nicoll has travelled to Mr Modi’s constituency at Varanasi on the River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. Prime Minister Modi promised to clean up the river after decades of pollution. Professor VN Mishra has strong words for the Prime Minister on what needs to be done to save the river and modernise an outdated sewerage system. Outside the city, we meet the farmers for whom Modi has created a model village, complete with solar-powered street lights - and the farmers who are about to lose their fields to a big truck park. There are hundreds of thousands of workers who have concluded that their best prospects lie abroad, most often in the Gulf. It is a mixed prospect, with the promise of money to send back home, but prolonged absences can bring great strain to families Stephen Ryan speaks to Professor Irudaya Rajan, Centre for Development Studies in Trivandrum, the lawyer and writer Smitha Girish whose husband has lived in Dubai for the last 15 years, and VK Mathews, who set up his own business when he returned to India. (Picture: Voters lined up at a polling station in Varanasi, India. Picture credit: Madanmohan Sharma)
May 24, 2019
The plastic in the ocean
Why plastic ends up there and how to stop it. Stephen Ryan reports from the Ganges - a major source of plastic that ends up in the oceans. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dr Hannah Ritchie of the Oxford University Martin School about the importance of plastic disposal. Professor Tony Ryan, a polymer chemist and sustainability leader at the University of Sheffield, explains why recycling is still the answer. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: A plastic bottle floating in the Pacific ocean, Credit: Getty Images)
May 23, 2019
The trillion dollar coach
What Silicon Valley titans learned from an American football coach. Despite a fairly unspectacular career with the Columbia University college football team, Bill Campbell found himself guiding the leadership at the top of both Apple and Google simultaneously. One of his mentees was the former Google chairman Eric Schmidt, who speaks about the surprising contribution that someone with a background in sports and no knowledge of programming was able to make to the tech firm's spectacular rise, and why he thinks all companies should have a coach sit in on their board meetings. The nexus between sports and business has a long history, and another individual who embodied that was Niki Lauda, the Formula 1 driver who survived a horrific crash and went on to found a string of pioneering budget airlines in Europe. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Oliver Clark of the aviation news and analytics company Flight Global about the business legacy of Lauda, who died earlier this week at the age of 70. (Picture: Columbia Lions quarterback Anders Hill; Credit: Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
May 22, 2019
Education for all
How can educators ensure that every child in the world - and particularly every girl - has access to a decent school? And how should the curriculum prepare young people for a workplace about to be transformed by artificial intelligence? Tanya Beckett hosts a debate in Dubai with Vikas Pota, chairman of the Varkey Foundation; Elizabeth Bintliff, chief executive of youth NGO Junior Achievement Africa; and Dr Amy Ogan, professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Plus Tanya speaks to Peter Kabichi, a Kenyan monk and science teacher, who was the winner of this year's Global Teacher Prize awarded by the Varkey Foundation. (Picture: Girl learning English in Lalibela, Ethiopia; Credit: hadynyah/Getty Images)
May 21, 2019
The meat-free burger
Can a burger help save the planet? The Business Daily team try out the plant-based burger designed to convert meat eaters. Dr Marco Springmann from Oxford University explains why eating less meat can help slow climate change. Simeon Van Der Molen, founder and CEO of food technology company Moving Mountains outlines the future for the meat-free food industry. (Photo: a burger made by Beyond Meat, Credit: Beyond Meat)
May 20, 2019
A new port in India
India's bid to capture a slice of global shipping. The east-west shipping line off the southern coast of India carries around 30% of the world's cargo. As container ships get bigger, the Kerala state government wants to build a deep-water container port at Vizhinjam. But the $1.2bn project has been badly delayed by Cyclone Ockhi in 2017 and by last year’s torrential rains and flooding in the region. Fergus Nicoll speaks to Karan Adani, CEO of Adani Ports and hears the concerns from a boat owner and fish vendors concerned for their livelihoods. Plus Stephen Ryan speaks to transgender workers on the Kochi metro in Kerala. (Photo: A container ship off the coast of Kerala, Credit: Getty Images)
May 17, 2019
The magic money tree
Should governments spend more money? 'Modern monetary theory' or MMT is gaining traction, particularly in the US. It says governments should worry less about balancing the books. Its detractors call it the 'magic money tree'. Manuela Saragosa speaks to hedge fund founder Warren Mosler - the man who first proposed MMT - and economist Frances Coppola about the criticisms facing the theory. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: a magic money tree, Credit: Getty Images)
May 16, 2019
Climbing the student debt mountain
Could a new scheme alleviate the crippling cost of university fees for young Americans, who have already accumulated a trillion and a half dollars in student debts? Dr Courtney McBeth tells Ed Butler how under the "income sharing agreement" scheme that she is piloting at the University of Utah, the amount that students repay depends on how much money they manage to earn in their future careers. This new approach frees graduates up to start a family or risk starting their own company, according to Charles Trafton, who runs a student loan marketplace called Edly. But the financing is provided by investors looking to make a profit, in contrast to similar government-run schemes in the UK and Australia. And according to David Robinson of British think tank the Education Policy Institute, this means that the US scheme may not do much to improve social mobility or meet the needs of the jobs market. (Picture: Coins stacks stepping up towards a money jar topped by a university mortar board; Credit: marchmeena29/Getty Images)
May 15, 2019
The cyber arms race
Was the NotPetya attack, that struck Ukraine and then the world in 2016, a portend of potentially devastating cyber-wars in the future? Ed Butler goes back to ground zero of that sophisticated cyber attack to speak to Oleh Derevianko of the Ukrainian cybersecurity firm ISSP, and Valentyn Petrov who heads Ukraine's information security service. How did a piece of malware allegedly designed by Russia to devastate the Ukrainian economy go on to infect the computers of multinational corporations such as shipping firm Maersk and pharmaceutical Merck? Are such state sponsored attacks becoming more commonplace? And why has Russia - widely accused of being one of the worst perpetrators of such attacks - just passed new legislation to defend itself from a cyber attack in the future? We hear from Bryan Sartin, head of global security at US telecoms conglomerate Verizon, and Emily Taylor of the international relations think tank Chatham House. (Picture: Malicious computer programming code in the shape of a skull; Credit: solarseven/Getty Images)
May 14, 2019
The coming floods
With the sea level rising and storms strengthening thanks to climate change, will much of the world's most valuable real estate find itself underwater? Justin Rowlatt visits London's main line of defence against the sea - the Thames Barrier - a hugely expensive piece of engineering that will need to be replaced by an even larger barrier later this century, according to its operator Steve East, and coastal risk manager Cantor Mocke. The oceans will eventually rise by two metres at the very least, says climatologist Ben Strauss of US think tank Climate Central, putting many of the world's great cities at severe risk of inundation. The giant global real estate investment firm Heitman has been looking at which properties in its portfolio are most at risk. Company strategist Brian Klinksiek tells of his fear that the market has yet to price in the cost of the giant storms of the future. The biggest city in the world vulnerable to the rising waters is Shanghai in China, and flood risk researcher Qian Ke of the Delft University of Technology explains the work she is already doing with the Shanghai city authorities to prepare for the coming storm. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: People are taken ashore in a boat after being rescued from their homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005; Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
May 13, 2019
Disabled on Wall Street
Getting more disabled people into the workforce. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Rich Donovan, a trader who forged a successful career on Wall Street with cerebral palsy. Alice Maynard, a business advisor on inclusion in the UK explains the challenges still facing disabled people at work. And blind skateboarder Dan Mancina talks about his career. (Photo: Wheelchair user at work, Credit: Getty Images)
May 10, 2019
Rebuilding an economy after two cyclones
In Mozambique, Cyclones Idai and Kenneth did tremendous damage to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in March and April. The country is still trying to get the crisis under control, as flooding, cholera and poor food and aid provision continue to threaten lives. Dorothy Sang is Humanitarian Advocacy and Campaigns Manager for Oxfam, and gives Ed Butler the view from the ground in Mozambique. Thoughts are turning as well to the future, as the economy based largely on subsistence farming and tourism attempts to rebuild. Rebecca Nadin of the Overseas Development Institute speaks to Ed about whether, and how much, reconstruction is actually possible, given that climate change is expected to cause more natural disasters to occur. (Picture: A flooded street of the Paquite district of Pemba, Mozambique on April 29, 2019; Credit: Emidio Jozine/AFP/Getty Images)
May 09, 2019
India's caste quota controversy
Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tinkering with the reservation system nothing more than a bid to grab votes in the general election? India has long had a system of positive discrimination to enable people from lower castes to get political representation, government jobs and university places. But as Rahul Tandon reports, the Prime Minister's decision to broaden the quotas to include anyone from an economically deprived background, irrespective of caste, has proved divisive among voters. Ed Butler speaks to Ashwini Deshpande, economics professor at Ashoka University, who claims that Modi's move won't even help the underprivileged group it purports to. Plus former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan, gives his considered opinion of the successes and failures of five years of economic policy under Modi. (Picture: An Indian voter queues to cast her vote; Credit: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images)
May 08, 2019
Netflix moves into Africa
The video streaming service Netflix has announced a major push into Africa, with original series commissioned from around the continent. Netflix had already commissioned its first Nigerian original movie with 2018’s Lionheart, and a number of new projects have been announced, including the Zimbabwean musical animation Tunga. Ed Butler speaks to screenwriter Godwin Jabangwe about how he based it on the legends he heard as a child. Meanwhile Mahmoud Ali Balogun, a veteran Nollywood filmmaker, explains why he thinks Netflix will be good for the country's content creators. It won’t necessarily be smooth sailing for Netflix, however, as high data costs and poor connectivity mean many African viewers won’t get the same experience as those in more developed regions. Ed speaks to South African media analyst Arthur Goldstuck, and Hassana, a young Netflix user in north-western Nigeria. (Picture: the Netflix logo; Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
May 07, 2019
The price of bread
This global food staple used to account for half of some people's income. Dr Kaori O’Connor a food anthropologist at University College, London, explains how it became central to so many of our diets. Plus we’ll hear from Dominique Anract, President of the National Confederation of French Bakers who explains some of the rules of the bread industry. Renowned chef, Francisco Migoya tells us about recreating Roman loaves, and we hear from James Slater from Puratos who uses ancient grains to develop modern flours. Kevan Roberts spills the secrets of gluten-free baking and consultant Azmina Govindji tells us that carbs are not an evil that needs to be avoided.
May 06, 2019
The value of domestic work
Housework and caring - is technology about to transform this essential but overlooked part of the economy? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance in the US about why workers in the home still aren't valued, and to Megan Stack, author of Woman's Work, about the power employers have over domestic help. Professor Diane Coyle from the University of Cambridge explains why domestic work often isn't included in GDP figures. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
May 03, 2019
A four-day week?
The campaign for a four-day working week is gaining traction, particularly in the UK. Manuela Saragosa hears from Lorraine Gray, operations director at Pursuit Marketing, a company that has already made the switch from five to four days. But Ed Whiting, policy director at the charity Wellcome Trust, explains why they decided against the change after a major consultation. Asheem Singh, director of economy at the Royal Society of Arts, warns that a shift to a four-day week could result in a two-tier economy. (Photo: A pin placed in a calendar, Credit: Getty Images)
May 02, 2019
The mega factory that never was
Foxconn is causing a political headache for President Trump, as the Taiwanese manufacturer fails to deliver on a promise to build a 13,000-employee factory in Wisconsin. The LCD screen plant - which was intended to hire 13,000 local blue collar workers - was heralded by the US president as a win in his struggle to return manufacturing jobs to America. But while the Wisconsin authorities have spent millions of dollars preparing the ground, Foxconn itself has obfuscated. Ed Butler investigates what went wrong, and what it says more broadly about President's Trump's ambition to revitalise the US manufacturing sector. The programme includes journalist Josh Dzieza of The Verge, Harvard Business School professor Willy Shih, and chief economist Megan Greene of Manulife Asset Management. (Foxconn CEO Terry Gou (L) at the groundbreaking for the Foxconn computer screen plant in Mt Pleasant, Wisconsin, in June 2018; Credit: Andy Manis/Getty Images)
May 01, 2019
What young Indians want
As India holds elections, getting decent jobs is top of the agenda for most young voters, as the BBC's Rahul Tandon discovers. Most Indians still live in rural areas, and on a trip to the village of Burul just outside Kolkata, Rahul hears the fears of students at a local high school at their lack of meaningful career prospects. Employment could be a key factor in deciding whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds onto power when the election results are announced on 23 May. One reason for the paucity of jobs could be the difficulty entrepreneurs face creating them in the first place - that's the view of Srikumar Mishra, who founded the dairy business Milk Mantra in Odisha in southeast India. Meanwhile 16-year-old Taneesha Dutta expresses her frustration at the lack of autonomy people her age are permitted, both by their government and by their parents. (Picture: Students in Burul high school interviewed by Rahul Tandon)
Apr 30, 2019
Youtube: Cracking down on crackpots
What does the video-sharing site needs to do in order to stop inadvertently promoting dangerous conspiracy theories and extremist content? Alex Jones's InfoWars channel (pictured) - which among other things propagated the lie that the Sandy Hook school shooting in the US was faked - has already been banned from YouTube, although his videos still find their way onto the site. Meanwhile the social media platform has also been clamping down on the vaccination conspiracists blamed for causing the current measles epidemic, as well as the far right extremists said to have inspired terrorists such as the New Zealand mosque shooter. But is the tougher curating of content enough? Or does YouTube's very business model depend on the promotion of sensationalism and extremism by its algorithms? Ed Butler speaks to Mike Caulfield of the American Democracy Project, former Youtube engineer Guillaume Chaslot, and Joan Donovan, who researches the Alt Right at Harvard. (Picture: Screenshot of an Alex Jones InfoWars video on YouTube, taken on 29 April 2019, despite the banning of his channel by YouTube)
Apr 29, 2019
When computer glitches ruin lives
Imagine losing your home, your job or your reputation, all because of a computer error. We speak to people who say that's exactly what happened to them. Kim Duncan and her children lost their family home in the US after Kim's bank Wells Fargo mistakenly said she didn't qualify for a loan modification she needed to keep up with her repayments. Meanwhile in the UK, the Post Office is being litigated by former employees who were fired and in some cases went to prison after being accused of fraud - they claim because of a bug in the Post Office's accounting software. Manuela Saragosa asks computer science expert Lindsay Marshall of Newcastle University whether glitches like these are unavoidable. Do they have to be so damaging, and are they likely to become an ever more common bane of our lives? (Photo: Businessman sitting in a data centre looking frustrated. Credit: AKodisinghe/Getty Images)
Apr 26, 2019
The global affordable housing crisis
Do rent controls and the expropriation of apartment blocks provide an answer to the increasing cost of housing in the rich world? Such radical measures are being considered in many of the world's biggest metropolises, as more and more residents find themselves being priced out of their home cities. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Tom McGath of the Berlin-based campaign group Deutsche Wohnen Enteignen, who wants the city authorities to seize ownership of housing from the German capital's biggest landlords. But leading urbanist Richard Florida of the University of Toronto says there are better ways of tackling the shortage, not least taking on the "not in my back yard" brigade. (Picture: A banner put up by tenants in Berlin protesting against the sale of apartments; John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images)
Apr 25, 2019
Pricing in climate change
Are markets and companies beginning to grasp the threat of global warming? Ed Butler speaks to Meryam Omi, head of sustainability and responsible investment strategy at Legal and General, a major investor, about divesting from companies that contribute to climate change. And Jeff Colgan, director of security studies at the Watson Institute, Brown University, in the US, tells us why he thinks sectors like insurance, property and oil and gas are overpriced given the threat of climate change. Bjorn Otto Sverdrup, senior vice president for sustainability at Equinor, Norway's state-back oil company, outlines what changes his company is making. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: Climate change protesters in London, Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 24, 2019
The true cost of periods
Periods. We rarely talk about them but half the world's population will have to manage menstruation for a good chunk of their lives. For some women, their monthly period brings shame and stigmatisation, as they are forced out of their communities. Others simply can't afford the products they need to carry on with their lives. Ruth Evans reports from Nepal on some of the challenges and the solutions being developed, to help improve the lives of millions. We also hear from Janie Hampton, of World Menstrual Network, who's calling for drastic change in the way periods are managed, not just in poor communities but in the developed world, too. (Photo: A Nepalese woman steps out from a 'chhaupadi house' in the village of Achham, Nepal. Isolation is part of a centuries-old Hindu ritual where women are prohibited from participating in normal family activities during menstruation and after childbirth. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 23, 2019
TED2019: Facebook, Twitter and democracy
Jane Wakefield reports from the Ted conference in Vancouver. (Photo: Social media app icons, Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 22, 2019
TED2019: Space junk, rockets and aliens
Jane Wakefield reports from the TED conference in Vancouver, Canada, on the businesses shooting for the stars. Chief Executive of Rocket Lab Peter Beck shares his concerns about the amount of space junk being left in orbit. Former astronaut Nicole Stott explains why an ill-fitting space suit can be a big problem. And Assistant Professor of Astrophysics at University of Arizona, Erika Hamden, tells us why space exploration is suddenly cool again. (Photo: An astronaut in space, Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 19, 2019
Should prostitution be a normal profession?
What's the best way to help sex workers? We hear the cases for full decriminalisation, versus abolition of what's often dubbed the world's oldest profession. In the Netherlands - a country with some of the most liberal laws on prostitution - a petition is due to be debated in parliament that calls for it to be made illegal to pay for sex. The initiative, spearheaded by young Christians and feminists, has sparked an outcry with many claiming it would actually make life harder for the sex workers it is intended to help, as the BBC's Anna Holligan reports. It's a controversy we bring back into the BBC studio. Ed Butler hosts a fiery dispute between the British feminist and journalist Julie Bindel, and the Nevadan sex worker-turned-PhD student Christina Parreira, who wants her profession to be treated in law just the same way as any other. Plus Professor Prabha Kotiswaran of Kings College London explains why it doesn't make much difference what the law says, if it is arbitrarily enforced by the police. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: A group of sex workers and supporters are seen holding a banner during a demonstration in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Credit: Ana Fernandez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Apr 18, 2019
Pakistan's young entrepreneurs
How the country’s young businesses are making a mark in fashion, beauty, music and tech. Vivienne Nunis speaks to Humayun Haroon, co-founder of digital music platform Patari; Shameelah Ismail, chief executive of GharPar, a start-up that offers beauty services in the home; Myra Qureshi head of Conatural Beauty, Pakistan's first organic skin and haircare range; and fashion designer Umair Sajid. (Picture: Humayon Haroon, co-founder of Patari at the company headquarters in Lahore, Pakistan)
Apr 17, 2019
The death of the local newspaper
How the decline of the local newspaper industry is affecting democracy. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Ken Doctor, former newspaper man and now analyst at his own company Newsanomics, about the scale of decline in local news, particularly in the United States. Researcher Meg Rubado explains how the lack of a local news source is affecting local elections, and Penny Abernathy, professor in journalism and digital media economics at the University of North Carolina, explains why deep cuts are down to a new breed of newspaper owner. What's the solution? In the UK, we hear from Megan Lucero, director of Bureau Local, a project part funded by Google to help local journalists collaborate on stories and share resources. (Photo: a newspaper press in San Francisco, Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 16, 2019
WhatsApp in India
Are fake news and rumours still proliferating on Whatsapp in India? And is this being exploited by candidates as the country prepares to go to the polls? Pratik Sinha, director of, is fighting an uphill struggle trying to debunk the misinformation and outright deceit they claim can still spread like wildfire among India's 200 million Whatsapp users. But is fact-checking even the right way to tackle the problem? Or is it just closing the barn door after the fake horse has already bolted? Manuela Saragosa speaks to one sceptic, Rinu Agal of the Indian online news site thePrint. Meanwhile, Dr Sander van der Linden of the Social Decision-Making Lab at Cambridge University is working with Whatsapp on a possible solution that he believes will inoculate users against viral propaganda. (Picture: Boys use mobile phones in Delhi; Credit: Nasir Kachroo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Apr 15, 2019
Disney goes to war with Netflix
With Disney and Apple launching their streaming services to rival Netflix, will they struggle to get subscribers, when the market is getting increasingly saturated? Or will people just keep switching and cancelling subscriptions depending what shows are on offer? Presenter Regan Morris is also looking into whether the likes of Netflix have encouraged more diversity among writers and programme-makers who actually secure commissions. We hear from Connie Guglielmo, editor in chief of CNET News; Piya Sinha-Roy, senior writer Entertainment Weekly; Franklin Leonard, film executive who founded the Black List, a networking platform for screenwriters and film and TV professionals and Luke Bouma, founder of Cord Cutters News PHOTO: Disney sign, COPYRIGHT: Getty Images
Apr 11, 2019
An expensive democracy
India will spend billions of dollars on its general election this year, much of it illegally. Rahul Tandon visits a political rally in Kolkata where many participants have been paid to attend, while Ed Butler speaks to an 'election agent' tasked with recruiting those crowds, often for different political parties at the same time. James Crabtree, author of the book The Billionaire Raj, describes the extent of illegal election funding in India, and what can be done about it. (Photo: BJP supporters at an election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Dehradun, India. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 10, 2019
When big business sponsors the arts
Should galleries take money from the likes of big oil? Ed Butler speaks to Jess Worth of the UK pressure group Culture Unstained, and Claire Fox, director of the UK's Academy of Ideas. And British novelist, art critic and broadcaster Sarah Dunant explains the well-established history of cash and corruption in the arts. Hong Kong billionaire philanthropist James Chen says donors need to engage with the issues. (Photo: Protesters outside the National Portrait Gallery in London, Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 09, 2019
Millennial burnout
Are millennials working too hard? Ed Butler explores the cult of modern professional success and how it's affecting millennial workers. We hear from millennial business owner Lucy, author and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan, researcher at the University of Bath in the UK Thomas Curran, and Ryan Harwood, head of the media company One37pm. (Photo: Young people work on laptops, Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 08, 2019
The listening device in your pocket
Does the proliferation of microphones in our mobile phones and home smart speakers mean that anyone can eavesdrop on us? Manuela Saragosa hears from the BBC's own technology correspondent Zoe Kleinman about a creepy experience she had when her phone appeared to listen in on a conversation with her mother, and how it led her to discover how easy it is to hack someone's microphone and spy on them. That's exactly what Dutch documentary film maker Anthony van der Meer did, when he purposely let his phone get stolen so he could use it secretly to record the thief. Cyber-security expert Lisa Forte says these stories may be the tip of the iceberg, with everyone from governments to big tech firms to hackers and cyber-criminals potentially listening in on our private conversations. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Outline of a mobile phone visible in the back pocket of a woman's jeans; Credit: Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images)
Apr 05, 2019
Bitcoin bounces back
Cryptocurrencies are on the rebound, but does the case for investing in them make any more sense? Manuela Saragosa hears both sides of the argument. Jay Smith is a long-time player in the markets for these digital tokens, and is a popular player on the electronic trading site eToro. He explains why he believes Bitcoin and its ilk have a long-term future, even though he doesn't personally subscribe to the libertarian ideology that most of his fellow investors share. However, cold water is poured on this vision by sceptic David Gerard, author of a book called Attack of the 50ft Blockchain. Plus Angela Walch, a research fellow at the Centre for Blockchain Technologies at University College London, says she thinks the crypto craze is a symptom of the broader rise of populism since the 2008 financial crash. (Picture: A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin; Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images)
Apr 04, 2019
Brexit: May reaches out
The British prime minister looks for a new deal to solve the deadlock over Brexit. Ed Butler hears from Jill Rutter, Brexit programme director at the Institute for Government in the UK, and Tom McTague, chief UK correspondent for the website Politico. Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek former finance minister who negotiated with the EU over Greece's bailout deal, tells us where Theresa May went wrong. (Photo: Theresa May delivers her latest speech, Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 03, 2019
India's fugitive diamond billionaire
The rise and fall of Indian jeweller Nirav Modi, arrested in London and accused by Indian authorities of a massive fraud. Ed Butler speaks to Mick Brown, a journalist at the UK's Daily Telegraph who has covered the story, and James Crabtree, author of the book The Billionaire Raj. (Photo: Nirav Modi at his office in Mumbai in 2016, Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 02, 2019
Alexa, what are you doing to the internet?
Voice assistant apps like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are about to transform the economics of the web. Nearly a quarter of all households in the US and in China already have a smart speaker in their homes, allowing them to play music, order a delivery or find out the news, all by simply talking to their computer. Meanwhile an estimated 2.5bn smartphones now carry these wannabe AI oracles. Manuela Saragosa asks Silicon Valley analyst Carolina Milanesi whether this new technology could one day rival the conversational prowess of the ship's computer on Star Trek. And what kind of vision do the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon have for it? Meanwhile journalist and author James Vlahos explains why he thinks their advent is bad news for anyone who wants to maintain any visibility on the internet. And we put his criticisms to one of the major players - Andrew Shuman from the team behind Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Amazon Echo Sub subwoofer; Credit: Philip Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Apr 01, 2019
Italy embraces China
Rome's decision to sign up to China's One Belt One Road initiative has proved controversial both at home and among Italy's closest allies. Washington DC and Brussels are both sceptical of the true intent behind Beijing's programme for financing major overseas infrastructure projects, ostensibly to enhance China's trade routes. President Xi Jinping's recent invitation to Rome to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Italian government - an initiative spearheaded by the little known Italian economy minister Michele Geraci - has caused consternation. Manuela Saragosa gets the view in Washington DC from Jonathan Hillman of think tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. And the former Italian foreign affairs minister Giulio Terzi Sant'Agata explains why many of his compatriots are worried about the contents of the that memorandum. (Picture: Italys Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte greets China's President Xi Jinping at Villa Madama in Rome; Credit: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)
Mar 29, 2019
Is pan-African trade a pipe dream?
Can the continent remove trade barriers and create a billion-person internal market? That's the hope of the African Continental Free Trade Area, but a year on from its initial signing, many obstacles remain. Nearly all of Africa's 55 nations have signed up to the initiative, yet the most populous country Nigeria remains a hold-out. And there still remain huge logistical barriers to free trade, as Will Bain discovers when he speaks to frustrated truckers on the Zambia-Botswana border. Ed Butler speaks to Ghana's minister for trade Alan Kyerematen, as well as Pearl Uzokwe of the African conglomerate Sahara Group, and Alex Vines of London-based think tank Chatham House. (Picture: Trucks drive along the Ethiopian side of the Ethiopia-Eritrea border; Credit: Michael Tewelde/AFP/Getty Images)
Mar 28, 2019
A hundred years of women in law
It is only 100 years since women in the UK were first allowed to practice law. Women now make up more than 50% of lawyers in many parts of the world, but why are so few in the top jobs? Katie Prescott speaks to Dana Dennis-Smith, who has collated the stories of women in the law over the last century. Farmida Bi of Norton Rose Fulbright, a huge international law firm, speaks about her journey from non-English speaking Pakistani child to global leader in her profession. We also hear from Shana Knizhnik, co-author of Notorious R.B.G: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, about one of the most iconic women in the US legal profession. (Photo: A statue of justice. Credit: Getty Images)
Mar 27, 2019
The essay cheats
The lucrative business of 'essay mills' - companies that will write your university assignments for you. Chris makes thousands of dollars a year writing essays for fellow Chinese students struggling with English. Gareth Crossman from QAA - a UK education standards agency - says technology is facilitating the growing problem of essay mills. (Photo: A stock image of a classroom assignment, Credit: Getty Images)
Mar 26, 2019
Ukraine: Trading across the front line
The economy of Russian occupied territories in Ukraine. Ed Butler reports on the people living between western Ukraine and the eastern occupied territories including the city of Donetsk, and the flow of goods and people across an active front line. (Photo: Russian servicemen near the Crimean town of Dzhankoy, 12 miles away from the Ukrainian border, Credit: Getty Images)
Mar 25, 2019
Brexit: Oil, fish and bargaining chips
How is the Scottish city of Aberdeen coping with the UK's imminent exit from the EU? It is home to the country's oil and gas industry, as well as some 5,000 fisherman. Katie Prescott speaks to local businesspeople in both industries, who are increasingly anxious at the complete lack of certainty about what will happen when the UK does eventually leave - albeit that the date of departure has now been postponed by a few more weeks beyond 29 March. How will European fishing quotas and access to British waters be decided post Brexit? And what will happen to Aberdeen's oil production, particularly as the flow of fossil fuels from under the North Sea begins to run dry? Aberdeen is the most vulnerable city in the UK to Brexit, according to Andrew Carter of research group, the Centre for Cities. Producer: Sarah Treanor (Picture: Fish at the Aberdeen fish market; Credit: BBC)
Mar 22, 2019
A basic income for all?
Would a Universal Basic Income help solve inequality or make it worse, and would it protect us from robots taking our jobs? Finland has just completed a two-year experiment in doing just that. Manuela Saragosa speaks to one of the grateful recipients of the pilot project, freelance journalist Tuomas Muraja. A similar approach has already been taken for many years by some charities in the developing world, as Joe Huston of the GiveDirectly explains. So how does it work? Anthony Painter of the Royal Society of Arts in London says the financial security it provides allows people to be more creative and invest more in themselves. But Professor Ian Goldin of Oxford University is sceptical, saying there are more effective and affordable ways of helping those most in need. (Picture: Money falling on people; Credit: stocknroll/Getty Images)
Mar 21, 2019
Is humankind on the verge of disaster?
To follow the world's headlines these days - from fake news to murderous terror attacks, from disease pandemics to global warming - you might be forgiven for thinking the world is becoming a pretty scary place. But is it really? Harvard University cognitive psychologist and author Steven Pinker tells us that is measurably not the case. As he argues in his new book Enlightenment Now, we are in a golden age of human existence. But, David Edmonds meets academics who are putting Pinker's ideas to the test, concluding that with climate change and overpopulation, there is a 10% chance of humans not surviving the 21st Century. (Photo: Activist at a climate change protest in Spain. Credit: Getty Images)
Mar 19, 2019
The periodic table turns 150
Are chemical elements critical for the modern economy in dangerously short supply? It's a question that Justin Rowlatt poses a century and a half after the Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleev published the original periodic table. Justin speaks to two chemists - Andrea Sella of University College London explains the significance of Mendeleev's scheme to the modern world, while David Cole-Hamilton talks us through an updated version of the table he has just published that highlights chemical elements that could run out within the next century unless we learn to make better use of them. However, perhaps we don't need to worry just yet, at least not for two of those red-flagged elements. Thomas Abraham-Jones describes how he happened across the world's biggest reserve of helium in the African savannah, while Rick Short of Indium Corporation explains why the metallic element his company is named after is in abundant supply, so long as you don't mind sifting an awful lot of dirt for it. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Manuscript of Mendeleev's first periodic system of elements; Credit: Science & Society Picture Library/SSPL/Getty Images)
Mar 18, 2019
Neverending Brexit?
As the UK parliament votes to delay Brexit beyond 29 March, businesses brace for yet more uncertainty. But will the EU even be willing to grant a delay? Manuela Saragosa speaks to companies on both sides of the English Channel. British Barley farmer Matt Culley says he now has to plant his coming year's crop with no clue whether or how he will even be able to export his produce to breweries in Germany come harvest time. Meanwhile Chayenne Wiskerke, who runs the world's biggest onion exporting operation from the Netherlands, expresses her exasperation that with two weeks to go, every possible outcome - from delay, to cancellation, to the UK leaving without any agreement at all - remains on the table. But fear not says David Henig, director of the UK Trade Policy Project at the European Centre for International Political Economy. He explains why he thinks a year's delay is the most likely outcome. (Picture: A pro Brexit supporter holds up a placard that reads 'Just Leave' outside the Houses of Parliament; Credit: John Keeble/Getty Images)
Mar 15, 2019
Heineken in Africa
The brewer has been accused of complicity with Africa's murkiest politics, and of failing to protect female brand promoters from sexual harassment. But can a company really separate itself from its political environment? Manuela Saragosa hears from the Dutch investigative journalist Olivier van Beemen, whose book Heineken in Africa makes multiple accusations against the company, including collusion with the regimes of Burundi and DR Congo. Plus Heineken provides its response. But is it a case of damned if you do, and damned if you don't? When a company finds that it cannot control what is happening on the ground in a politically challenging country, should it simply pull out of the country altogether? Human rights lawyer Elise Groulx Diggs of Doughty Street Chambers gives us her view. (Picture: Heineken logo on a beer bottle; Credit: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Mar 14, 2019
More Brexit blues for business
A continued political crisis in the UK means more uncertainty for businesses. We hear from the boss of a manufacturing company in Birmingham and Nicole Sykes, head of EU negotiations at the UK business group the CBI, as well as the BBC's Rob Watson in Westminster and Adam Fleming in Strasbourg. (Photo: A protester carries an EU flag in London, Credit: Getty Images)
Mar 13, 2019
Ukraine's corruption problem
Ed Butler reports from Ukraine ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for the end of March. With endemic corruption and ongoing conflict with Russian-backed rebels in the east, what verdict will the voters give to the President Petro Poroshenko? Ed Butler speaks with MP Serhiy Leschenko who's recently left Poroshenko's Solidarity faction over concerns about corruption and nepotism. Other candidates include the former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko and comedian and actor Volodymyr Zelensky. Olesia Verchenko from the Kyiv School of Economics says she has doubts about all of them. And Deputy Minister of Health Pavlo Kovtoniuk explains measures taken within the healthcare service to clean up its act. This programme was produced by Anna Noryskiewicz. PHOTO: Anti-corruption protest in Kyiv, Ukraine. Copyright: Ed Butler, BBC
Mar 12, 2019
Education in India: In need of reform?
In India experts and parents increasingly question whether the country's education system is fit for purpose. With huge emphasis placed on college entrance exams and academic degrees - like engineering, medicine or law - Rahul Tandon explores what consequences that has on children's overall development. He visits an unorthodox school that uses Harry Potter to develop critical thinking, and he asks whether the economy would be better served by encouraging vocational training. (Picture: Students seen coming out of the examination centre at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan School in New Delhi, India; Credit: Getty Images)
Mar 11, 2019
Women in a man's world
In a world designed by men for men, women often come off worst, sometimes with fatal consequences. Manuela Saragosa speaks to author Caroline Criado Perez about the gender data gap - the fact that everything from smartphone health apps to lapel microphones is designed with a male body in mind, and how for example cardiovascular problems in women go under-diagnosed because the female body is treated as "atypical". This blind spot for women is built into our work environments in large part because the people designing those environments are mostly men. So how do we get more women into positions of power? The answer, according to organisational psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, is not to ease the way for women to reach the top, but rather to make it more difficult for so many incompetent over-confident men to do so. Plus, Kathryn Colas, founder of consultancy Simply Hormones, explains how the affect of the menopause on women in the workplaces is only just beginning to be recognised by employers. (Picture:
Mar 08, 2019
Big Sugar
Is the US sugar industry's relationship with politicians, from Florida to Washington DC, just a little bit too sweet? Gilda Di Carli reports from the Sunshine State, where the newly elected Governor Ron DeSantis has vowed to take on the sugarcane lobby, which he blames for impeding efforts to tackle the gigantic algae blooms that have blighted Florida's rivers and coasts. Meanwhile Manuela Saragosa speaks to Guy Rolnik, professor of strategic management at the Chicago Booth School, about two of the industry's wealthiest and most politically connected magnates, Alfy and Pepe Fanjul. Plus Ryan Weston of the Sugar Cane League - which represents US growers including the Fanjuls - explains why he thinks the industry gets an unfair rap from the media. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Sugar cubes on black background; Credit: tuchkovo/Getty Images)
Mar 07, 2019
Overworked doctors
Are health services around the world wilfully blind to the problem of dangerously long hours being worked by junior medics? Vivienne Nunis speaks to doctors in Australia and America about how tiredness and depression are not only ruining their lives, but also pose a threat to the safety of patients going under the knife or receiving prescriptions. And it's a worldwide problem - as Sydney-based doctor Yumiko Kadota discovered when a blog she wrote attracted similar stories of exhaustion from Colombia to Poland. Author Margaret Heffernan says the culture of many health systems is one of wilful blindness to the physical limits of human employees, while the campaigning American medic Pamela Wible MD explains how it is driving many hospital staff to suicide. (Picture: Exhausted surgeon resting his head on operating theatre table; Credit: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Mar 01, 2019
Fix my gadgets!
Our appliances are getting increasingly difficult and expensive to mend, in some cases by design. So should consumers demand the right to repair? Ed Butler speaks to those campaigning for manufacturers to make it easier for us to fix our electronics goods - with everything from tractors to phones to baby incubators in their sites. 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. (Picture: Broken iPhone; Credit: Edmond So/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)
Mar 01, 2019
Who's monetising your DNA?
Should the collection of vast genetic databases be dominated by private companies such as 23andMe or In the second of two programmes looking at the businesses riding high on the boom in home DNA testing kits, Manuela Saragosa looks at how the enormous head start these companies have over public sector DNA research initiatives may be skewing medical research. Will the profit motive drive these companies to wall off their databases, and give access only to pharmaceutical companies capable of developing lucrative new drugs that mainly benefit the predominately wealthy, white customers who send in their DNA samples in the first place? The programme features interviews with Kathy Hibbs of 23andMe, Mark Caulfield of Genomics England, and Kayte Spector-Bagdady of the University of Michigan Medical School. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Woman's cheek being swabbed; Credit: AndreyPopov/Getty Images)
Feb 27, 2019
The family tree business
What can you really learn about your heritage from a home DNA testing kit? We hear from Bill and Ylva Wires, a couple in Berlin who used DNA testing kits to find out more about their ancestors. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Rafi Mendelsohn of - one major company in this field - and Kristen V Brown who covers genetics stories for Bloomberg. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: Old family photos, Credit: Getty Images)
Feb 26, 2019
Bad blood in Silicon Valley
The story of Theranos, a company that falsely claimed it could perform a full range of medical tests using just a tiny blood sample drawn by pricking your finger. Manuela Saragosa speaks to John Carreyrou, an investigative reporter with the Wall Street Journal and author of a book on the case, Bad Blood. Plus Silicon Valley venture capitalist Hemant Taneja explains why investors need to be more cautious. (Photo: Blood samples, Credit: Getty Images)
Feb 25, 2019
Is it time to regulate social media?
Should Facebook and others be forced by governments to take responsibility for what people are exposed to on their platforms? Social media companies' algorithms have come under particular scrutiny, with allegations that they push inappropriate content - such as neo-Nazi propaganda, self-harm videos and conspiracy theories - to its users, including to children. "Angry Aussie" YouTuber Andrew Kay describes how the video sharing platform shifted from being a site for video bloggers, to a place where contributors will do or say anything in order to get attention, and thereby earn money. Meanwhile Professor Alan Woodward, a cyber security expert at the University of Surrey, tells Vishala Sri-Pathma what he thinks governments should be doing to rein these global digital behemoths in. (Picture: Teenager looking at her smart phone in bed; Credit: Ljubaphoto/Getty Images)
Feb 22, 2019
Is healthy eating affordable?
Poor diet has been linked to diseases such as diabetes and cancer, but do you have much of a choice if you are on a tight budget? Organic food is rising in popularity in the West, but Vishala Sri-Pathma asks nutritionist Sophie Medlin whether the additional cost of buying organic is actually worth it. And what if you are time poor, as well as short of money? Chef Tom Kerridge has tips for how even if you have just 20 minutes spare, it's still possible to pull together a healthy family meal. Plus Dr Susan Babey, a senior research scientist for health policy at University College Los Angeles, explains another major factor affecting the diets of many ordinary Americans - so-called "food deserts" where there is simply nowhere to actually buy fresh produce. (Picture: Fresh locally grown vine tomatoes for sale outside a green grocer store in the the UK; Credit: John Keeble/Getty Images)
Feb 21, 2019
Zombie statistics
How bogus stats can get repeated again and again until they end up influencing policy at governments and major multilateral institutions. Ed Butler speaks to three people who claim they are struggling to slay these zombies. Ivan Macquisten is an adviser to the UK's Antiquities Dealers Association who actually wrote into Business Daily to complain about a previous programme that he claimed repeated false figures about the scale of looted archaeology from the Middle East finding its way into Western art markets. Meanwhile, Kathryn Moeller of Stanford University describes how she never found the source of a claim widely quoted by international development agencies that girls are much more likely than boys to invest their income to the benefit of their household. And Rachel Kleinfeld of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace explains the headache the UN faces in compiling international data about violent crime. Also in the programme, Lazare Eloundou- Assomo of Unesco and the BBC's own Tim Harford. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: Zombie cosplayer; Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
Feb 20, 2019
Businesses preparing for Brexit
Exporters express their fears and frustration at the lack of any agreement about future trade relations with just six weeks left to go until the UK leaves the EU. Adam Sopher of popcorn manufacturer Joe & Sephs tells Ed Butler how he is now having to send his wares to Asia via air freight, because by the time the usual ships reach dock in Hong Kong the UK will have left already and he still doesn't know what tariffs he will have to pay. Pauline Bastidon of the Freight Transport Association describes how British road hauliers are having to take part in a lottery for permits to continue operating in the EU, with many being left empty handed. Meanwhile in the Netherlands, MP Pieter Omtzigt, who acts as a Brexit point person for his country's parliament, explains how the Dutch have been preparing far longer than their British counterparts for the possibility of the UK crashing out of the EU with no trade deal at all. Plus Paul Hodges of the consultancy Ready for Brexit explains why so many of the small businesses he speaks to are far from being that. (Picture: Frustrated businessman tearing at his hair; Credit: djedzura/Getty Images)
Feb 19, 2019
Where are the women in Hollywood?
Are women finally breaking through off screen in the film industry? A year on from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, why aren't there more female movie directors at the Oscars? Regan Morris reports from a Hollywood still coming to terms with the #MeToo movement. She speaks to Leah Meyerhof, founder of Film Fatales - a movement that brings together female film and TV directors on the West Coast - as well as directors Alyssa Downs and Rijaa Nadeem. Meanwhile Nithya Raman of the Time’s Up campaign against sexual harassment explains why they have launched the "4% Challenge" - named after the derisory number of top-grossing films directed by women - as well as a legal defence fund and a mentorship programme for women. Plus actors Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones talk about a forthcoming movie about the pioneering Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, being directed by Mimi Leder. (Picture: The 22 Oscars won by the Lord of The Rings ; Credit: Dean Treml/AFP/Getty Images)
Feb 18, 2019
Capitalism in crisis?
Is the era of globalisation, unfettered markets and billionaire philanthropists drawing to a close? Is the answer to rising populism for the state to tax the wealthy and invest more in the public good? Manuela Saragosa speaks to three people who say the populist revolts, from Brazil to the US, are symptomatic of an economic system in crisis. Winnie Byanyima, head of anti-poverty campaigners Oxfam, explains why she thinks global jobs statistics mask the reality that many people do not receive dignified work or a decent wage. Development economist Paul Collier of Oxford University says he thinks corporations and billionaires have lost their way in an era of shareholder value and a growing wealth gap, while journalist Anand Giridharadas claims we are witnessing the death throes of the free market ideology that has dominated global politics since the 1980s. (Picture: Anti-capitalist protestors demonstrate in Paris; Credit: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)
Feb 15, 2019
Rational partner choice
Should your head trump your heart when seeking lifelong love? That's the challenge Business Daily's Justin Rowlatt has taken on for this Valentine's Day. The hyper-rationalist businessman Ed Conard thinks he knows the answer, and his strictly mathematical strategy for romance is called "sequential selection, no turning back". He used it to meet his wife of the last 20 years, Jill Davis. But is Ed's approach right for everyone? Justin hears sceptical voices from two very different quarters - romantic novelist Nicola Cornick, and Nobel prize-winning economist Alvin Roth. And what about Jill? What's it like to be on the receiving end of such a calculated courtship? Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Jill Davis and Ed Conard; Credit: Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Feb 14, 2019
The education scam
Many African universities are not up to scratch, leaving African students vulnerable to scam institutions abroad. Ivana Davidovic reports from Northern Cyprus where many African students go looking for a better education. Nigerian businessman Evans Akanno explains the education problem at home, and Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, vice chancellor at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, explains the scale of the problem. (Photo: University students in Lagos, Nigeria, Credit: Getty Images)
Feb 13, 2019
Poverty and Corruption in Nigeria
Nigeria goes to the polls to elect a president this weekend. Two issues are prominent - the state of the economy and corruption. Local businessman Evans Akanno tells us why just getting the electricity to stay on would be a good start. Amy Jadesemi, CEO of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base, explains why global oil prices are still crucial to Nigeria. Benedict Crave, Nigeria analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, explains why challenger Atiku Abubakar might win the presidency. (Photo: A woman walks past presidential campaign posters in Lagos, Nigeria, Credit: Getty Images)
Feb 12, 2019
Taxing the Rich
Last month Dutch historian Rutger Bregman told the billionaires at the World Economic Forum in Davos they should think less about philanthropy and instead pay more tax. The clip of his speech went viral. He comes on the programme to argue his point with Ed Conard, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of the book The Upside of Inequality, who says higher taxes just stop people innovating. (Photo: Rutger Bregman, Credit: Getty Images)
Feb 11, 2019
The Body Disposal Business
Funereal solutions on an overcrowded planet - Ed Butler investigates what various countries do when they run out of space to bury their dead. In Japan, where the construction of new crematoriums has often been blocked by unhappy neighbours, there is a literal multi-day backlog of bodies awaiting burial - and businesses ready to host them. In Greece, crematoriums are opposed by the Orthodox Church, so the solution has been the controversial practice of exhuming bodies just a few months after burial and transferring the decomposed remains to an ossuary. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, mortician Caitlin Doughty tells Ed about an innovative new method of body disposal - disintegrate them in a solution of highly caustic potassium hydroxide. (Picture: Grave-digger; Credit: David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Feb 08, 2019
The Future of Fashion Retail
Will online shopping and AI combine to kill the high street clothing store? Ed Butler gets himself digitally measured up in order to try on outfits in cyberspace, with the help of Tom Adeyoola, founder of virtual browsing business Metail. Meanwhile Julia Boesch - who runs Outfittery, one of Europe's biggest online fashion retailers, out of her office in Berlin - explains how artificial intelligence is enabling her company to provide customers with the kind of individualised style advice they would normally find in a bespoke tailors. So is the roll-out of AI-enhanced phone-based services going to revolutionise the way we buy our attire? Yes, says Achim Berg of consultants McKinsey - but not quite yet. (Picture: Body scan to provide exact measurements at custom tailoring shop Alton Lane in Washington DC; Credit: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Feb 07, 2019
When to Pursue your Dream
At what point should you give up your day-job to pursue your own business side-project full-time? And should governments do more to help those who want to do it? Manuela Saragosa explores the world of the successful "side-hustler" - the closet entrepreneur who takes an after-hours pet project and turns it into a whole new business. Alexandria Wombwell-Povey gave up insurance brokerage to launch her jam-making company Cham, while Emma Jones set up the website Enterprise Nation to support such go-getters. Meanwhile, Maddy Savage reports from Sweden, where all full-time employees have a legal right to unpaid leave in order to pursue their own start-up. (Picture: Businesswoman looks wistful and distracted in a meeting with her colleagues; Credit: Squaredpixels/Getty Images)
Feb 06, 2019
Brexit: No Deal, No Food?
If the UK crashes out of the EU on 29 March with no agreement on continuing trade relations, how will it affect Britain's supplies of fresh food? Could the country's supermarket shelves be left empty? Dan Saladino speaks to farmers, traders and officials fretting at the unknown but potentially serious consequences of a "no deal" Brexit for food security in the UK, as well as one middle class family who are already stockpiling their own food supplies. Interviewees include Guy Singh-Watson of Riverford Farm, Professor Tim Lang of City University London, Ian Wright of the Food & Drink Federation, Andrew Opie of the British Retail Consortium, Emily Norton of Nuffield College Oxford, Tim Worstall of the Adam Smith Institute, and New Covent Garden mushroom trader Michael Hyams. (Picture: A mother and her son look at the empty bakery shelves in a supermarket in Tewkesbury, England following flooding in 2007; Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Feb 05, 2019
The Burning Question
Climate Change: Can the world economy continue to grow without burning fossil fuels? Or do we all need to cut back on our consumption in order to save the planet? It is a question that splits the green movement. Justin Rowlatt hosts a fiery debate between two environmentalists on either side of the divide, who have already been tearing chunks out of each other in a very public dispute online. Michael Liebreich, who runs a clean energy and transportation consultancy in London, says the technological solutions to global warming are within our grasp, and that maintaining economic growth is essential to bringing carbon emissions under control. Meanwhile Tim Jackson, professor of sustainable development at Surrey University, says that it is precisely the world's obsession with economic growth that is dooming Planet Earth to disaster. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: The sun sets behind an oil and gas platform in the Santa Barbara Channel, California; Credit: David McNew/Newsmakers/Getty Images)
Feb 04, 2019
Peak Smartphone
Are Apple and Samsung running out of people to sell their smartphones to? And who wants to pay for an upgrade when their old phone is good enough? Manuela Saragosa asks whether Apple's recent disappointing earnings are less to do with China's slowing economy - as the company claims - and more the fact that the market for iPhones has become saturated. With few major tech improvements on the horizon, is the smartphone about to become just another mass-produced, low-margin product? The programme features interviews with phone industry analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight, management professor Yves Doz of Insead in Paris, and Barry C Lynn of the Open Markets Institute thank tank in Washington DC. (Picture: Group of people using smartphones outdoors; Credit: ViewApart/Getty Images)
Feb 01, 2019
Keeping your Eggs on Ice
More and more women are choosing to freeze their eggs in their twenties - but is it all just a big waste of money? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Jennifer Lannon, who paid thousands of dollars at the age of 26 to preserve her eggs as a hedge against infertility later in life. But are the companies that offer this service - sometimes at special cocktail parties - just exploiting women's anxieties? Patrizio Pasquale is Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at Yale is a sceptic. But Gina Bartasi, founder of the US fertility business Kindbody, says it's all about female empowerment and overcoming the patriarchy. (Picture: Liquid nitrogen tank at a fertility clinic; Credit: SUPERFROYD/Getty Images)
Jan 31, 2019
Huawei and the Trade War
Will indictments against China's tech giant overshadow US trade talks? We hear from Timothy Heath, defence analyst at the Rand Corporation, about the threat to security Huawei is perceived to pose in the US, and from cyber security expert Dmitri Alperovitch on the history of industrial espionage by Chinese actors. Dr Jie Yu, China research fellow at the London thinktank Chatham House assess the risk to the trade talks. (Photo: Huawei logo on a building in Poland, Credit: Getty Images)
Jan 30, 2019
A Deepening Crisis in Venezuela
Two rival presidents, oil sanctions from the US and hyperinflation. Venezuela's economic and political crisis is deepening and we hear from some of the people caught in it. Venezuelan economist Carlos de Sousa from Oxford Economics explains the economic context. Presented by Ed Butler. (Photo: A protester on the streets of Venezuela's capital Caracas, Credit: Getty Images)
Jan 29, 2019
Will Tanzania's Drone Industry Take Off?
Drones have been used increasingly in Africa for survey and mapping, but will cargo drone delivery companies be the next big thing? Jane Wakefield visits Mwanza on the banks of Lake Victoria to speak to African and international companies hoping to cash in on the drone delivery market. During a trial for a big World Bank project called The Lake Victoria Challenge Jane speaks to the Tanzanian drone pilot making waves across the continent, to the global start ups innovating rapidly, and to one drone company helping to map Cholera outbreaks in Malawi. Jane hears from Helena Samsioe from Globhe, Edward Anderson from the World Bank, Frederick Mbuya from Uhurulabs, Leka Tingitana Tanzania Flying Labs and others. (Photo: A delivery drone in Tanzania, Credit: Sala Lewis/Lake Victoria Challenge)
Jan 28, 2019
The Great China Slowdown
China's economy is slowing down. What does it mean for the rest of the world? We hear from Shanghai where consumers are spending less. Economist Linda Yueh gives her analysis while Shaun Rein, managing director of the China Market Research Group in Shanghai, worries about the growing trade war with the United States. Presented by Ed Butler. (Photo: A worker in a Chinese grocery store waits for customers, Credit: Getty Images)
Jan 25, 2019
Bill Gates Makes His Pitch
The mega-philanthropist is in Davos lobbying governments and the global business elite to donate money towards the fight against infectious diseases. But is the world's second richest man the best person to spearhead this effort? Ed Butler speaks to Mr Gates about why he considers it critical that the US and other rich world governments continue to finance efforts to fight Aids, malaria, polio, TB and the like. Meanwhile, Peter Sands - executive director of the Global Fund, one of the four major health initiatives that Gates is backing - explains why any let-up in the fight could be very costly indeed, particularly for the developing world. But the philanthro-capitalism embodied by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation faces increasing criticism. Sophie Harman, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, expresses her qualms about their lack of accountability, while historian Benjamin Soskis of the Urban Institute in the US says the very willingness of Gates to lobby for good causes is raising questions about why wealthy individuals should wield such influence over public policy. Producer: Laurence Knight (Picture: Bill Gates; Credit: Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Jan 24, 2019
Selling Romance
Dating apps like Tinder are a multi-billion dollar business, but have they reduced romance to a commodity? Vivienne Nunis speaks to Stanford University economist Paul Oyer, author of Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating. Historian Moira Weigel, author of Labor of Love, explains how dating and commerce have always been intertwined, and Eric Silverberg, CEO and co-founder of Scruff, a dating app for gay and bisexual men, argues that dating apps are doing more than just selling romance. (Photo: Dating apps on a phone, Credit: Getty Images)
Jan 23, 2019