Business Daily

Business Daily Podcast

The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.

Is the sun setting on Saudi oil?
Is the Saudi state oil company Aramco finalising its much-delayed share offering just as financial markets are losing faith in the future of fossil fuels? Manuela Saragosa speaks to energy geopolitical analyst Indra Overland, who says that the transition to electric vehicles could happen much faster than expected, posing a direct threat to what is the world's biggest oil company. Meanwhile Andrew Grant of the think tank Carbon Tracker says that big institutional investors are beginning to take the financia...

Is the sun setting on Saudi oil?
Is the Saudi state oil company Aramco finalising its much-delayed share offering just as financial markets are losing faith in the future of fossil fuels? Manuela Saragosa speaks to energy geopolitical analyst Indra Overland, who says that the transition to electric vehicles could happen much faster than expected, posing a direct threat to what is the world's biggest oil company. Meanwhile Andrew Grant of the think tank Carbon Tracker says that big institutional investors are beginning to take the financia...

Concrete's dirty secret
Cement and concrete have one of the biggest carbon footprints of any industry, and eliminating it is no easy task. By volume concrete is the most heavily used resource by humanity apart from water. Our houses, offices, dams, roads, airports and so on all depend on pouring vast quantities of this magical, versatile material. But not only does making cement - the glue that binds concrete - involve huge amounts of energy. The chemical process itself also produces carbon dioxide as a bi-product, and nobody yet...


How China slam-dunked the NBA
Does the China-NBA bust-up mean that the Chinese are falling out of love with US basketball - and US business in general? One thoughtless tweet in support of Hong Kong protestors by Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets Basketball team, has kicked off a diplomatic storm, with Chinese TV stations cancelling the planned airing of NBA exhibition basketball games. It certainly reflects a much more prickly, nationalistic mood in China at a time when the country feels under attack from the US gover...

Is the West really meritocratic?
We hear the arguments of leading US academic and author, Daniel Markovits, whose book The Meritocracy Trap argues that meritocracy in the United States and other Western free-market economies is a myth that fuels inequality. Temba Maqubela, the head of The Groton School - one of America's top private schools - outlines the role that elite establishments such as his could play in helping less advantaged students. Meanwhile Samina Khan, director of undergraduate admissions at Oxford University, says top univ...

How to be angry
From hotheads to curmudgeons, is anger always bad for business? Can anger management techniques help? Or should we put our wrath to profitable use? Laurence Knight speaks to an entrepreneur who hit the headlines following an air rage incident about his chronic fits of rage. Anger management expert Dr Gina Simmons explains why he may want to consider doing press-ups. We also hear from Mustafa Nayyem, who helped initiate the bitter Euromaidan protests that brought down Ukraine's last government. Plus evolu...


The vaping scare and big tobacco
Why health concerns over vaping is bad for cigarette companies. In the US hundreds of illnesses and even some deaths have been linked to vaping. That's bad news for a tobacco industry looking for a long-term replacement for cigarettes. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, Anna Gilmore, professor of public health at the University of Bath in the UK and a spokesperson for STOP - a global industry watchdog aimed at stopping tobacco organisations and products ...

Losing your mind at work
On World Mental Health Day, we hear the experiences of people who've suffered a mental health breakdown at work, and ask what employers can do to support them. We hear from Ian Stuart, the UK CEO of the global bank HSBC, Paul Farmer from the mental health charity Mind, American comedian and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax, Dean Yates, the head of journalist mental health and wellbeing strategy at the news agency Reuters, Geoff McDonald, global advocate and campaigner of Minds at Work, and Dr Claire Dougla...

Why whistleblowers need protection
A new EU directive grants new legal rights to those reporting corporate and government misbehaviour. Ed Butler asks David Lewis, professor of employment law at Middlesex University, how significant the new legal framework is and why it was needed. Plus we replay an interview from 2016 in which lawyer Mychal Wilson retells his early experiences as a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company in Los Angeles, and why he blew the whistle on underhand practices. And practicing Louisiana doctor William LaCorte talk...


Choose your own pay
What happens when a company lets its employees decide what their salaries should be? Will anyone ask to be paid less? A number of tech companies are finding out, as they see it as a way of achieving greater fairness and transparency, as well as motivating staff to raise their effort to match their remuneration. Ed Butler speaks to Heather McGregor, executive dean of the Edinburgh Business School, and to David Burkus, the California-based author of a book about pay transparency, Under New Management. (Pict...

The George Soros conspiracy
Why one financier is the target of a global conspiracy theory. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the BBC's Mike Rudin, who made a recent documentary on the Soros conspiracy, and to Joe Uscinski, associate professor of political science at the University of Miami - and an expert in conspiracy theories. And the BBC's Dhruti Shah speaks to David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes, the company trying to debunk fake news for the last 25 years. (Photo: Anti-Soros placards during a political demonstration is Macedonia in...

End of the road for US truckers?
Truck drivers and the robots that could replace them. Jahd Khalil visits a truck stop in the US state of Virginia to find out why there's a chronic shortage of truckers in the US. Robert Brown from the robotics company TuSimple and Greg Hastings, associate partner at McKinsey & Co, tell Manuela Saragosa why long-distance driving is exactly the kind of job suited to robots. (Photo: A truck stop on the US-Mexico border, Credit: Getty Images)...


End of the road for US truckers?
Truck drivers and the robots that could replace them. Jahd Khalil visits a truck stop in the US state of Virginia to find out why there's a chronic shortage of truckers in the US. Robert Brown from the robotics company TuSimple and Greg Hastings, associate partner at McKinsey & Co, tell Manuela Saragosa why long-distance driving is exactly the kind of job suited to robots. (Photo: A truck stop on the US-Mexico border, Credit: Getty Images)...

The right to repair
Why is it so hard to fix your own things? Ed Butler speaks to those campaigning for manufacturers to make it easier for us to fix our electronics goods - everything from tractors to smartphones. Clare Seek runs a Repair Café in Portsmouth, England, a specially designated venue for anyone who wants to get their stuff to last longer. And Ed travels to Agbogbloshie in Accra in Ghana, one of the places where our mountains of e-waste end up being pulled apart and melted down for scrap. The programme also feature...

The search for sustainable fabric
Modern textiles are environmentally problematic. Cotton needs gallons of water to produce, while polyester comes from crude oil. So could organic materials such as mushrooms and banana leaves hold the answer? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dr Richard Blackburn, chemistry professor at Leeds University, who has been studying the ecological impact of the garments industry for decades. Meanwhile the BBC's Elizabeth Hotson investigates innovative new fabrics preparing to hit the market, including MycoTEX, a materia...


The search for sustainable fabric
Modern textiles are environmentally problematic. Cotton needs gallons of water to produce, while polyester comes from crude oil. So could organic materials such as mushrooms and banana leaves hold the answer? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dr Richard Blackburn, chemistry professor at Leicester 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 mat...

The onward march of Chinese debt
Is the rapid build up of consumer and corporate credit a threat to China's economic wellbeing? On the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic, Ed Butler asks whether the increasing dependence on debt of this officially communist nation is becoming a problem. The programme includes interviews with Shanghai-based journalist Liyan Ma, Shaun Rein of business strategy consultants China Market Research Group, and economist Linda Yueh. (Picture: People's Liberation Army personnel participate i...

Brexit and the currency speculators
Some traders are betting on the UK crashing out of the EU without a divorce agreement. Should we be concerned that they wield too much political influence? Both the British Prime Minister's sister Rachel Johnson, and the former Conservative finance minister Philip Hammond, have publicly voiced concerns in recent day that Boris Johnson is backed by financiers speculating on a sharp fall in the pound following a possible no-deal Brexit on 31 October. Manuela Saragosa asks how credible are such claims? How a...


Brexit and the currency speculators
Some traders are betting on the UK crashing out of the EU without a divorce agreement. Should we be concerned that they wield too much political influence? Both the British Prime Minister's sister Rachel Johnson, and the former Conservative finance minister Philip Hammond, have publicly voiced concerns in recent day that Boris Johnson is backed by financiers speculating on a sharp fall in the pound following a possible no-deal Brexit on 31 October. Manuela Saragosa asks how credible are such claims? How a...

WeWork and the cult of the CEO
How WeWork's Adam Neumann lost his job after a disastrous attempt to list the company on the stock market. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the Wall Street Journal's Eliot Brown about the charisma of Adam Neumann and how it helped raise billions from investors, and to Andre Spicer from the Cass Business School about the cult of the founder-CEO. Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business, explains why WeWork's IPO failure should be a lesson to the markets. (Photo: A...

Climate Action: Should we plant more trees?
Ed Butler speaks to Professor Tom Crowther from the Swiss university ETH Zurich, who says planting billions of trees around the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle climate change. Marcelo Guimaraes, chairman of Mahogany Roraima, a commercial timber and reforestation plantation in the northern Amazon rainforest, discusses how that would work in practice. (Photo: A tree in a deforested area of the Amazon rainforest, Credit: Getty Images)...


Climate Action: The moral imperative
What is our ethical duty to eliminate carbon emissions? Was Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg right to express such anger at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York this week? Justin Rowlatt asks leading moral philosopher Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University, whether someone driving a petrol- fuelled car can really be held responsible for increasing the risk of drought in Africa. And why should we give up taking long-haul flights, if the tiny amount of carbon emissions that save...

Climate Action: Uninhabitable Earth
Just how bad will it get if the world fails to get to grips with climate change? On day two of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, Justin Rowlatt speaks to David Wallace-Wells, author of the apocalyptic book Uninhabitable Earth, which lays out the dire predictions of climatologists for the coming decades if humanity continues to put ever more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere unabated. Yet despite the potentially terrifying outlook, it remains very difficult to motivate politicians and the public t...

Climate Action: Greta Thunberg's mission
The Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg explains how she aims to get the world's governments gathered for the UN Climate Action Summit in New York to take meaningful action on global warming. Justin Rowlatt speaks to her about her ambitions for her transatlantic trip, and whether one person can really make that much of a difference. In order for her mission to succeed, it will mean rebuilding the global economy from the ground up, including the phasing out of most of the oil and gas industry. John Ho...


The future of Facebook
What next for the social media giant? Jane Wakefield speaks to one former mentor of Mark Zuckerberg, and a British member of parliament about what changes Facebook needs to make after data scandals and concerns over its power. (Photo: Facebook logo, Credit: Getty Images)...

Robot race cars and AI
What robots driving cars can tell us about artificial intelligence. Ed Butler speaks to Bryn Balcombe, chief strategy officer of the autonomous vehicle project Roborace. Gary Marcus, professor of psychology at New York University, explains why he thinks AI development is fundamentally limited. Yoshua Bengio, professor of computer science at the University of Montreal in Canada, gives a defence. (Photo: A Roborace robot-driven car in action on the track, Credit: Getty Images)...

Robot race cars and AI
What robots driving cars can tell us about artificial intelligence. Ed Butler speaks to Bryn Balcombe, chief strategy officer of the autonomous vehicle project Roborace. Gary Marcus, professor of psychology at New York University, explains why he thinks AI development is fundamentally limited. Yoshua Bengio, professor of computer science at the University of Montreal in Canada, gives a defence. (Photo: A Roborace robot-driven car in action on the track, Credit: Getty Images)...


Trading tinned fish and powdered milk
How economies spring up in extreme places from refugee camps to prisons. Ed Butler speaks to economist Richard Davies, author of a new book called Extreme Economies, who describes the economic activity in extreme places, from a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan to one of the toughest prisons in the world, in the United States. Former US prisoner Lester Young fill us in on how to trade behind bars. (Photo: A prison in Louisiana State Penitentiary, Credit: Getty Images)...

Whom should the corporation serve?
Should shareholders come first? Or should companies also serve their employees, customers, and society in general? Ed Butler explores the growing backlash against "shareholder primacy" - the idea espoused in the 1970s by economist Milton Friedman that businesses should only care about maximising the bottom line for the benefit of their investors, and that other stakeholders' interests should not be their prerogative. He speaks to Lenore Palladino, economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amh...

Whom should the corporation serve?
Should shareholders come first? Or should companies also serve their employees, customers, and society in general? Ed Butler explores the growing backlash against "shareholder primacy" - the idea espoused in the 1970s by economist Milton Friedman that businesses should only care about maximising the bottom line for the benefit of their investors, and that other stakeholders' interests should not be their prerogative. He speaks to Lenore Palladino, economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amh...


Africa's mobile credit revolution
Will the roll out of online lending stimulate economic boom or just a credit binge in Africa? Ed Butler speaks to many of the businesspeople providing the continent with much needed banking services via mobile phones. They are optimistic that financial inclusion for small businesses, farmers and rural consumers could stimulate much faster economic growth. But is there a dark side to the sudden availability of east loans? The programme includes interviews with Matthew Davie, chief strategy officer at the U...

The cost of sending money home
Why it's time to start paying attention to the global remittances industry. Ed Butler speaks to Monica, a nurse from the Philippines working in the UK - one of millions of people around the world who regularly send money back to their families abroad. Dilip Ratha from the World Bank describes the scale of the money flows, and the persistently high costs of international money transfers. Ralph Chami from the IMF highlights the challenges such big inflows of cash can have on developing countries. And Elena No...

The cost of sending money home
Why it's time to start paying attention to the global remittances industry. Ed Butler speaks to Monica, a nurse from the Philippines working in the UK - one of millions of people around the world who regularly send money back to their families abroad. Dilip Ratha from the World Bank describes the scale of the money flows, and the persistently high costs of international money transfers. Ralph Chami from the IMF highlights the challenges such big inflows of cash can have on developing countries. And Elena No...


The cannabidiol craze
The cannabis extract CBD or cannabidiol is legal in many countries, and now it's finding its way into everything from soaps to cosmetics. But is it just a fad, and are its health claims bogus? Manuela Saragosa asks Harry Sumnall, professor in substance use at Liverpool John Moores University, whether it is true that CBD is not a psychoactive substance - unlike the more infamous cannabis extract THC. And is it true that it can be used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's, anxiety and cancer amongst others? ...

Going after Google
The attorneys general of 48 out of the 50 US states have come together to challenge the control of the search giant over what we buy or view online. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones about why the US anti-trust authorities have decided to join their EU counterparts in taking on Google. Jonathan Tepper, author of the new book The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, takes us through the history and significance of anti-trust legislation....

Tackling the male fertility crisis
Sperm counts worldwide have been in steady decline for decades, and a group of tech start-ups are finally giving the problem attention. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the heads of two such companies: Tom Smith of Dadi Inc, which provides home kits for freezing sperm, and Mohamed Taha of Mojo Diagnostics, which is using artificial intelligence to make male fertility testing more reliable. Plus Mylene Yao of Univfy Inc, which focuses on female fertility, says she has noticed a generational shift in her clients' ...


Tackling the male fertility crisis
Sperm counts worldwide have been in steady decline for decades, and a group of tech start-ups are finally giving the problem attention. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the heads of two such companies: Tom Smith of Dadi Inc, which provides home kits for freezing sperm, and Mohamed Taha of Mojo Diagnostics, which is using artificial intelligence to make male fertility testing more reliable. Plus Mylene Yao of Univfy Inc, which focuses on female fertility, says she has noticed a generational shift in her clients' ...

The world is running out of sand
The global construction boom is fuelling an illegal trade in sand used to make concrete, causing environmental degradation and spawning sand mafias in parts of the world. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Prem Mahadevan of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, on what is becoming a global phenomenon. Campaigner Sumaira Abdulali, founder of the Awaaz Foundation NGO in India, recounts how she confronted illegal sand miners who were destroying a stretch of beach she owns south of Mumbai, and Jo...

Can technology read minds?
The business of brain data. Real-life mind-reading technology is being developed right now, and it's already being used in places like China. Ed Butler investigates what the technology can really do, and what the implications might be for our privacy and freedoms. (Photo: A brain scan, Credit: Getty Images)...


Can technology read minds?
The business of brain data. Real-life mind-reading technology is being developed right now, and it's already being used in places like China. Ed Butler investigates what the technology can really do, and what the implications might be for our privacy and freedoms. (Photo: A brain scan, Credit: Getty Images)...

Brand Britain and Brexit
What the rest of the world makes of the UK's Brexit crisis. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Jane Foley, head of foreign exchange strategy at Rabobank, about what the pound's value says about the state of the nation. Jiao Li, co-founder of a company called Crayfish, which helps UK companies better engage with China, explains why cheaper British goods are making them more attractive to Chinese buyers. And Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum on the view from Europe. (Photo: Union Jack paraphernalia, Credit: ...

The hipster company that wants to save the world
Is WeWork an exciting new tech firm with lofty ideals worth $47bn, or is it just an over-priced office rental business? Manuela Saragosa speaks to two sceptics. Rett Wallace of investment advisory firm Triton says the prospectus for WeWork's forthcoming stock market flotation is long on aspirational zen, but rather short on hard financial details. Meanwhile Vijay Govindarajan, business strategy professor at Dartmouth College, is unimpressed by the company's attempt to brand itself as a tech firm. But plen...


Air pollution gets personal
Can a greater understanding of how poor air quality harms us, enable us to tackle this urgent problem? Jane Wakefield meets British artist Michael Pinsky and explores an interactive art instillation mimicking the air of five parts of the world. She hears from Romain Lacombe of the personal pollution sensor company Plume Labs how tracking the air around you can help to design better policies at a city level. Plus Robert Muggah of the Igarape Institute talks through how his interactive maps tracking global p...

Hollywood vs Netflix
How are movie producers making money in the age of online streaming? In Hollywood, if you produce a hit show or blockbuster movie, a cut of the profits can lead to extraordinary wealth. That could mean producers lowering their salaries to get a percentage of the box office. But Netflix and other streaming services don’t play by old Hollywood’s rules. The BBC’s Regan Morris speaks to executives and producers about how Hollywood’s business model is changing as a content arms race from the streaming services...

Can we trust Rwanda's data?
Is Rwanda's economic success story really all it's cracked up to be? Ed Butler speaks to Tom Wilson, east Africa correspondent at the Financial Times, about some supposedly dodgy statistics behind the economic miracle, and the World Bank aid money reliant upon it. And a former economic advisor to the Rwandan president Paul Kagame describes how economic statistics were routinely distorted during his time in government. (Photo: Rwandan president Paul Kagame, Credit: Getty Images)...


Dying for insulin in the USA
Why do Americans have to pay so much for this life-saving drug? There are reports of some uninsured diabetics dying as a consequence. Even the health insurers and drug manufacturers say the pricing system is broken. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Laura Marston, a type-1 diabetes sufferer and campaigner from Washington DC, about how she had to sell her house and leave her hometown just to get access to affordable insulin - and she says she is one of the lucky ones. Meanwhile the US Congress and various state la...

How can women take charge of their finances?
Is the wealth management industry still too geared towards male clients? And how do women plan their finances in countries where they don't even have an equal right to inherit? Katie Prescott explores the financial literacy gender gap, and how it is slowly being bridged. She speaks to Natasha Pope, private wealth advisor at Goldman Sachs, who explains how their increasing number of wealthy female clients can take a very different approach to planning their financial futures. Meanwhile the BBC's Georgia To...

How can women take charge of their finances?
Is the wealth management industry still too geared towards male clients? And how do women plan their finances in countries where they don't even have an equal right to inherit? Katie Prescott explores the financial literacy gender gap, and how it is slowly being bridged. She speaks to Natasha Pope, private wealth advisor at Goldman Sachs, who explains how their increasing number of wealthy female clients can take a very different approach to planning their financial futures. Meanwhile the BBC's Georgia To...


Why not buy Greenland?
What does Donald Trump's shock proposal to buy the island from Denmark tells us about modern-day sovereignty and Arctic geopolitics? Manuela Saragosa puts the question to two law professors. Joseph Blocher of Duke University explains why the practice of nations buying and selling large tracts of land fell out of favour, and whether it could make a comeback, while Rachael Lorna Johnstone of the University of Akureyri in Iceland says the reaction from the Danish government to Trump's Greenland offer shows ho...

Get in line! Why queues are good.
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...

Get in line! Why queues are good.
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...


The challenges facing Syrian refugees in Turkey
As authorities in Istanbul start evicting undocumented migrants from their city, we look at the challenges facing Syrians generally in Turkey. Shrinking wages, child labour, and increasing hostility from many locals, are Syrians now paying the price of Turkey's economic slowdown? (Photo: Placards are displayed by people gathered to protest against the Turkish government's recent refugee action, July 27, 2019. Credit: Getty Images.)...

The market's most feared recession signal
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
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 technolo...


Helping Africa feed itself
Much of east Africa has the potential to be a food basket for the region. But 250 million Africans remain undernourished and many depend on international food aid. That aid is often tied to donor countries export plans, there are wars, drought and famine made worse by climate change. Amy Jadesimi of the Nigerian logistics hub Ladol explains the impact that globalisation and aid dependency have had on African farmers. So what can be done? We hear about the success of the Africa Improved Foods project, starte...

The singing president who disappeared
Turkmenistan's authoritarian president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow mysteriously vanished for a few weeks, while his country faced economic crisis. Then he reappeared. What happened? Ed Butler asks what is going in this Central Asian nation, considered one of the world's most secluded after North Korea. The president's life and superhuman deeds normally dominate state television, so did his brief disappearance from the airwaves herald ill health or a fall from power? If so, who might succeed him? And how will...

Are stock buybacks a corporate scam?
Share buybacks are when a publicly-listed company uses some of its spare cash to buy up shares in itself, in order to drive the share price up and benefit shareholders. The practice has become so common that the amount of buyback money extracted from corporations exceeds their profits. Rita McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School, explains how stock buybacks emerged. But are stock buybacks a good idea? Is it perhaps better to use that money to grow the business in other ways? And crucially, with so...


Has 3D printing met the hype?
A few years back 3D printing was seen as the ground-breaking technology that promised a new industrial revolution. The revolution has not arrived yet. So, were we sold a lie? Or did the hype just get the better of us? Ed Butler talks to Sarah Boisvert, a co-founder at Potomac Photonics, a micro-fabrication company in the US. She explains why the buzz about 3D printing, invented back in 1980, really started to take off only some five or six years ago. She says that the 3D revolution is not untrue, it's just ...

Should workers be offered unlimited paid leave?
A new idea has emerged in the business world over the last few years: maybe employees should take time off whenever they feel like it, and get paid while they do it. Lila MacLellan from online business site Quartz explains why, with people ever more expected to be available around the clock on email, phone or in the office, it might be better to leave it to the worker to decide when they do and don’t need time off without having to justify it. Some companies have embraced this idea. Dr Amantha Imber at Inve...

Vanuatu's sacred drink
Kava is a traditional drink that's popular across the Pacific. It's made from the root of the Kava plant. Proponents say it's a recreational beverage that helps with anxiety. Vivienne Nunis visits the tiny nation of Vanuatu, which hopes to scale-up its Kava industry and significantly boost exports. But not everyone thinks that's a good idea. Producer: Sarah Treanor. (Photo: Kava grower Nicole Paraliyu holds a young plant. Credit: Chris Morgan/BBC)...


Radical toilets
What can music festivals teach us about toilet technology? Vivienne Nunis tries out some portaloos at a music festival in the UK and asks if the same technology can help address a shortage of clean toilets around the world. (Photo: Loowatt toilets at Wilderness Festival in the UK, Credit: Loowatt)...

A Brexit game of chicken
Is the UK's government really serious about a 'no-deal' Brexit? Ed Butler speaks to Brexit blogger Professor Chris Grey and Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, about what Prime Minister Boris Johnson's strategy really is. Maddy Thimont-Jack, senior researcher at the Institute for Government, explains why parliament may not be able to stop a no-deal Brexit even if it wanted to, and Alan Soady from the UK's Federation for Small Businesses, explains why planning for such an eventuality i...

How to be ambitious
We hear about the negative effects ambition can have, and the tools you need to relieve them, with Neel Burton of Oxford University. Author Rachel Bridge defends the thesis of her book 'Ambition: Why it's good to want more and how to get it'. And what happens when you decide to re-direct your ambition? Joe Udo tells his story of becoming a stay at home dad. Also in the programme, writers Elizabeth Schenk and Hana Wallace discuss the results of a project they launched looking at the careers of their old uni...


The smart home hype
Has technology really made our homes better? Ed Butler talks to Henry Shepherd from the company Cornflake, which installs high-end smart home systems in London. So why haven't more of us installed the latest technology? Brian Solis, principal analyst and futurist at tech research firm Altimeter in California explains. (Photo: A smart speaker at home, Credit: Getty Images)...

Vanuatu's missing women
What happens when a country has an all-male parliament? Vanuatu is one of only three countries on the planet with zero female elected representatives. We find out why only men win votes in Vanuatu and what that means for the economy. Next year the country heads to the polls, so will anything change? Yasmin Bjornum of online platform Sista and Hilda Lini, from a newly-formed all-female political party, give us their view. Photo: Hilda Lini, an organiser with Vanuatu’s women’s party. Credit: Chris Morgan, BB...

Sunscreen under the microscope
Sunscreen is a multi-billion dollar industry. We’ve long been encouraged to apply it daily, to block out the sun’s rays. But one dermatologist argues some sunlight is necessary and sunscreen could be preventing our skin from carrying out a vital function. Dr Richard Weller explains what happened when he took his findings to sunscreen manufacturers. Also in the programme, Holly Thaggard, founder and chief executive of Supergoop, tells us why US regulators are taking a closer look at common sunscreen ingredie...


A global gig economy
Are freelancing sites threatening worker's rights? Manuela Saragosa and Edwin Lane investigate the rise of platforms like Upwork, which allow anyone in the world with an internet connection to become a gig economy worker. We hear from Ray Harris, a data consultant who has built his business through Upwork, and Nekait Arora, who works for a software development company in India where Upwork is a major source of new business. Mark Graham, professor of Internet geography at the Oxford Internet Institute, expla...

Gas-Powered Politics
America's fracking revolution has made the US the world's largest oil and gas producer and that's had political consequences the world over. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Meghan O Sullivan, professor at Harvard Kennedy School and author of Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power. Morena Skalamera, assistant professor of Russian Studies at Leiden Univesrity, talks about the effect on the giant Russian gas producer Gazprom; and we hear too from Trevor Sikorsi...

A Lesson in Pioneering Education
We look at the disruptive models of educating young minds across the globe. Is traditional schooling, the detailed study of literature, history, and science really the best way to prepare for life and work? Marc Prensky tells us about less traditional methods - where students aren't always facing forward in the classroom, which makes a huge difference, according to the educational author and writer. We go to the Mpesa Foundation Academy in Kenya to hear about lessons accessible to everybody, which still ma...


Can our planet afford meat?
A battle between the US and Latin American producers has ensued, to feed an increasingly beef-hungry world – mostly people in Asia. We assess who is dominating the meat market – and if our planet can afford to keep the herds grazing. Author of 'Red Meat Republic', Joshua Specht, tells us why the meat production line impressed industrialists and the middle classes - which helped the industry grown exponentially. And we speak to charity Friends of the Earth to hear how younger people relate - or don't - to ea...

When a work colleague dies
How companies and staff deal with death at work. Manuela Saragosa hears from Carina, an employee at a global marketing company who saw the mistakes her employer made when a colleague died. Kirsty Minford, a psychotherapist, describes how organisations can do better at dealing with death. And how do you approach your job if there's a real everyday risk of death? Lisa Baranik, assistant professor of management at the University at Albany School of Business, tells us what we can learn from firefighters. (Phot...

Are we too scared of nuclear energy?
The world needs sources of low-carbon fuel, so why are we so afraid of nuclear energy? Justin Rowlatt speaks to Geraldine Thomas, professor of molecular pathology at Imperial College London, about the cancer rates in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in Soviet Ukraine in 1986, and to Spencer Weart, former director of the Center for the History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics about the evolution of "nuclear fear". Dr Arjun Makhijani from the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in...


The truth about natural gas
A bridge to a renewable future or just hot air? The energy industry touts natural gas as the cleanest of all fossil fuels and a bridge to a renewable future. Others say we should stop using it all together. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Marco Alvera. the boss of Snam, one of Europe's biggest gas pipeline operators, about the future for gas, and Anthony Marchese from Colorado State University, who's done research into the impact of gas leaks. Charlie Kronick, senior climate adviser at Greenpeace UK, explains wh...

Britain's Brexit saviour?
Boris Johnson has promised to get the UK out of the European Union by 31 October,"do or die" - but can the incoming Prime Minister deliver anything more than gusto? Andrew Rosindell thinks so. The Conservative Member of Parliament and supporter of Mr Johnson tells Ed Butler what the Brexit plan is, and why the worst case scenario of the UK crashing out of the EU with no deal at all is nothing to fret about. Will the EU countenance any further renegotiation of the divorce deal already struck with Mr Johnso...

The death of Venice?
Many Venetians say cruise ships and tourist hordes are killing their city - almost literally after one gigantic liner crashed into the harbour on 2 June. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the activists fighting back: Tommaso Cacciari of No Grandi Navi ("No Big Ships"), Sebastiano Giorgi of Gruppo 25 Aprile, and Matteo Secchi who fears his home town is being steadily transformed into a gigantic theme park. But it's no simple matter of simply banishing the visitors. Venice receives 30 million tourists each year - ...


Is air traffic control fit for purpose?
Our system for keeping planes in the sky dates back to the 1940s, and still relies on a patchwork of national authorities using radar and VHF radio. Vivienne Nunis asks whether its time for a complete overhaul. That's the objective of Andrew Charlton, of lobby group the Air Traffic Management Policy Institute, who says the organisation of airspace and the technology deployed are worryingly antiquated. It is an objective shared by the European Union, which has long aimed to knit its dozens of authorities ...

Life on Mars
What are the obstacles are for a permanent base on the Red Planet? Ed Butler puts that question to Dennis Bushnell, the chief scientist at Nasa's Langley Research facility. He also hears from Ariel Ekblaw, the founder and lead of the Space Exploration Initiative at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chris Lewicki, President and CEO of the firm Planetary Resources and Therese Griebel, the deputy associate administrator for programs within Nasa's Space Technology Mission Directorate. (Photo: Nasa InSight...

Rome: Drowning in rubbish
The Italian capital is in the midst of a waste management crisis as mountains of uncollected rubbish are left to rot on the eternal city's streets. Manuela Saragosa hears from disgruntled residents and the war of words between those who say the blame lies with the anti-establishment mayor, Virginia Raggi of the Five Star Movement party, and the mayor's supporters, who argue Rome's rubbish crisis has its roots in an historically corrupt and inefficient waste disposal system. We hear from Massimiliano Tonelli...


Why has Italy fallen out of love with the euro?
Italy's economy remains in the doldrums, with many Italians blaming the European single currency. Meanwhile the Italian populist government has taken a markedly more friendly line towards Russia, with a scandal brewing about alleged business deals between Moscow and the ruling Lega party. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Alessandra Maiorino, an Italian MP for the Five Star Movement and Lorenzo Codogno, economist with the European Institute at the London School of Economics, about growing anti-European sentiment ...

A degree from a screen?
As more of daily life gets taken over by technology, we ask what technology’s place is in the future of education. Pearson, the world's largest education publisher for example has just announced that it plans to phase out physical books, and adopt a "digital first" strategy. So will lectures of the future be conducted purely on a virtual screen, with professors and students interacting digitally across hundreds or even thousands of miles? Ben Nelson, chief executive of the Minerva Project, an online learni...

Banning foreign home buyers - the New Zealand experiment
It’s been a year since New Zealand put all but a stop to foreigners buying houses. The near-total ban followed years of astonishing price increases - fuelled in part by Chinese money and American tech billionaires buying up some of the country's most desirable plots. With the help of seasoned property reporter Greg Ninness, and New Zealand’s biggest real estate firm Barfoot & Thompson, we’re in Auckland to investigate whether the law has improved housing affordability. Photo: The Auckland skyline, credit:...


How will China's credit binge end?
Hasty borrowing by Chinese consumers and corporates may leave the country's economy with a debt hangover. That's the contention of independent China economist Andy Xie. Business Daily's Ed Butler asks him whether ordinary Chinese are carelessly running up huge debts without appreciating the consequences, and whether the rest of the world should be concerned. And it's not just China. Most East Asian countries have seen a rapid rise in household debts in recent years. Among them is Vietnam, where journalist...

The US consumer debt pile
Payday loans, auto loans and student loans are overwhelming a sector of American society - what can be done to help them dig their way out of their debts? Ed Butler speaks to Dean, a military veteran who says his debts wrecked his health and forced him into personal bankruptcy. Plus student Melissa says her inability to keep up with the interest on her student loans, despite working a well remunerated middle class job, is typical of her Millennial generation. Such stories are becoming commonplace among th...

Brand Rainbow
From Pride-inspired cappuccinos to LGBT supermarket sandwiches, you can’t walk down the street in some cities without seeing the multi-coloured marketing which symbolises the modern Pride movement. But is the promotion of the rainbow logo a step forward for diversity or a cynical corporate take-over? Elizabeth Hotson hears from flag-bearers at Pride in London and the event's director of marketing, Tom Stevens. Marketing strategist Sonia Thompson explains why authenticity is key to getting the message ac...


The economics of Indian cricket
With the Cricket World Cup reaching its final stages we look at the current state of the sport in India. In this episode presented by Rahul Tandon, we hear from former Indian cricketer, Deep Dasgupta, Ramjit Ray who runs advertising firm Matrix Communications, head of Uber South Asia, Pradeep Parameswaran, IT firm owner Sabyasachi Mitra and cricket writer Sharda Ugra. Rahul also speaks to cricket writer Neeru Bhatia and Nissan's Global Head of Marketing and Brand Strategy, Roel De Vries. Plus Rumella Da...

Should we be ashamed of flying?
The aviation industry is one of the world's biggest contributors to climate change - but does a social movement begun in Sweden now threaten to stigmatise air travel? It's called "flygskam", and Manuela Saragosa speaks to one of its originators, Susanna Elfors, whose tagsemester Facebook page helped convert her fellow Swedes to the environmental virtues of train travel. Meanwhile John Broderick, professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University explains just how big a carbon footprint an indi...

Hong Kong crisis: The business impact
After a controversial extradition law sparked mass protests, is Hong Kong's position as a global financial centre under threat? Vivienne Nunis speaks to business owners in Hong Kong about the recent protests, hedge fund manager Edward Chin on the impact the crisis is already having on Hong Kong's financial reputation, and former investment banker and governance campaigner David Webb about the history of Hong Kong and China and whether the 'one country, two systems' policy is being dismantled. (Photo: Prote...


The truth about cookies
Should you let websites track your online movements? Vivienne Nunis speaks to Frederike Kaltheuner from Privacy International and investigates the split-second auction process where firms bid to put targeted ads in front of your eyes. We hear from DuckDuckGo, the search engine that promises to protect your privacy, and controversial Israeli firm The Spinner, which uses cookies to subliminally change people’s behaviour. (Photo: Chocolate chip cookies, Credit: Getty Images)...

Fast fashion: The ugly side of looking good
The hunger for quick short-lived clothes is bringing garment sweatshops back to the UK and harming the environment. Katie Prescott travels to Leicester, the British city whose garment factories claimed to "clothe the world" a century ago, where unregulated factories are making a comeback, paying immigrant workers less than the minimum wage to turn around clothing designs as quickly as possible. Meanwhile Manuela Saragosa speaks to author and journalist Lucy Siegle about how the trend towards the ever faste...

Isolating Iran
New sanctions from the Trump administration are forcing European and Asian firms to choose between their US and Iranian business interests. The EU has created a special purpose vehicle called Instex to circumvent the US sanctions, but sanctions lawyer Nigel Kushner of W Legal says that the Iranians are right to feel unhappy with the effectiveness of this workaround. Manuela Saragosa speaks to one British businessman who has already given up on trading with Iran, or indeed recovering the proceeds from his ...


Money management for millennials
The financial literacy gap. Manuela Saragosa talks to US podcaster and writer Gaby Dunn about why millennials like her are so bad with money. Regan Morris hears the stories of young coffee shop workers in Los Angeles, and psychologist Martina Raue explains why having role models can help when it comes to saving money. (Photo: A smashed piggy bank, Credit: Getty Images)...

Making money out of music festivals
It's not as easy as it looks. Dominic O'Connell reports from the biggest festival in the world Glastonbury, which kicks off this weekend. Manuela Saragosa hears from music industry analyst Chris Cooke on the growth in the industry over the last decade, and from Paul Reed, CEO of the UK's Association of Independent Festivals, about the challenges of putting on your own event. (Photo: Glastonbury Festival in 2017, Credit: Getty Images)...

Shutting down the internet
Governments in Africa and elsewhere are routinely shutting off the iInternet in the name of national security. It is having a significant economic impact. Ed Butler speaks to Dr Dawit Bekele, bureau director for Africa at the Internet Society, and Berhan Taye, an Ethiopian campaigner at Access Now, a global digital rights group. Otto Akama, editor of a technology blog in Cameroon called Afro Hustler, and Darrell West, director of the Center for Technology and Innovation at the Brookings Institution, discuss...


Protecting kids from porn
The UK plans to introduce compulsory age verification for anyone in the country to access online porn - but is this a good way of restricting children's access, or a serious threat to privacy? Ed Butler speaks to Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, who fears that the move could have terrible unforeseen consequences if it enabled for example a major leak of data about people's identities and porn habits. Systems of blocking access to children do already exist, as Alastair Graham, co-chair ...

Get a job?
Is unemployment in the developed world so low because people have simply given up on finding work? Ed Butler speaks to economist Danny Blanchflower of Dartmouth College, who says that a decade after the global financial crisis, workers in the US and Europe continue tp face a terrible jobs market that is not reflected in the official statistics. Is the problem that all the well paid jobs are being created in a few rich, expensive cities that are simply inaccessible to the underemployed? That's the contentio...

Life in an unrecognised state
How do you do business with the rest of the world when nobody officially accepts that your nation state even exists? Rob Young looks at the struggles facing unrecognised breakaway states such as Abkhazia, Transnistria and Nagorno Karabakh. Thomas de Waal of think tank Carnegie Europe explains how many of them have turned to smuggling and even Bitcoin mining as a way of making ends meet. Meanwhile the BBC's Ivana Davidovic reports from Nicosia in Cyprus where the city's main thoroughfare is still physicall...


The Facebook currency
Why Facebook's Libra project will attract the attention of regulators. Rob Young hears from the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones about why Facebook is launching its own currency. Charles Cascarilla, founder of the digital currency company Paxos explains why the Libra project is so ambitious. Rebecca Harding, chief executive of the data and analytics group Coriolis Trade Technologies and former chief economist at the British Bankers’ Association, explains why regulators will be paying attenti...

Advertising in a digital age
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 th...

The next agricultural revolution
We need to transform the way we grow food if we are to head off disaster - so say leading agronomists. But can it be done? The modern agricultural industry, borne out of the Green Revolution that has multiplied crop yields since the 1960s, has contributed to multiple new crises - obesity, soil degradation, collapsing biodiversity and climate change. To address this "paradox of productivity" a whole new revolution is needed, according to Professor Tim Benton of the University of Leeds and think tank Chatham...


Istanbul's vexed elections
The Turkish commercial capital must vote again for a new mayor after March's election result was overturned by the government. Ed Butler visits the city and meets Ekrem Imamoglu, who narrowly won in March but spent just 17 days in office before the decision was made to re-run the election. Mr Imamoglu says he saw overspending and waste, and that around 10% of the city's budget could be saved. The country is also experiencing an economic slowdown, and Ed speaks to Deniz Gider of the Turkish construction wo...

Hostile environment for immigrants
The attitude towards immigration in Europe and America is hardening under a wave of populist politics, and businesses are finding that despite labour shortages in many sectors, bringing workers in from abroad is becoming harder. The BBC's Frey Lindsay reports from Stockholm on a phenomenon dubbed "talent expulsions" - highly skilled workers being ordered to leave the country because their paperwork is not perfectly in order. A similarly bureaucratic approach has been taken in the UK, where it is dubbed t...

Wine and trade wars
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 ...


The next financial crisis
It's more than a decade since the global financial crisis. Central banks have pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system to support markets and the broader economy. But there are warning signs that major risks may be re-emerging in the financial markets. This month, fund manager Neil Woodford suspended trading in his largest fund after rising numbers of investors asked for their money back. Could this highlight a vulnerability in the financial system that runs right through the investment manage...

Have we forgotten to be happy?
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 ...

Big Brother backlash?
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...


The global trade in trash
Asian countries have told the West to stop dumping its plastic waste on them - and it could spell the end of the recycling industry. China imposed a ban on imports last year, and now Malaysia and others are returning the stuff back its senders. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Jim Puckett, founder of the Basel Action Network, who has successfully lobbied for the international trade in recyclable waste to be curtailed, because he believes it is actually bad for the environment. Arnaud Brunet, director of the Bure...

Who is afraid of Huawei?
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 tech...

The rise and fall of viral marketing
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 Pict...


Oil, guns and pollution
The Niger Delta is Africa's biggest oil producing region. It has also become a security and environmental nightmare thanks to dozens of spills and theft by armed rebels. Oil and gas giant Shell has long been criticised for its operations in the region. Igo Weli, one of the company's directors in Nigeria, tells Manuela Saragosa how the threat of violence makes it hard for them to clean up their act. But while Shell claims it is trying its best in challenging circumstances, Mark Dummett of Amnesty Internati...

Is it time to tax robots?
With ever more jobs at risk of automation, should the automatons be taxed the same as humans? Ed Butler speaks to Dr Carl Frey of the Oxford Martin School, who co-authored a report five years ago claiming that almost half of US jobs could made redundant by emerging technology in the next 30 years. His new book, The Technology Trap, looks to the history of the Industrial Revolution as a guide to current developments. He worries that millions of workers could soon find their careers devastated, while the ult...

The cost of farmed Atlantic salmon
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 ...


Jobs for prisoners
The challenge of getting ex-offenders back into work. Vivienne Nunis hears from Lester Young Jr, an ex-offender in the US where low-paid work for prisoners is commonplace, while Daniel Gallas reports from Brazil where female prisoners are allowed to operate businesses from their cells. Keith Rosser from the recruitment company Reed describes the challenge of persuading employers to take on convicts in the UK. Elizabeth Hotson meets Max Dubiel, founder of Redemption Roasters, a coffee company that makes a vi...

A turbulent time for low cost airlines?
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...

Is Google too big?
Is the search engine's share of our attention and our data too dominant, and should regulators step in and break their business up? Ed Butler gets to pitch these and other questions to Google's former chairman Eric Schmidt. Google, along with other Silicon Valley leviathans such as Facebook, Amazon and Apple, faces increasing criticism from commentators, regulators and politicians for its monopolistic power. Among them is the tech journalist Franklin Foer of The Atlantic magazine, who tells Ed that the po...


Romantic fraud
The cruel multi-million-dollar business of scamming lonely hearts out of their money by posing online as the perfect lover. Vishala Sri-Pathma speaks to victim David in the UK, who gave almost $20,000 to a woman he met online and hoped to marry and start a family with, before discovering "she" was actually a fraudster. Meanwhile Australian Eliza tells of her amazement at the amount of homework the con artist she encountered must have done researching her background before attempting to swindle her. Such c...

Europe votes for uncertainty
Election results leave the European parliament more fragmented than ever. The greens, liberals and far right are up. The traditional left and right, which have dominated European politics for decade, declined further. How will this affect business sentiment on the continent, as well as the EU's economic reform agenda? Ed Butler hosts a live discussion with Ben Butters of the European Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry; Allie Renison, head of Europe and Trade Policy at the UK's Institute of Di...

India election: Modi's report card
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has secured another five-year term after winning a landslide general election victory. His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks set to win about 300 of the 543 seats in parliament, in what Mr Modi hailed as "a historic mandate". Fergus Nicoll has travelled to Mr Modi’s constituency at Varanasi on the River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. Prime Minister Modi promised to clean up the river after decades of pollution. Professor VN Mishra has strong words for the Prime Minister on wha...


The plastic in the ocean
Why plastic ends up there and how to stop it. Stephen Ryan reports from the Ganges - a major source of plastic that ends up in the oceans. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dr Hannah Ritchie of the Oxford University Martin School about the importance of plastic disposal. Professor Tony Ryan, a polymer chemist and sustainability leader at the University of Sheffield, explains why recycling is still the answer. (Photo: A plastic bottle floating in the Pacific ocean, Credit: Getty Images)...

The trillion dollar coach
What Silicon Valley titans learned from an American football coach. Despite a fairly unspectacular career with the Columbia University college football team, Bill Campbell found himself guiding the leadership at the top of both Apple and Google simultaneously. One of his mentees was the former Google chairman Eric Schmidt, who speaks about the surprising contribution that someone with a background in sports and no knowledge of programming was able to make to the tech firm's spectacular rise, and why he thi...

Education for all
How can educators ensure that every child in the world - and particularly every girl - has access to a decent school? And how should the curriculum prepare young people for a workplace about to be transformed by artificial intelligence? Tanya Beckett hosts a debate in Dubai with Vikas Pota, chairman of the Varkey Foundation; Elizabeth Bintliff, chief executive of youth NGO Junior Achievement Africa; and Dr Amy Ogan, professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Plus Tanya speaks to Peter Kabichi, a Kenyan monk ...


The meat-free burger
Can a burger help save the planet? The Business Daily team try out the plant-based burger designed to convert meat eaters. Dr Marco Springmann from Oxford University explains why eating less meat can help slow climate change. Simeon Van Der Molen, founder and CEO of food technology company Moving Mountains outlines the future for the meat-free food industry. (Photo: a burger made by Beyond Meat, Credit: Beyond Meat)...

A new port in India
India's bid to capture a slice of global shipping. The east-west shipping line off the southern coast of India carries around 30% of the world's cargo. As container ships get bigger, the Kerala state government wants to build a deep-water container port at Vizhinjam. But the $1.2bn project has been badly delayed by Cyclone Ockhi in 2017 and by last year’s torrential rains and flooding in the region. Fergus Nicoll speaks to Karan Adani, CEO of Adani Ports and hears the concerns from a boat owner and fish ven...

The magic money tree
Should governments spend more money? 'Modern monetary theory' or MMT is gaining traction, particularly in the US. It says governments should worry less about balancing the books. Its detractors call it the 'magic money tree'. Manuela Saragosa speaks to hedge fund founder Warren Mosler - the man who first proposed MMT - and economist Frances Coppola about the criticisms facing the theory. (Photo: a magic money tree, Credit: Getty Images)...


Climbing the student debt mountain
Could a new scheme alleviate the crippling cost of university fees for young Americans, who have already accumulated a trillion and a half dollars in student debts? Dr Courtney McBeth tells Ed Butler how under the "income sharing agreement" scheme that she is piloting at the University of Utah, the amount that students repay depends on how much money they manage to earn in their future careers. This new approach frees graduates up to start a family or risk starting their own company, according to Charles T...

The cyber arms race
Was the NotPetya attack, that struck Ukraine and then the world in 2016, a portend of potentially devastating cyber-wars in the future? Ed Butler goes back to ground zero of that sophisticated cyber attack to speak to Oleh Derevianko of the Ukrainian cybersecurity firm ISSP, and Valentyn Petrov who heads Ukraine's information security service. How did a piece of malware allegedly designed by Russia to devastate the Ukrainian economy go on to infect the computers of multinational corporations such as shippi...

The coming floods
With the sea level rising and storms strengthening thanks to climate change, will much of the world's most valuable real estate find itself underwater? Justin Rowlatt visits London's main line of defence against the sea - the Thames Barrier - a hugely expensive piece of engineering that will need to be replaced by an even larger barrier later this century, according to its operator Steve East, and coastal risk manager Cantor Mocke. The oceans will eventually rise by two metres at the very least, says clim...


Disabled on Wall Street
Getting more disabled people into the workforce. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Rich Donovan, a trader who forged a successful career on Wall Street with cerebral palsy. Alice Maynard, a business advisor on inclusion in the UK explains the challenges still facing disabled people at work. And blind skateboarder Dan Mancina talks about his career. (Photo: Wheelchair user at work, Credit: Getty Images)...

Rebuilding an economy after two cyclones
In Mozambique, Cyclones Idai and Kenneth did tremendous damage to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in March and April. The country is still trying to get the crisis under control, as flooding, cholera and poor food and aid provision continue to threaten lives. Dorothy Sang is Humanitarian Advocacy and Campaigns Manager for Oxfam, and gives Ed Butler the view from the ground in Mozambique. Thoughts are turning as well to the future, as the economy based largely on subsistence farming and tour...

India's caste quota controversy
Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tinkering with the reservation system nothing more than a bid to grab votes in the general election? India has long had a system of positive discrimination to enable people from lower castes to get political representation, government jobs and university places. But as Rahul Tandon reports, the Prime Minister's decision to broaden the quotas to include anyone from an economically deprived background, irrespective of caste, has proved divisive among voters. Ed Butler speak...


Netflix moves into Africa
The video streaming service Netflix has announced a major push into Africa, with original series commissioned from around the continent. Netflix had already commissioned its first Nigerian original movie with 2018’s Lionheart, and a number of new projects have been announced, including the Zimbabwean musical animation Tunga. Ed Butler speaks to screenwriter Godwin Jabangwe about how he based it on the legends he heard as a child. Meanwhile Mahmoud Ali Balogun, a veteran Nollywood filmmaker, explains why he...

The price of bread
This global food staple used to account for half of some people's income. Dr Kaori O’Connor a food anthropologist at University College, London, explains how it became central to so many of our diets. Plus we’ll hear from Dominique Anract, President of the National Confederation of French Bakers who explains some of the rules of the bread industry. Renowned chef, Francisco Migoya tells us about recreating Roman loaves, and we hear from James Slater from Puratos who uses ancient grains to develop modern flou...

The value of domestic work
Housework and caring - is technology about to transform this essential but overlooked part of the economy? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance in the US about why workers in the home still aren't valued, and to Megan Stack, author of Woman's Work, about the power employers have over domestic help. Professor Diane Coyle from the University of Cambridge explains why domestic work often isn't included in GDP figures. (Photo credit: Getty Images)...


A four-day week?
The campaign for a four-day working week is gaining traction, particularly in the UK. Manuela Saragosa hears from Lorraine Gray, operations director at Pursuit Marketing, a company that has already made the switch from five to four days. But Ed Whiting, policy director at the charity Wellcome Trust, explains why they decided against the change after a major consultation. Asheem Singh, director of economy at the Royal Society of Arts, warns that a shift to a four-day week could result in a two-tier economy. ...

The mega factory that never was
Foxconn is causing a political headache for President Trump, as the Taiwanese manufacturer fails to deliver on a promise to build a 13,000-employee factory in Wisconsin. The LCD screen plant - which was intended to hire 13,000 local blue collar workers - was heralded by the US president as a win in his struggle to return manufacturing jobs to America. But while the Wisconsin authorities have spent millions of dollars preparing the ground, Foxconn itself has obfuscated. Ed Butler investigates what went wro...

What young Indians want
As India holds elections, getting decent jobs is top of the agenda for most young voters, as the BBC's Rahul Tandon discovers. Most Indians still live in rural areas, and on a trip to the village of Burul just outside Kolkata, Rahul hears the fears of students at a local high school at their lack of meaningful career prospects. Employment could be a key factor in deciding whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds onto power when the election results are announced on 23 May. One reason for the paucity of ...


Youtube: Cracking down on crackpots
What does the video-sharing site needs to do in order to stop inadvertently promoting dangerous conspiracy theories and extremist content? Alex Jones's InfoWars channel (pictured) - which among other things propagated the lie that the Sandy Hook school shooting in the US was faked - has already been banned from YouTube, although his videos still find their way onto the site. Meanwhile the social media platform has also been clamping down on the vaccination conspiracists blamed for causing the current measl...

When computer glitches ruin lives
Imagine losing your home, your job or your reputation, all because of a computer error. We speak to people who say that's exactly what happened to them. Kim Duncan and her children lost their family home in the US after Kim's bank Wells Fargo mistakenly said she didn't qualify for a loan modification she needed to keep up with her repayments. Meanwhile in the UK, the Post Office is being litigated by former employees who were fired and in some cases went to prison after being accused of fraud - they claim ...

The global affordable housing crisis
Do rent controls and the expropriation of apartment blocks provide an answer to the increasing cost of housing in the rich world? Such radical measures are being considered in many of the world's biggest metropolises, as more and more residents find themselves being priced out of their home cities. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Tom McGath of the Berlin-based campaign group Deutsche Wohnen Enteignen, who wants the city authorities to seize ownership of housing from the German capital's biggest landlords. But ...


Pricing in climate change
Are markets and companies beginning to grasp the threat of global warming? Ed Butler speaks to Meryam Omi, head of sustainability and responsible investment strategy at Legal and General, a major investor, about divesting from companies that contribute to climate change. And Jeff Colgan, director of security studies at the Watson Institute, Brown University, in the US, tells us why he thinks sectors like insurance, property and oil and gas are overpriced given the threat of climate change. Bjorn Otto Sverdr...

The true cost of periods
Periods. We rarely talk about them but half the world's population will have to manage menstruation for a good chunk of their lives. For some women, their monthly period brings shame and stigmatisation, as they are forced out of their communities. Others simply can't afford the products they need to carry on with their lives. Ruth Evans reports from Nepal on some of the challenges and the solutions being developed, to help improve the lives of millions. We also hear from Janie Hampton, of World Menstr...


TED2019: Space junk, rockets and aliens
Jane Wakefield reports from the TED conference in Vancouver, Canada, on the businesses shooting for the stars. Chief Executive of Rocket Lab Peter Beck shares his concerns about the amount of space junk being left in orbit. Former astronaut Nicole Stott explains why an ill-fitting space suit can be a big problem. And Assistant Professor of Astrophysics at University of Arizona, Erika Hamden, tells us why space exploration is suddenly cool again. (Photo: An astronaut in space, Credit: Getty Images)...

Should prostitution be a normal profession?
What's the best way to help sex workers? We hear the cases for full decriminalisation, versus abolition of what's often dubbed the world's oldest profession. In the Netherlands - a country with some of the most liberal laws on prostitution - a petition is due to be debated in parliament that calls for it to be made illegal to pay for sex. The initiative, spearheaded by young Christians and feminists, has sparked an outcry with many claiming it would actually make life harder for the sex workers it is inten...

Pakistan's young entrepreneurs
How the country’s young businesses are making a mark in fashion, beauty, music and tech. Vivienne Nunis speaks to Humayun Haroon, co-founder of digital music platform Patari; Shameelah Ismail, chief executive of GharPar, a start-up that offers beauty services in the home; Myra Qureshi head of Conatural Beauty, Pakistan's first organic skin and haircare range; and fashion designer Umair Sajid. (Picture: Humayon Haroon, co-founder of Patari at the company headquarters in Lahore, Pakistan)...


The death of the local newspaper
How the decline of the local newspaper industry is affecting democracy. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Ken Doctor, former newspaper man and now analyst at his own company Newsanomics, about the scale of decline in local news, particularly in the United States. Researcher Meg Rubado explains how the lack of a local news source is affecting local elections, and Penny Abernathy, professor in journalism and digital media economics at the University of North Carolina, explains why deep cuts are down to a new breed o...

WhatsApp in India
Are fake news and rumours still proliferating on Whatsapp in India? And is this being exploited by candidates as the country prepares to go to the polls? Pratik Sinha, director of 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...

Uber files for IPO
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...


Disney goes to war with Netflix
With Disney and Apple launching their streaming services to rival Netflix, will they struggle to get subscribers, when the market is getting increasingly saturated? Or will people just keep switching and cancelling subscriptions depending what shows are on offer? Presenter Regan Morris is also looking into whether the likes of Netflix have encouraged more diversity among writers and programme-makers who actually secure commissions. We hear from Connie Guglielmo, editor in chief of CNET News; Piya Sinha-Roy,...

An expensive democracy
India will spend billions of dollars on its general election this year, much of it illegally. Rahul Tandon visits a political rally in Kolkata where many participants have been paid to attend, while Ed Butler speaks to an 'election agent' tasked with recruiting those crowds, often for different political parties at the same time. James Crabtree, author of the book The Billionaire Raj, describes the extent of illegal election funding in India, and what can be done about it. (Photo: BJP supporters at an elec...

When big business sponsors the arts
Should galleries take money from the likes of big oil? Ed Butler speaks to Jess Worth of the UK pressure group Culture Unstained, and Claire Fox, director of the UK's Academy of Ideas. And British novelist, art critic and broadcaster Sarah Dunant explains the well-established history of cash and corruption in the arts. Hong Kong billionaire philanthropist James Chen says donors need to engage with the issues. (Photo: Protesters outside the National Portrait Gallery in London, Credit: Getty Images)...


Millennial burnout
Are millennials working too hard? Ed Butler explores the cult of modern professional success and how it's affecting millennial workers. We hear from millennial business owner Lucy, author and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan, researcher at the University of Bath in the UK Thomas Curran, and Ryan Harwood, head of the media company One37pm. (Photo: Young people work on laptops, Credit: Getty Images)...

The listening device in your pocket
Does the proliferation of microphones in our mobile phones and home smart speakers mean that anyone can eavesdrop on us? Manuela Saragosa hears from the BBC's own technology correspondent Zoe Kleinman about a creepy experience she had when her phone appeared to listen in on a conversation with her mother, and how it led her to discover how easy it is to hack someone's microphone and spy on them. That's exactly what Dutch documentary film maker Anthony van der Meer did, when he purposely let his phone get...

Bitcoin bounces back
Cryptocurrencies are on the rebound, but does the case for investing in them make any more sense? Manuela Saragosa hears both sides of the argument. Jay Smith is a long-time player in the markets for these digital tokens, and is a popular player on the electronic trading site eToro. He explains why he believes Bitcoin and its ilk have a long-term future, even though he doesn't personally subscribe to the libertarian ideology that most of his fellow investors share. However, cold water is poured on this v...


Brexit: May reaches out
The British prime minister looks for a new deal to solve the deadlock over Brexit. Ed Butler hears from Jill Rutter, Brexit programme director at the Institute for Government in the UK, and Tom McTague, chief UK correspondent for the website Politico. Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek former finance minister who negotiated with the EU over Greece's bailout deal, tells us where Theresa May went wrong. (Photo: Theresa May delivers her latest speech, Credit: Getty Images)...

India's fugitive diamond billionaire
The rise and fall of Indian jeweller Nirav Modi, arrested in London and accused by Indian authorities of a massive fraud. Ed Butler speaks to Mick Brown, a journalist at the UK's Daily Telegraph who has covered the story, and James Crabtree, author of the book The Billionaire Raj. (Photo: Nirav Modi at his office in Mumbai in 2016, Credit: Getty Images)...

Alexa, what are you doing to the internet?
Voice assistant apps like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are about to transform the economics of the web. Nearly a quarter of all households in the US and in China already have a smart speaker in their homes, allowing them to play music, order a delivery or find out the news, all by simply talking to their computer. Meanwhile an estimated 2.5bn smartphones now carry these wannabe AI oracles. Manuela Saragosa asks Silicon Valley analyst Carolina Milanesi whether this new technology could one day rival th...


Italy embraces China
Rome's decision to sign up to China's One Belt One Road initiative has proved controversial both at home and among Italy's closest allies. Washington DC and Brussels are both sceptical of the true intent behind Beijing's programme for financing major overseas infrastructure projects, ostensibly to enhance China's trade routes. President Xi Jinping's recent invitation to Rome to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Italian government - an initiative spearheaded by the little known Italian economy min...

Is pan-African trade a pipe dream?
Can the continent remove trade barriers and create a billion-person internal market? That's the hope of the African Continental Free Trade Area, but a year on from its initial signing, many obstacles remain. Nearly all of Africa's 55 nations have signed up to the initiative, yet the most populous country Nigeria remains a hold-out. And there still remain huge logistical barriers to free trade, as Will Bain discovers when he speaks to frustrated truckers on the Zambia-Botswana border. Ed Butler speaks to G...

A hundred years of women in law
It is only 100 years since women in the UK were first allowed to practice law. Women now make up more than 50% of lawyers in many parts of the world, but why are so few in the top jobs? Katie Prescott speaks to Dana Dennis-Smith, who has collated the stories of women in the law over the last century. Farmida Bi of Norton Rose Fulbright, a huge international law firm, speaks about her journey from non-English speaking Pakistani child to global leader in her profession. We also hear from Shana Knizhnik, co-au...


The essay cheats
The lucrative business of 'essay mills' - companies that will write your university assignments for you. Chris makes thousands of dollars a year writing essays for fellow Chinese students struggling with English. Gareth Crossman from QAA - a UK education standards agency - says technology is facilitating the growing problem of essay mills. (Photo: A stock image of a classroom assignment, Credit: Getty Images)...

Ukraine: Trading across the front line
The economy of Russian occupied territories in Ukraine. Ed Butler reports on the people living between western Ukraine and the eastern occupied territories including the city of Donetsk, and the flow of goods and people across an active front line. (Photo: Russian servicemen near the Crimean town of Dzhankoy, 12 miles away from the Ukrainian border, Credit: Getty Images)...

Brexit: Oil, fish and bargaining chips
How is the Scottish city of Aberdeen coping with the UK's imminent exit from the EU? It is home to the country's oil and gas industry, as well as some 5,000 fisherman. Katie Prescott speaks to local businesspeople in both industries, who are increasingly anxious at the complete lack of certainty about what will happen when the UK does eventually leave - albeit that the date of departure has now been postponed by a few more weeks beyond 29 March. How will European fishing quotas and access to British water...


A basic income for all?
Would a Universal Basic Income help solve inequality or make it worse, and would it protect us from robots taking our jobs? Finland has just completed a two-year experiment in doing just that. Manuela Saragosa speaks to one of the grateful recipients of the pilot project, freelance journalist Tuomas Muraja. A similar approach has already been taken for many years by some charities in the developing world, as Joe Huston of the GiveDirectly explains. So how does it work? Anthony Painter of the Royal Society...

Ukraine's troubles with Mariupol
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'...

Is humankind on the verge of disaster?
To follow the world's headlines these days - from fake news to murderous terror attacks, from disease pandemics to global warming - you might be forgiven for thinking the world is becoming a pretty scary place. But is it really? Harvard University cognitive psychologist and author Steven Pinker tells us that is measurably not the case. As he argues in his new book Enlightenment Now, we are in a golden age of human existence. But, David Edmonds meets academics who are putting Pinker's ideas to the test, con...


The periodic table turns 150
Are chemical elements critical for the modern economy in dangerously short supply? It's a question that Justin Rowlatt poses a century and a half after the Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleev published the original periodic table. Justin speaks to two chemists - Andrea Sella of University College London explains the significance of Mendeleev's scheme to the modern world, while David Cole-Hamilton talks us through an updated version of the table he has just published that highlights chemical elements that coul...

Neverending Brexit?
As the UK parliament votes to delay Brexit beyond 29 March, businesses brace for yet more uncertainty. But will the EU even be willing to grant a delay? Manuela Saragosa speaks to companies on both sides of the English Channel. British Barley farmer Matt Culley says he now has to plant his coming year's crop with no clue whether or how he will even be able to export his produce to breweries in Germany come harvest time. Meanwhile Chayenne Wiskerke, who runs the world's biggest onion exporting operation f...

Heineken in Africa
The brewer has been accused of complicity with Africa's murkiest politics, and of failing to protect female brand promoters from sexual harassment. But can a company really separate itself from its political environment? Manuela Saragosa hears from the Dutch investigative journalist Olivier van Beemen, whose book Heineken in Africa makes multiple accusations against the company, including collusion with the regimes of Burundi and DR Congo. Plus Heineken provides its response. But is it a case of damned if...


More Brexit blues for business
A continued political crisis in the UK means more uncertainty for businesses. We hear from the boss of a manufacturing company in Birmingham and Nicole Sykes, head of EU negotiations at the UK business group the CBI, as well as the BBC's Rob Watson in Westminster and Adam Fleming in Strasbourg. (Photo: A protester carries an EU flag in London, Credit: Getty Images)...

Ukraine's corruption problem
Ed Butler reports from Ukraine ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for the end of March. With endemic corruption and ongoing conflict with Russian-backed rebels in the east, what verdict will the voters give to the President Petro Poroshenko? Ed Butler speaks with MP Serhiy Leschenko who's recently left Poroshenko's Solidarity faction over concerns about corruption and nepotism. Other candidates include the former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko and comedian and actor Volodymyr Zelensky. Olesia V...

Education in India: In need of reform?
In India experts and parents increasingly question whether the country's education system is fit for purpose. With huge emphasis placed on college entrance exams and academic degrees - like engineering, medicine or law - Rahul Tandon explores what consequences that has on children's overall development. He visits an unorthodox school that uses Harry Potter to develop critical thinking, and he asks whether the economy would be better served by encouraging vocational training. (Picture: Students seen coming...


Women in a man's world
In a world designed by men for men, women often come off worst, sometimes with fatal consequences. Manuela Saragosa speaks to author Caroline Criado Perez about the gender data gap - the fact that everything from smartphone health apps to lapel microphones is designed with a male body in mind, and how for example cardiovascular problems in women go under-diagnosed because the female body is treated as "atypical". This blind spot for women is built into our work environments in large part because the peopl...

Big Sugar
Is the US sugar industry's relationship with politicians, from Florida to Washington DC, just a little bit too sweet? Gilda Di Carli reports from the Sunshine State, where the newly elected Governor Ron DeSantis has vowed to take on the sugarcane lobby, which he blames for impeding efforts to tackle the gigantic algae blooms that have blighted Florida's rivers and coasts. Meanwhile Manuela Saragosa speaks to Guy Rolnik, professor of strategic management at the Chicago Booth School, about two of the indust...

A very sweet episode
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?
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 ...

Twenty-first century monopolies
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 ...

Overworked doctors
Are health services around the world wilfully blind to the problem of dangerously long hours being worked by junior medics? Vivienne Nunis speaks to doctors in Australia and America about how tiredness and depression are not only ruining their lives, but also pose a threat to the safety of patients going under the knife or receiving prescriptions. And it's a worldwide problem - as Sydney-based doctor Yumiko Kadota discovered when a blog she wrote attracted similar stories of exhaustion from Colombia to Pol...


Fix my gadgets!
Our appliances are getting increasingly difficult and expensive to mend, in some cases by design. So should consumers demand the right to repair? Ed Butler speaks to those campaigning for manufacturers to make it easier for us to fix our electronics goods - with everything from tractors to phones to baby incubators in their sites. Clare Seek runs a Repair Café in Portsmouth, England, a specially designated venue for anyone who wants to get their stuff to last longer. And Ed travels to Agbogbloshie in Acc...

Who's monetising your DNA?
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 ...

The family tree business
What can you really learn about your heritage from a home DNA testing kit? We hear from Bill and Ylva Wires, a couple in Berlin who used DNA testing kits to find out more about their ancestors. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Rafi Mendelsohn of 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
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?
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 contribut...

Is healthy eating affordable?
Poor diet has been linked to diseases such as diabetes and cancer, but do you have much of a choice if you are on a tight budget? Organic food is rising in popularity in the West, but Vishala Sri-Pathma asks nutritionist Sophie Medlin whether the additional cost of buying organic is actually worth it. And what if you are time poor, as well as short of money? Chef Tom Kerridge has tips for how even if you have just 20 minutes spare, it's still possible to pull together a healthy family meal. Plus Dr Susan ...


Zombie statistics
How bogus stats can get repeated again and again until they end up influencing policy at governments and major multilateral institutions. Ed Butler speaks to three people who claim they are struggling to slay these zombies. Ivan Macquisten is an adviser to the UK's Antiquities Dealers Association who actually wrote into Business Daily to complain about a previous programme that he claimed repeated false figures about the scale of looted archaeology from the Middle East finding its way into Western art mark...

Businesses preparing for Brexit
Exporters express their fears and frustration at the lack of any agreement about future trade relations with just six weeks left to go until the UK leaves the EU. Adam Sopher of popcorn manufacturer Joe & Sephs tells Ed Butler how he is now having to send his wares to Asia via air freight, because by the time the usual ships reach dock in Hong Kong the UK will have left already and he still doesn't know what tariffs he will have to pay. Pauline Bastidon of the Freight Transport Association describes how Br...

Where are the women in Hollywood?
Are women finally breaking through off screen in the film industry? A year on from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, why aren't there more female movie directors at the Oscars? Regan Morris reports from a Hollywood still coming to terms with the #MeToo movement. She speaks to Leah Meyerhof, founder of Film Fatales - a movement that brings together female film and TV directors on the West Coast - as well as directors Alyssa Downs and Rijaa Nadeem. Meanwhile Nithya Raman of the Time’s Up campaign against sexual...


Capitalism in crisis?
Is the era of globalisation, unfettered markets and billionaire philanthropists drawing to a close? Is the answer to rising populism for the state to tax the wealthy and invest more in the public good? Manuela Saragosa speaks to three people who say the populist revolts, from Brazil to the US, are symptomatic of an economic system in crisis. Winnie Byanyima, head of anti-poverty campaigners Oxfam, explains why she thinks global jobs statistics mask the reality that many people do not receive dignified work...

Rational partner choice
Should your head trump your heart when seeking lifelong love? That's the challenge Business Daily's Justin Rowlatt has taken on for this Valentine's Day. The hyper-rationalist businessman Ed Conard thinks he knows the answer, and his strictly mathematical strategy for romance is called "sequential selection, no turning back". He used it to meet his wife of the last 20 years, Jill Davis. But is Ed's approach right for everyone? Justin hears sceptical voices from two very different quarters - romantic novel...

The education scam
Many African universities are not up to scratch, leaving African students vulnerable to scam institutions abroad. Ivana Davidovic reports from Northern Cyprus where many African students go looking for a better education. Nigerian businessman Evans Akanno explains the education problem at home, and Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, vice chancellor at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, explains the scale of the problem. (Photo: University students in Lagos, Nigeria, Credit: Getty Images)...


Poverty and Corruption in Nigeria
Nigeria goes to the polls to elect a president this weekend. Two issues are prominent - the state of the economy and corruption. Local businessman Evans Akanno tells us why just getting the electricity to stay on would be a good start. Amy Jadesemi, CEO of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base, explains why global oil prices are still crucial to Nigeria. Benedict Crave, Nigeria analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, explains why challenger Atiku Abubakar might win the presidency. (Photo: A woman walk...

Taxing the Rich
Last month Dutch historian Rutger Bregman told the billionaires at the World Economic Forum in Davos they should think less about philanthropy and instead pay more tax. The clip of his speech went viral. He comes on the programme to argue his point with Ed Conard, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of the book The Upside of Inequality, who says higher taxes just stop people innovating. (Photo: Rutger Bregman, Credit: Getty Images)...

The Body Disposal Business
Funereal solutions on an overcrowded planet - Ed Butler investigates what various countries do when they run out of space to bury their dead. In Japan, where the construction of new crematoriums has often been blocked by unhappy neighbours, there is a literal multi-day backlog of bodies awaiting burial - and businesses ready to host them. In Greece, crematoriums are opposed by the Orthodox Church, so the solution has been the controversial practice of exhuming bodies just a few months after burial and tran...


The Future of Fashion Retail
Will online shopping and AI combine to kill the high street clothing store? Ed Butler gets himself digitally measured up in order to try on outfits in cyberspace, with the help of Tom Adeyoola, founder of virtual browsing business Metail. Meanwhile Julia Boesch - who runs Outfittery, one of Europe's biggest online fashion retailers, out of her office in Berlin - explains how artificial intelligence is enabling her company to provide customers with the kind of individualised style advice they would normally...

When to Pursue your Dream
At what point should you give up your day-job to pursue your own business side-project full-time? And should governments do more to help those who want to do it? Manuela Saragosa explores the world of the successful "side-hustler" - the closet entrepreneur who takes an after-hours pet project and turns it into a whole new business. Alexandria Wombwell-Povey gave up insurance brokerage to launch her jam-making company Cham, while Emma Jones set up the website Enterprise Nation to support such go-getters. M...

Brexit: No Deal, No Food?
If the UK crashes out of the EU on 29 March with no agreement on continuing trade relations, how will it affect Britain's supplies of fresh food? Could the country's supermarket shelves be left empty? Dan Saladino speaks to farmers, traders and officials fretting at the unknown but potentially serious consequences of a "no deal" Brexit for food security in the UK, as well as one middle class family who are already stockpiling their own food supplies. Interviewees include Guy Singh-Watson of Riverford Farm...


The Burning Question
Climate Change: Can the world economy continue to grow without burning fossil fuels? Or do we all need to cut back on our consumption in order to save the planet? It is a question that splits the green movement. Justin Rowlatt hosts a fiery debate between two environmentalists on either side of the divide, who have already been tearing chunks out of each other in a very public dispute online. Michael Liebreich, who runs a clean energy and transportation consultancy in London, says the technological solut...

Peak Smartphone
Are Apple and Samsung running out of people to sell their smartphones to? And who wants to pay for an upgrade when their old phone is good enough? Manuela Saragosa asks whether Apple's recent disappointing earnings are less to do with China's slowing economy - as the company claims - and more the fact that the market for iPhones has become saturated. With few major tech improvements on the horizon, is the smartphone about to become just another mass-produced, low-margin product? The programme features int...

Keeping your Eggs on Ice
More and more women are choosing to freeze their eggs in their twenties - but is it all just a big waste of money? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Jennifer Lannon, who paid thousands of dollars at the age of 26 to preserve her eggs as a hedge against infertility later in life. But are the companies that offer this service - sometimes at special cocktail parties - just exploiting women's anxieties? Patrizio Pasquale is Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at Yale is a sceptic. But Gina...


Huawei and the Trade War
Will indictments against China's tech giant overshadow US trade talks? We hear from Timothy Heath, defence analyst at the Rand Corporation, about the threat to security Huawei is perceived to pose in the US, and from cyber security expert Dmitri Alperovitch on the history of industrial espionage by Chinese actors. Dr Jie Yu, China research fellow at the London thinktank Chatham House assess the risk to the trade talks. (Photo: Huawei logo on a building in Poland, Credit: Getty Images)...

A Deepening Crisis in Venezuela
Two rival presidents, oil sanctions from the US and hyperinflation. Venezuela's economic and political crisis is deepening and we hear from some of the people caught in it. Venezuelan economist Carlos de Sousa from Oxford Economics explains the economic context. Presented by Ed Butler. (Photo: A protester on the streets of Venezuela's capital Caracas, Credit: Getty Images)...

Will Tanzania's Drone Industry Take Off?
Drones have been used increasingly in Africa for survey and mapping, but will cargo drone delivery companies be the next big thing? Jane Wakefield visits Mwanza on the banks of Lake Victoria to speak to African and international companies hoping to cash in on the drone delivery market. During a trial for a big World Bank project called The Lake Victoria Challenge Jane speaks to the Tanzanian drone pilot making waves across the continent, to the global start ups innovating rapidly, and to one drone company h...


The Great China Slowdown
China's economy is slowing down. What does it mean for the rest of the world? We hear from Shanghai where consumers are spending less. Economist Linda Yueh gives her analysis while Shaun Rein, managing director of the China Market Research Group in Shanghai, worries about the growing trade war with the United States. Presented by Ed Butler. (Photo: A worker in a Chinese grocery store waits for customers, Credit: Getty Images)...

Bill Gates Makes His Pitch
The mega-philanthropist is in Davos lobbying governments and the global business elite to donate money towards the fight against infectious diseases. But is the world's second richest man the best person to spearhead this effort? Ed Butler speaks to Mr Gates about why he considers it critical that the US and other rich world governments continue to finance efforts to fight Aids, malaria, polio, TB and the like. Meanwhile, Peter Sands - executive director of the Global Fund, one of the four major health ini...

Selling Romance
Dating apps like Tinder are a multi-billion dollar business, but have they reduced romance to a commodity? Vivienne Nunis speaks to Stanford University economist Paul Oyer, author of Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating. Historian Moira Weigel, author of Labor of Love, explains how dating and commerce have always been intertwined, and Eric Silverberg, CEO and co-founder of Scruff, a dating app for gay and bisexual men, argues that dating apps are doing more than just...


Board of the Problem
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
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 incre...

The US Government Shutdown
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...


Ghosting at Work
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 co...

Judgement Day For Brexit Deal
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 ...

Decarbonising the Atmosphere
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 ...


Making The Desert Bloom
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 scienti...

The Consequences of China Cyber Espionage
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 ...

Our Hilarious Universe
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 scien...


The Housing Disruptors
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...

A Dog's Life? Yes please!
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 surro...

The Firm Where Everyone Has Autism
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 ...


Loneliness at Work
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 ...

The Outlook for 2019
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 Brex...

The Electric Robotaxi Dream
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...


Can't Get No Sleep
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, ...

Bottoms Up!
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 o...

Africa's Missing Maps
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,...


The Housing Crisis that Never Went Away
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...

Russian Money, Cypriot Haven
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 i...

Spice Islands & Slavery
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...


Inhaling in LA
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...

Modern Love in India
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 abou...

Huawei: Who are they?
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 ...


DR Congo and Electric Cars
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 c...

Robots and Video Games for Old People
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?
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
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 M...

How to Be Uncertain
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...

Doing Business amid Brexit Chaos
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...


Billion-Dollar Eels
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 i...

The Mug that Stood Up to the Mailman
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 ...

The Internet: Welcome to Creepsville
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 onli...


How Not to Save the World
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 Forgotten Workers
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. (Pho...

Brexit: The Easy Guide
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?
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?
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 How...

Poland Perturbed
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...


Italy and the EU: Split or Quit?
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...

France and a Federal Europe
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 ...

Europe's Future
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
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 - ...

Mapping Africa’s Megacities
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 solv...

What Colour is 'Nude'?
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 mak...


The 'Big Booty' Business
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...

Brexit: An Outside View
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
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 the...


Green Rage
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 bee...

Tackling Fake News
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 inclu...

The Death of Expertise
Why do so many people think they know best? And are they putting dolts in charge of government? Ed Butler speaks to Professor Tom Nichols of the US Naval War College, himself an expert on national security, who wrote a book 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 Tr...


The Rise of India’s Billionaires
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...

Bossy Women and Women Bosses
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 C...

Dating for Money
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 ...


Bosses, Babies and Breast Pumps
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 t...

The Offline World
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, C...

Death of the Dollar?
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...


Minnesota at the Mid-terms
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 ...

Could Big Data Kill Off Health Insurance?
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 Tim...

Who Gets to Chase the American Dream?
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)...


Bolsonaro's Economist
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: Suppor...

Buying the Midterms
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 bi...

The Hunt for Stolen Artwork
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 ...


When to Switch Off from Work
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 di...

Will Flying Taxis Take Off?
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: Ge...

The Confusing Curve
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 ...


Is the Internet Fit for Purpose?
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 ...

Trump's Tax Scandal - Who Cares?
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...

Holidays in Space
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 ...


Lab-grown Meat on your Table
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 fr...

Sexist Science
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
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's Disasters - Natural and Man-Made
Tsunamis, earthquakes and a sinking capital - not all of Indonesia's problems are down to Mother Nature. Jonathan Bithrey reports from this blighted archipelago on the Pacific ring of fire. 14 years after the Indian Ocean tsunami, why was the country so ill-prepared for the tidal wave that hit Palu this week? And what is being done to stop Jakarta slowly sinking into the sea under the weight of poor planning and overdevelopment? (Picture: A woman looks for salvageable items among the debris in following t...

Has Elon Musk Already Won?
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...

The #FoodPorn Business
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
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 rema...

The Company Without Managers
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 ...

Welcome to Wakaliwood
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; ...


The Trouble With Bike Sharing
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 fo...

The Class of 2008
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 an...

Remembering Lehman
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: A...


Vaping: A New Addiction?
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. ...

Looking Back at Lehmans
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. (Phot...

Why Do So Few Women Work in India?
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 ...


Handmade By Hipsters
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 ...

The Business of Conspiracy Theories
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 Ele...

The Trouble with Tourists
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)...


Has Mining Cleaned Up its Act?
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 w...

Stars, Shirts and Sponsors
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, ...

India's Tea Crisis
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)...


What's Up with Whatsapp?
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...

Welcome to Nicaragua
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 Int...

The Skin Business
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
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...

How to Spot a Narcissist
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 narcissi...

The Death of the Job Interview
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...


The Future of TV
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 s...

Are Things Getting Worse?
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)...

Putin's Great Nemesis
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 w...


Bosses, Babies and Breast Pumps
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 o...

Music Stardom in the Spotify Age
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...

Pride and Prejudice
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 fle...


Living Fast and Slow
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...

Fighting Fraud in the Food Chain
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
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 cit...


A Spectacular Merger
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 ...

Mongolia's Mega Mine
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 herds...

Britain's Brexit Befuddlement
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...


Is Germany Losing its Mojo?
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 r...

Trump's Trade War
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 c...

Turkey's Refugee Workforce
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 profes...


Trump's Conflicts of Interest
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 Gi...

The Kidnapping Business
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: ...

What Can We Do About Fake Reviews?
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 ...


Imagining an Open North Korea
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. ...

Shades of Privilege
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 pheno...

Dirty Money in Zimbabwe
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...


Mongolian Yoghurt and the World Cup
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 f...

Tackling Trump in Trade Talks
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 t...

Zimbabwe's Mineral Wealth
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 Institut...


Do We Really Decide for Ourselves?
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 prob...

When the Bitcoin Miners Come to Town
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 ...

Who is Elon Musk?
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 ...


Being Watched at Work
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...

Rebranding Africa
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 wes...

Ecstasy on Prescription
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 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...


Racist AI
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 syst...

Europe's Data D-Day
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 Beijin...

The Death of Traditional Advertising
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 ...


Pointless Jobs
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 at...

Agony in India
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, includin...

Venezuela in Tatters
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 C...


Is China Tech a Trojan Horse?
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 bi...