Who will foot the coronavirus bill?
Apr 6, 2020 1079
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)
Coronavirus pushes Europe to the edge
Apr 3, 2020 1094
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
Will there be a vaccine?
Apr 2, 2020 1093
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)
Coronavirus: The race to find a treatment
Apr 1, 2020 1093
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.
(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)
Coronavirus in confinement
Mar 31, 2020 1093
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.)
Coronavirus: Preppers and the Pandemic
Mar 30, 2020 1048
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.
Giving care in crisis
Mar 27, 2020 1080
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.
Here are some further resources if you are affected by any of the issues in this episode:
Wellbeing for Healthcare and First Responders during COVID19 https://www.lindadykes.org/covid19
To make a Safety Plan - StayingSafe.net
Support in different countries: www.befrienders.org
(Picture: Health care workers speak with an elderly woman in Ontario, Canada. Picture credit: Getty Images)
The cost of lockdown in the developing world
Mar 26, 2020 1078
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.)
Are there exit strategies for coronavirus?
Mar 25, 2020 1078
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)
The working from home challenge
Mar 24, 2020 1047
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?
Do we have the right data on coronavirus?
Mar 23, 2020 1076
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)
Life under lockdown
Mar 20, 2020 1078
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)
Coronavirus: Where's the joined-up thinking?
Mar 19, 2020 1101
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.
(Photo: A worker fixes a WHO coronavirus prevention poster to a billboard in Mumbai, India; Credit: Getty Images)
Can the private sector help struggling hospitals?
Mar 18, 2020 1101
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)
Can airlines survive coronavirus?
Mar 17, 2020 1099
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)
Coronavirus: Can the risk be contained?
Mar 16, 2020 1100
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)
Wet markets and the coronavirus
Mar 13, 2020 1115
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)
The great North Korean crypto hack
Mar 12, 2020 1116
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)
How to stop coronavirus crashing your economy
Mar 11, 2020 1116
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.
(Picture: An Italian State Police officer and a soldier stand guard at a checkpoint at Milano Centrale train station; Credit: Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images)
The psychology of panic buying
Mar 10, 2020 1116
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 9, 2020 1114
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)
The great face hack
Mar 6, 2020 1059
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)
Coronavirus: Global recession?
Mar 5, 2020 1117
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)
Do stock-pickers have a future?
Mar 4, 2020 1119
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)
Moving Uighur workers in China
Mar 3, 2020 1058
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)
Trump's immigration crackdown
Mar 2, 2020 1119
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)
Firestone and Liberia
Feb 28, 2020 1047
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)
Coronavirus: Fake news goes viral
Feb 27, 2020 1087
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 26, 2020 1086
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.
A single West African currency
Feb 25, 2020 1087
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)
Cognac and hip hop
Feb 24, 2020 1087
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)
The Airbnb rental scammers
Feb 21, 2020 1108
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 20, 2020 1118
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)
Why you should hire an ex con
Feb 19, 2020 1105
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)
A robot future and how to handle it
Feb 18, 2020 1110
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)
EU farm subsidies: who's benefiting?
Feb 17, 2020 1048
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).
The case for free trade
Feb 14, 2020 1102
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)
Firing workers in Virtual Reality
Feb 13, 2020 1103
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)
Tesla: To infinity and beyond
Feb 12, 2020 1102
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)
Coronavirus: A shortage of masks
Feb 11, 2020 1048
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)
When a work colleague dies
Feb 10, 2020 1103
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)
Out of jail but not out of work
Feb 7, 2020 1101
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.)
Saudi money, English Football
Feb 6, 2020 1099
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)
Will immersive tech ever go mainstream?
Feb 5, 2020 1103
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)
So is the future hydrogen?
Feb 4, 2020 1103
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)
Does coal have a future?
Feb 3, 2020 1049
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)
Brexit day, Brexit visions
Jan 31, 2020 1111
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)
Does quarantining do more harm than good?
Jan 30, 2020 1112
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)
Britain's Huawei gamble
Jan 29, 2020 1111
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)
Chinese forced labour: The brands
Jan 28, 2020 1113
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)
Forced labour in China
Jan 27, 2020 1048
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)
What next for Africa's richest woman?
Jan 24, 2020 1046
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)
The products used again and again and again...
Jan 23, 2020 1097
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 22, 2020 1098
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)
Cities at a standstill
Jan 21, 2020 1048
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)
Being watched at work
Jan 20, 2020 1098
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)
Insomnia and the smartphone
Jan 17, 2020 1109
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)
Microworkers teaching robots
Jan 16, 2020 1109
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)
Where has all the good soil gone?
Jan 15, 2020 1108
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)
The power-hungry internet
Jan 14, 2020 1109
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)
The next big thing
Jan 13, 2020 1080
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)
Brand Meghan and Harry
Jan 10, 2020 1077
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 9, 2020 1078
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.
Producer: Laurence Knight
(Picture: Close-up of irritated Millennial man with Boomer father looking on; Credit: SDI Productions/Getty Images)
North Korea: Suffering under sanctions?
Jan 8, 2020 1078
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)
Uber and Lyft vs California
Jan 7, 2020 1049
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)
The US and China in 2020
Jan 6, 2020 1103
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)
LA's housing crisis
Jan 3, 2020 1048
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
The workplace re-imagined
Jan 2, 2020 1047
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
Rights of Nature
Jan 1, 2020 1048
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 Daka 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 Tamsin 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)
The conflict mineral that feeds the world
Dec 31, 2019 1098
Morocco dominates the production of phosphate fertilisers, largely thanks to its control of the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
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 30, 2019 1099
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)
Are friends electric?
Dec 27, 2019 1098
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)
Hack my brain
Dec 26, 2019 1098
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)
Will flying taxis ever take off?
Dec 25, 2019 1099
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)
Smart cities: Big Data's watching you
Dec 24, 2019 1098
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)
Smart cities: How Barcelona learned to listen
Dec 23, 2019 1099
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)
How 24/7 life is rewiring our brains
Dec 20, 2019 1048
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.
(Picture: Sprites I by Alan Warburton, showing at Somerset House; Credit: Alan Warburton via Somerset House)
Our digital afterlife
Dec 19, 2019 1095
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)
Have you paid your taxes?
Dec 18, 2019 1094
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)
When women aren't counted
Dec 17, 2019 1049
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)
Brexit: What happens next?
Dec 16, 2019 1094
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)
The death of expertise
Dec 13, 2019 1086
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.
Repeat. First broadcast on 13 November 2018.
(Picture: Two-year-old girl plays with carpentry tools; Credit: lisegagne/Getty Images)
Old city v new city
Dec 12, 2019 1085
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.
(Photo: An old residential building being demolished to make room for skyscrapers in Shanghai; Credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
Surviving the surveillance state
Dec 11, 2019 1085
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)
Delivering in the gig economy
Dec 10, 2019 1049
How online shopping is fueling 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)
US drug companies and the NHS
Dec 9, 2019 1083
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)
A machine to break down all language barriers
Dec 6, 2019 1048
The BBC's Kizzy Cox in New York tries out the technology developers say can instantly translate any language into any other. 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.
(Photo: Hello in different languages, Credit: Getty Images)
How 'cheap' English is conquering the world
Dec 5, 2019 1087
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.
(Photo: Man wearing headphones playing video games late at night; Credit: Kerkez/Getty Images)
Taking football global
Dec 4, 2019 1090
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 3, 2019 1090
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)
China moves from imitator to innovator
Dec 2, 2019 1081
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)
Meetings, meetings everywhere...
Nov 29, 2019 1114
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.
The sea they plan to cover in turbines
Nov 28, 2019 1115
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)
How to change your career
Nov 26, 2019 1116
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.
(Picture: Businessman tearing off his jacket and shirt; Credit: bowie15/Thinkstock)
What happened to austerity?
Nov 26, 2019 1115
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)
Cryptocurrency's new frontier
Nov 25, 2019 1115
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)
Why Americans are loving trade unions again
Nov 22, 2019 1114
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)
Mental health in Africa
Nov 21, 2019 1101
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)
The fight over the Parthenon Marbles
Nov 20, 2019 1098
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)
Africa's tech hub explosion
Nov 19, 2019 1102
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)
The scramble for Nollywood
Nov 18, 2019 1101
The internationl 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)
Live long and prosper?
Nov 15, 2019 1115
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.
(Picture: Retired couple larking about on a moped; Credit: stevecoleimages/Getty Images)
Quantum computers: What are they good for?
Nov 14, 2019 1114
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.
(Picture: Engineer working on IBM Q System One quantum computer; Credit: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)
The ethics of AI
Nov 13, 2019 1115
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)
The billionaires who want to pay more tax
Nov 12, 2019 1115
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)
Who wants to be a billionaire?
Nov 11, 2019 1115
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)
Fake me an influencer
Nov 8, 2019 1048
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)
Make me an influencer
Nov 7, 2019 1115
How hard is it to make money on Instagram? Ed Butler hears from successful influencer Laura Strange, who makes a living from her Gluten-free food themed profile, and the BBC's Edwin Lane tries to become an influencer himself, with advice from Harry Hugo co-founder of the influencer marketing agency Goat, and Marie Mostad, influencer expert at the platform Inzpire.me.
(Photo: Instagram logo displayed on a laptop. Credit: Getty Images)
The Cambridge Analytica whistleblower
Nov 6, 2019 1089
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)
The world's youngest Nobel-winning economist
Nov 5, 2019 1088
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)
A hydro-powered Bitcoin boom in Georgia
Nov 4, 2019 1088
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)
Tweaking your face
Nov 1, 2019 1136
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)
The cancer scammers
Oct 31, 2019 1134
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)
The diverse economy of the Lone Star State
Oct 30, 2019 1048
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.)
Can airlines pivot fully to biofuels?
Oct 29, 2019 1049
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)
Goodbye Super Mario
Oct 28, 2019 1136
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.
(Picture: Christine Lagarde speaks with Mario Draghi in Luxembourg on June 18, 2015. Picture credit: THIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A meatless future?
Oct 25, 2019 1093
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)
Industry awards - worth the effort?
Oct 24, 2019 1093
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)
What is the Green New Deal?
Oct 23, 2019 1092
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.
(Picture: Los Angeles youth at a nationwide school strike for the Green New Deal; Credit: Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Bringing Uber back to Earth
Oct 22, 2019 1091
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)
The business case for sleep
Oct 21, 2019 1091
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)
Is the sun setting on Saudi oil?
Oct 18, 2019 1106
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.
(Picture: A Saudi petroleum plant silhouetted at dusk; Credit: Scott Peterson/Liaison)
Concrete's dirty secret
Oct 17, 2019 1106
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.
(Picture: A shoe print in the cement of a sidewalk; Credit: Morgan Frith/Getty Images)
How China slam-dunked the NBA
Oct 16, 2019 1106
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)
Is the West really meritocratic?
Oct 15, 2019 1106
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.
(Photo: Signposts for Yale and Harvard, Credit: Getty Images)
How to be angry
Oct 14, 2019 1106
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)
The vaping scare and big tobacco
Oct 11, 2019 1083
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)
Losing your mind at work
Oct 10, 2019 1083
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.
(Photo: Depiction of workplace stress, Credit: Getty Images)
Why whistleblowers need protection
Oct 9, 2019 1049
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)
Choose your own pay
Oct 8, 2019 1083
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)
The George Soros conspiracy
Oct 7, 2019 1049
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)
End of the road for US truckers?
Oct 4, 2019 1047
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)
The right to repair
Oct 3, 2019 1117
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)
The search for sustainable fabric
Oct 2, 2019 1115
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)
The onward march of Chinese debt
Oct 1, 2019 1116
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)
Brexit and the currency speculators
Sep 30, 2019 1117
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.
(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)
WeWork and the cult of the CEO
Sep 27, 2019 1047
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)
Climate Action: Should we plant more trees?
Sep 26, 2019 1132
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)
Climate Action: The moral imperative
Sep 25, 2019 1132
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.
(Picture: Dead cow in drought-struck Kenya; Credit: muendo/Getty Images)
Climate Action: Uninhabitable Earth
Sep 24, 2019 1131
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.
(Picture: Dead bumblebee from the cover of Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells; Credit: FXseydlbast/Getty Images)
Climate Action: Greta Thunberg's mission
Sep 23, 2019 1131
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.
(Picture: Greta Thunberg testifies at the US Congress in Washington DC; Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The future of Facebook
Sep 20, 2019 1049
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)
Robot race cars and AI
Sep 19, 2019 1102
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.
(Photo: A Roborace robot-driven car in action on the track, Credit: Getty Images)
Trading tinned fish and powdered milk
Sep 18, 2019 1102
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)
Whom should the corporation serve?
Sep 17, 2019 1102
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)
Africa's mobile credit revolution
Sep 16, 2019 1102
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)
The cost of sending money home
Sep 13, 2019 1136
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)
The cannabidiol craze
Sep 12, 2019 1048
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)
Going after Google
Sep 11, 2019 1136
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)
Tackling the male fertility crisis
Sep 10, 2019 1137
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)
The world is running out of sand
Sep 9, 2019 1139
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.
(Photo: Illegal sand mining in Senegal, Credit: Getty Images)
Can technology read minds?
Sep 6, 2019 1090
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.
(Photo: A brain scan, Credit: Getty Images)
Brand Britain and Brexit
Sep 5, 2019 1089
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)
The hipster company that wants to save the world
Sep 4, 2019 1068
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)
Air pollution gets personal
Sep 3, 2019 1091
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)
Hollywood vs Netflix
Sep 2, 2019 1092
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)
Can we trust Rwanda's data?
Aug 30, 2019 1048
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)
Why is the price of insulin going up?
Aug 29, 2019 1112
The cost of insulin, the drug that diabetes sufferers depend on, is going up in the United States. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Laura Marston, a diabetes sufferer and campaigner from Washington DC about the effect that's having. We seek answers from Robert Zirkelbach, executive vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, representing the drug companies, and David Merritt, executive vice president of public affairs at America's Health Insurance Plans, representing the insurance companies.
(Photo: Insulin being produced at a factory in France, Credit: Getty Images)
How can women take charge of their finances?
Aug 28, 2019 1112
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)
Why not buy Greenland?
Aug 27, 2019 1123
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)
Get in line! Why queues are good.
Aug 26, 2019 1043
Queuing, or waiting in line, is close to being a national sport in the UK. We find out how orderly people are in other countries, such as Japan, when it comes to waiting their turn. "Dr Queue" - Dick Larson, Professor of Data, Systems and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tells us how many years we'll spend queuing throughout our lives. Thankfully, therefore, Kelly Peters, behavioural psychologist and founder of BEWorks in Toronto, explains how to make waiting in line a better experience for everyone.
(Photo: a large queue. Credit: Getty Images.)
The challenges facing Syrian refugees in Turkey
Aug 23, 2019 1099
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.)
The market's most feared recession signal
Aug 23, 2019 1042
Why central bankers meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, will be discussing the inverted yield curve and what it tells them about where the US economy is heading.
(Photo: A trader at the New York looks concerned. Credit: Getty Images.)
Ecommerce in Africa - still finding its way
Aug 21, 2019 1099
Will Jumia and other online retailers overcome a lack of infrastructure, wealth and consumer trust to conquer the African market?
Jumia is widely seen by investors as Africa's answer to Amazon and Alibaba. It launched its shares onto the New York Stock Exchange in April. But despite a billion-dollar valuation and rapid sales growth, the company is not yet turning a profit.
Ed Butler speaks to Kinda Chebib at Euromonitor Digital, as well as Aanu Adeoye, managing editor at Nigeria's leading online technology magazine TechCabal.com, to understand the challenges facing Jumia and other ecommerce platforms, not least the problem that many customers do not trust its delivery people or payments systems.
Jumia's Ugandan CEO, Ron Kawamara, tells us why he is confident that these problems can be overcome. Meanwhile Daniel Yu, founder of the rival business-to-business platform Sokowatch, explains why he draws inspiration from the success of similar firms in China, India and other developing 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)
Helping Africa feed itself
Aug 20, 2019 1047
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.)
The singing president who disappeared
Aug 20, 2019 1098
Turkmenistan's authoritarian president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow mysteriously vanished for a few weeks, while his country faced economic crisis. Then he reappeared. What happened?
Ed Butler asks what is going in this Central Asian nation, considered one of the world's most secluded after North Korea. The president's life and superhuman deeds normally dominate state television, so did his brief disappearance from the airwaves herald ill health or a fall from power? If so, who might succeed him? And how will any new leader tackle the gas-rich country's cash crisis and food shortages?
The programme includes interviews with Bruce Pannier of Radio Free Europe, Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch, Ruslan Myatiev of Turkmen.news, and Adam Hug of the Foreign Policy Centre.
(Picture: Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow performs his song Karakum on state television; Credit: Hronika Turkmenistana via YouTube)
Are stock buybacks a corporate scam?
Aug 16, 2019 1048
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
Has 3D printing met the hype?
Aug 15, 2019 1047
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
Should workers be offered unlimited paid leave?
Aug 14, 2019 1048
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)
Vanuatu's sacred drink
Aug 13, 2019 1104
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 12, 2019 1104
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)
A Brexit game of chicken
Aug 9, 2019 1103
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)
How to be ambitious
Aug 8, 2019 1049
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
The smart home hype
Aug 7, 2019 1102
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? Bryan Solis, principal analyst and futurist at tech research firm Altimeter in California explains.
(Photo: A smart speaker at home, Credit: Getty Images)
Vanuatu's missing women
Aug 6, 2019 1102
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.
Sunscreen under the microscope
Aug 5, 2019 1049
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
A global gig economy
Aug 2, 2019 1048
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 1, 2019 1047
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.
(Image: Workers on a Russian gas pipeline. Credit: Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
A Lesson in Pioneering Education
Jul 31, 2019 1048
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)
Can our planet afford meat?
Jul 30, 2019 1049
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)
When a work colleague dies
Jul 29, 2019 1109
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)
Are we too scared of nuclear energy?
Jul 26, 2019 1134
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.
(Photo: An early nuclear test at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1950s, Credit: Getty Images)
The truth about natural gas
Jul 25, 2019 1115
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.
(Photo: Gas flaring at an oil field in Montana, United States, Credit: Getty Images)
Britain's Brexit saviour?
Jul 24, 2019 1117
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)
The death of Venice?
Jul 23, 2019 1118
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)
Is air traffic control fit for purpose?
Jul 22, 2019 1118
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)
Life on Mars
Jul 19, 2019 1109
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)
Rome: Drowning in Rubbish
Jul 18, 2019 1048
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)
Why has Italy fallen out of love with the euro?
Jul 17, 2019 1105
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)
A degree from a screen?
Jul 16, 2019 1109
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)
Banning foreign home buyers - the New Zealand experiment
Jul 15, 2019 1048
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
How will China's credit binge end?
Jul 12, 2019 1048
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)
The US consumer debt pile
Jul 11, 2019 1108
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 10, 2019 1105
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)
The economics of Indian cricket
Jul 9, 2019 1104
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)
Should we be ashamed of flying?
Jul 8, 2019 1108
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.
(Picture: Aeroplane vapour trails; Credit: yellowpaul/Getty Images)
Hong Kong crisis: The business impact
Jul 5, 2019 1080
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)
The truth about cookies
Jul 4, 2019 1084
(Photo: Chocolate chip cookies, Credit: Getty Images)
Fast fashion: The ugly side of looking good
Jul 3, 2019 1082
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 2, 2019 1048
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)
Money management for millennials
Jul 1, 2019 1048
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)
Making money out of music festivals
Jun 28, 2019 1047
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)
Shutting down the Internet
Jun 27, 2019 1049
Governments in Africa and elsewhere are routinely shutting off the Internet 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)
Protecting kids from porn
Jun 26, 2019 1087
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)
Get a job?
Jun 25, 2019 1139
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)
Life in an unrecognised state
Jun 24, 2019 1139
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)
The Facebook currency
Jun 21, 2019 1133
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)
Advertising in a digital age
Jun 20, 2019 1045
Is the future of advertising really all about data? One of the sector's largest firms, Publicis, has just bought digital marketing company Epsilon for $4.4 billion because, it says, advertising will become based on algorithms - and this will decide what we see on Facebook and Google. But Rory Sutherland, vice chairman of the Ogilvy advertising group and author of Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense, says that something is lost in the process when firms rely solely on big data for their campaigns.
Two experts who worked on President Obama's campaign tell us what it takes to persuade and influence people; we hear from Dr Robert Cialdini, professor emeritus of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, and Professor Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor and author of a book about conformity.
The next agricultural revolution
Jun 19, 2019 1135
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.
(Picture: The Broadbalk research wheat fields at Rothamsted; Credit: BBC)
Istanbul's vexed elections
Jun 19, 2019 1049
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)
Hostile environment for immigrants
Jun 17, 2019 1135
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.
(Picture: "Denied" rubber stamp; Credit: bankrx/Getty Images)
Wine and trade wars
Jun 14, 2019 1087
Wine exports from California's Napa Valley have dried up amid an intensifying US-China trade war.
In some cases, prices have doubled, dealing a blow to an industry that has already seen young people shun wine for bourbon and beer.
The BBC's Regan Morris speaks to third generation wine makers Michael and Stephanie Honig of Honig Vineyard & Winery, who say the trade spat has reduced their Chinese sales to zero.
We also hear from Honore Comfort, Wine Institute vice president of international marketing, who says cultivating export markets will ensure the industry keeps growing.
It's not all doom and gloom. Vivien Gay, Silver Oak Cellars director of international sales says it's been business as usual for high-end wine makers like hers.
Picture: People toasting with red wine (Credit: Getty Images)
The next financial crisis
Jun 13, 2019 1112
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.
(Picture: A trading screen flashes red; Credit: Getty Images)
Have we forgotten to be happy?
Jun 13, 2019 1099
Is the focus on economic growth misguided, and should governments make public happiness their ultimate policy goal? That's the contention of economist Lord Richard Layard.
Ed Butler looks at two countries seeking to do just that. Bhutan has long measured and prioritised what it calls "gross national happiness", and Tshoki Zangmo, a senior researcher for Bhutan's National Happiness Commission, explains what this means in practice.
Meanwhile New Zealand's prime minister has required that ministries in her government justify their spending on the basis of how it will improve general public wellbeing. Jess Berentson-Shaw, a senior researcher at the Public Policy Institute at the University of Auckland, says not everyone is convinced the new approach is as transformational as billed.
And why are the Finns so happy? We ask dancer and choreographer Minna Tervamaki, who has been nominated one of Finland's happiest people.
(Picture: Happy woman; Credit: kumikomini/Getty Images)
Big Brother backlash?
Jun 11, 2019 1048
Facial recognition technology is a powerful tool that can unlock phones and help you speed through airport security.
But many warn that a system designed to make our lives easier is open to abuse.
Ed Butler talks to one office worker who has launched a groundbreaking legal battle against its use.
We also hear from China, where hundreds of millions of CCTV cameras have already been installed, many of them with specialist facial recognition capabilities.
And, with the technology moving faster than the law can keep up, what type of restrictions should we place on it?
Picture: A security camera is pictured with police officers in the background (Credit: Getty Images)
The global trade in trash
Jun 10, 2019 1081
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)
Who is afraid of Huawei?
Jun 7, 2019 1093
America wants allies to follow its lead and stop doing business with the Chinese telecoms giant, which it accuses of espionage. Not everyone thinks the Trump administration is dealing with the company in the best way. Brianna Wu, a software engineer and a 2020 US congressional candidate believes the challenge with Huawei is around cyber security and not about trade. Meanwhile, technology analyst Carolina Milanesi says that for some countries, it’s simply too expensive to consider removing the company’s technology from their mobile data network. Our Asia business correspondent, Karishma Vaswani joins Manuela Saragosa from Singapore.
(Picture: An Android logo in front of a displayed Huawei logo. Credit: Reuters)
The rise and fall of viral marketing
Jun 6, 2019 1047
Could an advertising campaign featuring a bear help sell more washing machines? Looking to shake up the video advertising world, Matt Smith launched The Viral Factory back in 2001. We hear how getting consumers to create buzz by sharing your content online became central in selling products. But, Matt says the dominance of social media platforms and how they allow content to be shared is a concern for viral marketers like him.
(Picture: A bear holding a guitar in an ad. Credit: Viral Factory/Jellyfish Pictures)
Oil, guns and pollution
Jun 5, 2019 1087
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.
(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)
Is it time to tax robots?
Jun 4, 2019 1048
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)
The cost of farmed Atlantic salmon
Jun 3, 2019 1049
Once considered a luxury, we now consume 17 billion meals of the fish each year. Vivienne Nunis explores how it has become so popular and what impact salmon farming is having on the environment. Today you can even get salmon from a vending machine. The BBC’s Jonathan Josephs tries to buy some fish for his dinner in Singapore. However, concern is mounting over welfare standards on commercial salmon farms off the coast of Scotland. Dr Bryce Stewart is a marine ecologist and fisheries biologist who says there are considerable issues with sea lice, which damage salmon, especially if the chemicals used to treat the fish leak out into open water. Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, takes us through the story of how salmon farming grew so much that it started to compete with commercial meat production. The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation says that their welfare standards are some of the highest in the world, though there are areas for improvement. CEO Julie Hesketh-Laird says medicine usage levels have fallen, though farmers still need access to tools to prevent disease.
(Picture: A salmon vending machine in Singapore. Credit: BBC)
Jobs for prisoners
May 31, 2019 1046
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.
A turbulent time for low cost airlines?
May 30, 2019 1048
In recent months, a number of low-cost carriers have been feeling the pinch, cancelling flights, even losing their senior staff.Is it simply a case of the low-cost airline business having over-reached itself in the recent decades of relentless airline expansion? We hear from the Independent's Travel Editor Simon Calder on the rise of Ryanair. Tim Jean, a senior executive on the airline from 1995 to 2004, gives us a sense of the inner workings of the Irish carrier and its colourful boss, Michael O'Leary. And we look to the potential growth in places like Africa and Latin America.
Is Google too big?
May 29, 2019 1109
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 28, 2019 1048
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)
Europe votes for uncertainty
May 27, 2019 1108
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)
India election: Modi's report card
May 24, 2019 1070
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)
The plastic in the ocean
May 23, 2019 1087
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.
(Photo: A plastic bottle floating in the Pacific ocean, Credit: Getty Images)
The trillion dollar coach
May 22, 2019 1093
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)
Education for all
May 21, 2019 1091
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)
The meat-free burger
May 20, 2019 1086
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)
A new port in India
May 17, 2019 1164
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)
The magic money tree
May 16, 2019 1162
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.
(Photo: a magic money tree, Credit: Getty Images)
Climbing the student debt mountain
May 15, 2019 1163
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)
The cyber arms race
May 14, 2019 1171
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)
The coming floods
May 13, 2019 1167
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, according to climatologist Ben Strauss of US think tank Climate Central, putting many of the world's great cities at severe risk or inundation. The giant global real estate investment firm Heitman has been looking at which properties in its portfolio are most at risk, according to strategy Brian Klinksiek, who fears 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.
(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)
Disabled on Wall Street
May 10, 2019 1097
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)
Rebuilding an economy after two cyclones
May 9, 2019 1101
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)
India's caste quota controversy
May 8, 2019 1099
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)
Netflix moves into Africa
May 7, 2019 1101
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)
The price of bread
May 6, 2019 1101
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.
The value of domestic work
May 3, 2019 1069
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)
A four-day week?
May 2, 2019 1069
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)
The mega factory that never was
May 1, 2019 1072
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)
What young Indians want
Apr 30, 2019 1072
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)
Youtube: Cracking down on crackpots
Apr 29, 2019 1070
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)
When computer glitches ruin lives
Apr 26, 2019 1066
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?
(Picture: Businessman sitting in a data centre looking frustrated; Credit: AKodisinghe/Getty Images)
The global affordable housing crisis
Apr 25, 2019 1063
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)
Pricing in climate change
Apr 24, 2019 1065
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.
(Photo: Climate change protesters in London, Credit: Getty Images)
The true cost of periods
Apr 23, 2019 1064
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)
TED2019: Facebook, Twitter and democracy
Apr 22, 2019 1048
Jane Wakefield reports from the Ted conference in Vancouver.
(Photo: Social media app icons, Credit: Getty Images)
TED2019: Space junk, rockets and aliens
Apr 19, 2019 1083
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)
Should prostitution be a normal profession?
Apr 18, 2019 1083
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.
(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)
Pakistan's young entrepreneurs
Apr 17, 2019 1184
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)
The death of the local newspaper
Apr 16, 2019 1048
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)
WhatsApp in India
Apr 15, 2019 1049
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 AltNews.in, 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)
Uber files for IPO
Apr 12, 2019 1049
Uber is planning to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in a deal likely to value the ride hailing taxi app firm at about $100bn. Justin Rowlatt explores the shape of the company. On an operating basis, it lost close to $4bn last year, so will it ever make any money? We also hear from Alex Rosenblat the author of Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work, who has interviewed many drivers about their working conditions. And Uber's head of transport policy, Andrew Salzberg, says that what they are offering is much more comprehensive - he calls it "mobility as a service"
PHOTO: Uber app on a phone: Credit: Getty Images
Disney goes to war with Netflix
Apr 11, 2019 1058
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
An expensive democracy
Apr 10, 2019 1089
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)
When big business sponsors the arts
Apr 9, 2019 1103
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 8, 2019 1086
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)
The listening device in your pocket
Apr 5, 2019 1093
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.
(Picture: Outline of a mobile phone visible in the back pocket of a woman's jeans; Credit: Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images)
Bitcoin bounces back
Apr 4, 2019 1088
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)
Brexit: May reaches out
Apr 3, 2019 1094
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)
India's fugitive diamond billionaire
Apr 2, 2019 1089
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)
Alexa, what are you doing to the internet?
Apr 1, 2019 1137
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.
(Picture: Amazon Echo Sub subwoofer; Credit: Philip Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Italy embraces China
Mar 29, 2019 1067
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)
Is pan-African trade a pipe dream?
Mar 28, 2019 1064
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)
A hundred years of women in law
Mar 27, 2019 1062
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)
The essay cheats
Mar 26, 2019 1064
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)
Ukraine: Trading across the front line
Mar 25, 2019 1064
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)
Brexit: Oil, fish and bargaining chips
Mar 22, 2019 1100
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)
A basic income for all?
Mar 21, 2019 1102
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)
Ukraine's troubles with Mariupol
Mar 20, 2019 1049
Ed Butler reports from Mariupol port in eastern Ukraine. The port has lost a third of its fleet and up to 140,000 tonnes of exported metal products a month since Russia's construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait in May 2018, and restrictions on the size of ships that can pass underneath.
Cargo vessels are being delayed by up to a week, and the cranes on the dock stand idle. Larger international shipping firms have simply stopped coming.
Hundreds of jobs depend on the work here - Mariupol is Ukraine's second port - and local businesses are desperate for the blockade to be lifted. But that is not the only problem - corruption and proximity the front line create a whole host of issues. Mariupol was at the eye of the storm when Russian-backed rebels launched an armed struggle against the Ukrainian government five years ago.The airport connecting the city with the rest of the country has been shut ever since.
This programme was produced by Anna Noryskiewicz
PHOTO: The bridge from Russia to annexed Crimea opened in May and heightened tensions with Ukraine. Getty Images
Is humankind on the verge of disaster?
Mar 19, 2019 1101
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)
The periodic table turns 150
Mar 18, 2019 1161
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.
(Picture: Manuscript of Mendeleev's first periodic system of elements; Credit: Science & Society Picture Library/SSPL/Getty Images)
Mar 15, 2019 1109
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)
Heineken in Africa
Mar 14, 2019 1107
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)
More Brexit blues for business
Mar 13, 2019 1108
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)
Ukraine's corruption problem
Mar 12, 2019 1109
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
Education in India: In need of reform?
Mar 11, 2019 1048
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)
Women in a man's world
Mar 8, 2019 1091
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.
Mar 7, 2019 1114
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.
(Picture: Sugar cubes on black background; Credit: tuchkovo/Getty Images)
A very sweet episode
Mar 6, 2019 1048
Elizabeth Hotson tracks the rise of sugar as a luxury good and its transformation into a staple of western diets. Sara Pennell, a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Greenwich will explain some of sugar's history as well as the dark strands of human history that made it affordable for so many. We’ll also hear about sugar addiction, the efforts to reduce the sugar content of western diets and the companies resisting the change.
Picture: An assortment of chocolates; Credit: Elizabeth Hotson)
Is a falling currency a good thing?
Mar 5, 2019 1049
Does a falling currency help or harm the economy? It's an urgent question for the UK, as the pound fell sharply in value against other major currencies after the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union in June 2016. Market commentators put this down to foreign investors becoming intensely gloomy about the prospects for the UK economy after Brexit. Others have welcomed the drop, saying it will benefit British exporters. But is it really such a simple, binary question? Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies investigates.
(Picture: A monitor at a trader's desk shows the dip in the value of the pound in the City of London on January 16, 2019; Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Twenty-first century monopolies
Mar 4, 2019 1046
Nearly everyone agrees monopolies are bad. That’s why there has been legislation limiting the dominance of companies, known as anti-trust legislation, for well over a century in the United States. But in the past anti-trust had as their target the traditional big companies like Standard Oil, with their dominance of physical resources and marketing networks and, most importantly, prices. 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: Vintage illustration of a wealthy oligarch looming over the factories and distribution centers of his manufacturing empire; lithograph, 1945. Credit: GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)
Mar 1, 2019 1122
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)
Fix my gadgets!
Mar 1, 2019 1086
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)
Who's monetising your DNA?
Feb 27, 2019 1123
Should the collection of vast genetic databases be dominated by private companies such as 23andMe or Ancestry.com?
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.
(Picture: Woman's cheek being swabbed; Credit: AndreyPopov/Getty Images)
The family tree business
Feb 26, 2019 1085
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 MyHeritage.com - one major company in this field - and Kristen V Brown who covers genetics stories for Bloomberg.
(Photo: Old family photos, Credit: Getty Images)
Bad blood in Silicon Valley
Feb 25, 2019 1119
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)
Is it time to regulate social media?
Feb 22, 2019 1075
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)
Is healthy eating affordable?
Feb 21, 2019 1084
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 20, 2019 1130
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.
(Photo: Zombie cosplayer; Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
Businesses preparing for Brexit
Feb 19, 2019 1092
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)
Where are the women in Hollywood?
Feb 18, 2019 1079
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)
Capitalism in crisis?
Feb 15, 2019 1080
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)
Rational partner choice
Feb 14, 2019 1094
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?
(Picture: Jill Davis and Ed Conard; Credit: Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
The education scam
Feb 13, 2019 1082
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)
Poverty and Corruption in Nigeria
Feb 12, 2019 1092
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)
Taxing the Rich
Feb 11, 2019 1082
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)
The Body Disposal Business
Feb 8, 2019 1130
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)
The Future of Fashion Retail
Feb 7, 2019 1047
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)
When to Pursue your Dream
Feb 6, 2019 1126
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)
Brexit: No Deal, No Food?
Feb 5, 2019 1048
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)
The Burning Question
Feb 4, 2019 1160
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.
(Picture: The sun sets behind an oil and gas platform in the Santa Barbara Channel, California; Credit: David McNew/Newsmakers/Getty Images)
Feb 1, 2019 1096
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)
Keeping your Eggs on Ice
Jan 31, 2019 1097
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)
Huawei and the Trade War
Jan 30, 2019 1098
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)
A Deepening Crisis in Venezuela
Jan 29, 2019 1016
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)
Will Tanzania's Drone Industry Take Off?
Jan 28, 2019 1098
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)
The Great China Slowdown
Jan 25, 2019 1116
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)
Bill Gates Makes His Pitch
Jan 24, 2019 1119
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.
(Picture: Bill Gates; Credit: Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Jan 23, 2019 1114
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)
Board of the Problem
Jan 22, 2019 1115
The number of female executives in the UK’s top companies remains stubbornly low. Vivienne Nunis speaks to Heather McGregor, dean of the Herriot Watt Business School and Sue Unerman, co-author of The Glass Wall, to hear what women can do to get a seat at the table in big business.
(Photo: Young businesswoman in a meeting, Credit: Getty Images)
China’s New Silk Road Comes to Pakistan
Jan 21, 2019 1117
China is lending Pakistan billions of dollars as part of an ambitious policy to disrupt global trade. Beijing is six years into a trillion-dollar plan that's been dubbed the new Silk Road. The project – officially known as One Belt One Road – aims to connect Asia with the Middle East, Africa and Europe, through a network of new trade routes.
Vivienne Nunis visits Lahore in Pakistan, where Chinese-funded infrastructure projects are transforming the face of the city. So how do Pakistanis feel about the increasingly close economic ties with their much larger eastern neighbour? Vivienne hears from Rashed Rahman, the former editor of Pakistan’s English language newspaper, the Daily Times. China expert Joshua Eisenman, from the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, explains the thinking behind Beijing’s big-spending plans.
(Picture: Road at Khunjerab Pass on the China-Pakistan border; Credit: pulpitis/Getty Images)
The US Government Shutdown
Jan 18, 2019 1108
At what point will the standoff in Washington DC start doing serious harm to the US economy?
Vishala Sri-Pathma speaks to two victims of the shutdown. As a prison officer, Eric Young is currently not getting paid by the government, even though he is still legally required to turn up for work. He is also a national union representative, and is calling on the government to start planning for a lockdown of jails as staffing numbers dwindle. Meanwhile Bob Pease, head of the Brewers Association, says that small craft beer makers could be facing real a crisis if the government doesn't start issuing licences again soon.
So how much longer can this all go on for? We ask Megan Greene, chief economist at US asset managers Manulife, and the BBC's North America reporter Anthony Zurcher.
(Picture: A signs says the Renwick Gallery museum is closed because of the US federal government shutdown; Credit: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images)
Ghosting at Work
Jan 17, 2019 1108
When is it acceptable to vanish from a job without warning or explanation, and why are more and more people doing it?
Ed Butler hears one woman give her reasons for doing just that, while web design entrepreneur Chris Yoko retells the tale of one no-show employee who took the art of ghosting to a whole new literal level. He also talks to the founders of the Japanese company Exit, which offers to provide resignation letters and phone calls for those too afraid to do it in person.
But why is ghosting - a cold shouldering tactic that first came to the fore in the online world of social media and online dating - becoming more commonplace in the real world of employment? Chris Gray of recruitment firm Manpower UK blames the booming jobs market, while Dawn Fay of US employment consultants Robert Half says whatever the reason, just don't do it!
(Picture: Co-workers have a business meeting while a man waits in the background; Credit: ER_Creative/Getty Images)
Judgement Day For Brexit Deal
Jan 16, 2019 1584
UK MPs have voted down Theresa May's deal for leaving the European Union. Rainer Wieland, German Member of the European Parliament gives the view from Brussels. David Phinnemore, Professor of European Politics at Queen's University Belfast explains the intricacies of the Irish Border. We have economic and financial analysis from Gabriel Feldmayr, Director of the ifo Center for International Economics and Sophie Kilvert of 7 Investment Management. And all through the show the BBC World Service UK Political Correspondent Rob Watson will comment on the day’s political developments.
Decarbonising the Atmosphere
Jan 15, 2019 1109
Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is becoming technologically feasible, but will it ever be commercially viable at the scale needed to halt climate change?
Ed Butler speaks to Louise Charles of Swiss-based Climeworks - one of the companies that claims it is already turning a profit from the direct capture of carbon from the air. They're selling the CO2 to greenhouses. But what the world really needs to do to stop global warming is bury the stuff in the ground, and who is willing to pay money for that? Ed asks Princeton ecology professor Stephen Pacala, and Gideon Henderson, professor of earth sciences at Oxford University.
(Picture: A Reykjavik Energy employee stands next to a carbon capture unit designed by the Swiss company Climeworks; Credit: Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)
Making The Desert Bloom
Jan 14, 2019 1047
With the threat of climate change looming, and growing ambivalence about whether the world can meet its stringent carbon emissions reduction targets to limit global warming, many people are searching for new solutions. But some people think they’ve already cracked it, as well as the solution to world hunger, simply by growing plants in salt-water. Dr. Dennis Bushnell, NASA's Chief Scientist, explains the potential he sees in the salt-water loving plants, known as halophytes. We'll also hear from two scientists, Dr. Dionysia Lyra and Dr. RK Singh who are working to make that potential a reality, at the Centre for Biosaline Agriculture in Dubai.
(Picture: Low chenopod shrub, Samphire (Salicornia europaea), a kind of halophyte. Kalamurina Station Wildlife Sanctuary, South Australia. Photo credit: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images)
The Consequences of China Cyber Espionage
Jan 11, 2019 1110
Did China steal the plans for much of its military hardware, like the J20 jet, from Western defence firms? And what has the US been doing to counter Chinese hacking?
Ed Butler speaks to Garrett Graff, a journalist for Wired magazine who has been following the twists and turns in US-China cyber relations over the past few years, including a hacking truce secured by President Obama, that broke down after he left the Oval Office. Plus Ian Bremmer, president of the risk consultancy Eurasia Group, explains why he fears that we are seeing a widening split in the tech economy between China and the West, and that this may be paving the way to a more dangerous real-world conflict.
(Picture: A J-20 jet performs at Zhuhai Air Show in China; Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Our Hilarious Universe
Jan 10, 2019 1111
Revenge of the nerds - how comedians are helping explain the world of science and tech. Reporter Elizabeth Hotson finds out how people are forging careers from our desire to know how the world works. We get a practical demonstration from Natasha Simons a science performer and writer. Ron Berk, Emeritus Professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland explains why he creates musicals about biostatistics and measurement. Helen Arney, co-founder of the Festival of the Spoken Nerd gives us a taste of science stand-up comedy and Jorge Cham, creator of PhD comics and co-host of the podcast ‘Daniel and Jorge explain the universe’, puts the fun into string theory.
Pic credit: Getty images
The Housing Disruptors
Jan 9, 2019 1048
There’s a shortage of affordable and social housing in most large urban centres around the world. But the construction sector is blighted by inefficiency and low productivity, and many say it’s ripe for disruption. Could modular or factory-built homes be the answer? We visit the factories and hear from two UK house-building ‘disruptors’; Rosie Toogood CEO of Legal and General Modular Homes and Nigel Banks at Ilke Homes. Mark Farmer of Cast Consultancy explains what’s been holding back innovation and Richard Threlfall, Partner and Global Head of Infrastructure at consultants KPMG gives us his take on the prospects for factory-built homes globally. Plus Rudy van Gurp from Dutch construction company Van Wijnen on why this may just be the cusp of big changes about to take over the construction industry.
Picture description: A crane taking modular home segments and stacking them on one on top of the other to make a new duplex.
Picture Credit: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images
A Dog's Life? Yes please!
Jan 8, 2019 1048
The global pet food industry is predicted to be worth nearly $100bn by 2022. Premium pet food has become big business. Sheila Dillon asks whether we've gone too far in pampering our pooches with expensive treats. We hear from Kevin Glynn and David Nolan, co-founders of food delivery service, Butternut Box. Butcher John Mettrick tells us about the raw pet food he makes for dogs and we peruse the menu at a high-end brunch for canines at M Restaurant in London.
(Photo: Three dogs behind a birthday cake surrounded by balloons. Credit: Getty images)
The Firm Where Everyone Has Autism
Jan 7, 2019 1049
Reporter Jane Wakefield explores the various ways companies can accommodate those on the autistic spectrum. Jane visits Autocon, a software company based in California which exclusively uses autistic employees. Jane meets company co-founder, Gray Benoist, the father of two autistic sons. We have contributions from employees, Evan, Peter and Brian and hear from Stephen Silberman, author of Neurobites which explores autism in the context of the modern workplace - especially in Silicon Valley. We also get the perspective of the National Autistic Society's Head of Campaigns and Public Engagement, Tom Purser.
(Photo Credit: Autocon)
Loneliness at Work
Jan 4, 2019 1048
Is loneliness an ‘epidemic’ that business needs to tackle? Vivek Murthy, the former US surgeon general, compared its effect on health to obesity or smoking. In the UK, the government has even appointed a minister for loneliness. But, Eric Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University says that data doesn’t support the idea that we’re lonelier today than in the past. However, it is a serious health problem that needs to be dealt with. We hear how people ‘catch’ emotions from others at work. Sigal Barsade, a professor of management from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania tells us the negative impact on performance at work is an incentive for business leaders to tackle the issue. And for some, loneliness is a business opportunity. We hear from Karen Dolva, CEO of Norwegian start-up No Isolation, which is developing devices that help connect people who would otherwise be isolated.
(Picture: A business woman looking sad sitting on the floor. Credit: Getty Images)
The Outlook for 2019
Jan 3, 2019 1048
Jeffrey Sachs, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Mohamed El-Erian discuss the big economic and political trends and risks to watch out for in the year ahead.
Economics Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University explains his pointed views on the US-China spat over Chinese tech firm Huawei, for which he recently received a barrage of criticism on social media. Former Nigerian finance minister and World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala relays how Africans have been left astonished and consternated by Brexit. And bond investor supremo Mohamed El-Erian of Allianz and Pimco says the global economy and financial markets are likely to get tougher over the next 12 months, although nowhere near as bad as 2008.
The discussion is hosted by Manuela Saragosa. The producer is Laurence Knight.
(Picture: A man jump between 2018 and 2019 years; Credit: oafawa/Getty Images)
The Electric Robotaxi Dream
Jan 2, 2019 1108
Will we all abandon our cars in favour of self-driving taxi apps by the year 2030, or is this pure fantasy?
Justin Rowlatt takes on the many sceptical responses he received from readers to an article on the BBC website in which he sought to explain "Why you have (probably) bought your last car". In it, Justin laid out the thesis of tech futurist Tony Seba that the convergence of three new technologies - the electric vehicle, autonomous driving, and the ride-hailing app - together spelled the imminent death of the traditional family-owned petrol car.
But can AI really handle the complexities of driving? Is there enough lithium in the world for all those car batteries? And what if this new service becomes dominated by an overpriced monopolist? Just some of the questions that Justin pitches to a field of experts, including psychology professor Gary Marcus, management professor Michael Cusumano, renewable energy consultant Michael Liebreich, and Uber's head of transport policy Andrew Salzberg.
(Picture: Illustration of electric car; Credit: 3alexd/Getty Images)
Can't Get No Sleep
Jan 1, 2019 1048
Had a late night? Well here's a programme about insomnia and the businesses trying to solve it.
Elizabeth Hotson takes part in what is possibly the world’s laziest gym class, and speaks to bed manufacturers, sleep app engineers and the inventor of a sleep robot.
But does any of these solutions actually work? Elizabeth asks Dr Michael Farquhar, sleep consultant at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. Plus Dr Michael Grandner, director of the sleep and health research programme at the University of Arizona, suggests a cost effective way of curing insomnia.
(Picture: Man suffering from insomnia; Credit: chameleonseye/Getty Images)
Dec 31, 2018 1108
How did whisky become the world's favourite tipple? Elizabeth Hotson discovers the secrets behind the water of life.
Rachel McCormack, author of Chasing the Dram, tells us how the giants of scotch attained their legendary status, and we delve into the archives of one of the world's most famous whisky brands with Christine McCafferty of drinks leviathan Diageo.
Elizabeth also talks to distillers from across the globe, including Whistlepig from the US state of Vermont, Japan’s Chichibu distillery, Spirit of Hven in Sweden and Rampur from India. She also unlocks the secrets of Scotland's silent distilleries during a visit to Edradour, and samples the most popular whisky cocktail at one of the world's best bars. Lucky Elizabeth!
(Picture: Glenlivet barrels; Credit: BBC)
Africa's Missing Maps
Dec 28, 2018 1124
What role can businesses play in filling Africa's cartographical gaps? And can better maps help fight diseases like cholera?
In her third and final programme about the progress being made in properly charting the continent, Katie Prescott asks what companies can do in locations where satellite images cannot penetrate dense rainforest and cloud cover, or in slums whose streets are not navigable by Google streetview cars.
She speaks to John Kedar of Ordnance Survey, Zanzibar planning minister Muhammad Juma, Tom Tom vice president Arnout Desmet.
(Picture: Satellite images of rural Tanzania; Credit: Google maps)
The Housing Crisis that Never Went Away
Dec 27, 2018 1048
The property market in some US cities has still not recovered from the 2008 meltdown, while others may be seeing the return of risky subprime lending.
Vishala Sri-Pathma travels to Slavic Village in Cleveland, Ohio, which became a by-word for the mass repossessions that followed the bursting of the housing bubble a decade ago. In the nearby Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, where property prices remain 70% below their peak and many houses are still boarded up, Anita Gardner has set up a community group to help residents with housing problems.
Meanwhile on the other side of the nation, Austin in Texas is the fastest growing city in the US, thanks to an oil and tech boom. But Edward Pinto of the American Enterprise Institute explains why there are fears that the loosely regulated federal housing loans that are fuelling this boom could be the next subprime crisis in the making.
(Picture: A resident walks past a boarded up building in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in Cleveland, Ohio; Credit: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian Money, Cypriot Haven
Dec 26, 2018 1125
Five years ago, Cyprus was in crisis. An international bail-out worth over ten billion dollars saved the economy from meltdown, but also cemented the Mediterranean country’s ties to wealthy Russians. Many of them received a slice of Cypriot banks for cash seized from their accounts to help fund the rescue plan. A controversial and lucrative investment-for-passport scheme has also attracted Russian money - as well as new EU scrutiny.
While many banks have ditched their Russian clients and authorities have implemented a new system of stringent checks, Ivana Davidovic travels to the port of Limassol to investigate whether Cyprus has really cleaned up its act.
(Picture: Yachts line the marina in Limassol, Cyprus; Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Spice Islands & Slavery
Dec 25, 2018 1048
The history of the spice trade, and the human misery behind it, is explored by Katie Prescott.
Katie travels to the spice island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean, where cloves, turmeric, nutmeg and vanilla are still grown to this day. But it also supported a trade in African slaves who worked the spice plantations, as Katie discovers at what was once the local slave market.
Food historian Monica Askay recounts the cultural importance that these spices gained in Europe and the other markets where they ended up, while Rahul Tandon how they came to define Indian cuisine.
(Picture: Spices; Credit: Whitestorm/Getty Images)
Inhaling in LA
Dec 24, 2018 1119
Will legal cannabis and smart scooters help transform the atmosphere that Angelenos breathe? Jane Wakefield reports from the Los Angeles on two hi-tech industries hoping citizens will breathe deeply.
Smart scooters have been taken up with alacrity in a city notorious for its traffic jams and smog, and public official Mike Gatto is a big fan. But not everyone is happy with users' lack of respect for the rules of the road.
Across town, at the clean-cut offices of marijuana app Eaze, Sheena Shiravi explains how getting high is becoming increasingly hi-tech.
(Picture: Airplane landing at Los Angeles Airport above a billboard advertising marijuana delivery service Eaze; Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Modern Love in India
Dec 21, 2018 1088
Are dating apps like Tinder speeding up the decline of the arranged marriage in India? Manuela Saragosa speaks to the brains behind three apps competing in what is a gigantic market for hundreds of millions of lonely hearts.
Mandy Ginsberg, chief executive of Match Group, talks about the generational shift they are seeing in Indian attitudes to dating, having just launched the Tinder app there. Priti Joshi, director of strategy at Bumble describes her surprise that Indian millennials seem unconcerned about dating across social castes. And Gourav Rakshit, who runs the more traditional marriage-focused app Shaadi.com, explains why he thinks the scope for Western-style casual dating is still quite limited in his country.
(Picture: Young Indian woman using mobile phone; Credit: triloks/Getty Images)
Huawei: Who are they?
Dec 20, 2018 1094
Is the telecoms equipment provider a front for Chinese espionage or just the victim of the escalating US-China dispute? Why don't Western governments trust the company to handle its citizens' data?
Following the controversial arrest in Canada of Huawei's finance head Meng Wanzhou, the BBC's Vishala Sri-Pathma asks whether the move is just the latest step in a tech cold war between the US and China. She speaks to Rand Corporation defence analyst Timothy Heath, tech journalist Charles Arthur, and China tech podcaster Elliott Zaagman.
(Picture: Security guard keeps watch at the entrance to the Huawei global headquarters in Shenzhen, China; Credit: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images)
DR Congo and Electric Cars
Dec 19, 2018 1048
Presidential elections in the DRC this weekend come after 17 years of conflict-ridden rule under controversial president Joseph Kabila. Leading businessman and mine-owner Emmanuel Weyi explains why he has pulled out of the presidential race. But the country's mineral wealth also means the elections are being closely watched by international industries. Indigo Ellis from the risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft gives her assessment, and Jack Lifton, a business operations consultant in metals and an expert on cobalt, explains why one mineral produced in the DRC is so important to the emerging electric car industry.
(Photo: Women walk past a campaign poster of the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila's chosen successor Emmanual Ramazani Shadary in Kinshasa, Credit: Getty Images)
Robots and Video Games for Old People
Dec 18, 2018 1100
How technology can help look after an ageing population. Ed Butler visits a care home in Japan where robots are used to help dementia patients, and hears from Adam Gazzaley, a California-based professor of neurology and psychiatry who has developed a video game aimed at keeping older people alert. Computer science academic Alessandro di Nuevo gives an overview of how technology is increasingly employed in elderly care.
(Photo: 'Paro', the therapeutic seal robot with an elderly woman in Japan, Credit: BBC)
Bangalore: India's Silicon Valley?
Dec 17, 2018 1048
The people vying for success in India's tech startup scene. Rahul Tandon explores how Bangalore has turned into a hub for Indian tech startups, and meets the young Indians who have shunned the security of a salaried job in the tech sector to strike out on their own.
(Photo: Interns working at one tech startup in Bangalore, Credit: Getty Images)
Young, Gifted and Black
Dec 14, 2018 1087
Racism persists in the workplace - how do we stop it blighting another generation of talent?
Vishala Sri-Pathma visits Deji Adeoshun, leader of the Moving On Up programme, which seeks to improve employment opportunities for young black men in London, to find out how simply having the wrong name and sounding too street can harm your job prospects.
Business psychologist Binna Kandola explains how racism in the office has mutated into a more subtle form that many white people fail to recognise exists. Plus Michael Caines - one of only two black Michelin-star chefs in the UK - tells of the grit and doggedness he needed to rise to the top of his profession, despite his skin colour.
(Picture: Michael Caines; Credit: Michael Caines)
How to Be Uncertain
Dec 13, 2018 1048
These are uncertain times. The British Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a vote of confidence in her leadership, but the future of her Brexit deal remains unknown. In the US, Donald Trump faces a hostile Congress and multiple legal threats to his presidency. Meanwhile the IPCC says the entire planet must urgently address the existential challenge of climate change, yet the path forward remains littered with obstacles.
What is the best way to weather all this uncertainty? In a programme first aired in 2016, Manuela Saragosa gets advice from David Tuckett, professor and director of the Centre for the Study of Decision-Making Uncertainty at University College London. Plus, David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor for the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory, at the University of Cambridge, explains the difference between risk and uncertainty.
Lt Col Steven Gventer of the US Army tells us how soldiers are trained to deal with uncertainty in war. And, Will Borrell, founder and owner of Vestal Vodka and the owner of the Ladies & Gents bar in London, recalls how his customers reacted on the evening after the UK voted to leave the European Union.
(Picture: British Prime Minister Theresa May at the opening day of the G20 Summit in Argentina; Credit: Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images)
Doing Business amid Brexit Chaos
Dec 12, 2018 1044
Businesses are getting exasperated by the uncertainty over whether and how the UK will leave the EU in three-and-a-half months' time. Britain faces three options - either Prime Minister Theresa May's painstakingly negotiated withdrawal deal, or a traumatic "no deal" Brexit, or the humiliation of cancelling Brexit altogether. None of the three options commands clear majority support either in the UK parliament or among the British public. And as the clock ticks down to 29 March 2019, businesses are hurriedly preparing for all possible scenarios.Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt; Dr Gemma Tetlow, chief economist at think tank the Institute for Government; and Jacob Thundil, founder of British coconut products exporter Cocofina.
(Picture: A container ship at the port of Felixstowe, UK; Credit: Getty Images)
Dec 11, 2018 1035
European glass eels are worth a fortune in East Asia, where they're regarded as a delicacy in restaurants in China and Japan. But the lucrative smuggling trade from Europe to Asia is contributing to their status as an endangered species. Ed Butler tries some eel in a restaurant in Japan while UN researcher Florian Stein describes the scale of the smuggling. Andrew Kerr, chairman and founder of Sustainable Eel Group, explains the risks to the species in Europe.
(Photo: A fisherman holds glass eels fished in France, Credit: Getty Images)
The Mug that Stood Up to the Mailman
Dec 10, 2018 1048
Donald Trump has threatened to pull the US out of the global postal system, after receiving a letter from the inventor of the "Mighty Mug".
Jayme Smaldone tells Manuela Saragosa how he was prompted to write the letter by the inexplicably low prices that Chinese knock-offs of his product were able to charge on online retail platforms in the US.
It all boiled down to the arcane system of international postal charges set by the Universal Postal Union way back in the 1800s, as Washington DC-based lawyer Jim Campbell explains. And according to Gary Huang of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, some Chinese businesses are profiting enormously.
(Picture: Mighty Mugs; Credit: Mighty Mug)
The Internet: Welcome to Creepsville
Dec 7, 2018 1074
It's easy for anyone, from criminals to stalkers, to dig up your personal information online. So is it even possible to disappear in our digital world?
Manuela Saragosa is somewhat shocked by Tony McChrystal of data security firm ReputationDefender, when he reveals the personal details he discovered about her from a cursory search on his mobile phone shortly before she interviewed him.
Silkie Carlo of pro-privacy lobby group Big Brother Watch explains why she thinks the big social media companies and online retailers need to end the implicit deal whereby they offer us free services in return for the ability to track and monetise our data.
Plus Frank Ahearn explains how his job used to be trying to trace individuals who want to disappear, such as those who have skipped bail. Today he helps clients disappear online, to escape stalkers or dangerous former business associates. He says it's not that hard to throw people off your digital trail.
(Picture: Computer hacker working on laptop late at night in office; Credit: FangXiaNuo/Getty Images)
How Not to Save the World
Dec 6, 2018 1047
Are "voluntourists" - foreigners coming to do well-meaning voluntary work - actually doing more harm than good at developing world orphanages?
Manuela Saragosa speaks to one who says she saw the light. Pippa Biddle travelled to Tanzania to help do construction work at an orphanage. But she soon realised that the shoddy work she and her fellow American students were doing was creating more work for the people they were supposedly helping, and the whole project was really designed for their own benefit.
But the harm goes further than that, as James Sutherland, who works in Cambodia for the child welfare organisation Friends International, explains. Voluntourism creates a demand for an industry of fake orphanages trafficking in children who are not even orphans.
(Picture: American woman with two African children; Credit: MShep2/Getty Images)
The Forgotten Workers
Dec 5, 2018 1048
Fighting for the rights of domestic workers in America, plus other 'forgotten' segments of the economy. Jane Wakefield speaks to Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance in the US, at a TED Women event in California. Yvonne Van Amerongen describes a 'dementia village' in the Netherlands allowing older people with the condition to continue to be part of society rather rather than being forgotten in a nursing home. And Activist Danielle Moss Lee defends 'average' workers.
(Photo: Domestic worker being trained in Manila, Philippines, Credit: Getty Images)
Brexit: The Easy Guide
Dec 4, 2018 1048
As the UK's proposed exit from the EU nears, things are getting complicated in the British parliament. We explain the options for Theresa May and MPs with the help of John Rentoul, chief political commentator for the Independent, Jonathan Portes, economics professor at King's College London, and Jill Rutter, programme director at the Institute for Government.
(Photo: Protesters outside the UK parliament in London, Credit: Getty Images)
#MeToo: Why the Backlash?
Dec 3, 2018 1048
Activist Danielle Moss talks about the backlash to the #MeToo movement highlighting abuse of women, while former gang member Eldra Jackson talks about toxic masculinity. Author of Rage Becomes Her, Soraya Chemaly, asks why men are allowed to be angry while women are not.
(Photo: A stock image of an angry woman, Credit: Getty Images)
Europe: Dream or Nightmare?
Nov 30, 2018 1107
Could the European Parliament elections plus Brexit next year together provide the death knell for the European federalist dream? Populist parties from the far right and far left across Europe hope to take control of the heart of Europe at the 2019 elections.
Manuela Saragosa reports from the parliamentary building in Brussels, in the last of our five programmes this week looking at the future of Europe. She meets two Brits whose careers were thrown into turmoil by the Brexit referendum in 2016. Simone Howse has been told that she can keep her job as an interpreter in the plenary chamber even after her home country leaves the EU. But MEP Catherine Bearder, along with her 72 compatriots, will be turfed out when her current term ends in July.
But what fears do the they and others in Brussels have of a looming populist takeover of parliament? What will it mean for the future direction of the European project? Is it the end of federalism? Someone who hopes so is the pro-European but anti-federalist Czech MEP Jan Zahradil.
(Picture: Manuela Saragosa in the European parliamentary chamber; Credit: BBC)
Nov 29, 2018 1046
The populist government in Warsaw is accused of picking fights with the EU and dividing the public against each other. Ed Butler reports live from the city of Poznan, where some residents tell him that they no longer discuss politics at home because it has become such a divisive topic within their families.
In a post-Brexit world, few Poles want to follow the UK in leaving the EU, and most agree that their country has benefited enormously since joining in 2004. Ed visits the Solaris bus manufacturing plant, where director Mateusz Figaszewski explains how his company can now easily export to the rest of the Continent. But many Poles feel that Europe is not treating their country fairly, among them are Zbigniew Czerwinski, the deputy head of the ruling PIS party in the Poznan region.
(Picture: Protest against supreme court reforms in Poland; Credit: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Italy and the EU: Split or Quit?
Nov 28, 2018 1104
Is Brexit boosting a bust-up with Brussels? Gianmarco Senna, is a ruling Lega Party counsellor with the regional Lombardy authority. He told Manuela Saragosa he thinks Brexit is marvellous. But while Italy is unlikely to follow in the UK's footsteps, Manuela is in Milan looking at how Brexit might help the Italian Government extract what it wants from the EU – more money to spend on helping fix the economy. And Professor Francesco Giavazzi of Bocconi University says there is a danger the country could split in two – the north and the south.
Image: Italian and European flags (Credit: BBC)
France and a Federal Europe
Nov 27, 2018 1046
President Emmanuel Macron has big plans to shape the future of the European Union. It looks like a multi-speed, multi-lane motorway. Is this really the answer to those who are tiring of the European project? And will trouble at home mean he struggles with his plans anyway? Rob Young speaks to President Macron’s economic adviser, Philippe Aghion who tells him about President Macron's plans to renew, some say to save, the European Union. He also speaks to former Socialist Presidential candidate and a current French ambassador, Ségolène Royal, about what many see as the biggest threat the EU faces - nationalism. Plus he visits a factory just outside Paris to find out why they support domestic reforms to the French economy.
Nov 26, 2018 1047
How do German citizens feel about the future of the world’s largest trading bloc? Ed Butler visits PSM Protech, a specialist engineering firm in Bavaria where he speaks to its owner Irene Wagner about what the EU means to her company plus he asks Volker Wieland, an economics professor at a Frankfurt University and one of Germany’s five key economic advisors, the so-called Wise Men, what the threats to the EU are.
(Picture: Irene Wagner in the PSM Protech factory. Credit: BBC)
The Man Mapping Zanzibar with Drones
Nov 23, 2018 1048
The Spice Islands' urban planning director, Dr Muhammad Juma, is a pioneer in mapping technology, using drones to get a clear picture of Zanzibar's urban sprawl. But it was an innovation borne out of necessity - the archipelago's population is booming, and so are its slums.
Katie Prescott travels to the Tanzanian province to meet the man. She also speaks to drone pilot Khadija Abdulla Ali, one of hundreds of young people involved in the mapping project, and - unusually in this traditional Muslim country - a woman in charge of a team of men. Plus Sebastian Dietzold, who is building an entire new eco-friendly conurbation called Fumba Town.
(Picture: Dr Muhammad Juma, director of Zanzibar Urban and Rural Planning; Credit: Chris Morgan/BBC)
Mapping Africa’s Megacities
Nov 22, 2018 1081
Africa is urbanising at break-neck speed. So how do people keep track of where city amenities are, or indeed which areas are at risk of flooding?
It's a job for the cartographers, armed with drones.
Katie Prescott reports from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's most populous city. Its population is growing at more than 4% a year, often with little planning. The slums of Kigogo district for example are regularly inundated by the neighbouring rivers, as community leader Osiligi Losai explains.
The first step to solving the problem is to map it. Katie speaks to Hawa Adinani of the Dar Ramani Huria project which aims to chart the city's drains, and Edward Anderson of the World Bank, who is using drones to locate key infrastructure for urban planning and disaster reduction. Plus urban political scientist Robert Muggah discusses what makes cities fragile.
(Picture: Dar es salaam aerial cityscape; Credit: Moiz Husein/Getty Images)
What Colour is 'Nude'?
Nov 21, 2018 1048
For generations, if you're not white, it has been difficult to find products that match your skin tone. Clothes, shoes and make-up can all be described as “nude”, but too often, this has only meant a shade of beige catering for white shoppers. What are businesses doing about it and why has it taken so long to see change?
In the traditional world of ballet, for over 100 years, pointe shoes were only made in light pink. Vivienne Nunis goes on a tour of the factory where dance-wear company Freed of London makes its pointe shoes, including newly-added brown and bronze-coloured shoes. Professional dancer Cira Robinson of Ballet Black tells Vivienne how she was involved in driving this change and how dancers previously used make-up to ensure their pointe shoes matched their skin.
When she couldn't find a “nude” bra, Ade Hassan launched the underwear company Nubian Skin. She says it's crucial that product developers consider what “nude” means to people with a range of skin tones. Finally, when Toby Meisenheimer's son Kai needed a bandage for a cut on his face, he was inspired to launch a business so his son - and others - could find a better match.
(Picture: Models wearing a range of nude-coloured underwear. Credit: Nubian Skin/Island Boi Photography)
The 'Big Booty' Business
Nov 20, 2018 1049
We get under the skin of the businesses trying to sell you a new look. Viral marketing has boosted the popularity of cosmetic surgery with social media platforms hosting an array of photos, videos, comments and recommendations. But there's a darker side, with the 'Brazilian butt lift' resulting in a number of fatalities. Dr Matthew Schulman, a New York-based plastic surgeon, says marketing through social media has shaken up his business over the last 10 years. He says if his online videos make you squeamish, his procedures might not be right for you. Presenter Manuela Saragosa speaks to reality TV star Natalee Harris, who had a botched surgery in Turkey, after a recommendation from a social media influencer. We hear from lawyer Cheryl Palmer Hughes, who has taken on a number of legal cases when procedures have gone wrong. She says the sector needs better regulation.
(Picture: A bottom marked with lines for surgery. Credit: Getty Images)
Brexit: An Outside View
Nov 19, 2018 1046
Will Britain's role on the world stage be diminished by leaving the EU? Views from veteran pro-Europe UK MP Ken Clarke, Dutch writer Joris Luijendijk and Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, a political risk research and consulting firm in Washington DC.
(Photo: British and EU flags at a protest in London in September 2018, Credit: Getty Images)
Amazon's New Headquarters
Nov 16, 2018 1085
The online retail giant has announced that it will split its long-anticipated new headquarters between Long Island City In New York City, and Arlington, Virginia.
Some 238 cities across North America had competed for the role. But many residents at the lucky winners are angry about the billions of dollars in alleged "corporate welfare" offered by their city authorities to lure Amazon in. Winner's curse?
Michelle Fleury meets the protestors in Long Island City, while Edwin Lane speaks to urban studies theorist Richard Florida, Seattle-based professor of public policy Jake Vigdor, and to Vinous Ali of the British tech industry body TechUK.
(Picture: Boxes with the Amazon logo turned into a frown face are stacked up after a protest against Amazon in Long Island City; Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Nov 15, 2018 1049
Climate change is an existential threat, so are civil disobedience and direct action the only way to save the planet? And is a global carbon tax the best tool to do the job?
Justin Rowlatt speaks to protestors from the new and militant environmentalist movement Extinction Rebellion as they occupy the UK's Department of Energy building in protest at their government's alleged failure to tackle global warming. He also speaks to Ben Stewart of the 49-year-old campaign group Greenpeace, who have themselves been targeted by their new rivals for not being radical enough.
But what policy change should they be calling for? Professor Bill Nordhaus of Yale University received this year's Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on economic models for how government's might go about taxing carbon dioxide emissions. But why does he think that so few governments are implementing it?
(Picture: Extinction Rebellion activists occupying the UK Department of Energy in London; Credit: Roger Harrabin/BBC)
Tackling Fake News
Nov 14, 2018 1047
How can we deal with misinformation on WhatsApp? The spread of false, sometimes malicious rumours on the platform is on the rise. There are also growing concerns around privacy on WhatsApp, which faces less scrutiny than more public platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
In India, a spate of mob lynchings were linked to messages circulated on the platform. During Brazil’s recent presidential election, political groups exploited machine learning technology to bombard voters with campaign messages, some including misinformation, racist and homophobic content.
Kenyan writer and activist Nanjala Nyabola has been tracking issues with WhatsApp in east Africa and from Brazil to Myanmar.
Ed Butler hears from Eric Mugendi of PesaCheck, which monitors the spread of fake news in east African countries.
Also, Yasodara Cordova, a Brazilian researcher specialising in Data & Misinformation at the Harvard Kennedy School in Massachusetts, says Brazil’s electoral court was too slow to take action against harmful messages.
But author Henry Timms says part of the solution would involve a public debate about how and what we share online.
(Picture: A WhatsApp logo on a screen. Credit: Getty Images)
The Death of Expertise
Nov 13, 2018 1043
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 on the subject 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.
(Picture: Two-year-old girl plays with carpentry tools; Credit: lisegagne/Getty Images)
The Rise of India’s Billionaires
Nov 12, 2018 1047
Are the super-rich the biggest beneficiaries of India's booming economy? It is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, but it also has some of the worlds most extreme inequality.
James Crabtree, author of The Billionaire Raj, tells us about India’s extraordinary explosion of wealth and the addition of almost 100 billionaires since the 1990s. One tycoon even threw an elaborate wedding for his daughter at The Palace of Versailles in France. Rahul Tandon tells the story of one billionaire’s daughter who moved to Scotland to study for a university degree. Her parents hired a cook, driver, maids and butlers to help her settle in.
Meanwhile corruption in India continues to thrive. Dr Anand Rai is a campaigner and was a whistle-blower in the Vyapam scandal, where civil service and medical applicants could buy entry into the system, rather than passing tough exams. He isn’t convinced that the current government is serious about passing a key law that would protect whistle-blowers.
(Picture: ArcelorMittal steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal with his wife at a wedding reception; Credit: Rajesh Kashyap/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Bossy Women and Women Bosses
Nov 9, 2018 1048
Does increasing the number of women on a company's board boost its financial performance? It's a popular narrative, but Manuela Saragosa speaks to Professor Renee B Adams of Said Business School at Oxford University, who claims there is no evidence to support it. And she asks Gay Collins of campaigning group the 30% Club whether it even matters.
Plus, how do you tell a male colleague that he's wrong without hurting his feelings? Or interact with a male employee without threatening his ego? Comedian Sarah Cooper has some tongue-in-cheek tips for the aspiring female executive.
(Picture: Young businessman being disciplined by female boss; Credit: LukaTDB/Getty Images)
Dating for Money
Nov 8, 2018 1048
As university tuition fees rise and rise, young female students are flocking onto online sugar dating platforms to find wealthy older men who can foot the bill. But where is the line between sugar babies and escorts - or indeed prostitution?
Manuela Saragosa speaks to the founder of one such dating platform. Brandon Wade is founder and chief executive of seeking.com, which claims 10 million members worldwide. And she asks Kavita Nayar, who is researching computer-mediated intimacy and erotic labour at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, whether these young women are being exploited, or liberated.
(Picture: Young woman with an older man bearing a gift; Credit: Stockbyte/Getty Images)
Bosses, Babies and Breast Pumps
Nov 7, 2018 1048
Engineers showcase new technologies to help women return to work after maternity leave - but why is the engineering profession itself so male-dominated?
Jane Wakefield attends a breast pump hackathon at MIT, speaking to businesses venture capitalists and campaigners such as Catherine D'Ignazio from Make The Breast Pump Not Suck. Jane also hears from engineers Emma Booth of Black & Veatch and Isobel Byrne Hill of ARUP about their experiences of returning to a very male-dominated industry after the birth of their own children, and the importance of networks such as The Women's Engineering Society. This programme was first broadcast on 19 July 2018.
(Picture: Woman holds up smart breast pumps; Credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
The Offline World
Nov 6, 2018 1039
Half of the world's population don't access the internet, and they're missing out on economic and social benefits says Dhanaraj Thakur, research director at the Web Foundation. Satellites might provide the solution to reaching people in remote areas according to Jason Knapp from the company Viasat and Larry Smarr from the University of Southern California. Dudu Mkhwanazi, CEO of Project Isizwe, describes the benefits of access for poor townships in South Africa.
(Photo: Internet users in the Ivory Coast, Credit: Getty Images)
Death of the Dollar?
Nov 5, 2018 1078
The US unleashed what it calls its "toughest ever" sanctions against Iran. The Trump administration reinstated all sanctions removed under the 2015 nuclear deal, targeting both Iran and states that trade with it. They will hit oil exports, shipping and banks - all core parts of the economy.
But what difference will they actually make? Ed Butler hears from Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, an outspoken policy advocate who thinks Trump's America First policies are endangering the very status of the dollar as the world's chosen reserve currency.
And to explain how a reserve currency works, Ed hears from Barry Eichengreen, a well-known currency expert and professor of economics at Berkeley in California. And the programme considers whether China's renminbi, or the euro, could ever take over from the mighty dollar.
(Picture: An Iranian protester burns a dollar banknote; Credit: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)
Minnesota at the Mid-terms
Nov 2, 2018 1048
How is America's industrial heartland faring two years into the Trump presidency? Fergus Nicoll visits the port of Duluth in the state of Minnesota and asks farmers, shippers and miners how the US-China trade spat has affected them.
Programme features interviews with Deborah DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority; Kelsey Johnson, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota; Randy Abernathy, owner of Industrial Weldors & Machinists Inc; and farmers Matt and Sara Weik, and Brad Hovel.
(Picture: Ship being loaded with iron ore at dock in Minnesota; Credit: PhilAugustavo/Getty Images)
Could Big Data Kill Off Health Insurance?
Nov 1, 2018 1048
As US health insurers ask customers to wear fitness trackers, are they opening a Pandora's Box of ethical dilemmas and business threats?
Ed Butler speaks to Brooks Tingle, chief executive of insurer John Hancock, which has been pioneering the controversial policy of rewarding customers willing to demonstrate that they exercise more. But Dr Michael Kurisu, director of the UCSD Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, asks what happens to those customers who refuse to participate? Plus the Financial Times' Undercover Economist, Tim Harford, talks us through the hazards and adversities of the insurance business, and why more information could obviate the purpose of insurance altogether.
(Picture: Young man checking his fitness tracker; Credit: kali9/Getty Images)
Who Gets to Chase the American Dream?
Oct 31, 2018 1048
A caravan of migrants heading to the US-Mexico border has sparked more debate around immigration. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Reihan Salam, executive editor of the conservative magazine National Review, who argues that America's immigration policy has to move with the times. Aviva Chomsky, professor of history at Salem State University in Massachusetts, says the narrative of the American Dream has never been quite what it seems.
(Photo: Honduran migrants heading to the US border, Credit: Getty Images)
Oct 30, 2018 1049
Economic abuse by one partner in a relationship can wreck lives and livelihoods. Vishala Sri Pathma hears from one woman whose husband took control of all of the family money, leaving her without cash to buy food or other necessities. But what can be done to make sure that women have access to money and partners do not take abusive control of the family finances? Vishala hears how banks can take steps to check women are not having their money choices controlled by someone else and from charities that help survivors of domestic abuse to make sure their finances are not being manipulated by an abusive partner.
(Picture:Woman looking at money. Credit:Getty Images)
Oct 29, 2018 1048
Brazil's new president Jair Bolsonaro says he doesn't know anything about the economy, so he's delegated economic reforms to a man called Paulo Guedes. Who is he? We ask the BBC's Daniel Gallas in Sao Paulo and speak to Gabriel Ulyssea, Brazilian economist and associate professor in development economics at Oxford University. And Chilean journalist Carola Fuentes tells us the story of the "Chicago Boys" - the free market economists who transformed Chile's economy under military dictatorship.
(Photo: Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrate in Brasilia, Credit: Getty Images)
Brexit: The Irish Border Conundrum
Oct 26, 2018 1086
It's the biggest sticking point in negotiations for the UK to leave the European Union. We examine the complex history, hear from workers and businesses on either side of the Irish border and try to unravel the complex web of politics.
Justin Rowlatt meets lorry drivers who work across the island of Ireland, frontier workers who live in Northern Ireland and work in the Republic, and a farmer whose land straddles the divide.
Belfast-based journalist Amanda Ferguson explains why the island of Ireland is divided and why that's still a sensitive issue.
The border question also threatened to topple British Prime Minister Theresa May this week, with pro-Brexit MPs from her Conservative Party threatening to oust her. She has survived. We ask our UK political correspondent, Rob Watson, for his assessment and what's next in these complex negotiations.
(Picture: A Guinness truck passes a sign for Customs and Excise on a road near the border with Ireland near Kileen, Northern Ireland. Credit: Reuters)
Are Saudi Reforms in Doubt?
Oct 25, 2018 1048
The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has left the kingdom reeling and some businesses have boycotted a major investment conference in Riyadh. Do these events threaten Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's much-vaunted economic reforms?
We hear from Seth Bannon of Fifty Years, a Silicon Valley seed fund. He's one business leader who's not attending the showcase Future Investment Initiative conference.
What about efforts to diversify away from Saudi Arabia's focus on oil? It has one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, valued at around $60 billion. But energy expert Ellen R. Wald says most large investments to date have been abroad, and not on proposed eco-friendly mega-cities in the desert.
Plus, as Germany says it's halting arms sales to the kingdom, what's the overall state of western arms sales to the country? We get analysis from Dr Anna Stavrianakis, a senior lecturer in International Relations at the University of Sussex, England.
(Picture: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meeting Jamal Khashoggi's son. Credit: AFP)
Buying the Midterms
Oct 24, 2018 1094
More than $4bn has already been raised by candidates running in the midterm elections in the United States. Ed Butler speaks to Shelia Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics and Charles Myers, chairman of Signum Global Advisors, on how Wall Street is giving more money to the Democrats this year. Michael Whitney from The Intercept describes Beto O'Rourke's record-breaking fundraising in Texas. And Mike Franz, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, discusses whether spending big on your campaign really matters.
(Photo: Stickers made available to voters in Iowa, Credit; Getty Images)
Is Gun Control Debate in the US Shifting?
Oct 23, 2018 1049
Since the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which led to the deaths of 17 schoolchildren and staff, the survivors have directed their political fire at the NRA. They intensified the political argument over the question – when and by how much should America tighten its gun laws?
The NRA, or National Rifle Association, is as ever a key player in this debate. America’s oldest civil rights organisation, it lobbies for the rights of US citizens to bear arms, in keeping, it says, with the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. But is their influence - and their finances - on the wane?
PHOTO: Student holds a sign during anti-NRA protest/Getty Images
Oct 22, 2018 1048
Many of the professionals in the world are ‘insecure overachievers’: exceptionally capable and fiercely ambitious, but driven by a deep belief in their own inadequacy. Their ability and relentless drive to excel make them likely to succeed in the competitive environment of elite professional and financial firms, but the work culture is also taking advantage of their vulnerabilities.
Although successful City careers are associated with high salaries and eye-watering bonuses, the work culture can place excessive demands on many workers, and lead to break-downs, health problems and serious social damage for a significant number every year.
PHOTO: Tired businesswoman working late at night. CREDIT: Getty Images
The Hunt for Stolen Artwork
Oct 19, 2018 1048
Thousands of paintings and antiques stolen by the Nazis and others remain in circulation on the art market, but just occasionally one gets returned to its rightful owner.
Manuela Saragosa speaks to two grateful beneficiaries. Penny Ritchie Calder is a warden at St Olave's church in London, which recently regained the 17th century statue of noted botanist and congregant Dr Peter Turner, while Sylvie Sulitzer got back a Renoir painting that belonged to her art dealer grandfather, in both cases some 70 years after they were stolen.
Professional art detective Chris Marinello of Art Recovery International guides us through the murky world of stolen artwork, while Lucian Simmons of the global auction house Sotheby's explains what the restitution department he heads is doing to identify and recover these items.
(Picture: Sylvie Sulitzer poses with the recovered Renoir painting "Two Women in a Garden" in New York; Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
When to Switch Off from Work
Oct 18, 2018 1040
Is the "always on" culture of work emails and messaging destroying our health? Should we have a legal right to switch off, like in France?
Manuela Saragosa explores the world of office Whatsapp groups and the blurring work-life balance, with Professor Mark Cropley of Surrey University, occupational health psychologist Gail Kinman of Bedfordshire University, and Ellen Temperton of solicitors Lewis Silkin. Plus entrepreneur Mitul Thobhani explains why at his tech company Baytree Labs he doesn't impose any division between work and home life at all.
(Photo: Woman rubbing eyes in bed while using smartphone. Credit: PRImageFactory/Getty Images)
Will Flying Taxis Take Off?
Oct 17, 2018 1048
Could drone technology solve our urban transport needs? Ed Butler explores the new generation of flying cars developers hope will be ferrying commuters around major cities in the next few years. Steven Tibbitts, chief executive of Zeva Aero, and Eric Bartsch of start-up VerdeGo Aero, give the sales pitch. Steve Wright, associate professor in aerospace engineering at the University of the West of England in the UK, gives the reality check.
(Photo: Prototype drone taxi on display in Dubai in 2017, Credit: Getty Images)
The Confusing Curve
Oct 16, 2018 1049
When governments need to raise money, they promise a reward in return for your investment. But how much - or how little - they're promising says a lot about the country, and if investors perceive it as risky to invest in or not. But why are analysts so obsessed over something called the bond yield curve? Pippa Malmgren, policy analyst, says at the moment there's nothing to be afraid of from what the curve tells us. Russ Mould from AJ Bell on the other hand says we should be careful. We try to make sense of this confusing curve.
(Image: A man stares at a confusing illustration of graphs on a blackboard. Credit: francescoch/ Getty Creative)
Is the Internet Fit for Purpose?
Oct 15, 2018 1049
Overrun by bots and identity thieves, does the worldwide web need a fundamental overhaul?
Ed Butler reports from the Future in Review tech conference in Utah, where he speaks to two entrepreneurs offering partial solutions. Denise Hayman-Loa's firm Carii offers corporations safe spaces for secure online collaboration, while Steve Shillingford's Anonyome Labs helps citizens keep their personal data secret when active online.
But do such solutions go far enough, or does the internet a complete redesign? Ed speaks to one of its original architects, Larry Smarr of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, as well as Berit Anderson, founder of the future tech media company Scout.
(Picture: Tangled network cables on white background; Credit: joxxxxjo/Getty Images)
Trump's Tax Scandal - Who Cares?
Oct 12, 2018 1049
Why has there been so little political fall-out from allegations by the New York Times that the US President and his family dodged hundreds of millions of dollars in tax, in some cases through outright fraud?
Manuela Saragosa speaks to Susanne Craig - one of the journalists making the claims after 18 months of painstaking research. Yet the US public remains unmoved. Bloomberg editor John Authers fears for what that says about the breakdown in trust in modern Western society.
Plus Pippa Malmgren, a former advisor to President George W Bush, explains why she thinks the tax investigation may represent a bigger threat to Donald Trump than the much-reported Mueller investigation.
(Picture: Donald Trump; Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Holidays in Space
Oct 11, 2018 1048
The private sector is muscling in on space exploration, and the biggest commercial opportunity could be tourism.
Ed Butler meets the star-gazers at the Future in Review conference of tech entrepreneurs in Utah. Ariel Ekblaw, who founded the Space Exploration Initiative at MIT, discusses the logic of self-assembling space hotels. Nasa chief scientist Dennis Bushnell talks cosmic beach combing.
And Chris Lewicki, head of space mining start-up Planetary Resources, explains why he thinks it makes more sense to mine water on asteroids than bring it with us from Earth.
(Picture: Fictional space station with astronauts and space ships; Credit: ZargonDesign/Getty Images)
Lab-grown Meat on your Table
Oct 10, 2018 1048
Are new forms of 'artificial' meat about to change the food industry? Regan Morris goes to California to taste a chicken nugget its makers hope will be on restaurant menus by the end of this year. Josh Tetrick is the boss of Just - the company behind it. She also hears from Mark Post, the maker of the first lab-grown burger, and Tom Mastrobuoni from Tyson Ventures, the meat processing company that wants to be the world's largest 'protein' company. That's fine but just don't call it "meat" says Lia Biondo from the US Cattlemen's Association.
(Photo: Chicken nuggets made from meat, Credit: Getty Images)
Oct 9, 2018 1038
Does STEM still have a problem with women? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dr Jess Wade, a physicist at Imperial College in London, and soil microbial ecologist Kelly Ramirez, co-founder of 500 Women Scientists. Rebekah Higgitt, a lecturer in history of science at the University of Kent in the UK, explains the marginalisation of women in science.
(Photo: Female scientist, Credit: Getty Images)
Italy Goes Rogue
Oct 8, 2018 1046
Rome and Brussels look set to clash over the Italian government's spending plans. What's at stake for the rest of the EU? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Claudio Borghi, economic spokesman of the Lega party, the right wing party now part of Italy's coalition government, and Jeremy Cliffe, columnist at The Economist.
(Photo: A 'debt clock' screen displays Italy's public debt at the Rome's Termini central station, Credit: Getty Images)
Indonesia: Solving Natural and Man-Made Problems
Oct 5, 2018 1079
The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.
Has Elon Musk Already Won?
Oct 4, 2018 1094
Whatever the fate of the heavily indebted Tesla Motors, is the electric vehicle revolution now set to sweep the world? And despite his Twitter antics and legal problems, has the company's chief executive earned the right to be brash?
Justin Rowlatt speaks to Gene Munster of tech investors Loup Ventures and to the author and tech prophet Tony Seba. Plus what is the future for fossil fuel companies in an electrified world? We ask Shell's vice president for new fuels, Matthew Tipper.
Image: Elon Musk (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Brazil Elections: Why Are They So Divisive?
Oct 3, 2018 1047
Up-coming presidential elections in Brazil have revealed a polarised electorate, tired of business as usual. With more than half of the current crop of Congressmen and women being under investigation in connection with some form of corruption, the polls suggest people are directing their votes accordingly - towards the far-left and far-right-wing candidates. Some Brazilian businesses have joined the push to clean up the system founding a 'school for new honest politicians' - a high-profile initiative, with dozens of graduates running for office this year. We are looking at the reasons behind this deep-seated problem and ask if, with the current crop of presidential candidates, there is hope for change?
PHOTO: Man and boy at an election rally waving a Brazilian flag/Victor Moriyama/Getty Images
Oct 2, 2018 1080
Does taking a stand hurt a brand? Business Daily hears from companies taking an outspoken stance on a political issue and asks whether it matters if you annoy some of your customers? Ed Butler asks why Nike's ad campaign fronted by controversial American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not appear to affect its profits. Plus, Tim Martin, the founder and chairman of the British pub chain JD Wetherspoon, reveals whether supporting Brexit has harmed his business. We hear from Hilary Jones, the ethics director of the UK cosmetics brand Lush, a company that has adopted an extraordinary range of controversial campaigns. And Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business explains why brand activism does not necessarily harm business.
(Picture: Colin Kaepernick and team-mates take a knee, prior to a game for the San Francisco 49ers in October 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Credit: Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Will Trade War hit China's Building Boom?
Oct 1, 2018 1042
As the US and Canada announce a new trade agreement, a trade war between the US and China still looms.
Laura Cooper from RBC Wealth Management told the BBC's Dominic O'Connell the North American deal came as a great relief after so much trade disruption lately.
George Magnus, a China expert and former chief economist at UBS, says it's difficult to see an easy end to the tension.
Presenter Ed Butler visited Xiong'an, a massive new city being built to provide more space for overcrowded and polluted Beijing. The government wants to build a new enormous economic zone - a new clean-and-green second capital city.
Yin Zhi, City Planner for Xiong'an New District, said there were environmental problems in the area, including a high flooding risk and poor access to transportation links.
There's also the question of what happened to the people who already lived in the land being used? And how will China pay for it all?
(Picture: Workers are seen on a scaffold close to the terminal building of the new Beijing Daxing international airport under construction in Beijing, 2018. Credit: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
The #FoodPorn Business
Sep 28, 2018 1079
Instagram and social media are transforming the food industry, but is the fixation on visual aesthetics destroying the dining experience?
Elizabeth Hotson explores the nexus between our stomachs and our smartphone screens, with help from sandwich blogger Xander Fletcher, cake decorator Georgia Green, online food and drink reviewer Rebecca Milford, food writer Natalie Seldon and restaurateur Cokey Sulkin, among others.
(Picture: Cake decorated by Georgia Green; Credit: BBC)
Bill Gates on Africa
Sep 27, 2018 1048
Bill Gates speaks to Manuela Saragosa about the future of Africa and the urgent need for the world to invest in the continent's exploding youth population.
It comes as the billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder launches the second annual conference in New York of his Goalkeepers initiative - a network of activists from across the world who aim to ensure that their governments fulfil the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
But why is it that the number of children born per woman in Africa remains so stubbornly high? We ask Olufunke Baruwa, a gender and development practitioner in Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria. And are the attempts of wealthy outsiders to solve Africa's problems misguided? Teddy Ruge, an outspoken Ugandan activist and entrepreneur, tells us it's time to let a new generation of Africans take over the controls.
(Picture: Bill and Melinda Gates introduce the 2018 Goalkeepers event at the Lincoln Center on in New York; Credit: Ludovic Marin/AFP)
The Company Without Managers
Sep 26, 2018 1048
Most companies around the world exist with some form of hierarchy. Usually it is a vertical structure, with executive above management, which is in turn above the workforce. But there is another form, a “flat” hierarchy. Long promulgated by tech companies and start-ups in particular, flat or horizontally-structured companies operate on the principle of “Be your own boss.” Everyone chooses their agenda, their pace and in principle there is no boss to upbraid you if you make a mistake. So does it work? David Heinemeier Hansson is a founder and partner at the web services company Basecamp, a company with a “flat as possible” structure. He gives his thoughts on being the boss of people when they are their own boss. We also hear from Drew Dudley, author of This is Day One and André Spicer, professor of organisational behaviour at Cass Business School, on the potential pitfalls of flat hierarchies.
The Company Without Managers
Sep 26, 2018 1079
Most companies around the world exist with some form of hierarchy. Usually it is a vertical structure, with executive above management, which is in turn above the workforce. But there is another form, a “flat” hierarchy. Long promulgated by tech companies and start-ups in particular, flat or horizontally-structured companies operate on the principle of “Be your own boss.” Everyone chooses their agenda, their pace and in principle there is no boss to upbraid you if you make a mistake. So does it work? David Heinemeier Hansson is a founder and partner at the web services company Basecamp, a company with a “flat as possible” structure. He gives his thoughts on being the boss of people when they are their own boss. We also hear from Drew Dudley, author of This is Day One and André Spicer, professor of organisational behaviour at Cass Business School, on the potential pitfalls of flat hierarchies.
Image: Silhouetted faces in a boardroom (Credit: Getty Images)
Sep 25, 2018 1067
CEOs and top artists are role models to many. But behind the tough, powerful exteriors they can be as vulnerable as anyone else. Who is keeping them in line? Ed Butler talks to Joyce DiDonato, one of the world's top sopranos, and her manager Joel Thomas of agency Askonas Holt, about the importance of a strong relationship between artist and management.
Also, Marc Effron of The Talent Strategy Group talks about how to manage a CEO like Elon Musk, who seems intent on damaging his own corporate image. And Kathryn Frazier a life coach based in Los Angeles gives an insight into dealing with artists who are running a career while living a rock star lifestyle.
(Photo: Joyce DiDonato performs an aria at Carnegie Hall in 2016. Credit: Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images)
Cleaning up Contamination
Sep 24, 2018 1048
It was the birthplace of the British nuclear industry, but Sellafield now carries a toxic, radioactive legacy. So how do you go about cleaning it all up?
Dismantling a nuclear plant is far from easy. Inside Sellafield crumbling, near derelict buildings are home to large quantities of accumulated radioactive waste, a toxic legacy from nearly seventy years of operations. Theo Leggett gets exclusive access to inside the site. Also in the programme, Theo finds out what can be done with ageing oil platforms when they reach the end of their useful lives.
(Picture: A general view of Sellafield Nuclear Power Station, 2017. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Welcome to Wakaliwood
Sep 21, 2018 1049
Uganda's home-grown film industry is proving a hit on YouTube, but does it glorify violence? Ed Butler heads to Wakaliga on the outskirts of Kampala to investigate, only to get shot with fake bullets.
Programme features interviews with the American immigrant studio boss Alan Hofmanis, director and screenwriter Isaac Nabwana, special effects supremo Dauda Bisaso, and British fan Timon Singh of the Bristol Bad Film Club.
Expect the Unexpectable!
(Picture: Dauda Bisaso mans his home-made prop gatling gun; Credit: BBC)
The Brexit Negotiation Game
Sep 20, 2018 1047
As EU and UK leaders gather in Salzburg for a crunch summit, which side holds the stronger hand? And will the argy-bargy ever really end?
Ed Butler speaks to two Brits well versed in the art of European negotiations. Sir Michael Leigh used to work for the European Commission, where he was in charge of agreeing the terms on which countries could join the EU. Meanwhile Steve Bullock was a member of the UK's representation in Brussels until 2014, where he parlayed with European officials on behalf of the British government over the drafting of new regulations. Both say that the UK's withdrawal from the EU is proving a very unusual negotiation indeed.
And it's all horrendously complicated - a point well illustrated by a Brexit board game developed by Eurosceptic historian Dr Lee Rotherham, which Ed struggles to make sense of.
(Picture: Pack of cards with EU flags on the back, and one card showing the British flag; Credit: a_lis/Getty Images)
The Trouble With Bike Sharing
Sep 19, 2018 1046
Why are Chinese bike-share companies struggling to replicate their success abroad? Ed Butler hears from Nick Hubble, a cycling campaigner in Manchester - the UK city where Chinese firm Mobike has just scrapped its bike-share scheme. Mobike's head of growth in Europe Steve Milton describes the challenges of global expansion. Julian Scriven from rival German firm Nextbike explains why the Chinese model doesn't necessarily work in other countries, and Dana Yanocha, Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in Washington DC, describes the challenges faced by US cities swamped by shared bikes.
(Photo: A Mobike on a London street, Credit: Getty Images)
How Corrupt is the Antiquities Trade?
Sep 18, 2018 1047
What is the true price of the world's looted antiquities? Is art dealing a corrupt business and does some of it fund terrorism? What about the role of museums? To answer these questions we turn to a former art smuggler, a forensic archaeologist and a museum curator.
PHOTO: Indian security personnel stands among recoverd antique idols and artefacts suspected to have been looted by an art dealer. Credit: ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images
Is time up for changing clocks?
Sep 17, 2018 1048
Daylight Saving Time is a roughly a hundred year old idea. It describes the point when many countries, mostly in Europe and the Americas, shift their clocks backwards or forwards. Now the European Union is considering scrapping the clock-change all together. Is this a good idea? We hear from places like Ohio and Finland and investigate how a clock change may or may not affect heart attacks, traffic accidents, air pollution, workplace productivity, childhood obesity and even custodial sentences by judges.
PHOTO: Man fixing a large clock. Credit: Getty Images
The Class of 2008
Sep 14, 2018 1049
What happened to those who graduated straight into the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression?
Kim Gittleson is one of them, and she goes in search of three others who - like her - found their career prospects straight out of university blighted by a disaster not of their making. Are they angry? Or did they actually learn some useful life lessons unique to their generation?
And how long a shadow has the grim milestone in financial history cast over their financial wellbeing and their ability to have families? Professor of sociology Kenneth Johnson of the University of New Hampshire and Lowell Ricketts of the St Louis Federal Reserve provide some of the answers.
(Picture: Dominique Witter and Eric Fraser on their respective graduation days in 2008. Credit: BBC)
Sep 13, 2018 1047
10 years after the failure of Lehman Brothers triggered global financial meltdown, Ed Butler hears from those who were in the middle of the maelstrom.
Lynn Gray was employed within the commercial property division in New York, while Scott Freidheim was Lehman's chief administrative officer and on the bank's executive committee. Plus the mess at the London Clearing House is retold by two employees who had to resolve some 70,000 outstanding trades that Lehman still had open as it went under.
(Picture: An employee of Lehman Brothers carries a box out of the company's headquarters building on September 15, 2008 in New York City; Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
Vaping: A New Addiction?
Sep 12, 2018 1048
Is the multi-billion dollar e-cigarettes industry doing more harm than good? Manuela Saragosa hears from Jack Waxman of the Students Against Nicotine campaign, who is worried about a new generation of vaping addicts in the US. Health campaigner Robin Koval explains why one brand in particular - Juul - has teenagers hooked. We hear from Dan Thompson, Juul's managing director in the UK. And is regulation about to catch up with the vaping business? Owen Bennett, global tobacco analyst at Jefferies, tells us.
(Photo: Vaper in an e-cigarette store in California, Credit: Getty Images)
Is the Party Over for Ibiza?
Sep 11, 2018 1048
The Spanish island of Ibiza has one of the world's best electronic music scenes - it's a huge business. Last year more than 3 million tourists visited the island. But the local authorities have had enough, they say that mass tourism is damaging the island and they are trying to stem the flow. But what will that mean for the local economy? Vivienne Nunis hears from club owners, islanders and tourists about how the business of dance music can co-exist with everyday life.
(Picture: DJ's at Space Nightclub, Ibiza, July 2011. Credit: Getty images)
Traumatised by the Great Recession
Sep 10, 2018 1048
The cost of the global financial crisis is often measured in terms of GDP, jobs, or homelessness, but the psychological scars of the Great Recession could be some of the deepest and take the longest to heal.
We hear about the link between money worries and mental health, including a businesswoman who attempted suicide after she lost her livelihood and struggled to recover. Plus, how recessions can damage an entire country's state of mind for decades, and how living through a recession could alter a young person's attitude to money for the rest of their lives.
(Picture: Lehman Brothers' employees comfort each other after the bank said it was filing for bankruptcy protection in September 2008. Credit: Getty Images)
Looking Back at Lehmans
Sep 7, 2018 1048
Ed Butler talks to historian Adam Tooze about the legacy of the global financial crisis, which peaked with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Adam Tooze is a professor at Columbia University in New York and the author of a new book Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. He argues that the reverberations of 2008 are still defining much of our political and economic life, from the rise of Donald Trump in the US to youth unemployment and economic policy in Europe.
(Photo: Lehman Brothers sign being carried to an auction in London in 2010, Credit: Getty Images)
The Rise of the Chinese Tourist
Sep 6, 2018 1047
Visitors from the country make up the largest travel market in the world. As only 7% of Chinese people currently have passports, the number travelling overseas is expected to rise.
In the UK, there's a growing demand for native British guides providing tours in Mandarin for Chinese tourists. Andrew Speake is a tour guide, who was inspired by his time living in China. We meet some of his guests over a pint of beer and a selection of pies in a traditional English pub.
And while most destinations welcome the influx of money the tourists bring, not everyone welcomes the disruption. Alex Scheutz, the mayor of Hallstatt in Austria, says residents there have complained about the noise from tourists using filming drones.
Given the huge growth in Chinese people travelling to Europe, we discuss concerns about overcrowding with Professor Wolfgang Arlt, director of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute.
(Picture: Tourists taking selfies at an aqueduct in Segovia, Spain. Credit: Getty Images)
Why Does Bollywood Want More Europeans?
Sep 5, 2018 1048
Bollywood is the biggest film industry in the world, making three times as many movies as Hollywood. With half of India's population under the age of 25, directors and producers are under pressure to keep up with the latest trends. They're casting a growing number of western, mostly female actors and dancers in Bollywood films.
Presenter Vishala Sri-Pathma hears how Liverpool-born Amy Jackson landed her first role in a Hindi-speaking Indian movie after a director saw her modelling work. London-based casting agent Nileeka Bose discusses the role western actors play in India's aspirational culture.
Ashanti Omkar from the BBC's Asian Network says people in India enjoy seeing western women on screen, as they consider them very glamorous. Anisa Butt, a British-born actress living in Mumbai, says she's pleased that there also seems to be greater acceptance of Indian skin.
(Picture: Bollywood film actress Katrina Kaif performs at an awards ceremony in New Delhi. Credit: Getty Images)
Former UBS Trader Faces Deportation
Sep 4, 2018 1047
Kweku Adoboli, who cost his former employer $2.3 billion through reckless trades, now faces being sent to Ghana, a country he left at the age of four. That's because the UK Home Office automatically considers any foreign national sentenced to more than four years in jail for deportation. Adoboli was convicted of fraud in 2012 after the largest loss in British trading history. His local member of parliament, Hannah Bardell, has been pushing the UK government to let him stay.
So is the high stakes gambling culture of the trading world all in the past? We hear from Peter Hahn, former Wall Street banking executive and Henry Grunfeld Professor of Banking at The London Institute of Banking & Finance.
(Picture: Kewku Adoboli. Credit: BBC)
Is Zimbabwe Open for Business?
Sep 3, 2018 1048
Following the historic elections, we explore the challenges facing President Emerson Mnangagwa as his government works to revive the country's ailing economy.
We ask investors if Zimbabwe is now a more attractive destination for expansion. Dr Charles Laurie is Head of Africa at global risk consultancy Maplecroft and Samir Shasha is CEO of Cambria Africa Plc, which has invested in a logistics business and a hotel.
With an abundance of natural resources, including diamonds, platinum and gold, what role could minerals play in an economic revival? Hugh Warner is the Executive Chairman of Prospect Resources, an Australian company that's built a lithium mine just outside Harare.
And the tourism business has just had an injection of cash. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently introduced a $15 million fund to support the industry. As the BBC's Vivienne Nunis has been discovering, there's still plenty of work to be done.
(Picture: Stone sculptor Mayor Zvawanhu in his workshop. Credit: BBC)
Are MBAs Worth It?
Aug 31, 2018 1048
MBAs - or Masters of Business Administration - are often seen as a must-have qualification to succeed in the business world. But now the number of students signing up overall is falling, with admissions down as much as 10 per cent at prestigious business schools in the US this academic year. An MBA can cost over 100,000 dollars, so are they really worth it?
Vivienne Nunis speaks to John Byrne, founder and editor of Poets and Quants – a website that gives MBA rankings and advice and Richard Socarides, head of global corporate communications and government affairs for Gerson Lehrman Group and a critic of MBAs.
Rahul Tandon explains why MBAs in India are falling out of favour and Professor Heather McGregor, Dean of the Heriot Watt Business School in Edinburgh, reflects on the brand power of prestigious business schools.
(Image: students at graduation. Credit: Getty Images.)
Trolling for Cash
Aug 30, 2018 1047
Anger and animosity is prevalent online, with some people even seeking it out. It's present on social media of course as well as many online forums. But now outrage has spread to mainstream media outlets and even the advertising industry. So why is it so lucrative?
Bonny Brooks, a writer and researcher at Newcastle University explains who is making money from outrage. Neuroscientist Dr Dean Burnett describes what happens to our brains when we see a comment designed to provoke us. And Curtis Silver, a tech writer for KnowTechie and ForbesTech, gives his thoughts on what we need to do to defend ourselves from this onslaught of outrage.
(Image: Warning sign attached on a fence. Credit: Getty Images)
Bodyguards: Up Close and Personal
Aug 30, 2018 1048
Bodyguards are an essential part of the entourage of any top politician, high net-worth business person, celebrity or royal. The industry is booming and could be worth $240 billion by 2020.
Political instability in certain parts of the world and an upsurge in super-wealthy individuals in the UAE, China, and other parts of Asia, are all factors contributing to the boom.
And more women are now signing up to be bodyguards, many of them returning from active duty in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Vivienne Nunis speak to one of them, Jacquie Davis, about her experience as a close protection officer, including the time she rescued a woman held hostage in Pakistan.
We also hear from Paul Ellis, who worked as a close protection officer for British cabinet ministers and Lisa Baldwin, a more recent recruit to the profession.
(Image: Close-up of a bodyguard. Credit: Getty Images.)
Why Do So Few Women Work in India?
Aug 28, 2018 1083
India has been developing rapidly over the past few decades. But in one way, it can still be very traditional. Women are often expected to stay at home after marriage. And that means only a quarter of Indian women are in paid work, according to the World Bank. So what's behind it? The BBC's Vivienne Nunis hears from Ajit Ranade, chief economist of Aditya Birla Group, and Radhika Kumari, founder of the Pink City Rickshaw Company, a team of female rickshaw drivers overcoming cultural barriers to break into a male-dominated field.
(Picture: Pink City Rickshaw driver Pushpa in Jaipur, India. Credit: BBC)
Handmade By Hipsters
Aug 27, 2018 1048
A compelling back story is now de rigueur when it comes to selling us things, especially in the food industry; whether it's a bar of chocolate or a cup of coffee, provenance is everything. We take a trip round London's trendy Shoreditch area with man about town and marketing expert, Peter York who explains why being 'handmade by hipsters' can justify sky high prices. Down in the depths of the British Library, Polly Russell tells us how the idea of the backstory came about. We take a leisurely stroll across town to London Bridge where Tom Sellers takes time out from service at his restaurant, Story, to wax lyrical about his culinary pièce de résistance - an edible candle. Steve Sutton, a Colombian in New York insists that sourcing beans from dangerous 'red zones' is vital to his coffee business, Devoción. And what do you do if you have a product to sell but no story to tell? Simon Manchipp from Shoreditch design agency SomeOne is here to help.
(Image: Confident Barista, Credit: Getty)
The Business of Conspiracy Theories
Aug 24, 2018 1048
Sites offering wild theories, and unsupported claims, are increasingly the stuff of modern online discourse. But what's the business model that's fuelling their rise? Alex Jones, the prominent radio host, is pretty much America's best known conspiracy theorist. As well as warning of a deep state conspiracy against the President, he's also claimed that the government is controlling the weather, that demons are taking over America, and that school mass shootings including the 2012 attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 small children dead, was in fact a hoax involving child actors. Such comments, offensive to many in the US, have recently seen his shows removed from Facebook and YouTube and suspended on Twitter, saying he's violating their rules around community reporting. Apple and Spotify have also taken down his podcasts. We hear from James Bridle, the author of a book called New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future, on why conspiracy theories are flourishing in the internet age, and from Filipo Menczer, Professor of Informatics and Computer Science at Indiana University, and Charlie Warzel, a news reporter at BuzzFeed, who has been looking at how these sites can now raise tens of millions of dollars, largely by selling medications to followers. Plus Professor Joseph Uscinski, a political scientist and fake news expert at Miami University in Florida who says that conspiracy theories have now themselves become part of the mainstream.
(Credit: Stevanovicigor, Getty Images)
What's Stopping a Brexit Deal?
Aug 23, 2018 1047
If London and Brussels can't do a deal over Brexit, there are warnings that there could be chaos next year, with economies stumbling on both sides of the Channel.
So what are the sticking points preventing a deal?
Ed Butler speaks to Victoria Hewson from the Institute of Economic Relations; Christian Lequesne, Professor of European Politics at Sciences Po, in Paris; and former Danish ambassador to the UK, Claus Grube.
(Image: Michel Barnier and Dominic Raab. Credit: Getty Images)
The Trouble with Tourists
Aug 22, 2018 1046
Should cities be worried about 'overtourism'? We hear from disgruntled locals in Rome, Edinburgh and Amsterdam. The BBC's Douglas Fraser reports on the dilemmas facing Scottish tourism in the face of rising numbers and Amsterdam novelist Joost de Vries describes the impact of tourists on his home city. Can anything be done? Yes, says Xavier Font, professor of sustainability marketing at the University of Surrey.
(Photo: A group of tourists in Barcelona, Credit: Getty Images)
The Lives of Working Animals
Aug 21, 2018 1034
Business Daily pays tribute to the working animals around the world. An estimated 200 million horses, donkeys, camels, elephants and other breeds form part of the global animal workforce - particularly in emerging markets. But those animals are often treated badly or have their lives shortened. So could putting a value on the work they do change the way they are treated? Manuela Saragosa hears from a charity for horses and donkeys in Senegal which is working out how much we owe to their labour. And the programme hears how rats from central Africa are outperforming dogs in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
(Picture: Mine rat training in Tanzania. Credit: APOPO)
Aug 20, 2018 1048
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.
Adapting To Climate Change
Aug 17, 2018 1047
Many places around the world have seen extreme temperatures this summer. In California, wildfires have devastated an area bigger than New York City, and forest fires have even spread in Sweden's Arctic Circle. On this edition of Business Daily, we hear from farmers in Australia where a devastating drought has gripped an area more than twice the size of Texas, and we meet a farmer in Suffolk in England who is already adapting his crops to cope with the effects of climate change. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Professor Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, on what the extreme effects would be if global warming passes beyond a certain temperature increase, and planetary futurologist, Alex Steffen, explains how economies must adapt to cope with these effects.
(Image: A boy plays on a farm in Australia during the drought. Credit: Getty Images)
The Power of Brand Vegan
Aug 16, 2018 1048
Animal-free is a huge business as more and more people are adopting plant-based diets, and a vegan label can mean bumper profits. From meat-free foie gras to vegan cheese, Elizabeth Hotson looks at how the food industry is adapting to the growth of veganism.
(Photo: Animal-rights activists protesting. Credit: Getty Images)
Trading Ancient Bones
Aug 15, 2018 1048
Mongolia is a gold-mine for palaeontologists, where thousands of dinosaur skeletons have been unearthed in the Gobi desert. But many of these skeletons have been smuggled out of the country to be sold at auction abroad as trophies for the super rich. Joshua Thorpe reports on how this adversely impacts on the work of palaeontologists and what is being done to repatriate these dinosaur skeletons back to Mongolia.
The trade in ivory from woolly mammoths dug up in Siberia is worth billions of dollars and is currently legal. So should it be banned? Iris Ho, senior specialist for Wildlife programmes and policy at the Humane Society in Washington DC, explains how the legality of the mammoth ivory trade enables traders in China to sell banned elephant ivory as mammoth; and Douglas Macmillan, professor of bio diversity at the University of Kent, gives his view on whether a ban on mammoth ivory would be effective.
(Image: the skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Credit: Getty Images)
Tackling Africa's Land Rights
Aug 14, 2018 1031
Could the tide by turning for one of the continent's trickiest issues - land rights? In Tunisia, President Essebsi has announced plans to submit a draft bill to parliament that would give women the same inheritance rights as men. Wafa Ben-Hassine, a lawyer and human rights advocate welcomed the news. However, she stressed that for real change to occur, the existing laws need to be implemented effectively. Jenna Di Paolo Colley from the US-based campaign group, Rights and Resources says the inability of local, indigenous populations to defend what's traditionally been theirs is a basic obstacle to development.
We hear from one man in Uganda who says a powerful gang has attacked and tried to kill him in order to claim his tribal land. The police officer accused has yet to be tried and is still working, contrary to police guidelines. Chief magistrate Juliet Hatanga explains that the problem in Uganda is getting the law to work for you, especially if you're a poor land-owner.
(Picture: A woman holding a basket filled with vegetables she has harvested. Credit: Getty Images)
Wildfires: The Growing Menace
Aug 13, 2018 1056
Europe and the United States have seen a series of devastating fires, with the biggest ever recorded in California and the most lethal in Greece. How can we tackle the issue of forests burning like never before? Ray Rasker from Headwater Economics in Montana has been researching financial and legal responses to US wildfires. Yiannis Baboulias, a journalist in Greece, says the government in his country has created an incentive for people to start fires, by failing to adequately register land titles. Christina Tague, Professor of Hydrology at the University of California Santa Barbara, has been using computer simulation models to try and predict how wildfires will behave and to establish what measures are most effective at tackling the problem.
(Picture: A firefighter working on the Medocino Complex fire in California. Credit: Getty)
Has Mining Cleaned Up its Act?
Aug 10, 2018 1004
Mining in the developing world still sparks violent protests - so what has the industry learned?
Grace Livingstone reports from the Tintaya copper mine in Peru, owned by mining giant Glencore, where local people are angry over the pollution of waterways, and two protesters have been shot. Why do these things still happen? Vishala Sri-Pathma speaks to Henry Hall of mining consultants Critical Resource.
Plus, meet "Dr Copper" - the copper market's reputation as a bellwether for the global economy. But why is the market price falling at a time when the world continues to boom? We ask Charlie Durant of commodities analysts CRU Group.
(Picture: Miners take a break at the Cabeza de Negro copper mine in Peru; Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Stars, Shirts and Sponsors
Aug 9, 2018 1048
How are elite football clubs able to raise so much money from sponsors and merchandise to spend on the top players?
Juventus just paid 100 million euros to buy Cristiano Ronaldo, a player who at 33 years old has only 2-3 years of his peak playing left. Ed Butler asks football finance expert Rob Wilson of Sheffield Hallam University to explain how they get the numbers to add up.
Plus Doug Bierton of retailer Classic Football Shirts talks about the fan nostalgia over vintage sponsors, and Nathan Brew, commercial manager at the Llanelli Scarlets explains why the Welsh rugby club decided to make room on their kit for more than 20 sponsors.
(Picture: Juventus new signing Cristiano Ronaldo poses with club shirt; Credit: Valerio Pennicino - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images)
India's Tea Crisis
Aug 8, 2018 1049
There's trouble brewing in India's tea industry. Tea production is one of India's biggest industries. But it's struggling in the face of increased competition from Africa. Rahul Tandon reports from the tea estates of Assam, where tea pickers demand higher wages, but producers worry about rising costs and falling global prices for tea.
(Photo: Tea pickers in Assam, India, Credit: Getty Images)
Could Pattern Discovery Change Big Data?
Aug 7, 2018 1090
Ever since the coining of the term big data, people have been hailing it as an asset of potentially immeasurable value to businesses and to medical science. But to master it, we need to master the patterns that data contains.
A new firm claims to have done just that, with software that doesn't just recognise patterns in data, it discovers patterns we weren't even looking for. Tech entrepreneur Mark Anderson has pioneered pattern discovery technology, which has many uses, such as working out which gene combinations are causing a disease. He says it would it would take today's supercomputers centuries to do calculations at the same level as his pattern computer.
Professor Ben Brown is chair of environmental bioinformatics at Birmingham University. He has used the technology for a pilot study on breast cancer treatment. His research identified three genes which interact together in a complicated way, which was previously impossible.
But Teppo Felin, professor of strategy at Oxford's Said Business School, says we still need a human to assess the quality and usefulness of data.
(Picture: a blue digital computer brain on a circuit board. Credit: Getty)
What's Up with Whatsapp?
Aug 6, 2018 1049
The developing world's favourite chat app is accused of spreading malicious rumours. In India the rumours led to the lynching of people falsely accused of child abduction, while in Uganda the government has introduced a controversial tax on social media platforms to stop alleged political gossip.
Ed Butler visits Kampala where he discovers how popular the app is, both for socialising and for business. Meanwhile Rahul Tandon reports from Kolkata on the unnervingly fast spread of the app across India. Plus Samantha Bradshaw of the Oxford Internet Institute explains what makes Whatsapp particularly well suited for lower income countries.
(Picture: Ugandan woman with painted nails using a cell phone; Credit: Godong/UIG via Getty Images)
Africans not Welcome
Aug 6, 2018 1046
It seems authorities in China's third richest city have introduced a ban blocking all Africans from checking into the city's low and middle-range hotels. Guangzhou has seen a growing migrant population in recent years and some locals claim African communities commit more crimes than other groups.
We hear from Juliet Hatanga, a senior magistrate from Uganda, who recorded the moment she was turned away from a hotel. The BBC's Danny Vincent visited Guangzhou and saw several hotels which were still rejecting people with African passports. Some hotel staff told him there was an order from the police demanding that hotels were not to take African bookings.
What does all this mean for the burgeoning trade relationship between China and Africa? African oil and minerals are key supplies in China's domestic industrial development. Are these latest controversial measures in Guangzhou a symptom of problems in the partnership? We discuss this with Buddy Buruku, a digital financials services advisor at the World Bank Group in Ghana and Dr Jing Gu, a Chinese-born research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies in Britain's Sussex University.
(Picture: People walk by in the Little Africa district in Guangzhou, China; Credit: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)
Bonus Podcast: My Indian Life Preview
Aug 3, 2018 214
Introducing Kalki Presents: My Indian Life - our new podcast with Bollywood actor, Kalki Koechlin. This preview tells you all about it. It’s raw, it’s painful, it’s joyful. It’s real life in India in the 21st century. Episode 1 will be available from 4 August 2018.
Welcome to Nicaragua
Aug 3, 2018 1049
How is political turmoil hitting tourism and the economy in Nicaragua, and where will it all end?
President Daniel Ortega has faced months of mass protests, which have been met with violence by pro-government paramilitary groups, resulting in some 275 deaths. The president has also lost the support of much of the business community.
Caitlin Pierce reports from the troubled country on how the once-booming tourism sector is coping. And back in London, Ed Butler speaks to Manuela Orozco of think tank Inter-American Dialogue, and to Nicaraguan opposition leader Juan Sebastian Chamorro.
(Picture: A student wearing a gas mask marches demanding the resignation of President Ortega; Credit: Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images)
The Skin Business
Aug 1, 2018 1048
Skincare is a multi-billion-dollar industry. But do skincare products really work? Vishala Sri-Pathma hears from Amy Elizabeth, a beauty expert at the shopping channel QVC, and dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto. And Tim Caulfield, professor at the University of Alberta in Canada and author of the book Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? explains why people still buy beauty products even through they know many of their scientific claims are wrong.
(Photo: Woman with clay face mask, Credit: Getty Images)
The Business of Body Curves
Jul 31, 2018 1085
Designers and retailers have long thought of the plus size market as high-risk. Predicting what these customers will buy can be difficult, as they tend to be more cautious about styles.
Making larger clothes can be more expensive; higher costs for fabric cannot always be passed on to consumers. In turn, plus-size women shopped less because the industry was not serving them well.
Louise O'Reilly is one of Europe's best known plus-size models. She runs a fashion blog called Style Me Curvy, and she says women need to feel good about themselves before they will lose weight.
Weight loss expert Steve Miller, who lost several stone himself and now helps others to do the same, says pandering to the overweight is bad for their health.
Jacqueline Windsor, a partner at accountants PwC, says retailers may be waking up to the opportunity of styling for larger sizes. Vishala Sri Pathma presents.
(Picture: plus size fashion model in blue dress outdoors. Credit: Getty Images.)
How to Spot a Narcissist
Jul 30, 2018 1117
Almost all offices have them. The person whose self-belief exceeds their abilities, who belittles their co-workers, and who considers themselves so special and unique, they're left infuriated when others fail to recognise them.
We're talking about the office narcissist. Tim Judge, an organisational and leadership psychologist at the Ohio State University, tells us how to spot one.
Karlyn Borysenko, author of a book called Zen Your Work, found herself working for what she later realised was a narcissistic boss. She said she had to make use of a number of strategies to cope.
And Don Moore, professor at the Haas Business School, says that while self confidence is ok, overconfidence destroys businesses and politics.
(Picture: A woman kissing a mirror; Credit: Getty Images)
The Death of the Job Interview
Jul 27, 2018 1077
Can AI takeover from the traditional job interview? Ed Butler speaks to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at University College London and chief talent scientist at Manpower, about the shortcomings of the traditional interview, and to Kevin Parker, CEO of HireVue - a firm that employs artificial intelligence to conduct remote video interviews for major companies. And Victoria McLean, boss of CityCV, defends the face-to-face interview.
(Photo: A robot job interviewer, Credit: Getty Images)
The Future of TV
Jul 26, 2018 1048
Young people may be turning their backs on the traditional TV set, but is it stimulating a golden age of drama?
Netflix, YouTube and Amazon are better at grabbing our attention via our phones and computers than the screen sitting in the corner of our living rooms. Manuela Saragosa asks how this is transforming the creativity of TV-making, whether it is leading to unhealthy binge-viewing, and if it will kill off the job of the TV channel scheduler.
Programme features Christoph Klimmer of TV streaming service Xstream, and Amanda Lotz of the University of Michigan. Produced by Laurence Knight.
(Picture: Abandoned TV; Credit: tacojim/Getty Images)
Are Things Getting Worse?
Jul 25, 2018 1046
Millennials are the first generation set to be worse off than their parents. Daniel Tomlinson, economic researcher at the Resolution Foundation in the UK, explains. But one notable exception to the trend is Norway. The BBC's Maddy Savage reports from Oslo. And are things really getting worse? Hear why there are reasons for optimism from Gregg Easterbrook, author of a book called It's Better Than It Looks.
(Photo: A fishing cabin in Norway, Credit: Getty Images)
Brexit: Deal or No Deal?
Jul 24, 2018 1111
The UK faces hard choices on what kind of future trading relationship it wants with the EU, or indeed whether it wants to do a deal at all.
Patrick Minford, of the pro-Brexit advocacy group Economists for Free Trade, lays out his vision of an economically thriving Britain, free of EU regulation, and striking free trade deals around the world. But is this realistic? And what would happen if the UK simply walked away from the negotiating table? Former trade negotiator Sir Andrew Cahn has serious concerns. Plus Dutch author and journalist Joris Luyendijk gives an acerbic European perspective on the dilemmas facing the UK.
Presented by Manuela Saragosa. Produced by Edwin Lane and Laurence Knight.
(Picture: Brexit negotiators' clasped hands with flags; Credit: vchal/Getty Images)
Are Algorithms Taking Over?
Jul 23, 2018 1048
Computer algorithms are running more and more of our lives. Should we be worried? Ed Butler speaks to Matthias Spielkamp from the pressure group Algorithm Watch, and to Julia Dressel, who's research uncovered the truth about algorithms in the US criminal justice system. And computer scientist and artist Max Hawkins explains how he broke free from the control of algorithms by living randomly.
(Photo: Computer code displayed on a screen, Credit: Getty Images)
Putin's Great Nemesis
Jul 20, 2018 1050
Businessman Bill Browder was singled out by Russian President Vladimir Putin, at his summit with US President Donald Trump, as a "person of interest".
In an extended interview, Manuela Saragosa asks the man who was once the biggest foreign fund manager in Russia how he came to incur Mr Putin's ire, and about his campaign to get Western nations to pass a "Magnitsky Act" imposing sanctions and visa restrictions on Russian individuals. Plus Dr Florian Otto of political risk consultancy Maplecroft explains what Mr Browder's case can tell us about the risks of doing business in Russia.
(Picture: Bill Browder testifying to the US Senate; Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Bosses, Babies and Breast Pumps
Jul 19, 2018 1048
Engineers showcase new technologies to help women return to work after maternity leave - but why is the engineering profession itself so male-dominated?
Jane Wakefield attends a breast pump hackathon at MIT, speaking to businesses venture capitalists and campaigners such as Catherine D'Ignazio from Make The Breast Pump Not Suck. Jane also hears from engineers Emma Booth of Black & Veatch and Isobel Byrne Hill of ARUP about their experiences of returning to a very male-dominated industry after the birth of their own children, and the importance of networks such as The Women's Engineering Society.
(Picture: Woman holds up smart breast pumps; Credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Music Stardom in the Spotify Age
Jul 18, 2018 1048
Recording artists and industry figures discuss the impact of the streaming revolution. Edwin Lane reports on how emerging artists are looking to streaming services like Spotify to help them build a fanbase. Manuela Saragosa hears from recording artist Verite on how she makes a living from streaming revenues alone, and Conrad Withey, the boss of a company called Instrumental, explains how streaming data can help record companies discover new talent.
(Photo: A phone displaying Spotify in front of old vinyl LPs in a Paris record shop, Credit: Getty Images)
The New Economy: Sharing not Caring
Jul 17, 2018 1047
Is the sharing economy actually about sharing at all? Ed Butler hears from anthropologist Adam Fish who says that democracy itself is suffering because of the privatisation of public spaces in our cities. And regular Business Daily commentator Jeremy Wagstaff in Singapore says that the sharing economy has turned out to be neither about sharing nor economics. He says businesses like bike and car-sharing companies are not benefitting the public as much as they benefit the companies themselves. Also in the programme, Enrique Dans, Professor of Innovation at Madrid's IE Business School, tells Ed he thinks that perhaps the most challenging example of how the sharing economy is undermining the common good could be with Airbnb. And we hear from Hong Kong where competition for shared spaces is very high, leading to new business opportunities for car park operators, amongst others.
(Picture: Bicycles of various bike-sharing services are seen piled up at an open area near a river embankment at Wuchang District on July 9, 2018 in Wuhan, China. Credit: Getty Images)
Workplace Crying: Bad for your Career?
Jul 16, 2018 1048
Should you let your co-workers see you in tears? Recent research has discovered that around 40 percent of women and about 10 percent of men have cried in the office at some point in their careers. But could that be bad for your chances of promotion? Ed Butler considers why we cry at work and hears from Kim Elsbach, professor of management at the University of California, about why it is better to hold back the tears if you want to make progress. And writer Stephanie Hare considers whether being unable to express emotions in public is contributing to a mental health crisis, particularly amongst men.
(Picture: Woman crying in office. Credit: Getty Images)
Pride and Prejudice
Jul 13, 2018 1048
What responsibility do corporates have to promote LGBTQ rights in countries where homosexuality is still illegal, or gay people are widely persecuted?
Ed Butler speaks to Mark McLane, the global head of diversity and inclusion at Barclays, one of the sponsor's of London's pride march this week about what his company is doing in the many countries in which it operates, including the US, where legislation still limits LGBTQ rights. And Nigerian actor Bisi Alimi tells his personal story of why he had to flee his home country because of his sexuality, and why he is now lobbying multinational firms to do more to protect gay and lesbian staff in Nigeria.
(Picture: Ugandan men hold a rainbow flag during the annual gay pride in Entebbe, Uganda; Credit: Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images)
Living Fast and Slow
Jul 12, 2018 1048
Abbreviated books, short-form TV, time-management gurus - has the cult of speed gone too far and is it time to slow everything down?
Ed Butler speaks to two business people hoping to cash in on our ever more hectic lives: Holger Seim co-founded Blinkist, which offers boiled down versions of long-form non-fiction books, while Perrin Chiles runs Adaptive Studios, which produces TV mini-dramas squeezed into slots that can be as short as 10 minutes.
But rebellion is afoot in the form of Carl Honore, whose unabbreviated book, In Praise of Slowness, pushes back against our culture's supposed need for speed.
(Picture: People rush through Manhattan, New York City; Credit: Georgijevic/Getty Images)
Fighting Fraud in the Food Chain
Jul 11, 2018 1049
Could blockchain technology solve the global problem of food fraud? Rahul Tandon reports on a meat scandal in India and Manuela Saragosa speaks to Jessi Baker, the boss of Provenance, a company that uses the blockchain to make supply chains more transparent, and to Chris Elliott from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University in Belfast in the UK.
(Photo: Cow farming in the UK, Credit: Getty Images)
Battling Mongolia's Pollution Problem
Jul 10, 2018 1069
Coal fires used to beat the bitter cold of Mongolian winters blanket capital city Ulaanbaatar with smog in the winter, the BBC's Roger Hearing finds, when he meets residents from the Ger District.
Typical sanitation is makeshift and in the form of latrines, says Choikhand Janchivlamdan, a sanitation expert at the Green Initiative. This can lead to the spread of disease. Lost livestock due to harsh winters and a desire for better education is leading people to the city, she says. As people move to the city from the countryside, the problem gets worse as no new sewage systems are built.
Tserenbat Namsrai, Mongolia's environment minister, plans to introduce smokeless fuel in a bid to combat pollution and introducing more electric heating.
Robert Ritz, a US professor who lives in the city, says PM2.5 particulates - that's atmospheric particulate matter that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres - kill thousands of people per year.
A Spectacular Merger
Jul 9, 2018 1050
Two companies dominate the global eyewear industry - and now they are merging into a glasses behemoth. What does it mean for the bespectacled public?
Manuela Saragosa investigates the story behind these two anonymous giants - Italian fashion frames designer Luxottica, and French lens-maker Essilor - with the help of American eyewear retail pioneer E Dean Martin, and Gordon Ilett of the UK's Association of Optometrists. And she asks the European Commission why they were happy to wave through their merger earlier this year. Producer: Laurence Knight.
(Picture: Glasses model frames - black silhouettes isolated on white; Credit: Alxyzt/Getty Images)
Mongolia's Mega Mine
Jul 6, 2018 1048
The gigantic Oyu Tolgoi copper mine will certainly make some people rich, but how many of them will be Mongolian?
Ed Butler speaks to the BBC's Roger Hearing, who is at the mine, fresh from taking a taxi ride hundreds of metres below ground. He has been delving into who will profit more from this vast project in the middle of the Gobi Desert - the Mongolian state or mine operator Rio Tinto. Meanwhile, above ground, the BBC's Joshua Thorpe speaks to some disgruntled herdsmen.
(Picture: Mongolian herdsman; Credit: BBC)
Britain's Brexit Befuddlement
Jul 5, 2018 1048
The UK still doesn't know what kind of future trading relationship it wants with the EU, more than two years after voting to leave and with less than nine months left to go.
Ed Butler and BBC politics correspondent Rob Watson explore the difficult choices that London politicians still refuse to face up to. Audrey Tinline looks at one of the most vexing issues in the negotiations - the Irish border. And Ed speaks to Allie Renison of UK business lobby group, the Institute of Directors, about what kind of a deal her member companies would like to see.
(Picture: British Prime Minister Theresa May stands at an EU press conference podium; Credit: JP Black/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Is Germany Losing its Mojo?
Jun 29, 2018 1047
Germany is booming, yet some commentators suggest the nation's loss of confidence on the football pitch may mirror economic angst back home.
A shortage of skilled workers, inadequate public investment, a failure to grasp new technologies - these are just some of the criticisms that Germans level at their own economic performance. And at the heart of it is a political crisis over the influx of migrants - something many economists say is sorely needed in this ageing nation.
Anna-Katarina Noryskiewicz reports from Berlin, plus presenter Rob Young speaks to Gabriel Felbermayr, director of the Ifo Centre for International Economics in Germany.
(Picture: A German fan looks dejected following defeat in the 2018 World Cup; Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Trump's Trade War
Jun 28, 2018 1048
Harley Davidson and Mid Continent Nail Corp are some of the US employers being hammered by America's escalating tariffs spat with its biggest trade partners.
Manuela Saragosa asks Vanessa, the author of The Girl On A Bike blog, what Harley fans like her make of the company's decision to move some motorcycle manufacturing from the US to Thailand in order to dodge new EU retaliatory tariffs. James Glassman of Mid Continent explains how the blow from the US President's steel import tariffs may flatten his company altogether in a county that voted 79% for Mr Trump. Plus former US trade advisor Pippa Malmgren explains why it may be wrong-headed for her government to try to address the country's perennial trade deficit in the first place.
(Picture: Hammer and nail; Credit: kutaytanir/Getty Images)
Turkey's Refugee Workforce
Jun 27, 2018 1048
Millions of Syrians, including children as young as 10, are employed illegally in Turkish factories and shops - working long hours, underpaid and without insurance or legal rights. There is talk of an entire lost generation of child workers, missing out on school because their families need them to earn.
Ed Butler reports from Istanbul, where he meets a family of garment factory workers who say they are paid less than Turkish colleagues for their 10-12 hour days. He also meets some highly educated professionals, who have been reduced to taking on much lower skilled work since fleeing the civil war in their home country.
But does their plight evoke pity among their Turkish hosts? Or resentment that cheap Syrian labour is undercutting their own wages? And what can be done to improve lives, and get their kids out of work and back into school? Ed visits the Turkish charity Hayata Destek (Support to Life) to get some answers.
(Picture: A young Syrian refugee in Istanbul; Credit: Raddad Jebarah/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The Business Case for Sleep
Jun 26, 2018 1048
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: A Sleepbox in Xian Province, China. Credit: Getty Images)
How to Give
Jun 25, 2018 1077
When it comes to charitable giving should we be ruled by our hearts or our minds? Is it better, for example, to give $100 to buy mosquito nets for dozens of families or should that money go towards training a single guide dog for a blind person? Is there even a right answer? Manuela Saragosa explores the problem with effective altruism.
Contributors: Rev Giles Fraser, priest-in-charge at St Mary, Newington, south London
Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at the Center for Human Values, Princeton
Michael Faye, GiveDirectly
(Picture: Charity savings jar. Credit: Getty Images)
Trump's Conflicts of Interest
Jun 22, 2018 1047
Does the US President mix his business with his politics? And is this anything unusual in Washington DC?
Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen, a non-profit watchdog in Washington DC, gives a summarised list of the alleged conflicts of interest of this administration, while Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, explains that contrary to popular expectation, almost none of the best performers among the first 44 US Presidents have been businessmen.
Plus Professor Martin Gilen of Princeton University tells Ed Butler that the evidence suggests that the influence of money over modern US politics has become as great as during the Gilded Age of robber barons of a century ago.
(Picture: Donald Trump at the Trump International Hotel In Washington DC; Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The Kidnapping Business
Jun 21, 2018 1048
Is kidnapping really that lucrative, and why are some countries, such as Mexico, plagued by the crime?
Ed Butler speaks to one kidnap victim from Mexico City, as well as Ioane Grillo, a journalist based there who has spent years studying the phenomenon. Kidnapping consultant Carlos Seoane explains what to do if you receive that dreaded phone call announcing that a loved one has been taken hostage. And Anja Shortland of Kings College London talks us through the logic behind kidnap insurance.
(Picture: A woman sits on a dirt road near Tijuana in Mexico after crashing her car while fleeing from would-be kidnappers; Credit: The Washington Post/
Turkey: Rising Prices, Hard Choices
Jun 20, 2018 1051
The Turkish lira slides on currency markets as the country prepares for a snap election - but are voters even thinking about the tough economic policies that may be needed?
Ed Butler reports from Istanbul, where the mood is pensive, and businessmen fret over rising costs and the prospect of harder times once the government's pre-election spending splurge is over. But will President Erdogan win the day and extend his 16-year rule further? And whoever wins, will they do what's needed to stabilise the currency and rein in the country's ballooning debts?
(Picture: The spice market in Istanbul; Credit: BBC)
What Can We Do About Fake Reviews?
Jun 19, 2018 1079
If you have ever bought something in an online shop or been to a restaurant, chances are you’ve read a review for it, apparently written by a customer.
And chances are you’ve also spotted more than a few suspicions ones, which stand out for their unqualified and lavish praise while being unusually free of personal details, or perhaps because they appear as a diatribe of awfulness designed to put you off forever. Who wrote those?
In fact, there's a whole industry surrounding fake reviews - and it matters because more and more of us are buying things online and relying on other people's online advice to make the right choice.
Freelance journalist Oobah Butler talks to us about his entire fake restaurant in London, James Kay, at review site Tripadvisor, tells us how they try to weed out inventions such as Oobah’s and brand reputation consultant Simon Wadsworth lays on tips for consumers and businesses.
(Picture: Customer review rating. Credit: Getty)
Imagining an Open North Korea
Jun 18, 2018 1081
Would you invest in North Korea? US President Donald Trump raised the idea at his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. His vision of a private condo on a North Korean beach is probably a long way away, but there are plenty of other countries lacking investment.
Paul Domjan, global head of research at Exotix, an investment firm and research agency, explains what a frontier market is.
Byung-Yeon Kim, professor of economics at Seoul National University, tells us how North Korea’s economy works.
(Picture: A woman carries a boxed flat-screen television on her back as she crosses a road in Pyongyang. Credit: Getty Images.)
Shades of Privilege
Jun 15, 2018 1049
Colourism is a more insidious form of racism, and harms the prospects of finding work and love for people with darker skin around the world.
Natasha Pizzey reports from Mexico and Daniel Gallas reports from Brazil on the efforts to fight back against the prejudice against skin tone, which often emanates from within the same ethnic community as the victims. Meanwhile, Ed Butler speaks to Sunil Bhatia, a professor of human development at Connecticut College in the US, who has studied the rise of this phenomenon around the world.
(Picture: Two young black women with contrasting skin tones; Credit: PeopleImages/Getty Images)
Dirty Money in Zimbabwe
Jun 14, 2018 1049
People queue all night to get filthy notes in a country which is running out of cash. Lesley Curwen visits Harare, the country's capital and talks to those who have to spend all night outside the bank and who then often don't manage to get any cash. And also when they do it's so dirty that it's not accepted outside the country. Plus Monica de Bolle of the Petersen Institute research group in Washington tells Manuela Saragosa about the economic similarities between Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
(Picture: People queue outside a bank in Harare; Credit: Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images)
Mongolian Yoghurt and the World Cup
Jun 14, 2018 1049
The usual western sponsors in this years World Cup have largely been replaced by Asian brands. Why?
FIFA makes most of its money from selling the broadcast rights to the World Cup, and through corporate sponsorship. But this year fans won't be seeing as many of the usual brands they're used to on billboards and adverts. Instead, they'll be seeing a lot of...well, Mongolian yoghurt as Simon Chadwick Professor of Sports Enterprise at Salford University in Manchester tells Manuela Saragosa. She also hears from Toby Hoare, CEO of J Walter Thompson in Europe, a marketing communications company which advises large global clients on how to manage their brands. Plus Sean O'Connor, co-founder of Statsports tells her about the tech players will be wearing this year.
(Picture: A girl standing in front of an advertisement by a Chinese dairy company sponsoring the 2018 Football World Cup, at a subway station in Beijing; Credit: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)
Jun 12, 2018 1051
More than 8,000 US Starbucks branches closed for several hours one afternoon late last month to give almost 200,000 employees mandatory racial bias training. The move came after the firm had to apologise over the arrest of two black men who were waiting to meet someone in a Starbucks in Philadelphia.
The training was designed to make staff more aware of their implicit, or unconscious, racial biases. And many more employees at other firms are taking part in similar sessions - we hear about the multi-million dollar training and consultancy industry that has sprung up around gender and racial bias.
But will this training work? Joan Williams, professor of law at the University of California, works on website biasinterrupters.org, which advises business on how to correct implicit bias in the workplace. She says one-off training programmes won't be enough.
Plus, Manuela Saragosa speaks to two entrepreneurs tackling bias in another way - Debbie Wosskow and Anna Jones, who set up The Allbright, a women-only private members club in the centre of London.
(Picture: Protests outside a Starbucks in Philadelphia in April 2018. Credit: Mark Makela, Getty Images)
Economics v Politics
Jun 11, 2018 1053
The fractious meeting at the G7 summit in Canada, where US President Donald Trump lashed out over trade, has highlighted the increasing strain in the relationship between economics and politics.
A new populist politics in the US and Europe has led to policies that have perplexed many mainstream economists, but should the economists being doing more to win over voters and politicians? Alan Blinder, professor of economics at Princeton University and former adviser to President Clinton, certainly thinks so - he says the profession needs to be more savvy.
Plus, Gideon Rachman from the Financial Times tells us how the fractious relationship is playing out in Europe.
(Picture: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to US President Donald Trump at the G7 meeting in Quebec. Credit: Jesco Denzel, via Reuters)
Tackling Trump in Trade Talks
Jun 8, 2018 1047
As G7 countries gather for trade talks in Quebec, could they gain some tips on how to fight back against the US steel tariffs from one of President Trump's favourite "sports" - WWE pro-wrestling?
Manuela Saragosa gets the views of Financial Times columnist and editor Rana Foroohar, and of William Alan Reinsch of the Washington DC think tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Plus Adrienne Murray gathers the rather mixed feelings of Trump voters about the US President's trade tactics in the rusty steel town of Warren, Ohio.
(Picture: Donald Trump pushes WWE chairman Vince McMahon over, in the ring at a Wrestlemania event; Credit: Sam Greenwood/WireImage for World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc)
Zimbabwe's Mineral Wealth
Jun 7, 2018 1046
Zimbabwe is "open for business", claims its new President Emmerson Mnangagwa, but can it finally put its natural resources to good use?
The BBC's Ivana Davidovic reports on the country's diamond sector, which has been a source of popular resentment and corruption, while Vivienne Nunis speaks to the Australian company hoping to develop one of the world's biggest lithium deposits in the country. Back in London, presenter Manuela Saragosa speaks to economist Judith Tyson of the Overseas Development Institute about the country's prospects following the fall of Robert Mugabe.
(Picture: Mine worker with lithium ore; Credit: BBC)
Do We Really Decide for Ourselves?
Jun 6, 2018 1082
Why do we behave the way we do in a group setting? Is it because of gender, because of taught behaviour or because of obligation?
Ginny Smith, a science writer and memory expert, shows us how to make a “mind palace” to remember lists, and explains how the power of suggestion can affect how we remember things.
What caused the last financial crisis? Some commentators suggest some of the blame can be placed on a male, testosterone-fuelled environment, but author Cordelia Fine says that ignores the real problem – bad decision making.
Journalist Angela Saini says gender balance in science is not such a problem globally as it is in the west, which she says sounds paradoxical. But because modern science took off later elsewhere, in countries which already had votes for women, more women take part as a matter of course.
Tax is a good topic when it comes to choice. Is how we think about fair shares of tax influenced by who we think about when it comes to tax avoidance? Yes, says Helen Miller of the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Vishala Sri-Pathma presents.
(Picture: Woman trying to remember. Credit: Getty.)
Jun 5, 2018 1048
There are over a billion people with some sort of disability in the world. How are we changing the built environment to accommodate this?
As well as wheelchair users, people with conditions from autism to asthma – hidden disabilities – have needs as well.
Presenter Vishala Sri-Pathma speaks to Sara Marchant at Gatwick Airport in London, which has come up with a novel system to help people with a hidden disability to identify themselves if they need assistance from staff.
Victor Pineda, a social development scholar and disability rights advocate, says there are many challenges for the physically and visually impaired, but new designs that help disabled people shouldn’t cost more.
(Picture: a woman climbing stairs burdened by an elephant. Credit: Getty.)
When the Bitcoin Miners Come to Town
Jun 4, 2018 1049
The real-world impact of the cryptocurrency business. Edwin Lane reports from Iceland, which has attracted power-hungry Bitcoin mines looking for a cheap source of electricity. Arni Jensen from the Borealis Data Centre shows him around a cryptocurrency mine near Reykjavik, and Johann Sigurbergsson from the geothermal energy company HK Orka describes the massive growth in the demand for electricity the miners have created. And the mayor of Plattsburgh, New York, Colin Read explains why his city is the first in the world to announce a temporary ban on cryptocurrency mining, amid concerns over its electricity supply.
(Photo: An illustration of Bitcoin mining, Credit: Getty Images)
Who is Elon Musk?
Jun 1, 2018 1113
He’s had a few outbursts in recent weeks. Calling stock analysts boring. Criticising his critics over the performance of his cars. Is he a genius, behaving like a playground bully, or both?
Tim Urban, a US blogger who has interviewed Mr Musk, says his lack of a PR team means his opinions come unfiltered, but his innovations make him a genius.
We also hear from Melissa Schilling, a professor at the Stern school of management and the author of Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World. She says he shares a number of traits with Nikola Tesla, the namesake of his cars.
Not everyone though is so enamoured. James Moore, chief business commentator for the UK's Independent newspaper, reckons he needs to engage with his critics rather than calling them names, or else run the risk of having them think they are right.
Thomas Asterbro, professor of entrepreneurship at the HEC Paris business school, says his pioneership may not be such an advantage business-wise. Companies like Amazon and Facebook were not the first in their field, but they are now dominant.
(Picture: Elon Musk and Grimes attend the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City. Credit: Getty.)
Being Watched at Work
May 31, 2018 1080
Why are we being watched more and more by technology, including in the workplace? Is it an aid to hard work, or prelude to oppression?
Wiretap co-founder Jeff Schumann creates software that monitors employee activity on workplace messaging apps. He says his technology is good, and can protect employees from backstabbing co-workers.
But to many, this technology has sinister potential. Professor Andre Spicer at Cass Business School in London says it is a reminder for employees of who is boss.
Ben Waber, president of a firm called Humanyze, tells presenter Ed Butler it has huge potential when it comes to spotting the previously unknown patterns of good productivity. Even having bigger lunch tables in the office canteen can increase output, as workers have more opportunity to chat and share ideas, he says.
(Photo: Giant surveillance desk with monitors. Credit: Getty Images)
May 30, 2018 1081
Africa is developing economically, but its own companies don’t have the same profile as western brands. How come?
Mary-Ann Kaikai of Madam Wokie Fashion, tells presenter Ed Butler about her dress designs in Freetown Sierra Leone. Her label made an impact on Hollywood red carpets, as well as in her home city.
The Brand Leadership Group conducts survey each year of the continents' favourite 100 brands. This year's list came out last week, revealing once again that more than 80% of the names are Asian or western, such as Samsung, Levi's, and Coke. Only 19 were African. Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of the company, tells us more.
So, what do African entrepreneurs need to do? Where can they get the experience to make a local product into an international one? That's where consultancies like De Charles come in. Ndubuisi Kejeh is a founding partner of this London-based firm, which aims specifically to build up African brands and what he calls it brand narratives for the continent.
(Picture: Mary-Ann Kaikai of Madam Wokie Fashion, and friend. Credit: Madam Wokie .)
Ecstasy on Prescription
May 29, 2018 1078
MDMA, the key ingredient in the illegal party drug ecstasy, may soon be approved as a medicine. Meanwhile, it's also making a comeback across Europe's clubs and music festivals.
Manuela Saragosa speaks to two neuropharmacologist David Nutt of Imperial College, who once got fired by the UK government for saying MDMA was less dangerous than horse-riding, and with psychedelic psycho-therapist Rick Doblin, who is seeking to get the chemical approved for the treatment of PTSD.
But while the drug may be safe in a clinical setting, dozens of people still die each year from taking illicit ecstasy pills. We hear from Andrew Cunningham of the EU drugs agency EMCDDA, and from Fiona Measham of the illegal drugs-testing service. The Loop.
(Picture: Ecstasy pills; Credit: portokalis/Getty Images)
May 28, 2018 1077
Can artificial intelligence and face recognition technology be racist? AI is increasingly being used in all aspects of our lives but there is a problem with it. It often can't see people because of the colour of their skin. Zoe Kleinman speaks to Joy Buolamwini founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, Suresh Venkatasubramanian from the School of Computing at the University of Utah and Calum Chase, an AI expert and author about what is being done to overcome this problem.
(Photo: Facial recognition system, Credit: Getty Images)
Europe's Data D-Day
May 25, 2018 1048
The EU's new data rules, coming into force today, could spell the end of spam mail - that at least is the hope of the General Data Protection Regulation.
Manuela Saragosa speaks to Rachel Aldighieri, managing director of the Direct Marketing Association, which represents companies in the UK that send adverts directly to customers, while the BBC's John Lloyd takes a more satirical look at the issue of junk mail and why he wishes it came with free scone.
Plus Jeremy Daum of the Yale Law School in Beijing explains how China's data rules gives the state - rather than the individual - new powers, and why anyone who skips paying a fine should think twice before trying to buy a plane ticket.
(Picture: Diary reminder tab for the General Data Protection Regulation; Credit: SBphotos/Getty Images)
The Death of Traditional Advertising
May 24, 2018 1047
How do brands survive in an era of big data, social media, and increasing consumer cynicism?
Ed Butler looks at the case of Royal Enfield motorbikes, whose sales in India were boosted even though it made a point of not paying for star sponsorship - unlike its rivals.
But if glossy magazine splashes and billboards featuring big name cricket stars don't cut it anymore, what is the way forward? Ed speaks to two practitioners of the dark arts of advertising - Steve King of social media analytics company Black Swan, and Jason Peterson, the chief creative officer at ad giant Havas.
(Picture: Torn and fading billboard car advert; Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The Antibiotics Problem
May 23, 2018 1048
Ed Butler investigates the mounting problem of antimicrobial resistance, and what can be done to prevent a crisis in treatments. He speaks to Dr Marc Sprenger, director of the World Health Organisation Secretariat for antimicrobial resistance and Lord Jim O'Neill, the former Goldman Sachs chief economist who was hired by the UK government to lead a comprehensive study into the problem. Are pharmaceutical companies doing enough? We hear from Thomas Cueni, director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations.
(Photo: Stock image of pharmaceuticals, Credit: Getty Images)
May 22, 2018 1047
Being paid to do nothing at work might sound like every employee's dream, but it can also bring shame and depression. We speak to a French man who successfully sued his employer because they gave him too little to do.
Plus, how many of us can say we are truly engaged with our work? We speak to anthropologist David Graeber, who found most of us think our jobs are meaningless or that they actually do harm.
But in India, people are crying out for work - Rahul Tandon reports on a job advertisement that attracted 23 million applicants.
(Picture: A woman wasting time at the office. Credit: Getty Images)
Agony in India
May 21, 2018 1048
A chronic lack of opioid drugs leaves millions of people throughout the developing world to live and die in unrelenting, excruciating pain. It is a particularly bitter irony in India, which historically had the world's biggest legal opium poppy industry.
The Lancet journal has dubbed the lack of access even to cheap pain killers such as morphine a "medical, public health, and moral failing". Justin Rowlatt reports from Kerala, where Dr M R Rajagopal is pioneering a revolution in palliative care, including the successful lobbying of the Indian government to liberalise its draconian laws on opioids in 2014.
But where will the drugs come from? Megan O'Brien of the American Cancer Society explains a cheap solution they are advocating in Sub-Saharan Africa. And Kunal Saxena, managing director of pharma company Rusan, tells of his hopes for the privatisation and expansion of India's opium business.
(Picture: Benedict Alexander, a patient at the Pallium India clinic, with his wife Bindu; Credit: BBC)
Venezuela in Tatters
May 18, 2018 1069
Economic depression, 13,000% inflation, oil seizures by creditors, international sanctions, a refugee crisis - can the Maduro government hold on to power at elections this weekend as Venezuela implodes?
We hear the views of Chavistas on the streets of Caracas, and of refugees on the Brazilian border. Back in the studio, Ed Butler speaks to Maduro critic and former government minister Professor Ricardo Hausman, of Harvard University.
Plus oil analyst Amrita Sen explains why an old legal dispute with ConocoPhillips has come to a head at the worst possible time for the government, and former Obama administration official Adam M Smith discusses the pros and cons of economic sanctions.
(Picture: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro surrounded by tiikertape during a campaign rally in Caracas; Credit: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)
Is China Tech a Trojan Horse?
May 17, 2018 1069
Are US allegations that Huawei is helping Beijing hack US data networks motivated by genuine suspicions or by trade protectionism?
Joe Miller reports from the US where some Americans feel frustrated that their government is restricting them from using the Chinese tech firm's cheap and reliable products. Meanwhile Ed Butler asks Wired journalist Scott Thurm whether the Trump administration's clampdown is just part of the broader trade standoff between the world's two biggest economies.
Plus, Chinese billionaire and artificial intelligence expert Kai-Fu Lee explains why he thinks ultimately China may win the tech arms race with the US over everything from mobile payments to autonomous vehicles.
(Picture: Programmer facing computer screen; Credit: xijian/Getty Images)
Fighting Ad Fraud
May 16, 2018 1069
Digital advertising fraud cost companies an estimated $16bn last year. Often the clicks or downloads generated by the ads they paid for came not from people, but robots.
Alex Hewson, from mobile advertising firm M &C Saatchi, describes the scale of the problem and the tricks some fraudsters use. And Gary Danks, managing director of Machine Advertising explains how his company is tracking fraudulent app downloads.
The gaming of the online advertising system raises an age-old issue in economics - the principal agent problem. Jerry Z Muller, author of The Tyranny of Metrics, explains and also warns of the dangers inherent in setting targets in business and economics.
(Picture: A hand touching a screen and icons. Credit: Getty Images)
Italy: The EU's Next Headache?
May 15, 2018 1076
As Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement and anti-immigration Northern League edge closer to a coalition, we ask whether such a eurosceptic government might scupper plans for further EU integration.
Manuela Saragosa is joined by Federico Santi, from Eurasia Group, and Jeremy Cliffe, Berlin bureau chief at The Economist.
Plus, what do business schools teach about the art of negotiation? We hear from Heather McGregor, entrepreneur and Dean of Herriot Watt Business School in Edinburgh.
(Picture: A mural by artist TVBOY depicting Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio kissing Northern League leader Matteo Salvini, seen on a wall in Rome in March 2018. Credit: Tiziana Fabi, Getty Images)
Are You Ready for GDPR?
May 14, 2018 1068
New data protection rules are due to take effect in the European Union on 25 May, and complying with them is proving to be a headache for businesses throughout the world.
Manuela Saragosa speaks to two small British businesses struggling to meet the requirements of the new General Data Protection Regulation. Jo Bausor of the Henley Festival of music and arts says she has actually benefited from culling back their database of client contacts. But life coach Clare Josa says it is costing her an arm and a leg to audit all her clients' digital data trails.
Meanwhile Wim Remes of data consultants Wire Security explains why the new European rules have led to a flood of enquiries from clients in the US and elsewhere around the globe.
(Picture: Man in white shirt buries his face in his hands as digital icons fly around him; Credit: photoschmidt/Getty Images)
Netflix vs the Silver Screen
May 11, 2018 1048
Does Netflix threaten to wipe out the traditional cinema in much the same way that it already annihilated video rentals?
The online streaming service is spending a lot of money on producing original movies, and its refusal to give them a public screening has led to a bust up with the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. But are these arbiters of the art of the silver screen right to fear Netflix's encroachments?
Manuela Saragosa speaks to Hollywood producer Brian Udovich, author Jonathan Taplin and film critic Jason Solomons.
(Picture: Empty cinema auditorium with popcorn strewn across the floor; Credit: Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)
Hormones: The Pill
May 10, 2018 1048
Hormonal contraceptives liberated women around the world, and are now proliferating in Africa too.
Manuela Saragosa talks to endocrinologist Maralyn Druce about how such a tiny pill can have such a transformative effect on our biology and on our societies. And Faustina Fynn-Nyame of the NGO Population Services International explains why an injectable version of the contraceptive is proving to be a hit in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Plus, why is there still no male pill on the market? We ask research head Diana Blithe of the US National Institutes of Health.
(Picture: Woman holding contraceptive pills; Credit: sam74100/Getty Images)
Justice on Death Row
May 9, 2018 1049
Africa has about a million prison inmates, many of them jailed without a fair trial or proper legal representation, often because they cannot afford it.
The African Prisons Project is working to change that, establishing the world's first prison-based legal college and law firm and working primarily with prisoners in Uganda and Kenya. Susan Kigula, who was put on death row for killing her husband, used the project to overturn her conviction and regain her freedom after 16 years behind bars. She tells us her remarkable story, and we also speak to the project's founder Alexander Maclean.
Plus, we hear from Babatunde Ibidapo-Obe, who has launched an app in Nigeria offering free advice and help on legal services.
(Picture: Inmates at the Zonderwater prison in South Africa. Credit: Mujahid Safodien, Getty Images)
Banks and the Wealth Gap
May 8, 2018 1046
Do cities benefit from hosting major financial centres? Ivana Davidovic discovers the history of Canary Wharf - London's old docks area and now a banking district. Mark Yeandle, author of Z/Yen's Global Financial Centres Index, explains why having a successful financial sector may not benefit everyone. And how should you meet the threat of job-stealing robots? Author Leonard Mlodynow says it's down to changing the way you think.
(Photo: London's Canary Wharf financial district, Credit: Getty Images)
Tech Solutions for the Poor
May 7, 2018 1049
How can we think differently about some of the most entrenched economic problems facing the poor? Jane Wakefield finds out how tech can cure blindness in Africa from ophthalmologist Dr Andrew Bastawrous, Co-Founder and CEO of Peek. Pediatrician Lucy Marcil from Streetcred tells her why a tax form in a doctors office can help poor families in the US lift their economic prospects, plus DeAnne Salvador from RETI tells her how she helps low income families to access technology to lower their energy costs. And Romain Lacombe, CEO & Co-Founder of Plume Labs says he is dedicated to raising awareness about air pollution and has created a personal electronic pollution tracker.
(Picture: A woman being tested with a smartphone visual-test application in her home in Kianjokoma village, near Kenya's lakeside town of Naivasha. Credit: AFP/Getty.)
Economists in the Doghouse
May 4, 2018 1075
The economics profession has sought to reinvent itself since the its failure to foresee the 2008 financial crisis.
Manuela Saragosa speaks to two economists: Wendy Carlin discusses her efforts to transform the way economics is taught in universities in order to make it more relevant to the real world; and Mariana Mazzucato explains why she thinks one of the biggest problems is false narratives that have been peddled to policy-makers and the public about how the economy works.
(Picture: Sad-looking bulldog wearing glasses; Credit: monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images)
How Economists Forgot Housework
May 3, 2018 1073
Feminist economists argue that GDP statistics need to start taking account of care-giving and housework if we want to start valuing these things as a society.
For example author Katrine Marcal points out that Adam Smith claimed that the economy was based on self interest, overlooking the fact that his mother cooked his meals for free. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Hannah Peaker of the UK's Women's Equality political party, and professor Joyce Jacobsen of the Wesleyan University in the US.
(Picture: Young mother holds her crying baby while loading the washing machine; Credit: SolStock/Getty Images)
Paying the Price of Prison
May 2, 2018 1079
For most people, a traffic violation simply means a fine. But for poorer people in the US, it could mean being imprisoned. Since the global financial crisis, local and state governments have tried to make up for shortfalls in tax revenue by issuing more, and larger, fines. If you can't afford to pay, you may well end up behind bars, as the BBC's Kim Gittleson reports from South Carolina.
Presenter Ed Butler talks to Robin Steinberg, CEO of the non-profit Bail Project in Los Angeles, which is aimed at helping accused people stay out of jail while they're awaiting trial. And we hear from Lisa Greybill, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, and North Louisiana defence attorney Eric Johnson, on the pros and cons of working prisoners.
(Picture: Inmates from the Brevard County Jail work to fill sandbags for residents as people in the area prepare ahead of Hurricane Irma on September 07, 2017 in Meritt Island, Florida. Credit:Getty Images)
Iran Nuclear Deal Hangs In Balance
May 1, 2018 1052
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made fresh allegations against Iran, adding to mounting pressure on the 2015 nuclear deal. What might be the impact on Iran, and for US and European businesses, if the agreement is ultimately scrapped?
We hear from Iran itself and what the threat of fresh sanctions has done to the country's currency, the money in ordinary people's pockets, and their hopes for the future.
But is the average Iranian actually better off since the lifting of sanctions three years ago? Ellie Geranmayeh, from the European Council on Foreign Relations, tells us the promised economic progress hasn't really materialised. One reason is that huge pressure is still being put on firms not to do business with Iran. Californian entrepreneur Honor Gunday, CEO and founder of online money transfer platform Paymentwall, says his firm received a surge of interest from the Islamic Republic after sanctions were lifted, but that he was warned off by US lobby organisations. We speak to one of those, United Against a Nuclear Iran, and its president David Ibsen.
Plus, what next for the nuclear deal? UK sanctions lawyer Nigel Kushner and Ellie Geranmayeh tell us we could be in for many months of renegotiations and a possible trans-Atlantic split on the issue.
(Picture: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reveals what he says are Iran's "secret nuclear files". Credit: Jack Guez, Getty Images)
Africa's Free Trade Pact
Apr 30, 2018 1049
The leaders of more than 40 African countries have signed a deal to create one of the world's largest free trade blocs, promising to bring prosperity to more than 1.2 billion people.
But some of the continent's biggest economies, including Nigeria and South Africa, have so far refused to join. And with more than 80% of African trade currently done outside the continent, what impact will the new deal actually have in Africa?
Some people on the streets of Kampala, Uganda, tell us they fear increased competition from neighbouring Kenya, and we ask Tonye Cole, billionaire co-founder of power and infrastructure giant Sahara Group, why his native Nigeria has decided not to take part.
Plus, we hear words of optimism from Ghana's trade minister, Alan Kyerematen, and Arancha González, executive director of the International Trade Centre.
(Picture: Workers at a clothing factory in South Africa. Credit: Rodger Bosch, Getty Images)
Iran's Foreign Currency Problem
Apr 27, 2018 1048
With US President Donald Trump threatening to impose more sanctions, Iran remains frozen out of much the international financial system despite the 2015 nuclear weapons deal.
Ed Butler speaks to a British businessman who has plenty of would-be Iranian buyers of his oil equipment, but who cannot get paid into his UK bank account. Sanctions lawyer Nigel Kushner explains why most international banks still steer clear of Iran, despite the lifting of sanctions, plus Ellie Geranmayeh of think-tank the European Council on Foreign Relations explains the latest diplomatic rumblings.
(Picture: Iranian rial banknotes, alongside US one dollar bills; Credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)
Creativity in the Digital Age
Apr 26, 2018 1048
How do designers and advertisers get people's attention when there is so much competition online? And how do brands get around ad-blocker software?
Manuela Saragosa goes to the annual Design and Art Direction festival in London's Shoreditch to find out. She speaks to D&AD's Tim Lindsay, Trevor Eld of the Fader magazine, and photographer Perou.
Meanwhile Andrew Geller and Isabella Parish of video production company 1st Avenue Machine take Manuela through a music video packed with optical illusions that they made with the band OK Go, and explain why it is so hard to be original these days. Plus Chris Moody of brand consultants Wolff Olins gives feedback on Business Daily's new logo.
(Picture: Photographer Perou and his models of being photographed at the D&AD festival; Credit: BBC)
Malaria: Costs and Cures
Apr 25, 2018 1048
Malaria continues to be one of the world's most destructive and widespread diseases, killing around 500,000 people each year, almost all of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
On World Malaria Day we hear how it continues to cripple communities and speak to one Kenyan woman who lost a child to the disease. Ethiopia's former health minister, Dr Kesete Admasu, explains how outbreaks can have far-reaching economic consequences, depriving farms and other businesses of workers at vital times. He also describes his current work at Roll Back Malaria, a foundation aiming to tackle the disease through genetically engineered mosquitoes and new vaccines.
Plus, Kenyan infectious disease specialist Dr Faith Osier tells us about another malaria vaccine she's working on, and we hear about the smartphone that could alert people when the breeds of mosquitoes that carry the disease are nearby.
(Picture: A mother and her sick child during a malaria outbreak in DR Congo. Credit: John Wessels, Getty Images)
Has #MeToo Backfired in India?
Apr 24, 2018 1049
India's women workers have joined the global #MeToo movement, but there are signs it may be backfiring, with some company bosses afraid to hire women, for fear of sexual harassment claims. And that could be one of the reasons why the number of women participating in the workforce in India has fallen from 36% to 24% over the last ten years. Rahul Tandon reports from Kalkota. Deepa Narayan, author of Chup - the Hindi word for quiet - shares insights gained by her team, after speaking to 600 women about their experiences of sexism at work and in wider Indian society. Professor Heather McGregor from Edinburgh Business School talks about office life since #MeToo and says, at the very least, people are more aware of what kind of behaviour is unacceptable and are more confident in reporting incidents of harassment.
(Picture: Women sit during a protest highlighting sexual crime in India. Credit: Money Sharma/Getty Images)
Will Tariffs Save US Jobs?
Apr 23, 2018 1049
Donald Trump says tariffs on Chinese goods are necessary to 'protect American workers'. So who in the US might benefit from this action? Tennessee voted overwhelmingly for Mr Trump in 2016 and does more trade with China than any other US state. We hear from farmers facing Chinese tariffs on soy bean exports and a manufacturer worried about rising US steel prices. We also hear from Shelbyville, once called 'pencil city', where one of the last US pencil factories says its business has been damaged by cheap Chinese imports for decades.
But is President Trump pointing the finger in the wrong direction when it comes to job losses? Calum Chace, author of The Economic Singularity and Our Jobless Future: An Essay on Artificial Intelligence and the Economic Singularity, says the decline in manufacturing has much more to do with automation than it does with China.
(Picture: US President Donald Trump at the American Farm Bureau Federation's Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Credit: Jim Watson/Getty Images)
Good Looks and Getting Ahead
Apr 20, 2018 1067
How much does your physical attractiveness affect your career prospects? And can the attention it draws be something of a mixed blessing?
Vishala Sri-Pathma hears from British barrister Dr Charlotte Proudman about her personal experiences in what is a very male dominated profession. But while good looks may help you land a job, does it make it harder to get on with your colleagues? Vishala speaks to Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology at Manchester University, body language expert Judi James, and headhunter John Purcell.
(Picture: Attractive businesswoman looks at camera with colleagues in background; Credit: Jacob Wackerhausen/Getty Images)
Transgender in the Workplace
Apr 19, 2018 1078
What happens if you are carrying out a high profile job, and then go public as transgender - for example switching from a "he" to a "she" or vice versa? Will your employer, colleagues and clients accept your new status? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Claire Birkenshaw, who did exactly that whilst working as a head teacher at a secondary school.
She also hears from Beck Bailey of the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for LGBTQ rights, about the surprising progress among big US and multinational corporations in supporting transgender employees. Plus endocrinologist Maralyn Druce explains why, even when it comes to your biological sex, life isn't as binary as we often assume.
(Picture: Former head teacher Claire Birkenshaw; Credit: Claire Birkenshaw)
TED 2018: Changing the AI Conversation
Apr 18, 2018 1077
Do we really know the potential and the pitfalls of artificial intelligence? Maybe not, say the experts and innovators at the TED conference in Vancouver.
Jane Wakefield hears from the creator of the infamous "fake Obama" videos, Dr Supasorn Suwajanakorn. And AI expert and pioneer Max Tegmark of MIT explains why we can't make any assumptions about the future, and must decide now how to navigate the problems of AI such as whether to ban autonomous weapons.
Plus we hear from Pierre Barreau about his AI music, and why computers sometimes need reminding that human musicians need to take a breath. And from the Silicon Valley high school student creating self-learning AI. Are the younger generation designing themselves out of future jobs?
(Picture: Pierre Barreau of Aiva; Credit: TED)
What's in a Name?
Apr 17, 2018 1088
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is keen to accelerate its path towards membership of the European Union. But there are obstacles too. Top of the list for the Balkans nation is resolving a dispute with its neighbour Greece over what the country calls itself. Our reporter Tanya Beckett has travelled to the capital Skopje to find out what's at stake.
We also hear from the founder and chair of the UK Branding consultancy BrandCap, Rita Clifton, who tells us about some high-profile naming battles to secure corporate names and trademarks, reflecting on the sometimes extraordinarily high price companies will place on defending their named identity.
PHOTO: Greeks protesting against Macedonian name. Credit: EPA
Does Trump Have a Trade Plan?
Apr 17, 2018 1069
The missiles that struck Syria on Friday night have certainly shifted the international economic focus from China tariffs to new potential trade sanctions targeting Russian companies with ties to the Syrian president, Bashar al Assad. So how does this economic tit-for-tat play at a time when America is apparently preparing for economic war with China? We hear from Pippa Malmgren, head of the risk consultancy, the DPRM group in London and former economic adviser to President George W Bush in Washington. She believes that US President Trump does have a grand plan for international trade and foreign policy.
To discuss China's place in the global pecking order, we turned to Professor Kishore Mahbubani, a veteran former diplomat from Singapore and former dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He argues that China will be soon on top and the West has failed to realise it.
However, leading China-based economist, Michael Pettis from the Peking University told us he was skeptical that China would overtake the US in economic size.
PHOTO: President Trump/Getty Images
Bonus Podcast: Death in Ice Valley
Apr 16, 2018 192
A special preview of the brand new podcast Death in Ice Valley. An unidentified body. Who was she? Why hasn’t she been missed? A BBC World Service and NRK original podcast, investigating a mystery unsolved for almost half a century. Episode One was released on 16 April 2018 and new episodes will be released every Monday. Search for Death in Ice Valley wherever you find your podcasts.
TED2018: Can We Fix the Internet?
Apr 13, 2018 1077
Jaron Lanier is a pioneer of the modern internet and known as the "father" of Virtual Reality. But at the TED conference in Vancouver, Jane Wakefield hears why he thinks things have gone so badly wrong that there should be a mass deletion of social media, and the tech titans should start charging for their services.
Jane also hears from Gizmodo's privacy expert Kashmir Hill about her experiment with turning her home into an internet-connected "smart-home" and the enormous amounts of data her devices produced, even as she slept. Plus Olga Yurkova, a Ukrainian journalist who set up the website StopFake to debunk fake news and propaganda, and Mikhail Zygar, a prominent Russian journalist who argues that the impact of fake news and Russian trolls is vastly over-stated.
(Picture: Jaron Lanier speaking at TED2018; Credit: Bret Hartman/TED)
Who Needs Cash?
Apr 12, 2018 1078
The cashless economy: Who are the winners and losers in the worldwide shift to digital payments?
Rob Young hears from a grumpy pensioner in Sweden, a country that has blazed the way in ditching physical currency, as well as a Swedish expert on payment systems, Professor Niklas Arvidsson.
Plus what difference has Narendra Modi's "demonetisation" policy of banning large denomination notes made to India's economy? Monika Halan, consulting editor at Indian financial newspaper Mint, gives her considered opinion. Meanwhile Rahul Tandon explains why Indians still don't know what Bitcoin is, even though they know they like it.
(Picture: Indian farmer with daughter using mobile phone and credit card for online payment; Credit: triloks/Getty Images)
Zuckerberg Faces Congress
Apr 11, 2018 1087
What's at stake for Facebook and its founder? We get reaction to Mark Zuckerberg's testimony in front of Congress from investigative journalist Sarah Lacey in Silicon Valley and UK journalist Carole Cadwalladr of the Observer. Ed Butler also speaks to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes about what the social media giant should do next, and Shoshana Zuboff, author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, makes the case for sweeping change. Plus privacy consultant Dylan Curran takes a trawl through all the data Facebook and Google have on him.
(Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at joint senate commerce/judiciary hearing, Credit: Getty Images)
The Rise of the Gig Economy
Apr 10, 2018 1075
Are so-called 'gig economy' companies like Uber threatening livelihoods? Joe Miller reports on the impact the car-sharing business has had on the taxi industry in New York City. Brhmie Balaram from the London think tank RSA tells Ed Butler why Uber's business model could be under threat. And David Rolf, president of the Seattle branch of the Service Employees International Union, explains why a new model is needed to guarantee the rights of workers in the on-demand economy.
(Photo: Uber drivers protest in New York, Credit: Getty Images)
What is the Future for your Local Shop?
Apr 9, 2018 1046
As the might of online shopping platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba grows, how can shops in your local mall compete? Will they become showrooms for products whisked to your door, or will they shut down and become restaurants?
The BBC's Ed Butler visited Hangzhou and London's Oxford Street to find out. Doug Stevens, a retail expert explain the challenges, as does Will Higham, founder of analytics firm The Next Big Thing, which advises the likes of Amazon on future shopping trends. Angela Wang from the Boston Consulting Group says one of the latest big things in online retailing in China is speed of delivery.
(Picture: Christmas decorations outside a shopping mall in Hong Kong; Credit: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)
Trade Wars: Passion v Logic
Apr 5, 2018 1075
Are Donald Trump's threats to impose tariffs on Chinese imports rational? The classic game of Prisoner's Dilemma suggests not. Ed Butler speaks to trade economist Meredith Crowley of Cambridge University, plus the BBC's own in-house philosopher David Edmonds.
Plus, what is all that got to do with a surfeit of men on the famous dating app Tinder? The Canadian political scientist and former lonely-heart Titouan Chassagne explains.
(Photo: Boxing gloves with US and Chinese national flags imprinted on them punch one another; Credit: Zerbor/Getty Images)
Hope for Ethiopia?
Apr 4, 2018 1070
Ethiopia's economic growth has been hailed as a miracle by some, but it is a country deeply divided along the lines of ethnicity and wealth, and in recent years has been wracked by violence.
New Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made a public apology to the hundreds who have died and hundreds of thousands displaced, but will his words be enough to bring harmony?
We hear from an Ethiopian medical student who fled to Yemen several months ago for fear of persecution, and ask Dr Awol Allo, a human rights lawyer and émigré from Ethiopia, about the reasons for the conflict, which prompted the government to declare a national state of emergency earlier this year. Ed Butler also visits a Chinese-built shoe factory south of the capital Addis Ababa to hear about pay and working conditions.
Plus, what has been the international business reaction to the unrest? Has it deterred investment? We speak to Arusha Mehta, from clothing firm Goldmark Ltd, William Attwell from Frontier Strategy Group, and Zemenedeh Negatu, the Ethiopian-American chairman of the Fairfax Africa Fund, which invests heavily in the country.
(Picture: A protest against government crackdowns in the Oromo and Amhara regions of Ethiopia. Credit: Gulshan Khan,Getty Images)
A Crisis in Tech?
Apr 3, 2018 1075
As shares tumble and talk of regulation increases, we ask whether Facebook, Google and Amazon are facing a crisis.
High-profile data breaches, falling user numbers and presidential questions over tax affairs have upped the pressure on these corporate giants in recent weeks. Bilal Hafeez, from the Japanese investment bank Nomura, tells us why he thinks their tech bubble is bursting.
Another troubled tech firm, Uber, is under pressure once again - Jeremy Wagstaff tells us that this time it is from rivals in Southeast Asia.
Plus, we take to the skies with real-life Iron Man Richard Browning, founder of tech start-up Gravity, who has set a world record in his jet-powered suit.
(Picture: A man holding a smartphone showing Facebook's logo. Credit: Kirill Kudryavtsev, Getty Images.)
Booze Free Boom
Apr 2, 2018 1136
Sales of alcohol-free products aimed at traditional drinkers are surging. Elizabeth Hotson hears from writer and booze industry expert Jane Peyton, from British MPs at the House of Commons promoting healthier drinking habits, and from global beverage giant Diageo about why they’re betting on tea-totallers.
(Picture: Young people toast each other at a pub; Credit: gpointstudio/Getty Images)
Trump and Title X
Mar 30, 2018 1075
Access to contraceptives may soon become more difficult for lower income Americans, thanks to new US regulations. Manuela Saragosa explores the economics of birth control in the US.
She speaks to Kinsey Hasstedt of the Guttmacher Institute and Leah Jacobson of The Guiding Star Project, based in Florida. Plus we hear from Katy Watson in Venezuela about the country’s contraception shortfalls and their impact.
(Picture: Young woman's hands holding birth control pills and a red condom; Credit: itakdalee/Getty Images)
The Human Cost of Brexit
Mar 29, 2018 1076
EU citizens in the UK talk of the uncertainty that haunts their lives, with a year to go until their adopted home's departure from the EU and still no clarity over their rights.
Also in the programme, Ed Butler speaks to estate agent Julie Savill about the rush of Brits to buy homes in France before Brexit day on 29 March 2019, and asks the BBC's Chris Morris what kind of new immigration rules the UK is likely to introduce. Plus, Sarah Corker speaks to some happy builders in the north of England who hope Brexit will deliver them more jobs and training.
(Picture: Demonstrator hold a badge during a protest for the rights of EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit; Credit: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)
Farming's Future: Made in the Lab
Mar 28, 2018 1075
Can technology create better food? Laurence Knight investigates genetically modified crops and meat grown from cells in a lab.
Programme features Giles Oldroyd and Ottoline Leyser of the Sainsbury Laboratory at Cambridge University, and Markus Arbenz of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.
(Photo: Wheat harvesting in Egypt, Credit: Getty Images)
Farming's Future: Food Factories
Mar 27, 2018 1047
Does the world face a food crisis in the next 10 years? Or could the solution to world hunger already be at hand? Laurence Knight explores whether technological solutions like multi-storey indoor farms and self-driving tractors could help provide affordable food for everyone.
(Photo: Greens growing on floating beds. Credit: Mira Oberman/AFP/Getty Images)
A New Trade War?
Mar 26, 2018 1046
What US tariffs on steel and Chinese goods means for global trade. We hear from Laura Baughman, president of the Trade Partnership, a Washington-based consultancy that provides economic analysis on the impact of trade policies. Adrienne Murray reports from Logan County in West Virginia, where the coal industry is hoping for a revival under Donald Trump, and Manuela Saragosa speaks to Marc-William Palen, a trade historian at the University of Exeter in the UK, about the history of trade wars.
(Steel production in Indiana, United States. Credit: Getty Images)
Afghanistan's Opium Deluge
Mar 23, 2018 1081
The war-torn country's record harvest last year was enough to meet almost twice the world's demand for heroin and other illicit opiate drugs.
Justin Rowlatt reports from Kabul and from rural Afghanistan, as he explores where the opium is ending up, and what can be done about it. Is the Taliban largely to blame, as the US military claims, or do the roots of the opium poppy run broader and deeper than that?
Justin speaks to the commander of US forces General John Nicholson, the deputy director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime Mark Calhoun, and the government national security advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar.
(Picture: Opium poppies; Credit: Javed Tanveer/AFP/Getty Images)
The Bear Stearns Bailout 10 Years On
Mar 22, 2018 1079
Crisis averted, but only for another six months: Business Daily looks back at a key moment 10 years ago in the global financial crisis - the rescue of investment bank Bear Stearns.
We hear the reminiscences of the three key players who orchestrated the bailout - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and New York Federal Reserve President Tim Geithner. Plus investment manager Mohammed El Erian tells presenter Manuela Saragosa why central banks can finally take a back seat to governments in helping economies heal, a decade on from the financial meltdown.
(Picture: Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke at a Senate committee hearing a month before the Bear Stearns rescue; Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A Strike Showdown in France
Mar 21, 2018 1077
Weeks of strikes are threatened over President Emmanuel Macron's plans for economic reforms, which include the railways. Who will prevail? Hugh Schofield reports from Paris. And Manuela Saragosa speaks to Fabrice Angel from the CGT trade union, former economic adviser to Francois Hollande, Laurence Boone, and Alexandre Holdroyd, an MP in Mr Macorn's Republique En Marche party.
(Photo: A demonstration against the French government's planned labour law reforms in Marseille, 2016. Credit: Getty Images)
Facebook, Big Data and You
Mar 20, 2018 1079
What Cambridge Analytica and Facebook tell us about how our data is used. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Tijmen Schep, a Dutch technology critic and author of a book called Design My Privacy, about the realities of the data economy, and to Paul-Olivier Dehaye, co-founder of a Swiss start-up called PersonalData.IO, which helps people reclaim their data from companies like Tinder. And US tech journalist Ben Tarnoff discusses the prospect of tighter regulation on the way tech firms like Facebook use the information they have on their users.
(Photo: A collage of profile pictures at a Facebook data centre in North Carolina, Credit: Getty Images)
Mar 19, 2018 936
As urban housing becomes more unaffordable around the world, Business Daily looks at the rise of the super-commuter. The programme hears from commuters in Sao Paulo in Brazil and in the UK who spend many hours getting to work. And Manuela Saragosa hears how helicopters in Brazil or driverless buses in Sweden might make the future of commuting more acceptable.
(Picture: Heavy traffic in Sao Paulo; Credit: iStock Editorial/Getty Images)
Solving the World's Plastic Problem
Mar 16, 2018 1048
Many of us are aware of the problems that plastics pose for the environment. Today we hear about some of the solutions that businesses are finding to prevent quite so much of it ending up in landfill or the ocean.
Vivienne Nunis visits the site of a new recycling machine that turns plastic packaging back into oil, so that it can be made into plastic all over again. And she climbs a community compost heap to find out about a food wrapper that biodegrades in six months.
Plus we hear what businesses in the Philippines are doing to clean up the archipelago’s beaches.
(Picture: A discarded plastic drinking cup floats at the surface of the ocean; Credit: Placebo365/Getty Images)
Russian Money, British Sanctions
Mar 15, 2018 1046
Can the UK afford to impose financial sanctions on Russia, and how will they play into Russia's presidential election this weekend?
Manuela Saragosa visits Eaton Square in London - known as "Red Square" because of the number of Russian billionaire oligarchs alleged to own properties there, according to journalist Mark Hollingsworth.
She also hears from Russian journalist Sergey Strokan, Dr Samuel Greene of the Russia Institute at King's College London, and Philip Worman of political risk consultancy GPW.
(Picture: Russian Passport and roll of US dollar banknotes; Credit: Scull2/Getty Images)
Hormones: Oestrogen and the Menopause
Mar 14, 2018 1048
Menopause is a milestone in every woman's life that can bring tiredness, discomfort and poor concentration. And there are more older women in the workforce than ever before. Yet few workplaces even talk about the issue.
Manuela Saragosa speaks to one woman who quit her job because she was too afraid to tell her boss that her health issues were affecting her performance. She eventually opted for hormone replacement therapy, despite the widespread concerns about the risk of cancer and heart disease. But are these concerns justified?
Manuela also speaks to menopause counsellor Diane Danzebrink, endocrinologist Maralyn Druce, and medical researcher JoAnn Manson.
(Picture: Woman falling asleep in front of her computer; Credit: diane39/Getty Images)
West Africa: Youth and Ambition
Mar 13, 2018 1046
Africa has the youngest population of any continent in the world and that figure is expected to double in less than 30 years. The BBC's Tamasin Ford travels across three countries to hear from young people about their hopes and dreams for their working lives. In Ghana, she talks to award winning actor and producer Yvonne Nelson. In Ivory Coast Tamasin hears from Edith Brou, CEO of her own Digital Agency, the Africa Content Group. And in Liberia, young people tell Tamasin about their hopes for the future in a country where youth unemployment is very high amongst the sixty percent of the population who are under 25.
(Photo; Young men on the streets of Monrovia, Liberia. Credit: Tamasin Ford)
China's Internet Privacy Clampdown
Mar 12, 2018 1078
Beijing says it will block all VPNs - the software commonly used to circumvent the country's online censors - by the end of this month.
Manuela Saragosa asks whether it's even technologically possible to stop tech companies from tunnelling through the "Great Firewall of China", enabling people located on the mainland to access forbidden websites such as Google, Facebook or most Western media. The programme features Ben Van Pelt, founder of the VPN firm Torguard, as well as Tadas Plonis of the Shanghai-based file sharing company Nihao Cloud.
Plus, tech journalist Dell Cameron explains why he does not trust Facebook's "Onavo Protect" VPN service to protect his privacy.
(Picture: Chinese woman uses her smartphone an night in front of a city skyline; Credit: Wenjie Dong/Getty Images)
Brexit Trade Bewilderment
Mar 9, 2018 1077
Businesses express their frustration at the continuing uncertainty over future trade relations, with just one year left to go until Britain leaves the European Union.
Tanya Beckett reports from the Port of Rotterdam, which is already gearing up for new border controls, while Will Bain catches the taciturn mood at the British Chambers of Commerce. Back in London, presenter Rob Young asks Dutch parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt about the fears of flower-sellers in the Netherlands, and Charles Brasted of solicitors Hogan Lovells about what planning companies can undertake ahead of the UK's imminent departure.
(Picture: Workers unload shipping containers at the Port of Rotterdam; Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
How Women Got Squeezed out of Tech
Mar 8, 2018 1079
Women dominated the early days of programming - so how did men take over, and what can be done to balance things out again?
Manuela Saragosa charts the female history of computing, starting with the nineteenth century pioneer Ada Lovelace, with the help of mathematician Hannah Fry and historian Marie Hicks.
She also speaks to Dame Steve Shirley, who founded an all-women tech firm in the 1960s. And she asks computing professor Joanna Bryson about her work detecting the gender bias built into modern technology.
(Picture: A woman operating an 'electronic brain' used by a German mail order business to open letters in 1958; Credit: Keystone Features/Getty Images)
Inside Russia's Troll Farm
Mar 7, 2018 1075
The story of one worker in Russia's propaganda business. Russian journalist Vitaly Bespalov spent three months working at the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg - the internet troll farm accused of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. He tells Manuela Saragosa what it was like. And Lisa-Maria Neudert, computational propaganda researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, explains how modern propaganda operations work.
(Photo: Trump supporters during the 2016 US election, Credit: Getty Images)
Facebook's Annus Horribilis
Mar 6, 2018 1043
Facebook has faced a tough couple of years. 2017 was a bit of an annus horribilis for the company.
It's under attack on many fronts - accused of spreading fake news, disregarding safety and encouraging the addictive qualities of social media. And there are increasing calls now for Facebook to be regulated. The company's latest earnings report also noted that last year its number of daily active users fell in the US and Canada, its most lucrative market.
Manuela Saragosa talks to Nick Thompson, editor in chief at Wired magazine and Bill Fisher with the market research company eMarketer.
(Picture: An employee at Facebook's London HQ. Credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Fixing America's Healthcare Crisis
Mar 5, 2018 1048
As the cost of healthcare soars in America, Jane O' Brien explores whether it could become a luxury only the wealthy can afford. Jane reports from Baltimore where the gap in life expectancy between the richest and the poorest is one of the widest in the country. But is there another way to make sure the less well off can stay healthy and afford to see a doctor when they need one?
(Picture: A remote area medical and dental clinic treats the uninsured n New York State. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Trump's Steel Tariffs
Mar 2, 2018 1100
US President Donald Trump announces taxes on steel and aluminium imports, causing sparks to fly and markets to melt, but his core voters seem happy.
The BBC's Joe Miller reports from the Conshohocken steel mill in Pennsylvania, owned by ArcelorMittal. The move has caused alarm among America's trade partners, but also within the US itself, as economist Dr Pinar Cebi Wilber explains.
Also in the programme, author Jay Heinrichs explains why, if we want to persuade people to see things our way, then instead of taking Trump's confrontational approach, we should behave more like cats. Yes, that's right, cats.
(Picture: A worker breaks down a metal tank at a scrap metal yard in Cleveland, Ohio; Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Mar 1, 2018 1100
Anti-immigrant rhetoric and extravagant spending promises fill the airways, as Italy prepares for its general election. But can this debt-laden, low-growth country afford it all? The BBC's Mike Johnson travels across Italy to test the increasingly populist mood among voters.
Meanwhile Elsa Fornero, economics professor at Turin University and a former labour minister expresses her concern at how unaffordable the campaign promises are. And finance professor Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business explains why financial markets aren't more nervous about the country's fiscal sustainability. Presented by Manuela Saragosa.
(Picture: Lega Nord election rally; Credit: BBC)
Feb 28, 2018 1101
Should the food industry do more to encourage us to eat less? Elizabeth Hotson reports on efforts to curb calorie intake in the UK, while Manuela Saragosa speaks to Brian Elbel, a population health expert from New York University, about the impact of US regulations forcing restaurant chains to advertise calorie numbers on their menus.
(Photo: Fast food burger, Credit: Getty Images)
Sex Workers in Sierra Leone
Feb 27, 2018 1105
The experience of sex workers in one aid-dependent country. Ed Butler speaks to Julie Sesay from Advocaid, a charity in Sierra Leone, about the challenges facing sex workers there, as well as Zara, a sex worker visited by government employees and aid workers. Plus Nassim Taleb, author of Black Swan, talks about his latest book Skin In The Game.
(Photo: A slum in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, Credit: Getty Images)
Sierra Leone's Economic Struggle
Feb 26, 2018 1048
As the country prepares for elections, Ed Butler visits Sierra Leone to find out how people are feeling about the economy as it fights back following the devastating Ebola outbreak. Ed speaks to top politicians and also hears from ordinary people struggling to make a living. And he asks what happened to money donated to deal with Ebola victims, amid reports of corruption.
(Picture: Children attending school on November 15, 2017 at the Old Skool Camp.
Credit:SAIDU BAH/AFP/Getty Images)
Living in a Box
Feb 23, 2018 1088
Why has urban housing become so unaffordable around the world? Are rich international investors from China and elsewhere to blame?
Manuela Saragosa speaks to architect James Law about the horror of "cage" living in his native Hong Kong, the world's least affordable city, and how his Cybertecture firm hopes to solve the problem with "Opods" built out of mains water pipe sections.
Meanwhile, Phil Mercer reports from New Zealand on new legislation aimed at stopping foreign property buyers driving up property prices there. But London home buying agent Henry Pryor argues that laws like these may be misguided, as they do not target the true cause of spiralling house prices.
(Picture: 78-year-old sits in his cage dwelling in Hong Kong; Credit: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
Is Britain Ready for Brexit?
Feb 22, 2018 1086
There are few signs of preparation for a potential hard border on the English Channel, with just 400 days left until the UK formally leaves the European Union.
Nick Robinson reports from Calais, where officials seem perplexed by the lack of readiness to carry out possible customs checks from March 2019. Presenter Manuela Saragosa asks pro-Brexit economist Julian Jessop whether he is concerned by the UK government's apparent lack of contingency planning for the UK crashing out of the EU without any agreement on trade.
(Picture: Trucks queuing up in Dover in 2015, as ferry workers blockaded the port of Calais; Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images)
The New Philanthropists
Feb 21, 2018 1046
Tech billionaires are taking philanthropy to a new level. Manuela Saragosa speaks to David Callahan, philanthropy watcher and author of The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. We also hear from Antonia Mitchell, director of Aurelia Philanthropy, who helps the super wealthy distribute their money, and James Chen, a Hong Kong philanthropist who explains why China is lagging behind in the global charity stakes.
(Photo: Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan, Credit: Getty Images)
Yemen: Trade in Wartime
Feb 20, 2018 1048
Business Daily hears remarkable stories from Yemen's civil war. The tens of thousands of African economic migrants risking everything each year to travel into the world's worst humanitarian crisis. And the man who decided to start a coffee export business out of the very heart of the war-zone. Ed Butler talks to Mokhtar Alkhanshali from the Port of Mokha coffee company, humanitarian worker Rabih Sarieddine at the International Organization for Migration's office in the Yemeni port of Aden and journalist Iona Craig who's been reporting on Yemen for many years. The programme contains descriptions of kidnapping and violence.
(picture: Yemeni tribesmen from the Popular Resistance Committees, keep watch at Nihm district, on the eastern edges of the capital Sanaa, on February 2, 2018. (Credit ABDULLAH AL-QADRY/AFP/Getty Images)
Feb 19, 2018 1048
Meet the transhumanists. They're tech enthusiasts who augment their own bodies with chips, magnets and chemical enhancements. Jane Wakefield talks to a woman who buries magnets under her skin to sense electrical fields and a man who provides implantable chips as a business. Business Daily asks could body modifications like this soon become mainstream?
(Picture: Man transforms into cyborg by implanting machine parts into robotic arm; Credit: mikkelwilliam/Getty Images)
Reforming India's Healthcare
Feb 15, 2018 1048
The Indian healthcare system is one of the largest in the world, and is facing a shortage of doctors, the BBC's Rahul Tandon reports. Attacks on medical staff are adding to the problem.
He speaks to patients and workers in India. Kirsty Milward, a health organiser for a community group called Suchana, says science education in rural areas isn't good enough to encourage people to get into medicine.
Dr Sujata Datta, a gynaecologist in Kolkata, says fewer people are getting into medicine because doctors are being attacked over grievances. Doctors are also leaving for wealthier countries.
(Photo: Staff practice yoga at an Indian hospital, Credit: Getty Images)
Sharing Bikes and Umbrellas in China
Feb 14, 2018 1048
The Chinese love the sharing economy more than anyone else, from bikes to umbrellas. Ed Butler takes a trip on a shared bike in Shanghai, one of millions on the streets of China's cities, and finds out how Chinese firms are exporting the business model to Europe and America with Steve Pyer, the head of UK operations at Mobike, and Tom McGovern, founder of Urbo - an Irish competitor. We also hear from Justin Jia, a Chinese entrepreneur pioneering a sharing app for umbrellas, and Ronny Wong, a retail businessman who says sharing apps are all about the data.
(Photo: shared bikes in Shanghai, Credit: Getty Images)
Tricking Yourself to Save
Feb 13, 2018 1079
Are you saving for a rainy day? Eight of the world's major economies will between them have a joint shortfall of some $400 trillion in the next thirty years in terms of pension provision, according to the World Economic Forum. The assumption here is that most of us need about 70% of our working income to get by in our retirement years. But the shortfall they've come up with is a staggering 5 times the size of global stock markets. Luckily, Dan Ariely, a behavioural economist based at Duke University in the US, has been studying some of the simple human tricks that perhaps might nudge us towards a more prudent attitude.
(Picture: Getty images)
Who Profits from Nuclear Weapons?
Feb 12, 2018 1047
US President Donald Trump has pledged a major upgrade to the country's nuclear deterrent, but are a handful of private defence contractors driving the multi-billion dollar modernisation programme?
Jonathan King, a veteran campaigner against nuclear proliferation and professor at MIT, argues guaranteed profit margins and secrecy make the industry very attractive to such companies.
But Hawk Carlisle, chief executive of the US National Defense Industrial Association, tells Ed Butler the private sector is the only area capable of building such weapons and that there is adequate competition and government scrutiny.
Plus, how complicated is it to make a bomb these days? Robert Kelley, a former weapons inspector in Iraq, says technology is advancing so fast that it's getting easier and easier.
(Picture: Ballistic missiles being launched in North Korea. Credit: AFP photo/KCNA via KNS, Getty Images)
What Should We Look Out For in 2018?
Jan 2, 2018 1046
We predict and discuss the biggest business and economic trends of the coming year. Have we failed at handling globalisation, and how can we deal with it in the coming year? The Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz tells us how the global economy can thrive without the failings of globalisation which we have seen so far - and advises us on how to handle the increasing tendency towards interdependence between countries.
And the BBC's Rahul Tandon hears the woes of street market sellers in India. Hawkers sell their products at a much cheaper price than many other retailers - but at what cost to the country and society? We look at the role of the open market seller in an increasingly regulated economy.
Plus, we take a look at what's in store for global stock exchanges and industries with experts Stephanie Hare, an independent political risk analyst, and Gabriel Sterne from Oxford Economics.
(Image: Reflection of Jubilee Bridge and Central Business District of Singapore during dusk hour in a glass ball. Credit: Getty Images)
Paradise Papers: Apple's Secret Tax Bolthole
Nov 7, 2017 1047
There's been another round of revelations from the Paradise Papers - the leaked documents from a big offshore law firm. The leaks put Apple's tax affairs under scrutiny. The company shopped around for a tax haven after a crackdown on its controversial tax practices in Ireland. The BBC's Andrew Walker explains the background and Manuela Saragosa asks tax specialist Rita de la Feria, professor of tax law at the University of Leeds, whether it is possible to create a level playing field for tax globally. Also in the programme: Daniel Gallas reports from Brazil two years after the country's worst ever environmental accident. On November 5th 2015, a dam operated by the iron ore company Samarco - a joint venture between commodity giants Vale and BHP Biliton - burst in the town of Mariana. Two years on, has the region's economy recovered?
(Picture: The Apple logo is displayed on the exterior of an Apple Store in San Francisco. Credit: Getty Images)
Paradise Papers: Secrets of the Global Elite
Nov 6, 2017 1047
A huge new leak of financial documents has revealed how the powerful and ultra-wealthy, including the British Queen's private estate, secretly invest vast amounts of cash in offshore tax havens. Donald Trump's commerce secretary is shown to have a stake in a firm dealing with Russians sanctioned by the US. The leak, dubbed the Paradise Papers, contains 13.4m documents, mostly from one leading firm in offshore finance. Manuela Saragosa hears more from the BBC's Dominic O'Connell. Also in the programme we hear from the Premier of Bermuda David Burt and the Secretary General of the OECD OECD - and its secretary general Angel Gurria.
The Stigma of Great Wealth
Sep 15, 2017 1049
We explore the anxieties of the wealthy, and the mentality of conspicuous consumption, which is about more than being discreet about high-end purchases. Journalist Rachel Sherman tells us her accounts of interviewing some of New York's elite wealthy - who are equally as stealthy about their endeavours and purchases. We hear more about the anxiety associated with wealth, both earned and inherited, including the constant need to seem 'normal', and justify funds. Stephen Lussier, a chief executive from diamond company De Beers, tells us about the changing buying habits of some of the world's richest - including the increasing number of women who prefer to buy their own diamonds for reasons other than romance. Plus, extravagant signs of wealth are at their peak during India;s wedding season. Weddings can go on for days, and include thousands of guests and private chartered planes, and over 70 types of food. The BBC's Rahul Tandon reports that some Indian states are cracking down on what they say are 'excessive' affairs.
(Image: A wealthy man anxiously facing a City landscape. Credit: Coldsnowstorm/ Getty Images)
Does it Pay to Be Nice in Business?
Sep 14, 2017 1046
The path to a profitable business could lie in your ability to be nice. From The Empathy Business, Belinda Parmar OBE tells us that some understanding between leaders and customers, and within teams, has proven to lead to sharp rises in profits.
And some people throw billions in to the business of being compassionate, and can turn huge profits. We speak to the founder of LeapFrog Investments, Andy Kuper, whose business invests in fast-growing companies that bring about serious change to the world and to shareholders. His projects include the world's first insurer to give life cover to HIV positive people across Africa.
(Image: A black and white photo English airline entrepreneur Freddie Laker (1922 - 2006) giving a thumbs up gesture and smiling; plane in background. (Photo by London Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Bitcoin bubbles and safe havens
Sep 6, 2017 1047
In times of economic crunch, where should you store your savings? Perhaps you are tempted by the rise in value of bitcoin. But can it last? And what is bitcoin anyway? A currency or an asset?
Garrick Hileman, Research fellow at the Cambridge centre for alternative finance, tells the BBC's Manuela Saragosa what to make of the cryptocurrency.
British business couple Baroness Michelle Mone and Doug Barrowman tell Ed Butler about their property development where units will be sold for bitcoin.
And Martin Arnold, an analyst at London investment firm ETF Securities, weighs it up against other assets, like the safe haven of gold.
(Picture: bars of gold. Credit: Getty.)
Computer Says No?
Sep 5, 2017 1046
Will robots and artificial intelligence help us in our daily lives, or steal our jobs and discriminate against us? Manuela Saragosa talks to Max Tegmark, who has just written a book about what it means to be human in an age of artificial intelligence. In it he recounts how he was left in tears after a recent visit to London's Science Museum.
She also interviews Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robots at the University of Sheffield.
And regular commentator James Srodes has a warning about letting computers make decisions for us.
(Photo: Model robots. Credit: Getty Images)
The Texan Energy Revolution
Sep 1, 2017 1047
Texas has undergone an energy revolution, and even has its own power grid to service the vast State’s needs, but while some claim renewables are the future, others are staunch supporters of oil and gas. How do the two sides fit together? Joe Miller speaks to Jim Briggs, deputy City Manager in Georgetown, which despite its Republican politics, has gone 100% renewable. He also hears from author Kate Galbriath, about how wind energy has a long history in Texas and has sat side by side with oil for decades. Joe also hears from ERCOT, the Texas energy grid, about how they manage supply and demand, and from Fred Beach an energy policy expert from the University of Austin about the motivation for the switch to renewables in places like Georgetown.
(Photo: Georgetown Town Square. Credit: City of Georgetown)
Taxing Times in India
Sep 1, 2017 1074
India's financial shock therapy continues, this time with an all-new tax system. The BBC's Rahul Tandon reports on its progress.
Presenter Ed Butler speaks about the new plan with businessman Gaurav Daga, founder of plastics supply company Oswal Cable, near New Delhi.
And Simon Ruda, the director of home affairs and international programmes at the Behavioural Insights Team in London, also known as the Nudge Unit, says getting people to pay tax isn't as simple as it might seem.
(Photo: India flag. Credit: Getty Images)
Sep 1, 2017 1049
How can refugees improve their lot? There are about 65 million displaced people in the world, according to the UN. And as many flee their places of birth for the long term, they need work to support themselves and for a sense of purpose.
The BBC's Jane Wakefield talks to urban refugee worker Robert Hakiza, who escaped violence in Congo to live in Kampala, Uganda. She also hears about an innovative new system to find out where you are. Chris Sheldrick explains how What 3 Words, his company, can help.
And Dale Gavlak reports on a new scheme to get Syrian refugees into work from Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp.
(Picture: An immigrant worker cutting paving stone on wood. Credit: Getty.)
Should all Drugs Be Legal?
Aug 25, 2017 1058
Are most countries' policies on drugs irrational? From the tolerance of Holland and decriminalisation in Portugal to the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown on drug users and dealers has claimed thousands of lives, there is little international consensus.
Presenter Manuela Saragosa speaks to David Nutt, professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, who says some drugs are less harmful than alcohol.
She also speaks to Joao Goulao, one of the architects of Portugal's decriminalisation policy.
And, the BBC's Anna Holligan reports on the rise of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, in Holland.
(Photo: A woman contemplating pills. Credit: Getty Images)
The $18tn Question
Aug 24, 2017 1062
As the world's central bankers meet for their summer retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, what will be on their minds? Perhaps it will be their $18tn balance sheets, and all the extra cash they created as a consequence, argues author and policy analyst Pippa Malmgren.
The BBC's Joe Miller has been finding out how Frankfurt might cope with a sudden influx of bankers, should the world's lenders choose it as their new European home.
Air India has recently decided to offer only vegetarian food to those travelling inside India in economy class. Rahul Tandon does that quite a lot, and he says the airline's move has got him thinking.
(Photo: Coins stacked on each other in different positions. Credit: Getty Images)
Emojis: Love 'em or Hate 'em?
Jul 14, 2017 1049
They're everywhere, but can businesses actually make any money out of them?
The programme includes Jeremy Burge, who has developed an Emojipedia business that catalogues the nearly 3,000 existing emoticons, Su Burtner, who successfully got a new cricket emoji accepted, and Keith Broni, the world's first emoji translator at Today Translations, guiding businesses through the shifting quagmire of emoji meanings. Ed Butler presents.
(Picture: Smiley emoji and poo emoji; Credit: denisgorelkin/Getty Images)
Are We Overmedicated?
Jun 23, 2017 1046
We ask if patients are being prescribed too many medicines. Confusion and lack of research, says one physician, can be a culprit in some cases where patients are handed prescriptions for medicines which are not necessary for the improvement of their overall health. Commercial influence from pharmaceutical businesses is seen as another factor in overmedication - so we speak to a representative from the pharmaceutical industry about who is responsible for educating patients and doctors about medicines, and how information can be improved. Also, 'the pill' could be a thing of the past, as an app called Natural Cycles becomes approved for use as a contraceptive - using body temperature to see when a woman is most fertile.
(Image: Contraceptive pills. Credit: Philippe Huguen / AFP / Getty Images)
Record High US Consumer Debt
Jun 14, 2017 1047
Household debt is at record levels as US consumers spend, spend and spend some more. And with America's interest rates set to rise again, could there be trouble ahead?
Former Federal Reserve governor Randy Kroszner tells presenter Manuela Saragosa that watching the debt problem get fixed will be like "watching paint dry" - but that it is a deliberately slow process, to avoid shocks to consumers.
We hear from retirees in the US who are struggling with debt - and one expert who says that the current workforce may not be able to rely on their pensions when they retire.
Also in the programme, Ryan Holmes, the chief executive and founder of social media managing software, Hootsuite, gives his take on whether a company can survive these days without a presence on social media.
(Image: Credit cards in a wallet. Credit: Getty Images Staff)
Could China Shut Down North Korea?
May 2, 2017 1047
Military tensions between the United States and North Korea seem to rise on an almost daily basis. But how important are economic factors in putting pressure on the North Korean state? Could China, with its close trading relationship, choose to shut down North Korea - putting pressure on the leadership there?
The BBC's Danny Vincent travels to the border between China and North Korea to look at some of the trade passing between the two nations.
And Ed Butler talks to Korea Expert Aidan Foster-Carter and asks him whether China could shut down North Korea if it chose to do so?
Also, our veteran commentator Lucy Kellaway admits that she does not always learn from experience.
(Picture: A North Korean man standing at a border fence next to the Yalu river, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong. Credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
Japan's Exploited Foreign Workers
May 1, 2017 1048
Japan's workforce is shrinking due to an ageing population and a policy of very low immigration. But though the world's third largest economy needs workers, the government isn't keen on immigration when it comes to filling lower-skilled jobs. A loophole in the rules, however, means every year about 200,000 labourers from overseas go to Japan on its guest worker trainee scheme. Arranged through a network of brokers in countries such as China and Vietnam, workers often find themselves underpaid, and the US State Department categorises the scheme as human trafficking, and points to mass exploitation. Edwin Lane investigates in Tokyo and Gifu, meeting workers from China who are stuck in Japan fighting for their wages, and to lawyers and politicians about what can be done, and asks why Japan is so hesitant to open its borders to more foreigners.
(Image: Tokyo's Akihabara district.Credit: Chris McGrath/ Getty Images)
A Basic Income for All?
Apr 26, 2017 1046
Social scientists, technologists, and politicians from across the political spectrum think they have a potential solution to the unemployment that automation and artificial intelligence are expected to create. It's called a universal basic income. And it involves getting the state to pay a fixed sum to all of its citizens, whether or not they have a job. The Canadian province of Ontario has become the latest to announce a trial - for 4,000 households.
We hear from Finland where a basic income pilot project is already underway. And Manuela Saragosa talks to Guy Standing, co- founder and co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network - who is advising a number of pilot projects around the world.
(Picture: Five pound sterling note, London 2017. Credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Apr 25, 2017 1064
Machines are about to get a lot smarter and machine learning will transform our lives. So says a report by the Royal Society in the UK, a fellowship of many of the world's most eminent scientists. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence that's already being used to tag people in photos, to interpret voice commands and to help internet retailers to make recommendations.
Manuela Saragosa hears about a new technology that is set to revolutionise computing, developed by a UK company called Graphcore. Manuela talks to Graphcore's chief executive Nigel Toon, who is taking on the AI giants.
And Manuela hears how we are 'bleeding data' all the time. Dr Joanna Bryson from the University of Bath and professor Amanda Chessell, an IBM distinguished engineer and master inventor, explain how our data is being used.
(Photo: A robot pours popcorn from a cooking pot into a bowl at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI), University of Bremen, Germany. March 2017. Credit: Ingo Wagner/AFP/Getty Images)
A Snap Election in Britain
Apr 19, 2017 1060
The British Prime Minister Theresa May is proposing a general election for 8 June- and it will be a poll all about Brexit. Mrs May says political divisions are risking Britain's ability to make a success of its departure from the European Union. So will the result of the poll give the prime minister a firm mandate in her negotiations with the EU, and perhaps help her to wangle a better Brexit deal? Manuela Saragosa talks to the BBC's Dominic O'Connell who has been gauging opinion amongst business leaders, including Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising giant WPP.
And the ethics of digital design. Are we unable to tear ourselves away from computers and TV because we are weak - or because the digital designers are manipulating us unfairly?
(Photo: British Prime Minister Theresa May. Credit: Getty Images)
Oil's Murky Future
Apr 11, 2017 1060
Tensions in the Middle East and protests in Russia are not just caused by internal politics and war but also, some say, the stresses of economic decline as the result of cheap oil. While the price of oil has gone up this week in response to the US military's missile attack on a Syrian government airbase, this uptick is likely, many analysts say, to be short-lived. Some experts now believe the price of oil could remain low forever. That's the view of Dieter Helm, an economics professor at the University of Oxford, who has just written a book, entitled Burn Out. Ed Butler asks Professor Helm to lay out the possible effects of a permanently lower oil price.
Also in the programme, the BBC's Phil Mercer reports from Australia where renewable energy is on the rise. More homeowners are installing solar power battery systems to guarantee that the lights stay on.
(Picture: A Russian LUKOIL oil platform. Credit: MIKHAIL MORDASOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Apr 10, 2017 1044
A secret recording that implicates the Bank of England in Libor rigging has been uncovered by the BBC . The 2008 recording adds to evidence the central bank repeatedly pressured commercial banks during the financial crisis to push their Libor rates down. Libor is the rate at which banks lend to each other, setting a benchmark for mortgages and loans for ordinary customers. The Bank of England said Libor was not regulated in the UK at the time. Ed Butler hears more from the BBC's economics correspondent, Andy Verity.
Also in the programme, we hear from our Business editor, Simon Jack, about evidence the BBC has seen that top executives at the oil company, Shell, knew money paid to the Nigerian government for a vast oil field would be passed to a convicted money-launderer. The deal was concluded while Shell was operating under a probation order for a separate corruption case in Nigeria. Shell said it did not believe its employees acted illegally.
And finally, our regular commentator Lucy Kellaway disapproves of the advice given publicly by one US corporate boss to her growing children.
(Picture: The Bank of England in central London, England. Credit: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
Apr 4, 2017 1048
The investigation into the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers during the US election campaign continues to haunt international politics. Was Russia responsible for the hack? The US Secret Services say this is now beyond doubt. Just before he left office President Obama hit back with a series of retaliatory measures against Russia. Those measures included a range of sanctions against institutions and people: two intelligence agencies, four senior intelligence officials, 35 diplomats, three tech companies. They also targeted a man who was infamous in tech security circles. His trade name is Slavik. Ed Butler hears the remarkable story behind Slavik's years spent attacking and compromising the servers of international banks and what it all reveals about Russian cyber-espionage.
(Picture: An employee walking behind a glass wall with machine coding symbols at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow. Credit: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
Trump v China, Should We be Scared?
Apr 3, 2017 1032
As President Trump prepares for key talks with China's President Xi Jinping, we hear from the editor of the Financial Times, Lionel Barber, who warns that Mr Trump is threatening to go it alone in tackling North Korea, if Beijing refuses to help. Fresh from an interview with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, Mr Barber tells Ed Butler that there is cause to be concerned about the risk of US military action against North Korea. Ed also hears what to expect from the US-China trade discussions this week, with Peter Trubowitz, director of the US Centre at the London School of Economics.
And Jennifer Pak reports from Shenzhen in Southern China on the Chinese 'makers', coming up with new ideas (not stolen ones). And Lucy Kellaway says sexism is never acceptable, no matter how old you are.
(Picture: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, impersonated by Hong Kong actor Howard, and US President Donald Trump, impersonated by US actor Dennis, pose outside the US consulate in Hong Kong on in January 2017. Credit:ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
How to Age and Keep Working
Aug 5, 2016 1012
Manuela Saragosa investigates how we should age. We're all living much longer yet we live in a world that prizes youth and productivity above all. So, we're asking how to age? For many of us it will mean working beyond the usual retirement age. Manuela hears from those who argue that's something to welcome, not dread. Including 97-year-old athlete, oarsman, writer and former dentist Charles Eugster. Also in the programme: Lynda Gratton, co-author of The 100-year life and Aubrey de Grey, a British researcher on aging who claims he has drawn a roadmap to defeat biological aging and that the first human beings who will live to 1,000 years old have already been born. (Photo: Charles Eugster at the Henley Royal Regatta. Credit: Getty Images)
Unpacking Russia's Economy
Aug 2, 2016 1047
Russia's economy became mired in sanctions back in 2014. First it was those from the West as a result of Russia's involvement in the Ukraine conflict. Then, exactly two years ago this week, Russia fired back with sanctions of its own. The idea was partly to boost domestic agriculture by replacing foreign imports with Russian ones. It has helped some local cheese-makers. But many consumers are not happy with the loss of foreign goods and general spike in food prices.
We also look at the wider economic crash in Russia's economy, with the help of two experts - Alex Nice, an analyst with the Economics Intelligence Unit, and Bill Browder, CEO and a co-founder of the investment fund, Hermitage Capital Management. He was once Russia's most prominent foreign investor before falling out with President Vladimir Putin, and fleeing into exile in 2006. He is doubtful about any predictions of an economic recovery in Russia, as long as the current government remains in power.
(Photo: Vladimir Putin depicted on a traditional Russian doll. Credit: Getty Images)
How to be Frugal
May 6, 2016 1049
What happens when you abandon consumerism? The BBC's Ed Butler talks to Pete Adeney, also known as Mr Money Moustache. He retired at 30 and is so frugal he thinks he will never have to work again. Plus, we go urban foraging in London, and a Danish food campaigner tells us what we should do about all that unwanted food left at the back of the freezer.
(Photo: A woman sews buttons in Mumbai. Credit: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
Feb 5, 2016 1049
One farmer suffering from the drought in Australia tells BBC Business Daily that it looks "like a lunar landscape", with the ground crackling under his feet. We look at how much the weather conditions have damaged the country's economy. And since the thaw with the US, Cuba is now enjoying a tourist boom - but the country can't keep up with the influx of new visitors - meaning some tourists have ended up sleeping in open squares. (Picture: Cracked land in drought. Credit: Getty Images)
Regulating Our Food Choices
Feb 3, 2016 1048
Sugar tax is the hot topic that has got governments, health campaigners and the food industry talking. As rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes rise in many parts of the world, some say taxes on sugary drinks are a simple way of encouraging healthier choices. But should governments make those kinds of judgements? Katy Watson in Mexico and the US, meets those who think a 'sin tax' is the best way forward for fast food and fizzy drinks. She asks Mexico’s government and drinks industry how their sugar tax has affected sales of the products subject to extra tax. And, she hears from food industry lobbysists and those who think that government has no role to play in our food choices.
The Economics of Migration
Sep 4, 2015 1117
Is migration a good thing for economies? Does it bring innovation? Or does it drain resources? We have both sides of the argument as we hear Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, debate the matter with Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in London. Plus, our reporter Vishala Sri Pathma reports on India's Nestle Maggi instant noodle food scare and how it's affected attitudes towards food in the country.
(Picture: Migrant families leaving a transit area in Macedonia; Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
China's Defence Budget
Sep 3, 2015 1048
As China shows off its military muscle in a parade commemorating victory over Japan in World War Two, we examine what lies behind this dazzling display of hardware. China's defence budget has doubled over the last decade, and some of its neighbours are worried. We ask defence analyst, Michael Caffrey of IHS Jane's, whether the numbers are a cause for concern. Also in the programme, as part of the BBC's India season, we hear from Kolkata where millions of Muslims continue to struggle for equal rights in the jobs market. The government is promising tougher action to redress the prejudices against them. And as Azerbaijan this week jails one of its leading investigative journalists and anti-corruption activists, Khadija Ismayilova, we hear her recent assessment of the way economic and political power have been centralised in the hands of the ruling family of President Aliyev. What's really going on in the oil-rich country? Is there an oil curse in Azerbaijan and should this affect international attitudes towards it? We speak to Barnaby Pace of the campaign group Global Witness, who has conducted his own research into who really controls Azerbaijan's oil wealth. (Picture: Chinese soldiers ride armoured vehicles in the Tiananmen Square military parade; Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Where are India's Working Women?
Sep 2, 2015 1047
Women make up a comparatively small proportion of India's formal labour force. Those that do work tend to be at the extremes of the social spectrum - either poor or highly educated. Why are there not more middle class women working? We hear the stories of a maid and doctor in Delhi, and speak to the newspaper columnist Kalpana Sharma about the cultural and societal factors that are keeping millions of women out of formal employment.
Plus the BBC's Katy Watson shows us how women in Latin America and the Middle East also struggle to just get on with their working lives.
China: Innovator or Thief?
Sep 1, 2015 1048
China's latest factory data is the worst in 3 years. What's wrong with China's business model? Mark Anderson is CEO of InventIP, a consortium of US companies and experts who've put together a report, claiming that some 50% of Chinese growth in recent decades has been founded on the stealing of western business ideas, via old-fashioned industrial espionage and more sophisticated state-sponsored hacking. He exclusively tells the BBC the basis for his claims. And we also hear from Chinese author Edward Tse, who says the old stereotypes of Chinese companies leeching off western technology and possessing few ideas of their own is outdated. He's spent years advising Chinese companies, and in a new book, China's Disrupters, he claims a new genuinely entrepreneurial and innovative spirit has transformed the country's business climate.
Elements: Hydrogen and Acids
Aug 19, 2015 1049
These powerful chemicals are essential to obtain the minerals that build our world, the fertilisers that feed the planet, and the fuels that propel our vehicles - as presenter Laurence Knight discovers on a trip to the Ineos Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland.
But while most traditional acids are based on the power of hydrogen ions, Prof Andrea Sella of University College London explains that many modern industrial "acids" do not, and come in startlingly unexpected forms such as powders.
Many of the most corrosive acids are very tricky to contain, resulting in the occasional nasty accident, as chemical engineer Keith Plumb explains.
Also, Justin Rowlatt has a report on acid attacks in southern Asia in which he speaks to campaigner Selina Ahmed of the Acid Survivors Foundation on how Bangladesh has tackled the problem.
(Picture: A team working with toxic acids and chemicals secures a chemical cargo train tanks crashed near Sofia, Bulgaria; Credit: Cylonphoto/Thinkstock)
Elements: Iron and Industrialisation
Apr 1, 2015 1862
Iron is the chemical element at the heart of steel, and by extension of industrialisation, so what does the collapse in iron ore prices say about the economic progress of China and India?
In the last of three programmes looking at this most abundant of metals, Justin Rowlatt asks whether the steel-making party is over, or whether a new one is just about to begin. And if, one day, humanity can stop digging this element up altogether.
To find the answers, he speaks to material flow analyst Prof Daniel Beat Muller, sceptical China economist Andy Xie, Andrew Harding of the world's second biggest iron ore miner Rio Tinto, and Ravi Uppal who heads Jindal Steel of India.
Elements: Iron and Manganese
Mar 25, 2015 1866
Iron and manganese are the two key ingredients that enabled the mass production of steel - one of the most versatile and complex materials known to humanity. Justin Rowlatt chews on salad leaves with Andrea Sella of University College London, who explains how manganese is present in all plants and plays a key part in photosynthesis and ultimately oxygen production.
He also travels to Sheffield to visit a modern steelworks - the specialist engineering steel-maker Forgemasters - where Peter Birtles and Mark Tomlinson give a taste of just how hard it is to produce unbreakable parts for nuclear power stations and oil rigs.
Elements: Iron and the Industrial Revolution
Mar 18, 2015 1948
Justin Rowlatt explores two moments in history that transformed this most abundant of metal elements into the key material out of which modern life is constructed.
In the first of three programmes, Justin travels to St Paul's Cathedral, where professor Andrea Sella of University College London recounts why Christopher Wren was so vexed that the new railings were built out of cast iron. Then onto Ironbridge, where curator John Challen tells how the world's first major iron structure came into being. And, Justin ends at Cyfarthfa in Wales, once home to the world's biggest ironworks, where historian Chris Evans explains why puddling and rolling are far more world-changing than they sound.
Mar 11, 2015 1914
Technetium is essential for medical imaging, yet supplies of this short-lived radioactive manmade element are far from guaranteed. Justin Rowlatt heads to University College London Hospital to see a technetium scan in progress, to view the clean rooms where technetium cows are milked, and to speak to nuclear medicine researcher Dr Kerstin Sander about a possible solution to cancer.
Professor Andrea Sella explains why this element sparked a 70-year wild goose chase by chemists in the 19th Century. And, we dispatch Matt Wells to Winnipeg in Canada to meet the team hoping to come up with an alternative source of technetium, when the biggest current source - the Chalk River reactor in Ontario - shuts down in 2016.
Mar 4, 2015 2551
Fluorine is a ferocious yellow gas that is the key building block for a string of other gases that pose a threat to mankind if released into the atmosphere. From the ozone-depleting CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) to potent greenhouse gases such as sulphur hexafluoride, Justin Rowlatt gets the full rundown from professor Andrea Sella of University College London.
Justin travels to the source of fluorine in Britain, a fluorspar mine in Derbyshire, before following the ore to the giant acid works of Mexichem in Runcorn in the UK, where site director Ron Roscher explains the incredible array of uses for this chemical element.
And, he also hears from environmental scientist Stefan Reimann about the environmental legacy of CFCs and the threat posed by Chinese and Indian air conditioners.
Feb 26, 2015 1995
Chromium: Justin Rowlatt visits the Warrs Harley dealership to find out from Professor Andrea Sella why this metallic element links the motorbikes on show, with the leather jackets and flick-knives of the archetypal biker gang. He hears from Erin Brockovich about the insidious role hexavalent chromium has played in drinking water and human health. And he travels to the luxury Savoy hotel in London, and the Harry Brearley memorial on a dingy post-industrial corner of Sheffield, to discover crucial role chromium plays in stainless steel.
Elements: Nickel (& Rhenium)
Feb 18, 2015 2040
Nickel is the metal that made the jet age possible, not to mention margarine and bicycle sprockets. In the latest installment in his journey through the periodic table, Justin Rowlatt travels to Rolls Royce to discover the incredible materials science that this chemical element and its super-alloys have driven, as well as the miniscule market for another, far more valuable metal - rhenium.
Justin also descends deep into the bowels of University College London with Professor Andrea Sella to encounter the clang of a Monel rod, a magic trick with a Nitinol paper clip, and an almost uncuttable piece of Inconel.
(Photo: Airbus jets. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Oct 8, 2014 2471
Uranium is the fuel for nuclear power stations, which generate carbon-free electricity, but also radioactive waste that lasts a millennium. In the latest in our series looking at the world economy from the perspective of the elements of the periodic table, Justin Rowlatt travels to Sizewell in Suffolk, in a taxi driven by a former uranium prospector.
He is given a tour of the operational power station, Sizewell B, which generates 3% of the UK's electricity, by EDF's head of safety Colin Tucker, before popping next-door to the original power station, Sizewell A, where he speaks to site director Tim Watkins about the drawn-out process of decommissioning and cleaning up the now-defunct reactors.
But while Sizewell remains reassuringly quiet, the big explosions come at the end of the programme. We pit environmentalist and pro-nuclear convert Mark Lynas against German Green politician Hans-Josef Fell, the joint architect of Germany's big move towards wind and solar energy, at the expense of nuclear. Is nuclear a green option? It really depends whom you ask.
Oct 1, 2014 2299
Lead is the sweetest of poisons, blamed for everything from mad Roman emperors to modern-day crime waves. Yet a lead-acid battery is still what gets your car going in the morning. So have we finally learnt how to handle this heavyweight element?
Justin Rowlatt travels to arts shop Cornelissen in London's Bloomsbury to find out why they've stopped stocking the stuff, and hear from professor Andrea Sella of University College London, about the unique properties that have made it so handy in everything from radiation protection to glassware. Yet lead in petrol is also accused of having inflicted brain damage on an entire generation of children in the 1970s, as the economist Jessica Wolpaw-Reyes of Amherst College explains.
And, producer Laurence Knight travels to one of the UK's only two lead smelters - HJ Enthoven's at Darley Dale in Derbyshire, the historical heartland of the UK lead industry - to see what becomes of the lead in your car battery, and speak to the director of the International Lead Association, Andy Bush.
Sep 24, 2014 2284
The atomic clock runs on caesium, and has redefined the very meaning of time. But it has also introduced a bug into timekeeping that affects everything from computerised financial markets to electricity grids, to satellite navigation, to the Greenwich Meridian. Justin Rowlatt travels to the birthplace of modern time, the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, England, to speak to Krzysztof Szymaniec, the keeper of the 'Caesium Fountain', and Leon Lobo, the man charged with disseminating time to the UK.
He also hears from Felicitas Arias, director of Time at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures in Paris, about plans to abolish the “leap second”. And the Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, explains why even the atomic clock can never hope to provide an absolute measure of time.
Sep 17, 2014 1738
Bromine puts out fires - both in the home and in the heart. But despite its reputation as an anti-aphrodisiac, this chemical element's biggest use is in fire retardants, found in everything from your sofa to your radio. But do these bromine-based chemicals pose a risk to your health?
Presenter Justin Rowlatt hears from chemistry professor Andrea Sella of University College London, about his own childhood encounter with this noxious red liquid.
Justin speaks to chemicals industry analyst Laura Syrett of Industrial Minerals about why she thinks bromine may have been the victim of 'chemophobia' - an irrational public prejudice against chemicals. And, the BBC's Mark Lobel travels to the world's biggest source of bromine, the Dead Sea, to see the bromine works of Israel Chemicals Ltd, and comes face-to-face with some of the company's allegedly dangerous products in the hands of deputy head Anat Tal.
The Elements: Plutonium
Sep 12, 2014 2256
We investigate the econonomics of plutonium, the chemical anti-hero which has killed tens of thousands and threatened the lives of millions more. We visit the Berkeley campus of the University of California, where plutonium was first discovered and meet David Shuh director of the The Glenn T. Seaborg Centre to get an insight into this infamous element and to find out what the latest research is telling us about its potential use into the future.
We hear about the desperate legacy of testing that was done on vulnerable youngsters in the 1950s and 1960s, in which they were exposed to radiation in order to find out what the effect on them might be. They continue to live with the consequences of those experiments, to this day and the BBC's Peter Marshall tells us more about their stories. And plutonium expert Robert Kelley tells about plutonium's use both as a weapon and as the basis for nuclear power and outlines the precautions that are still being taken, to this day, to try to keep the world safe from the extraordinary potential of this element.
Elemental Business: Silicon and the Sun
Aug 19, 2014 2307
Silicon, ordinarily associated with micro-chip production, is also a key component in solar panel manufacturing and as such, is crucial to the future of power for the planet. We hear from John Schaeffer, a solar power pioneer who at his shop and "solar living centre" in California, was one of the first to punt this eco-friendly form of power generation to his local community of sun-seeking Californian hippies - all to great effect. Richard Swanson of Sun Power and Lynn Jurich founder of Sunrun are busy developing ways to make solar panel manufacturing and distribution ever more cost efficient. While Barry Goldwater Jr., former Republican Congressman and one-time friend of Ronald Reagan, who is definitely not a hippie, has become a big solar power fan and is busy fighting its cause in the corridors of power. The sun, he says, will win the day.
Elemental Business: Silicon Chips
Jul 31, 2014 2378
Silicon chips have shrunk a million-fold since Gordon Moore made his famous forecast in 1965, but is Moore's Law - and the computer revolution it heralded - about to run up against fundamental laws of physics? In the first of two programmes investigating silicon - the latest in our series looking at the elements of the periodic table and their role in the global economy - we travel to Silicon Valley to the biggest chip company of them all, Intel, co-founded by Gordon Moore himself.
We visit the Intel museum with company spokesperson Chuck Mulloy and get up close to a giant ingot of the purest material on earth. We speak to Intel's chief chip architect Mark T Bohr about the future of computing. And, professor Andrea Sella of University College London explain's what micro-processing has to do with old Muscovite windows - with a trip to the beach.
Elemental Business: Vanadium
Jul 28, 2014 1709
Vanadium, and obscure metal, provides the latest installment in our journey through the economics of the periodic table. This element has hardened steel since ancient times, and today it lies at the heart giant batteries that could be vital to the future of solar energy. Our regular chemistry maestro, professor Andrea Sella of University College London, demonstrates vanadium's surprisingly colourful properties.
And, Justin Rowlatt meets Bill Radvak, chief executive of American Vanadium - the only vanadium company in the US - and asks what a 'redox flow battery' could do for the BBC's headquarters in London. We also hear from solar energy entrepreneur Alexander Voigt about the particular niche that vanadium will fill in the future ecosystem of electricity grid storage.
Elemental Business: Nitrogen Fertiliser
Jul 27, 2014 2007
Nitrogen-based fertilisers have banished hunger in the rich world and ushered in an era of abundance. But they are a double-edged sword - the glut of food also comes with a glut of nitrogenous pollution that threatens to destroy our rivers and oceans. In our latest programme about the elements of the periodic table, Professor Andrea Sella of University College London tells presenter Justin Rowlatt why exactly our crops - and we humans - could not survive without nitrogen.
The BBC's Washington correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan sees - and smells - first-hand the denitrification of raw sewage, and hears from water scientist Dr Beth McGee of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation about the eutrophication of America's largest river estuary.
And, Justin travels to Norwich to meet Giles Oldroyd of the John Innes Centre, who is seeking to genetically engineer cereal crops that can fix nitrogen from the air. He also meets farmer David Hill, who explains the hi-tech lengths he goes to in order to squeeze the maximum yield out of his fertiliser.
Elemental Business: Nitrogen Explosives
Jul 26, 2014 2141
Nitrogen - the world's most abundant gas - has brought life and death to humanity on an epic scale - and tragedy to the scientists that have harnessed its power. It is seemingly inert, yet it can also blow things up.
In the first of two programmes on nitrogen, chemistry guru Andrea Sella of University College London explains to Justin Rowlatt how the forces that make this gas so stable are the same ones that make nitrogen compounds such as nitroglycerin so explosive.
Jez Smith, former head of research at the world's biggest explosives firm, Orica, talks about the shocking accuracy of modern mining detonations - all of them based on nitrogen.
And Justin travels to the headquarters of German chemicals giant BASF to learn about ammonia production from Dr Michael Mauss and Bernard Geis, and how the work of chemists Fritz Haber and Karl Bosch a century ago saved the planet from starvation.
Elemental Business: Carbon Plastic
Jul 25, 2014 2088
Plastics are one of the most useful substances known to man, strong, durable and abundant, but once in the environment, they are here to stay. Professor Andrea Sella tells us about the unique properties of carbon-based plastics - why they are so useful and why they are so hard to get rid of. And, Dr Susan Mossman, a materials science specialist at the Science Museum, gives us a plastics history lesson which has a few surprises along the way. But what happens when the high cost of hydro-carbons make plastics too expensive? Head of the National Non-Food Crops Centre in York, Dr Jeremy Tomkinson, is amongst those out there looking for alternatives. He tells us what a new generation of plastics might have to offer.
Elemental Business: Lithium (long version)
Jul 22, 2014 1968
Lithium is the electro-chemical element - big in batteries and bipolar disorder. Over two decades it has shot from obscurity to become almost synonymous with the way we power our gadgets. Presenter Justin Rowlatt hears from chemistry powerhouse Prof Andrea Sella of University College London about what makes lithium so light and energetic. We hear from Gideon Long in Chile, who visits the world's richest source of lithium in the Atacama Desert, and about how neighbouring Bolivia believes it will dominate supply if demand for this alkali metal continues to see double-digit growth. Justin speaks to Prof Nigel Brandon of Imperial College, an expert on cutting-edge battery research, about whether this week's element can ever realistically hope to challenge a can of petrol as the best way to power a car. And we hear from clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison of Johns Hopkins University about the literally life-saving role lithium has played for sufferers of bipolar disorder - including herself.
Elemental Business: Rare Earths
Jul 21, 2014 1951
The rare earth elements are the focus of the latest instalment in Business Daily's exploration of the real basis of the world economy - the basic building blocks of everything in the universe, the chemical elements.
And it's not a short list we cover: Lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, turbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytturbium and lutetium.
You may not have heard of most of them but some have insinuated themselves deep into modern life. We'll be finding out the extraordinarily range of uses to which they've been put, as well as the big problem: The supply of these is overwhelmingly dominated by China.
We'll be hearing from Professor Andrea Sella of University College London, Jack Lifton of Technology Metals Research, the journalist Cecile Bontron who provides a first-hand account of the Chinese processing plant at Baotou, as well as Henrik Stiesdahl and Rasmus Windfeld of Siemens' wind turbine division.
Elemental Business: Carbon Diamonds
Jul 20, 2014 1886
Synthetic or natural? Diamond ring hunters may soon be asking themselves this question, as technological advances mean the gemstone market could be poised for a flood of man-made stones. Presenter Justin Rowlatt visits the new research headquarters of Element Six, the synthetics arm of mining giant de Beers, to find out how they are made and their proliferating industrial uses. He hears from diamonds journalist Chaim Even Zohar about the factory-made diamonds fraudulently passed of as natural gems. Author Matthew Hart retells the yarn of how a lowly small-time prospector first broke the de Beers cartel. And we hear from de Beers itself - their marketing head Stephen Lussier explains why diamonds really are forever.
Elemental Business: Carbon Materials
Jul 17, 2014 1676
We take a second look at carbon, one of the most versatile of all the elements, in the latest episode of our series looking at the economy of the elements of the periodic table. We all now know that carbon-based fossil fuels are driving global warming, threatening to disrupt all our lives, but could carbon come riding to the rescue?
Our favourite chemist, Andrea Sella of University College London, takes us through the basic chemistry of carbon and we visit some of the world's leading materials scientists in two leading carbon research centres. At Manchester University we meet professor Aravind Vijayaraghavan, an expert in the revolutionary nano-material, graphene and two of his colleagues. We also get a tour of the National Composities Centre with its chief executive Peter Chivers. And, we meet Colin Sirett, head of research at the European aerospace group Airbus.
Elemental Business: Carbon Energy
Jul 16, 2014 1560
In our series examining the world economy from the perspective of the chemical elements, we look at how the industrial revolution was really an energy revolution driven by carbon-based fossil fuels. Chemistry professor Andrea Sella of University College London and his geology colleague professor Mark Maslin explain the chemical wizardry that makes carbon the ultimate fuel. We hear from Dr Paul Warde an industrial historian at the University of East Anglia, about how the 'C' element has powered the longest and most sustained economic boom in the history of humanity. But how long can it last? Can we expect the mother of all crashes when the carbon crunch finally comes?
Two former oil men, Chris Mottershead, former head of energy security at BP and now vice principal for research at King's College in London and John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil, give us their perspectives on the whether the world is ready to tackle its addiction to fossil fuels, before the fuel runs out and in time to avert a looming climate change disaster.
Elemental Business: Gold
Jul 15, 2014 1408
What makes gold so valuable, why is it golden and why is it the only elelment that makes a good currency? In chemical terms it is virtually useless. Justin Rowlatt talks to one of the world's biggest manufacturers of mobile phones about how you can recover the gold in your handset and learns how little gold there actually is. Find out more in the latest in our series examining the world economy from the perspective of the building blocks of the universe - the chemical elements.
Elemental Business: Mercury
Jul 14, 2014 1409
Mercury is the bad-boy of the periodic table, often called 'quicksilver', it is both mesmerising and toxic as Professor Andrea Sella of University College London vividly explains. In the fourth of our series examining the global economics of chemical elements Justin Rowlatt speaks to Tim Kasten of the United Nations' Environment Programme who is one of the architects of a new international treaty that aims to ban the metal from industrial uses by 2020. As we discover, that ban will affect everything from coal-fired power stations to small-scale gold miners in developing countries, to the illumination of the lowly office. We visit a fluorescent bulb recycling plant outisde Norwich and speak to small scale gold miners in Ghana about how the ban might affect them. But it is all in a good cause, as Justin discovers when he visits one of the finest fishmongers in London.
Elemental Business: Aluminium
Jul 13, 2014 1663
We look at aluminium, a more dazzling metal than you may imagine. A sceptical Justin Rowlatt visits the lab of our perennial chemist, Andrea Sella, to find out why it is used in everything from drinks cans to packaging to insulation to window frames.This metal used to be incredibly rare, because it is so hard to extract from its ore, bauxite. We visit Britain's only aluminium smelter - in the Scottish Highlands - to find out why so much electricity is needed in the process.
But once you have it, it can be used, recycled and re-used almost ad infinitum. As the stock of metal in circulation increases every year, we ask the world's biggest manufacturer of rolled aluminium sheets whether one day the world may not need to mine the metal at all any more.
And, as if that were not enough, we dispatch Justin to tour the world's biggest aluminium car body shop to find out why vehicle manufacturers are dropping the use of steel in favour of its lighter rival.
(Photo: Aluminium bodied Range Rovers in production at the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plant in Solihull. Credit: Press Association)
Elemental Business: Helium
Jul 12, 2014 1415
Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe but very rare on earth. Professor Andrea Sella of University College London, explains to Justin Rowlatt the properties that make this inert gas so useful. He explains where it comes from and where it goes to.
Washington correspondent, Jonny Dymond, is out in the wilds of the Texas pan-handle to explore the US national helium reserve. And, we hear from the head of General Electric's Magnetic Resonance Imaging division - one of the world's biggest users of helium - on why the gas is so important in the fight against many diseases.
Elemental Business: Phosphorus
Jul 11, 2014 1200
In the first of Elementary Business - a new series of programmes about the chemical elements - Justin Rowlatt asks whether phosphorus poses the biggest looming crisis that you have never heard of. Since 1945, the world's population has tripled. Yet the fact that we've still managed to feed all those mouths is in no small part thanks to phosphates. We mine them, turn them into fertiliser, and then spread them onto our fields, whence they are ultimately washed away into the ocean. Justin speaks to chemist Andrea Sella to find out just why phosphorus is so vital to sustaining life, and modern agriculture. He also hears from Jeremy Grantham, a voice from the world of high finance, who warns that pretty soon Morocco may find itself with the dubious honour of a near-monopoly of the world's remaining phosphate supplies. And Justin travels to the lowly town of Slough, near London, to take a look at one new way of staving off the dreaded day when the world eventually runs out of the stuff.
(Photo: The Thames Valley sewage treatment facility at Slough, which can extract phosphorus)