Business Daily

Business Daily Podcast

The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.

Can 'immunity passports' help us get back to normal?
Countries around the world are working on ways for people to safely get back to normal, people like Pam in Scotland, who is navigating the world of app dating during coronavirus and wondering when, and if, to meet up. One answer is the idea of an immunity passport or certificate: something that shows you have had coronavirus and are now immune. Franz Walt, chief executive of Swiss firm Quotient, says antibody testing is so accurate it could be the basis for such a system. But Professor Robert West at Univer...

The growth of fake coronavirus cures
In today’s programme, we’ll be looking at how fake coronavirus cures are marketed and why people are buying them. We’ll also be asking if social media platforms need to do more to stop the flow of disinformation. Claire Wardle who leads strategy at First Draft News tells us why social media is a fertile ground for spreading rumours and disinformation. Stephen Lea, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Exeter University tells us why are people paying good money for unproven remedies. Plus, the BBC’s Pumza Fihl...

The Green New Deal goes global
Plans for gigantic government investments to decarbonise the world economy are gaining traction, but they may hinge on the US election results in November. Justin Rowlatt speaks to Spain's deputy prime minister Teresa Ribera about how her government aims to make the country carbon neutral by 2050, as well as a one-trillion-euro EU green recovery plan expected to be unveiled by the European Commission this week. Meanwhile in the US, the signs are that Democrat Joe Biden will adopt a climate change plan sim...


Business Weekly
On Business Weekly we be look at how our employers are going to keep us safe as we cautiously head out of lockdown and back into the workplace. But if our temperatures are taken and our movements recorded, how will they address that sensitive balance between safety and privacy? As soon as we’re back at work we might want a holiday - but will anywhere be open for tourists? We get the view from Spain the second most visited country on the planet. Plus, the food supply chain the the US is in crisis as a result...

Mark Zuckerberg fights back
As we look to connect and entertain ourselves during the coronavirus lockdown, many of us are turning to social media outlets and messaging services like Instagram and Whatsapp. Both are owned by Facebook. Its founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has been speaking to the BBC about how the company is dealing with coronavirus fake news, why his "iron grip" on the company is necessary, and as the moderator for half of humanity, how Facebook can help its three billion users through the pandemic. Manu...

The future of movies after coronavirus
With cinemas closed, will our lockdown streaming habits change the film industry for good? Manuela Saragosa speaks to cinema owner Penn Ketchum about the draw of the big screen, and plans to bring audiences back to theatres. Entertainment consultant Gene Del Vecchio explains why we should expect more films to find their way directly to our living rooms after coronavirus, bypassing cinemas all together. And TV and film producer Brian Udovich describes the shutdown in Hollywood, and the challenges of running ...


Monitoring in the post lockdown office
How much should employers know about their workers as people head back to the office? Companies have a duty of care to make sure their workers are safe, but how much monitoring is reasonable? Is this the end of privacy at work? Manuela Saragosa hears from Dutch privacy and employment lawyer Philip Nabben, as well as Sam Naficy the CEO of Prodoscore which makes software that monitors employee productivity, and Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at University College London. (Image:...

Should we keep paying workers to stay at home?
Governments are spending billions paying wages to workers who are no longer able to work due to the coronavirus pandemic. How long can we keep this up? Are we storing up problems by offering this type of unprecedented state-sponsored handout long-term? We hear from an employee in the tourism industry who has been furloughed, a hotel owner in the North of England who has had to furlough most of his staff, as well as Torsten Bell from the Resolution Foundation think tank who originally proposed the scheme in...

Venezuela: 'The world's weakest economy?'
A third of Venezuela's population is at risk of malnutrition, according to the UN and the latest gasoline crisis could weaken the country's economy further. Entire villages are said to have been cut off from food supplies because trucks can't get fuel to deliver to them. That’s the context a crisis which has made Venezuela the world’s weakest emerging economy, according to a recent review by the Economist magazine. Earlier this month the situation became even more volatile when two Americans were caught app...


Business Weekly
How do you feed a world in lockdown? We’ll be looking at the pressures on the global food supply chain in this episode of Business Weekly. As many choose to buy more locally produced food we’ll ask whether new habits will stick. Two renowned economists tell us that any governments handing out Coronavirus bailouts must learn the lessons from the financial crisis of 2008 and impose tighter conditions. ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus speaks to us about life in Sweden during the pandemic and gives us his thoughts on fello...

Coal vs coronavirus
Coal has suffered the brunt of the huge slump in electricity demand as the world has gone into lockdown. It has highlighted the fossil fuel's Achilles Heel: When there is too much supply on the grid, it's coal-fired power stations that get switched off, not solar or wind. Justin Rowlatt speaks to the head of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol, as well as analysts covering the two countries most central to coal's future. Delhi-based Sunil Dahiya says that India is already reckoning with renewable e...

Billionaires and the Pandemic
Some of the world’s richest people have been digging deep during the pandemic, donating their own money to help fight Covid-19. With some of the wealthiest 1% already funding medical research, we ask how comfortable we should be with billionaires taking on an even bigger role in public health. Vivienne Nunis speaks to David Callahan, editor of the website Inside Philanthropy and Rob Reich, Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University. ...


Feeding a world in lockdown
Lockdowns and the coronavirus pandemic have disrupted global food supply chains and limited the range of products on supermarket shelves in the rich world. Could new buying habits stick even after lockdowns end? Will less choice and seasonal produce become the 'new normal'? Manuela Saragosa talks to Guy Singh Watson of Riverford Organic Farmers in the UK, who welcomes the change in what's on offer, and Abdoul Wahab Barry of the International Fund for Agricultural Development in Cote D'Ivoire, who tells us w...

What strings should we attach to bailouts?
After the finanancial crisis of 2008-2009 banks and financial firms received billions of dollars in public funds to help them survive. In 2011 civilians took to the streets protesting about economic inequality after the bailouts; jobs, homes and livelihoods had been lost whilst the corporate sector survived largely unscathed. In the post-corona world, rescue packages are once again being hastily assembled to save businesses and jobs, but is adequate attention being paid to the public interest? Have the less...

What strings should we attach to bailouts?
After the finanancial crisis of 2008-2009 banks and financial firms received billions of dollars in public funds to help them survive. In 2011 civilians took to the streets protesting about economic inequality after the bailouts; jobs, homes and livelihoods had been lost whilst the corporate sector survived largely unscathed. In the post-corona world, rescue packages are once again being hastily assembled to save businesses and jobs, but is adequate attention being paid to the public interest? Have the less...


How to build a bailout
Coronavirus is prompting the biggest government bailout effort of all time. Billions of dollars are being spent rescuing companies hit by the economic damage caused by the pandemic, but there are already criticisms that money is not going where it is most needed. In the US small and medium sized firms have been refused bailout loans, while larger firms have been borrowing millions; Ed Butler mulls the inequities in the system with Amanda Fischer of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and Amanda Ball...

Business Weekly
On Business Weekly we hear from New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton who’s lost her life's work to the pandemic and is worrying about her future and that of her staff. What help are governments giving to small businesses like hers? As New Zealand announces that it has no new cases of Covid-19 we find out how businesses are adapting to a new way of working as the country begins to lift lockdown restrictions. Advertising mogul Sir Martin Sorrell tells us about the effect the pandemic is having on his industry - a...

Business Weekly
On Business Weekly we hear from New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton who’s lost her life's work to the pandemic and is worrying about her future and that of her staff. What help are governments giving to small businesses like hers? As New Zealand announces that it has no new cases of Covid-19 we find out how businesses are adapting to a new way of working as the country begins to lift lockdown restrictions. Advertising mogul Sir Martin Sorrell tells us about the effect the pandemic is having on his industry - a...


Markets and the economy: Two staggering drunks
Why are stock markets so buoyant as the global economy slides into a possible coronavirus-induced depression? Some 33 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past two months of the pandemic, yet the Nasdaq market is now higher than it was at the start of the year. The financial markets and the economy have been described as two staggering drunks tied together by a rope. Manuela Saragosa explores this odd analogy and how it applies to the current disconnect between share prices and jobless claims, wit...

Bringing back football
The English Premier League's plans to finish the season after weeks of shutdown. Almost all major European football leagues have been on hold since March due to coronavirus. Ed Butler speaks to BBC Sports journalist Emlyn Begley about missing live football and his new love for the Belarusian league - the only place in Europe still staging matches. Football finance expert Kieran Maguire explains why failing to finish the season could cost the Premier League more than $1bn. And football club chairman Mark Pal...

How coronavirus broke Brazil's economic dream
Could economy minister Paulo Guedes be the next key ally to abandon embattled President Bolsonaro? A corruption scandal has already seen the popular justice minister walk away. Meanwhile Bolsonaro fired his health minister as he seeks to reverse his own government's lockdown on the economy. With the official number of Covid 19 cases in the country surpassing 100,000, we hear the frustration of a doctor on the frontline. As for the economy minister, the BBC's South America business correspondent Daniel Gal...


After Coronavirus: A Trans-Tasman travel bubble?
New Zealand is seen by many as a great example of surviving coronavirus, but with such a tourism-heavy economy there are concerns a further shock is to come. One idea mooted to help alleviate this is the so-called “trans-Tasman bubble” in which travel restrictions between Australia and New Zealand would be reciprocally lifted, before all the world’s borders open up, to stimulate commerce between the two nations. This programme features Colin Peacock in Wellington, Maggie Fea from Gibson Valley Wines in Quee...

Losing your business to the pandemic
Gabrielle Hamilton used to run the celebrated New York restaurant Prune. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. After being forced to shut the place that was her life's work, she wonders if there will still be a place for it in the New York of the future. (Picture: Gabrielle Hamilton preparing food in the kitchen of her now closed restaurant Prune; Credit: Eric Wolfinger)...

Welcome to Business Weekly
The most compelling reports and interviews from the BBC's business programmes over the past week, examining the huge issues facing policymakers and asking what the future holds for our working lives. This week we ask a big moral question - will the deliberate shutting down of economies in an effort to slow Covid-19 kill more than the virus itself? Or as some have predicted will a recession actually save lives? We have a report from Brazil where conflicting messaging has sown confusion and fear. And we'll he...


Single parents in lockdown
Living under lockdown is challenging for everyone, but for hundreds of millions of single parents around the world, it can be a terrifying ordeal. It’s not only emotionally draining, but can also be financially crippling, as Tamasin Ford has been finding out. She speaks to Sarah Cawley who delivers lunches to people who can’t leave their homes; she's from One Parent Family Scotland. We also hear from single mums, Fatia Islam in Paris and New Yorker, Thea Jaffe. Victoria Bensen, CEO of Gingerbread, the chari...

The rise of contact tracing apps
Governments around the world are planning to roll out contact tracing apps to help contain the spread of coronavirus. But will they work? Ed Butler speaks to BBC technology reporter Chris Fox about the technology that underpins them, and to researcher Natalie Pang from the National University of Singapore about the experience of Singapore's TraceTogether app, launched last month. But conventional human contact tracing has been around for decades. UK contact tracer Karen Buckley describes the challenges of t...

The ethics of pricing lives
In today's Business Daily we're asking some awkward, often neglected questions - will the economic recession itself prove more fatal than coronavirus? How do and how should governments put a value on human life? To help answer these questions we speak to Bryce Wilkinson, a senior fellow at the New Zealand Initiative; US science journalist and biostatistician, Lynne Peeples and John Broome, a Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University. (Picture of a wallet via Getty Images)....


The ethics of pricing lives
In today's Business Daily we're asking some awkward, often neglected questions - will the economic recession itself prove more fatal than coronavirus? How do and how should governments put a value on human life? To help answer these questions we speak to Bryce Wilkinson, a senior fellow at the New Zealand Initiative; US science journalist and biostatistician, Lynn Peeples and John Broome, a Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University. (Picture of a wallet via Getty Images)....

Remittances: When the money stops coming in
The World Bank has warned global remittances, which is the money migrant workers send home, will fall by around 20% in 2020 because of coronavirus. The bank predicts this will affect the income of at least tens of millions of families. One such family is that of Smitha in Kerala, whose husband is stuck in Dubai unable to work due to lockdown. But it’s not just about subsistence. Michael Clemens at the Centre for Global Development says remittance flows are a crucial resource for helping families and communi...

Coronavirus: Can small businesses survive?
Coronavirus has derailed the global economy, closing entire business chains across the world. Big companies may have the collateral to withstand the storm, but what about smaller ones? We speak to three business owners to find out. Ramjit Ray in Calcutta in India, Victoria Brockelsby in High Wycombe in the UK and Mustafa Jaffer in Allentown in the US. (Picture description: Coronavirus calculator via Getty Images)....


A new normal
Countries in Europe are planning to scale back lockdown measures and reopen their economies. But what will the new normal look like? Ed Butler speaks to the BBC's China media analyst Kerry Allen about the experience of Hubei province in China, which ended its lockdown earlier this month, and to Markus Dulle, owner of several DIY stores in Austria, where some shops have begun trading again after a month of shutdown. Experts agree that a programme of testing for the coronavirus is needed before lockdown measu...

A new normal
Countries in Europe are planning to scale back lockdown measures and reopen their economies. But what will the new normal look like? Ed Butler speaks to the BBC's China media analyst Kerry Allen about the experience of Hubei province in China, which ended its lockdown earlier this month, and to Markus Dulle, owner of several DIY stores in Austria, where some shops have begun trading again after a month of shutdown. Experts agree that a programme of testing for the coronavirus is needed before lockdown measu...


A moment of truth for the EU
A crunch meeting of EU leaders today aims to finally show Italy and others solidarity in the struggle against coronavirus. A plan is gaining momentum for the European Commission to raise a trillion-plus-euro fund to invest in the recovery of the European economy, something that could mark a major step towards federalism if it succeeds, but many fear could trigger the unravelling of the European project if it fails to win approval. Manuela Saragosa, herself half-Dutch and half-Italian, asks whether the pla...

Coronavirus: End of the global supply chain?
With factories around the world shuttered during the coronavirus outbreak, we’re asking whether the world’s intricate global supply chains will come out of the pandemic intact. We’ll hear from garment factory workers in Bangladesh who are finding themselves out of work, and from David Hasanat, CEO of the Viyellatex group, which has seen its orders drying up. And David Simchi-Levi, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, thinks the pandemic will lead to global supply chain restructuring, pot...

How can Africa emerge from lockdown?
Many Africans are struggling under lockdown, with little or no access to food or supplies. Some observers are questioning whether full lockdown is appropriate in situations where the people can’t be supplied with relief as in developed countries. Prabhat Jha, an epidemiologist and health economist at the University of Toronto, is optimistic other methods such as contact tracing could combine with enhanced testing to help people emerge, while Sir Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the ...


Can Africa's informal economies survive lockdown?
In Africa’s developing countries, people are struggling under lockdown, unable to work or get food in the massive informal economies across the continent, where eight in ten jobs are not in formal employment. Now, lockdowns in such cities as Lagos, Monrovia, Johannesburg and Kampala are causing devastation, as we'll hear from people living there. Oksana Abboud runs StreetNet International, and explains why street vendors and other informal economy workers particularly suffer from lockdown, while Liberia’s f...

Climate change and the pandemic
In many cities, pollution has reduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, but what will happen to the environment when economies get going again? The year after the financial crisis, global carbon dioxide emissions jumped by nearly 6% as nations put in place stimulus packages driven by cheap fuel and energy-intensive sectors like construction. There are also fears companies which had planned to invest in clean energy could put those plans on hold as market conditions change. Vera Mantengoli of the newspaper La Nu...


Amazon’s pandemic
Amazon sees itself as providing an essential service during the coronavirus pandemic, but staff at its huge network of warehouses are worried they’re being put at risk. Ed Butler speaks to William Stolz, a picker at an Amazon fulfilment centre in Minnesota in the US, and to Christy Hoffman, general secretary of the UNI Global Union, about why some workers feel unsafe. Logistics analyst Marc Wulfraat discusses Amazon’s response and what it means for their reputation. And Frank Foer, author of World Without M...

Coronavirus in Africa
Coronavirus has been slow to arrive in Africa but the continent has been warned the wave is coming. South Africa has so far been the hardest hit and it’s responded with some of the harshest lockdown restrictions in the world. Faeza Meyer lives in a township in the Cape Flats on the outskirts of Cape Town and is finding social distancing and getting enough food difficult in cramped conditions. Businesses have also been hit hard as we hear from Thato Rangaka-Maroga in Johannesburg who runs five family busines...

The great coronavirus oil glut
Demand for fuel has collapsed amid the coronavirus lockdowns, but the world keeps on pumping more crude and is fast running out of space to store it all. Justin Rowlatt finds that even his local petrol station is struggling, with streets of London - like every other city in the world - largely empty of cars. Alan Gelder of energy consultants Wood Mackenzie describes the lengths to which oil producers are going to stockpile all the unwanted fuel products. Meanwhile Opec and Russia agreed a major cut in pro...


Comedy in a crisis
From marauding goats to comedy dance routines in gardens, Business Daily’s Vivienne Nunis takes a look at the memes and videos helping many of us get through uncertain times. Why does seeing the lighter side of life matter? We hear from some of the content creators, such as Joe Tracini, whose dances – including the now infamous “sexy kitten” move - have been shared tens of millions of times, to stress management coach and advocate of laughter Loretta LaRoche, business expert and entrepreneur Margaret Heffe...

Coronavirus and the surveillance state
In the continued struggle to keep people clear of others infected with coronavirus, one tech company, ClearView, says its controversial facial recognition technology could help medical professionals clamp down on the virus’ spread. Indeed, technology has already been deployed in countries around the world to monitor the contact between its citizens. But researcher Stephanie Hare says this technology would be almost useless without increasing testing for the virus. And some, such as Gil Gan-Mor at Associatio...

Coronavirus in Asia’s biggest slum
In one of the most densely populated areas in the world, the residents of Mumbai’s Dharavi slums have little recourse to practice the social distancing required to avoid coronavirus, as we hear from many residents of Dharavi in their own words, and from Vinod Shetty who runs Acord, a local aid agency. Meanwhile, many people around India are falling through the cracks in the government’s promised food scheme, as Radhika Kapoor from the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations explains...


Coronavirus in Asia’s biggest slum
In one of the most densely populated areas in the world, the residents of Mumbai’s Dharavi slums have little recourse to practice the social distancing required to avoid coronavirus, as we hear from many residents of Dharavi in their own words, and from Vinod Shetty who runs Acord, a local aid agency. Meanwhile, many people around India are falling through the cracks in the government’s promised food scheme, as Radhika Kapoor from the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations explains...

Can technology deliver in African skies?
Katie Prescott reports from Rwanda, where technology is central to the government’s economic plans. Katie sees the challenge of a sparse road network, and at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo hears how technology might be able to cut waiting times for vital medicines and medical tests, at the first ever Lake Kivu Challenge. Katie hears from Temie Giwa-Tubosun, CEO of Nigerian company Lifebank, which delivers critical medical supplies such as blood across Africa, by road, boat and now air. Tem...

Can technology deliver in African skies?
Katie Prescott reports from Rwanda, where technology is central to the government’s economic plans. Katie sees the challenge of a sparse road network, and at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo hears how technology might be able to cut waiting times for vital medicines and medical tests, at the first ever Lake Kivu Challenge. Katie hears from Temie Giwa-Tubosun, CEO of Nigerian company Lifebank, which delivers critical medical supplies such as blood across Africa, by road, boat and now air. Tem...


Who will foot the coronavirus bill?
Governments are throwing trillions of dollars at rescuing their economies from the Covid-19 pandemic, but how can they afford it all, and whatever happened to austerity? How much debt are governments running up? How much will markets be willing to lend? Can central banks help with the financing without risking their independence or undermining confidence in the currency? Who will ultimately repay the debts? And having made such huge interventions to contain the virus, will governments continue to play a mu...

Who will foot the coronavirus bill?
Governments are throwing trillions of dollars at rescuing their economies from the Covid-19 pandemic, but how can they afford it all, and whatever happened to austerity? How much debt are governments running up? How much will markets be willing to lend? Can central banks help with the financing without risking their independence or undermining confidence in the currency? Who will ultimately repay the debts? And having made such huge interventions to contain the virus, will governments continue to play a mu...

Coronavirus pushes Europe to the edge
As the deaths and economic damage from Covid-19 continue to rise, Italians are asking why the EU is doing so little to help in their time of need. The pandemic is reinfecting old wounds in the EU, reopening the divide between the wealthy north and the heavily indebted south. In Italy angry citizens have taken to burning the EU flag in viral YouTube clips (pictured). There are calls for "coronabonds" to finance a rescue package for the hardest hit nations, but Germany and the Netherlands remain reticent. B...


Will there be a vaccine?
A vaccine is the magic bullet that would end the coronavirus pandemic, but how many months will it take to find, and will it be available to all? Justin Rowlatt speaks to a pioneering researcher of coronaviruses - not just the one behind the current Covid-19 outbreak. Susan Weiss of Pennsylvania University says the fact it was such a neglected area was one of the things that first attracted her to study these microbes. Today we know much more, but still not enough about how to inoculate against it, accordi...

Coronavirus: The race to find a treatment
Researchers at universities and pharmaceutical companies are rushing to identify drugs that might help cut the number of deaths from Covid-19 and take the strain of hospitals. Justin Rowlatt speaks to Richard Marsden, the chief executive of one such company, Synairgen. He hopes that a medicine his company originally developed to help asthma and flu sufferers could also now be put to use in alleviating the lung infections of Covid-19 patients. Meanwhile virologist Stephen Griffin of Leeds University in the...

Coronavirus in confinement
While much of the world is trying to practice social distance, people in confinement have little option to do so. We take a look at the famously overcrowded prisons in Uganda. Doreen Namyalo Kyazze, Africa Programme Manager at Penal Reform International, says the Uganda prison service are not doing anything to contain the virus while a spokesperson for the service says they’re doing all they can. There’s also the tens of millions of refugees and displaced people around the world, many in confinement. Dr. Si...


Coronavirus: Preppers and the Pandemic
They’ve been preparing for the worst for decades, but are survivalists, or “preppers,” really ready for the coronavirus outbreak? Ron Hubbard, owner of Atlas Survival Shelters, is banking on it as he sells survival shelters which he says are more in demand than ever. But writer Mark O’Connell, author of the upcoming “Notes from an Apocalypse” is not so certain the preppers have it right. And Beth Healey, a British medical doctor who spent a year at Concordia Station in Antarctica, has some insight into the ...

Giving care in crisis
As the coronavirus outbreak worsens in many areas, the mental health of those providing frontline care is under strain. We’ll hear from one care worker in Spain afraid of passing the virus to her family, as well as health care workers around the world who are scared. Laura Hawryluck, associate professor at the Toronto Western Hospital Critical Care Response team in Canada, tells us what the SARS outbreak can teach us about the experience and resilience of care workers and Dr Alys Cole-King, Consultant Liais...

The cost of lockdown in the developing world
India has been put in lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Already the growing restrictions have caused turmoil in India's big cities. Hundreds of thousands of migrant wage labourers have suddenly found themselves jobless. Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, says there is a critical lack of planning for the hundreds of millions of people who are near the breadline. Meanwhile, poor countries around the world are seeing their citizens suffer under restr...


Are there exit strategies for coronavirus?
As many countries and cities around the western world go into lockdown, China is beginning to ease restrictions, claiming several days with no new domestic cases of coronavirus. But people have their doubts whether this is true, as the BBC’s Kerry Allen explains. Meanwhile, president Trump wants to ease restrictions as well, hoping for an Easter end date to the lockdown. Dr. Susy Hota, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the University Health Network in Toronto, explains why it might not...

The working from home challenge
Snapshots of working from home across the world, as the coronavirus outbreak increases in intensity. From Kaitlin Funaro in LA to Katy Watson in Brazil and Kinjal Pandya in New Delhi: how is the global workforce coping with enforced home working? And is working from home even possible when there are bored children running around?...

The Working From Home Challenge
Snapshots of working from home across the world, as the coronavirus outbreak increases in intensity. From Kaitlin Funaro in LA to Katy Watson in Brazil and Kinjal Pandya in New Delhi: how is the global workforce coping with enforced home working? And is working from home even possible when there are bored children running around?...


Do we have the right data on coronavirus?
As we face an economic collapse caused by the global coronavirus outbreak, data becomes more valuable than ever. John Ioannidis, Stanford professor of epidemiology, worries about our lack of hard data about the disease, while Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist Michael Levitt says he may have spotted a ray of hope in all the noise. And economist Vicky Pryce joins the programme live to discuss economic responses to the crisis. (Picture:The Diamond Princess cruise ship. Picture credit: Getty images)...

Do we have the right data on coronavirus?
As we face an economic collapse caused by the global coronavirus outbreak, data becomes more valuable than ever. John Ioannidis, Stanford professor of epidemiology, worries about our lack of hard data about the disease, while Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist Michael Levitt says he may have spotted a ray of hope in all the noise. And economist Vicky Pryce joins the programme live to discuss economic responses to the crisis. (Picture:The Diamond Princess cruise ship. Picture credit: Getty images)...

Life under lockdown
What is life like under lockdown in some of the world’s poorest cities? We hear from Nairobi and Manila, two cities facing tough measures to combat Covid-19. But is the cure worse than the disease? We’ll also hear from Mohammed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, who is concerned about the impact on the streets if the whole economy freezes up. (Picture: A worker sprays disinfectant to curb the spread of COVID-19 in a residential area on March 19, 2020 in San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines. Pictur...


Coronavirus: Where's the joined-up thinking?
What can be learned from East Asia's response to Covid-19, and from West Africa's Ebola epidemic? And why hasn't there been a unifed global response to the pandemic? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Francois Balloux, professor of computational biology at University College London, about the difficult options facing the world as we seek to manage coronavirus over the next year or two without crushing the global economy. But what lessons are there from the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa for the likely lon...

Can the private sector help struggling hospitals?
Hand-gels, face masks, even nasal swabs – as the coronavirus spreads, health services are reporting a growing number of shortages at the moment as supplies and supply chains freeze up. Increasingly governments are calling on private companies and individuals to meet the urgent demand. Chad Butters, founder of the Eight Oaks Farm Distillery in Pennsylvania, has turned his facilities over to producing hand sanitizer for local people in need. Meanwhile Project Open Air is crowdsourcing the design of ventilator...

Can airlines survive coronavirus?
Travel restrictions and a slump in demand due to the coronavirus have forced airlines to cancel most flights and temporarily reduce staff. Will this mean a permanent end to the low-cost travel that many of us have become used to? Travel expert Simon Calder joins the show to round up the latest industry news and what it means for travellers, while aviation consultant John Strickland explains why the airlines were so vulnerable to begin with. Meanwhile, calls are rising for governments to bail the airline i...


Coronavirus: Can the risk be contained?
The US has cut interest rates to almost zero and launched a $700bn stimulus programme in a bid to protect the economy from the effect of coronavirus. Ed Butler asks Chris Ralph, chief global strategist at St. James’s Place Wealth, whether anything can prop up the financial markets and minimise the economic impact as the US and Europe go into lockdown, with governments shutting down nightlife and ordering the elderly to stay home. Professor Liam Smeeth, epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and T...

Wet markets and the coronavirus
Where the coronavirus came from and why these diseases aren't a one-off. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dr Juan Lubroth, former chief veterinary officer at the UN's Food and Agricultural Association in Rome, about the risks around so-called 'wet' markets prevalent in East Asia and South East Asia where live animals are sold. Professor Tim Benton, research director of the emerging risks team at the think tank Chatham House tells us why animals are often the source of pathogens that go on to affect humans. Patric...

Wet markets and the coronavirus
Where the coronavirus came from and why these diseases aren't a one-off. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Dr Juan Lubroth, former chief veterinary officer at the UN's Food and Agricultural Association in Rome, about the risks around so-called 'wet' markets prevalent in East Asia and South East Asia where live animals are sold. Professor Tim Benton, research director of the emerging risks team at the think tank Chatham House tells us why animals are often the source of pathogens that go on to affect humans. Patric...


The great North Korean crypto hack
Crypto-currency and cybercrime have together provided the DPRK with the hard currency it needed to continue with its nuclear weapons programme. Ed Butler speaks to sanctions specialist Nigel Kushner of W Legal about how Bitcoin and the like are used by sanctioned individuals to continue doing business outside the official banking system. In North Korea's case, much of the business involves outright theft - be it the Wannacry ransomware attack, the hacking of the Bangladeshi central bank's accounts, or robb...

How to stop coronavirus crashing your economy
As much of Italy goes into self-imposed quarantine, what can the authorities do to stop empty shops and restaurants going bust? It's an urgent question for Marco d'Arrigo, who runs the California Bakery chain in Milan, who has spent his day reassuring nervous staff at their eerily empty branches. Nations facing spiralling coronavirus cases and to need to lock down entire cities, do have macroeconomic tools at their disposal. But in Italy's case, those tools are not entirely in Rome's hands. Ed Butler spea...

The psychology of panic buying
How the spread of coronavirus is changing consumer behaviour. Elizabeth Hotson goes on the hunt for toilet paper and hand sanitizer on the streets of London. Ed Butler speaks to Charlene Chan, marketing researcher and consumer psychology researcher at Nanyang School of Business in Singapore about how feeling a loss of control influences our buying behaviour. Steven Taylor, a clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Canada, tells us what panic buying says about the psychology of pandemi...


The superforecasters
How to predict the future and beat the wisdom of the crowds. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Warren Hatch, chief executive of Good Judgement, a consultancy that specialises in superforecasters - individuals with a knack for predicting future events - and the techniques they use to make their guesses. We also hear from Andreas Katsouris from PredictIt, a political betting platform that harnesses the wisdom of the crowds in making predictions about politics. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: a crystal ball, Cred...

The great face hack
Tech start-up Clearview scraped billions of people's public photos off social media, and then sold their facial recognition service to police forces, private security firms and banks around the world. Were the company's actions an invasion of privacy? Were they even illegal? Is their technology as reliable as they claim? Or could it have resulted in multiple false arrests of misidentified suspects? Manuela Saragosa explores the thorny questions raised by the latest data privacy scandal. She speaks to Buzz...

Coronavirus: Global recession?
Central banks are rushing to provide liquidity as many fear that the disruption from the coronavirus outbreak could push the world into technical recession. We hear from a host of eminent economists trying to navigate the uncertainty: Sarah Bloom Raskin, deputy secretary to the Treasury under US President Barack Obama; former ECB chief economist Peter Praet; and Cornell University professor of trade policy Eswar Prasad. Plus Ed Butler looks at one of the industries feeling the most pain - airlines. Peter ...


Do stock-pickers have a future?
Research suggests that they underperform robot traders, and most can't even beat the market, so are the days of the celebrity investors and stock market tipsters numbered? Ed Butler speaks to David Aferiat, whose computer-based trading system Holly has been picking the best performing stock picking algorithms since 2016. He claims that Holly consistently outperforms the market. So why rely on humans to make these decisions? Among those weighing the case for man versus machine are an old hand of the City o...

Moving Uighur workers in China
A new report brings together fresh evidence of the forced transportation of Uighur Muslims from Xinjiang province to provide labour in factories across China. Ed Butler speaks to one of the report authors, Nathan Ruser from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. In some cases the factories are linked to major brands like Nike, Apple and Volkswagen. Yuan Yang, Beijing correspondent for the Financial Times, says she for one is not surprised by the reports. (Photo: Protesters attend a rally in Hong Kong o...

Trump's immigration crackdown
How fewer Latin Americans crossing the US border is affecting the economy. Alice Fordham reports from Juarez on the Mexican side of the border on the migrants forced to make Mexico their home while they await the outcome of their asylum cases in the US. Ed Butler speaks to Jessica Bolter from the Migration Policy Institute in Washington DC about the slowing rate of people trying to cross into the US illegally. And Giovanni Peri, economist at the University of California, Davis, discusses the impact tighter ...


Firestone and Liberia
Rubber is Liberia's most important cash crop, and the Firestone Libera rubber plantation is the country's biggest employer. But the company faces accusations that it pollutes rivers and violates labour rights. US-based Bridgestone Corporation, Firestone Liberia's parent company, denies this. Tamasin Ford investigates the allegations. (Photo: A Firestone-branded tyre used at an IndyCar Series racing event in Texas in 2020, Credit: Getty Images)...

Coronavirus: Fake news goes viral
Misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak is undermining the efforts of health officials and medical researchers to contain it. Doctors find themselves under attack from conspiracy theorists who believe they are concealing the truth about the origin of the epidemic. Meanwhile bogus and sometimes highly dangerous advice is spreading on social media about how to protect yourself against the disease. Ed Butler asks Cristina Tardaguila of the International Fact-Checking Network who is promoting these mali...

Supermarket archaeology
What can soap boxes, sweet wrappers and tin cans tell us about our shopping history? Manuela Saragosa visits Robert Opie at his Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in west London. He's been keeping discarded items and packaging since he was a school boy - well over 50 years. In the process he's created a collection that charts the retail revolution of the past century. It's one that showcases how the whole idea of branding and packaging evolved, and tells us something about how we once lived. Repe...


A single West African currency
Some West African countries already use a single currency - the CFA franc. Now there are plans to introduce a broader shared currency - the eco - across 15 states. But the region's economic powerhouse Nigeria has put those plans in doubt. Tamasin Ford speaks to business people in the region about what difference a new single currency would really make. (Photo: CFA franc banknotes, Credit: Getty Images)...

Cognac and hip hop
How brands forge strong relationships with music, from Cognac brands like Hennessy and Courvoisier to Coca Cola's Sprite. Elizabeth Hotson speaks to cultural critic and music journalist Candace McDuffie about the history of Cognac in African-American culture, and to journalist Oris Aigbokhaevbolo about the efforts of Hennessy to associate with hip hop in Nigeria. Aaliyah Shafiq, group director for the Sprite brand at Coca Cola explains the success of its partnership with hip hop in the US dating back to the...

The Airbnb rental scammers
As the holiday lettings platform prepares for an IPO, what is Airbnb doing to clamp down on bogus, unregulated and unsafe property listings? Ed Butler speaks to Wired magazine journalist James Temperton, who uncovered one complex London-based scam involving fake listings, sham reviews and a block of grubby apartments that was in flagrant breach of the city's property rules. London councillor Heather Acton tells us she is horrified by the findings. So is Airbnb allowing professional landlords to profit by ...


3D-printed pills
Could the much-hyped technology of 3D printing have found a useful application - producing personalised prescription pills? Ed Butler visits the lab of Dr Mohamed Alhnan at King's College London, to see this cottage manufacturing process in action - in this case making caffeine tablets. Meanwhile entrepreneur Melissa Snover has launched the world’s first 3D-printed personalised and chewable vitamin supplement provider, called Nourished. But what about prescription pills? Can this technology reliably produ...

3D-printed pills
Could the much-hyped technology of 3D printing have found a useful application - producing personalised prescription pills? Ed Butler visits the lab of Dr Mohamed Alhnan at King's College London, to see this cottage manufacturing process in action - in this case making caffeine tablets. Meanwhile entrepreneur Melissa Snover has launched the world’s first 3D-printed personalised and chewable vitamin supplement provider, called Nourished. But what about prescription pills? Can this technology reliably produ...

Why you should hire an ex con
Should employers simply stop asking job applicants if they have a criminal record? Tamasin Ford speaks to one American bakery that did exactly that. Lucas Tanner of the Greyston Bakery in New York explains why his Buddhist founder opted for a policy of "open hiring" - no questions, no interview, no CV, no background checks. Today there is a campaign to "ban the box" that applicants must tick to indicate whether they have a past conviction. But doing so has perversely led to greater racial bias in employmen...


A robot future and how to handle it
What will happen to our working lives when the robots take over? Daniel Susskind, an economist at Oxford University, discusses his new book A World Without Work. He talks to Ed Butler about the effects on employment, the link between automation and inequality, and whether something like a universal basic income could be a solution. (Photo: A humanoid robot on display at a trade fair in 2018, Credit: Getty Images)...

A robot future and how to handle it
What will happen to our working lives when the robots take over? Daniel Susskind, an economist at Oxford University, discusses his new book A World Without Work. He talks to Ed Butler about the effects on employment, the link between automation and inequality, and whether something like a universal basic income could be a solution. (Photo: A humanoid robot on display at a trade fair in 2018, Credit: Getty Images)...

EU farm subsidies: who's benefiting?
Is the European farm subsidy system being left vulnerable to corruption? Each year the EU pays out billions of euros to landowners. But a New York Times investigation found that in parts of Eastern Europe, EU farm subsidies have created what it calls a "new kind of feudalism". We speak to the New York Times investigative reporter Matt Apuzzo, and we hear a response from the European Commission's agricultural policy spokesperson Daniel Rosario. Producer: Joshua Thorpe. (Picture: A combine harvester on a co...


EU farm subsidies: who's benefiting?
Is the European farm subsidy system being left vulnerable to corruption? Each year the EU pays out billions of euros to landowners. But a New York Times investigation found that in parts of Eastern Europe, EU farm subsidies have created what it calls a "new kind of feudalism". We speak to the New York Times investigative reporter Matt Apuzzo, and we hear a response from the European Commission's agricultural policy spokesperson Daniel Rosario. Producer: Joshua Thorpe. (Picture: A combine harvester on a co...

The case for free trade
Does the backlash against globalisation ignore the huge benefits of world trade? And how realistic are post-Brexit Britain's ambitions to become a global trade powerhouse? Manuela Saragosa asks Cambridge economics professor Meredith Crowley how much access the UK can expect to retain to the European market, given that the country wants to diverge from EU regulations. It's an example of a problem that all countries in our globalised economy face - the "globalisation trilemma". Meanwhile Fred Hochberg, form...

Firing workers in Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is finding a surprising new application - training managers how to handle delicate situations such as dismissing employees or giving presentations. Manuela Saragosa looks at how the technology is being used to play out scenarios such as consoling a sobbing staff member, or responding to a heckler in the audience, all while in the safe space of VR. Plus producer Josh Thorpe tries out Microsoft's latest augmented reality headset, the HoloLens 2. The programme features interviews with Mariann...


Tesla: To infinity and beyond
Tesla's share price has tripled in the last six months - can anyone stop it, or even make sense of it? Ed Butler speaks to Craig Irwin, stock analyst at Roth Capital in New York, who is perplexed by the latest crazy surge in Tesla's valuation, even though he wouldn't particularly describe himself as a Tesla bear. David Bailey, professor of business economics at Birmingham Business School in the UK, says that the optimism is being driven by a growing perception that the electric vehicle revolution may final...

Coronavirus: A shortage of masks
The business impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Ed Butler speaks to the BBC's Robin Brant in Shanghai about the partial return of Chinese workers in the city. Bloomberg economist Maeva Cousin discusses the economic impact on China and global supply chains. Mike Bowen, vice president of Prestige Amaritech in Texas, one of the few manufacturers of medical masks outside of China, explains why a shortage of masks globally is not good news for his business. Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer prize-winning author of a boo...

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


Out of jail but not out of work
Unemployment in the US and UK is at near-historic lows. In such a tight labour market, many companies are seeking new pools of talent to recruit from. One relatively untapped source is people with criminal records, who often struggle to find work after completing their sentences. One person who knows that struggle is Ali Niaz, who has gone from convicted London drug dealer to international music entrepreneur. Ali sat down with Manuela Saragosa to recount his journey. Manuela also spoke to Celia Ouellette ...

Saudi money, English Football
A multi-million pound takeover of the English Premier League team Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund could be in the works. BBC Sports reporter Alistair Magowan explains what we know so far about the deal. In the meantime Ellen R Wald, author of Saudi Inc, speculates on Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman's motivation for wanting to buy Newcastle. It’s not likely to be profit, explains football finance expert Kieran Maguire. Perhaps prestige? But given that the Saudi state’s record on ...

Will immersive tech ever go mainstream?
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have been around for years, and billions have been spent on popularising them, so far to little avail. Ed Butler dons an Oculus Rift at London's Natural History Museum to experience a VR journey through its collection, and speaks to John Casey, chief executive of Factory 42, which designed the experience. But despite big investments by the likes of Google, Facebook, Imax, Disney and others, sales of VR and AR headsets are still a fraction of traditional gaming consoles...


So is the future hydrogen?
The gas could provide the critical missing piece in decarbonising the global economy. But can the hydrogen itself be sourced cheaply and carbon-free? One exciting new application could be to replace the coal used in steel-making. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Martin Pei, chief technical officer at Swedish steel company SSAB, which is collaborating on a pilot scheme for the new technology. He says hydrogen produced from renewable energy can generate the intense heat needed in many heavy industries like his, th...

Does coal have a future?
Burning coal to generate electricity is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions. But climate change aside, does it even make commercial sense anymore? Laurence Knight speaks to clean energy investor Ramez Naam, who relays the story of how he managed to convince one major Asian bank chief executive to stop lending to new coal power projects on the grounds that he was unlikely to get his money back. Another bank to have renounced lending to the coal industry is Standard Chartered. Their head of envi...

Brexit day, Brexit visions
As the UK officially leaves the EU, what kind of economic future should it aim for? Should it be left entirely open to free market forces, or should the state play a bigger role? Manuela Saragosa hosts a debate between two people with opposing views. Tim Worstall of the pro-free-market think tank The Adam Smith Institute, and Miatta Fahnbulleh, chief executive of the left-of-centre think tank, the New Economics Foundation. Plus the BBC's Victoria Craig speaks to the owner of a Swedish café in London who h...


Does quarantining do more harm than good?
How will China's efforts to contain the corona virus affect the country's economy? Ed Butler asks our economics correspondent Andrew Walker, as well as a sceptical Lawrence Gostin, professor of health law at Georgetown University, who says the belated attempts to stop the spread of the epidemic are simply shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Moreover, how does quarantining affect those caught up in the net? Ed speaks to Ben Voyer, professor of psychological and behavioural science at the Lo...

Britain's Huawei gamble
The UK's decision to give the Chinese telecoms equipment maker partial access to its 5G network risks trade retaliation from the US. But a decision to exclude Huawei altogether might have risked infuriating China. Ed Butler looks at the actual technical hurdles to making 5G broadband networks secure from foreign snooping with the help of BBC technology reporter Zoe Kleinman, and analyst Emily Taylor of Oxford Information Labs. Plus Norbert Ruttgen, chairman of the German parliamentary committee for forei...

Chinese forced labour: The brands
Are Western brands doing enough to keep forced labour out of their supply chains? Ed Butler speaks to researcher Darren Byler at the University of Colorado, who says tracing products from slave labour institutions in China's Xinjiang province to the west is not easy. Alan McClay from the Better Cotton Initiative explains what they do to monitor slave labour. Kate Larsen, a private consultant specialising in supply chain problems, says Western firms are only slowly understanding the scale of the problems the...


Forced labour in China
We hear from the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, where perhaps 1.5 million Uighur Muslims are believed to be held in what Chinese authorities call 're-education' camps, and where we hear testimony of forced labour in factories. Vice News journalist Isobel Yeung tell us what she saw on a recent visit to the province. Darren Byler, a social anthropologist affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder, tell us about the extent of the forced labour operation there. (Photo: A watchtower on a high-...

What next for Africa's richest woman?
Isabel dos Santos faces charges in her native Angola. The daughter of the former long-time president is accused of corruption after a leak of documents. Ed Cropley, former Reuters sub-Saharan Africa bureau chief, discusses what could happen next. Mark Hays from the campaign group Global Witness explains why the role of international banks and accountants in the scandal shouldn't be a surprise. Tom Keatinge from the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank, argues that countries like the UK have made so...

The products used again and again and again...
Why don't more manufacturers embrace the principles of the circular economy? It's a pertinent question, given the dire state of the recycling industry. Manuela Saragosa speaks to one company that has already implemented the principles of the circular economy. Cardboard box manufacturer DS Smith tracks its products throughout their life, and can reuse the fibres they contain up to 25 times, according to the firm's sustainability lead, Sam Jones. So why don't more manufacturers do the same? Manuela speaks t...


Mapping paradise
Katie Prescott revisits the efforts of the Zanzibar government to chart its territory by flying drones across the African spice island. A year ago she met planning minister Mohammed Juma, the brains behind this ambitious project that aims to clarify land property rights, provide information to local residents about the location of services and amenities, and help the government plan everything from flood management to urban redevelopment. Katie catches up with Edward Anderson of the World Bank, who headed...

Cities at a standstill
How strikes and protests affect the economies of major cities. Will Bain visits Paris to see how strikes on the transport network are affecting local businesses, while Ed Butler speaks to author and former Hong Kong civil servant Rachel Cartland about the economic impact of anti-China protests in the region. (Photo: Protests against the policies of French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris in January, Credit: Getty Images)...

Being watched at work
The monitoring of employees in the workplace is becoming commonplace. Ed Butler speaks to Sean Petterson, boss of StrongArm Technologies, a company that monitors construction and warehouse workers to reduce workplace accidents. Griff Ferris from the anti-surveillance campaign group Big Brother Watch explains why workplace monitoring could be imposed without employees' consent. Brian Kropp from the advisory firm Gartner questions the value of all the data being generated by monitoring technology. (Photo cre...


Insomnia and the smartphone
Modern tech is accused of interfering with our sleep, keeping us up late anxiously staring at our phone screens. But could a phone app provide the cure? Roughly one in three people in most developed countries typically tell surveys that the suffer from insomnia. The BBC's Laurence Knight is one of them. He seeks the advice of sleep physician Dr Guy Leschziner of Guy's Hospital in London, who explains how sleep and anxiety can become a vicious circle. The good news is that there is a new non-drug treatment...

Microworkers teaching robots
How the rise of 'microwork' is helping develop artificial intelligence. Ed Butler speaks to New York Times reporter Andy Newman about his experience on Mechanical Turk - the Amazon-owned platform that offers tiny jobs for tiny wages. Microworker Michelle Munoz explains how she makes a good living from online microwork in Venezuela. Ronald Schmelzer, analyst at Cognilytica, an AI market research firm, explains why data-labelling tasks common on microworking sites play a central role in developing artificial ...

Where has all the good soil gone?
Soil degradation is reducing crop yields and adding to climate change. It's a big headache not just for farmers, but for all of us. But fear not, as Ed Butler heads to a wheat field in eastern England where farmer Simon Cowell thinks he has a simple, counter-intuitive solution to the problem: Cut back on fertilisers and pesticides, and plough less. He claims it restored his land in two years. But if it's this simple, why isn't everyone doing it? And what happens if we don't do anything? How quickly will ...


The power-hungry internet
Why our growing use of technology is a threat to the planet. Ed Butler speaks to Ian Bitterlin, a visiting professor at the University of Leeds in the UK and an expert in the data centres that underpin the internet and use vast amounts of energy. Ruiqi Ye, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace in Beijing, explains why data centres are adding to the climate change problem. Halvor Bjerke from Norway's DigiPlex, the Nordic region’s leading data centre supplier, tells us why putting more data centres i...

The next big thing
How easy is it to predict where tech will take us in the next decade, and have we hit a plateau in the pace of innovation? Manuela Saragosa speaks to author and artist Douglas Coupland, who retells how a mind-bending run-in with a Google research team left him convinced that the next huge development hurtling towards us like a meteor is what he calls "talking with yourself". Science fiction predictions of the future are notoriously wayward - where are the hoverboards and ubiquitous fax machines promised b...

Brand Meghan and Harry
Royal brands and the value of the monarchy. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the BBC's royal correspondent Jonny Dymond about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to move away from the royal family. David Haigh from the consultancy Brand Finance outlines the value of the British monarchy to the economy and discusses what Harry and Meghan might do next. Mauro Guillen, professor of international management at the Wharton School in the US, discusses the economic impacts of monarchies around the world. (Photo: ...


OK Boomer...
Are millennials being given a financial raw deal by their parents' generation? And who do the Baby Boomers expect to pay for their retirement? Manuela Saragosa looks at the intergenerational contract - the promise that the younger generation will see an improvement in their living standards, in return for which they will care for the older generation in their old age. But is the contract broken? Many of those born in the developed world in the 1980s and 1990s face inflated housing costs and student fees, ...

North Korea: Suffering under sanctions?
How does North Korea raise foreign currency, and are the toughest economic sanctions in the world actually having any effect? Ed Butler looks at one of the country's major sources of income - migrant workers. According to Artyom Lukin, professor of international relations at Russia's Far Eastern Federal University, the workers who used to frequent his hometown of Vladivostok have been shooed away by the Russian authorities. But analyst Lee Sang Hyun of South Korea's Sejong Institute is sceptical that the ...

Uber and Lyft vs California
A battle is looming over the future of the gig economy. A law classifying Uber and Lyft drivers as employees came into force in California on 1 January, but the ridesharing giants say their drivers are independent contractors, and proposed their own laws. Ed Butler speaks to Edan Alva, a Lyft driver in San Francisco and a member of the advocacy group Gig Workers Rising, and to Stacey Wells, spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect App-Based Drivers & Services – the group sponsored by Uber and Lyft to push ...


The US and China in 2020
How the battle of the superpowers might unfold this year. Ed Butler speaks to Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group, Linda Yueh, economist and author of The Great Economists, and Ngaire Woods, professor of global economic governance at the University of Oxford, and founding chair of the Blavatnik School of Government. (Photo: Chess pieces representing the US and China. Credit: Getty Images)...

LA's housing crisis
Regan Morris looks at the housing crisis in LA where around 60,000 rough sleepers bed down each night. In a city of sky high rents and scarce availability, are dormitories the answer for young professionals struggling to rent or buy a place of their own? We take a tour of the city's 'pod' accommodation which houses multiple men and women in one room for $50 a night. We also look at zoning - a controversial policy which designates specific areas on the sidewalk for rough sleepers and would cut down the space...

The workplace re-imagined
As a new decade dawns, Elizabeth Hotson asks if workplace design needs to be rethought to make work a more positive experience. We visit London-based customer finding company, MVF, which allows employees to bring their dogs into the office. The canine theme is continued at Sanity Marketing, where a Chihuahua called Lola calls the shots in the morning meeting. We try out the giant slide in the office of cloud computing company, Rackspace and visit The Wing which provides a work space for a mostly female memb...


Rights of nature
In July 2019 Bangladesh took the unusual step of granting all its rivers “legal personhood”. It was the result of a long fight by environmental campaigners, alarmed by the damage done to the country’s vital river system by pollution and the effects of climate change. But does passing a law recognising that nature has rights, just as humans do, automatically guarantee its protection? According to its supporters, the movement for the Rights of Nature is an expanding area of law, but are those laws anything ...

Phosphates and the disputed corner of north-west Africa
Phosphate mining is crucial to global food production, given that phosphorus is an essential ingredient in commercial fertilisers. By far, the largest reserves of the world’s phosphates are in Morocco. And while Morocco is the third-largest miner of phosphates, a small percentage of its production comes from the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Morocco considers the territory as part of its country, something the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Polisario Front vehemently disagree with. Matt D...

Reinventing capitalism
Can corporations be repurposed to prioritise society and the environment over profit? Ed Butler discusses the question with BBC Business Editor Simon Jack, who says he sees signs of real change. With a climate emergency upon us, many people in business and finance appear to be having a genuine change of heart about economist Milton Friedman's famous maxim that the corporation's sole purpose should be to maximise shareholder value. Perhaps corporations have other responsibilities too? Among the capitalist...


Are friends electric?
When will artificial intelligence be capable of providing intelligent conversation? Jane Wakefield looks at two AI systems that still fall well short in the so-called Turing Test of passing themselves off as human. Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa may be capable of ordering your groceries or even cracking a joke, but shockingly she has never heard of Business Daily. Despite this clear evidence of limited intelligence, head scientist Rohit Prasad insists that his baby has smarts. Meanwhile a more glamorou...

Hack my brain
Facebook and Elon Musk are among those interested in the potential use of brain probes to read minds and enhance human capabilities. Jane Wakefield looks at the technology of inserting electronic implants into the brain, and the ethical implications. Dr Ali Rezai of the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute uses the probes to treat people with conditions such as epilepsy and drug addiction, but fears where commercialisation of the technology could lead. Jane also speaks to bioethicist Dr Sarah Chan of the UK...

Will flying taxis ever take off?
Will giant drones one day ferry us all through the heavens all on our way to and from work? Jane Wakefield speaks to two German companies who are working on that vision. Daniel Wiegand, co-founder of Lilium, says his company's sleek battery-powered creation can neither be seen nor heard as it whizzes through the air - which apparently is a good thing. Meanwhile Alexander Zosel, founder of rival Volocopter, assures Jane that commuters will be perfectly safe as they are raised aloft in his pilotless aircraf...


Smart cities: Big Data's watching you
City streets are becoming a valuable source of big data, so should we care who is gathering it and how it is being used? In Shenzhen in China, the authorities are using video footage and facial recognition technology to reward or punish citizens' good or bad behaviour - such as littering or running red lights - via "social credit" systems. Meanwhile in the Canadian city of Toronto, a new waterfront redevelopment is introducing similar sensors and smart tech from Google subsidiary Sidewalk Labs. But does ...

Smart cities: How Barcelona learned to listen
Smart sensors can improve citizens' lives, especially when residents are put in charge of gathering the data. Jane Wakefield reports from the Placa del Sol in Barcelona, where Guillem Camprodon of the city's Fab Lab explains how his initiative of placing noise detectors around the square helped residents finally get the city council to take the problem of night-time disturbances seriously. Michael Donaldson, the city's commissioner for digital innovation argues that public authorities ought to be able to ...

How 24/7 life is rewiring our brains
A group of artists look at how our modern hyper-connected always-on lifestyles are affecting our behaviour and interfering with our sleep. Their work has been brought together in an exhibition at London's Somerset House, called 24/7: A Wake-Up Call for our Non-Stop World. Manuela Saragosa takes a tour with director and co-curator Jonathan Reekie. Plus the Canadian artist and author Douglas Coupland tells Manuela how he religiously guards his sleep hours in the name of creativity, and how he remembers the ...


Our digital afterlife
What happens to your online presence when you die, and who owns your data? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Carl Ohman, a researcher in the digital afterlife from the Oxford Internet Institute, and Dr Elaine Kasket, a counselling psychologist and author of All The Ghosts In The Machine: Illusions of Immortality in the Digital Age. (Picture: Cloud in the form of a mouse cursor arrow; Credit: cinek20/Getty Images)...

Have you paid your taxes?
Tax evasion is rife in many parts of the world, but might that be partly because we are we taxing the wrong things? Ed Butler looks at two countries overwhelmed by the problem. Bolivia has the proportionately largest tax-avoiding black economy in the world (at least of countries that gather statistics on these things). Katy Watson reports from a hilltop flea market where paying tax is simply considered bad for business. Meanwhile Greek economist Nicholas Economides discusses his country's clampdown on the...

When women aren't counted
Gender bias in data collection. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Caroline Criado Perez, author of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, winner of the Financial Times business book of the year. Why are there no female crash test dummies? We ask Lotta Jakobsson from the Volvo Cars Safety Centre in Gottenburg in Sweden. And The BBC's Stephanie Hegarty on efforts to steps to make the city of Barcelona more women-friendly. (Photo: Crash test dummy heads on display, Credit: Getty Images)...


Brexit: What happens next?
Three experts on the next steps for Boris Johnson, Britain and the EU, after a big win for the sitting British prime minister in national elections. Ed Butler speaks to Jill Rutter from the research group UK in a Changing Europe, Sir Andrew Cahn, former head of UK Trade & Investment - a UK government department, and Rebecca Christie, visiting fellow at the Bruegel Institute in Brussels. (Photo: Boris Johnson after his election victory, Credit: Getty Images)...

The death of expertise
Why do so many people think they know best? And are they putting dolts in charge of government? Ed Butler speaks to Professor Tom Nichols of the US Naval War College, himself an expert on national security, who wrote a book about why everyone from surgeons to electricians to academics find themselves under attack from novices and ignoramuses who think their opinions should have equal weight. We also hear from Michael Lewis, whose new book The Fifth Risk examines the extent to which President Trump has neg...

Old city v new city
Should we protect historic neighbourhoods from redevelopment when new homes are desperately needed? Manuela Saragosa looks at two cities at opposite ends of the spectrum. Historian Qin Shao tells of the destruction of her home city of Shanghai over the last 30 years, as entire districts have been demolished to make way for sparkling new high rise buildings. Meanwhile Laura Foote of the campaigning group Yimby Action explains why young residents of San Francisco like her are demanding the construction of ma...


Surviving the surveillance state
Facial recognition tech is spreading everywhere, but it can still be fooled with a bit of face paint. So should we be worried? Ed Butler speaks to Professor Alan Woodward, professor of computer science at the University of Surrey, and James Stickland, chief executive of facial recognition tech developer Veridium. Meanwhile the BBC's China media analyst Kerry Allen tells the grim story of a man who tried to use a dead girl's face to get a bank loan. Plus Ed's face is transformed into a Mondrian painting by...

Delivering in the gig economy
How online shopping is fuelling insecure work for delivery drivers. British film director Ken Loach talks about his new film Sorry We Missed You, looking at the impact of insecure work on family life. The BBC's Edwin Lane rides along with a gig economy worker delivering Amazon parcels. And analyst Andrew Lipsman from eMarketer explains how Amazon Prime is driving demand for faster delivery times. (Photo: Amazon-branded delivery vans seen in May 2019, Credit: Getty Images)...

US drug companies and the NHS
Is Britain's health service really up for sale? Ahead of a general election in the UK, Ed Butler looks at why the NHS probably gets a good deal on drug prices compared with other countries, and why US drug companies might want the health service on the table in any post-Brexit trade deal between the US and the UK. We hear from the BBC's health editor Hugh Pym, US pharmaceutical industry analyst Nielsen Hobbs and Professor Allyson Pollock, director of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle Universi...


A machine to break down all language barriers
The BBC's Kizzy Cox in New York tries out the developers at tech firm Waverly Labs say can translate between any of 20 spoken languages in just a couple of seconds. Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley describes what happened when one Chilean company switched from Spanish to English overnight. And Melanie Butler, editor of the English Language Gazette, explains why there's a global shortage of English teachers. Producer: Laurence Knight (Photo: Hello in different languages, Credit: Getty Images...

How 'cheap' English is conquering the world
English language proficiency has become a basic skill worldwide, and kids are picking it up in some surprising places. Manuela Saragosa - herself trilingual - asks Melanie Butler, long-time editor of the English Language Gazette, how English has become the unavoidable common currency of global communications. Meanwhile linguistic sociologist Jan Blommaert of the University of Tilburg says a new generation is growing up into a vast plethora of global English-speaking communities, from academic conferences t...

Taking football global
The pitfalls when soccer tries to break into the US and Asian markets - and when American football tries to break into Europe. Ed Butler looks at the plan by Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, to take the top-flight Spanish football league international. It includes an as yet unsuccessful attempt to stage a regular football fixture in the USA. Dan Jones, head of the sports business group at Deloitte, says Tebas is correct to see great opportunities, but Spanish sports journalist Alvaro Romeo explains why ...


Hidden art
Why the owners of movies and artworks don't want you to see them. Tamasin Ford explains why Disney is removing a catalogue of movies from the cinema circuit following its deal to buy 21st Century Fox, and why artwork is being hidden in tax-free warehouses around the world instead of being displayed in galleries. Producer: Frey Lindsay. (Photo: An illustration of Mickey Mouse at the Disney store in New York, Credit: Getty Images)...

China moves from imitator to innovator
Chinese tech giants are gaining further ground in innovation, with development in e-commerce, social media and more, even outstripping the west. Rebecca Fannin, author of Tech Titans of China, explains the rapid growth and how it’s changing domestic consumption. But amid concerns of Chinese state intervention and difficulties in translating domestic apps for a global market, can Chinese tech companies truly enter the world stage? William Bao Bean of Chinaccelerator explains how AI can help tech firms adapt ...

China moves from imitator to innovator
Chinese tech giants are gaining further ground in innovation, with development in e-commerce, social media and more, even outstripping the west. Rebecca Fannin, author of Tech Titans of China, explains the rapid growth and how it’s changing domestic consumption. But amid concerns of Chinese state intervention and difficulties in translating domestic apps for a global market, can Chinese tech companies truly enter the world stage? William Bao Bean of Chinaccelerator explains how AI can help tech firms adapt ...


Meetings, meetings everywhere...
It's not unusual for office workers to complain about the number of meetings they have to attend, but are they a distraction from real work, as some claim? And why are we having more meetings than ever? It's a question researchers at the University of Malmo in Sweden tried to answer. Patrik Hall, the university's professor of political science, tells us it has to do with the growing number of large organisations. The BBC's former Indonesia correspondent Rebecca Henschke tells us about meeting culture in t...

The sea they plan to cover in turbines
Offshore wind power is about to hit the big time in northern Europe, yet 20 years ago many saw the plan to build such complex engineering in the middle of the sea as madness. Laurence Knight investigates how the North Sea - once famous for its oil and gas industry - has now become the global centre for a carbon-free energy industry. Wind enthusiast Dr Robert Gross of Imperial College London talks about the colossal scale of modern turbines. Mud enthusiast Dr Carol Cotterill of the British Geographical Sur...

How to change your career
Ever thought about changing your career? With people living longer and job security decreasing, sticking with the same career for the whole of your working life is becoming a thing of the past. Edwin Lane speaks to John McAvoy, an armed robber turned record breaking rower, about his career in crime, and when he realised it was time for a change. And Business Daily regular Lucy Kellaway talks about her decision to give up her career in journalism and become a teacher, while labour market economist John Phil...


What happened to austerity?
As the UK approaches a general election, both major parties have been promising billions of extra pounds to go into hospitals, social care and other public benefits. All this spells an apparent end to ten years of a policy of limited government spending, also known as austerity. The BBC’s Andy Verity explains austerity and what it was meant to do. But why has it ended now? Economists Vicky Pryce and Ryan Bourne debate the relative merit of austerity, whether it succeeded, or indeed whether it was a good ide...

Cryptocurrency's new frontier
Cryptocurrency mining is booming across parts of the former Soviet Union, with a number of regions expending gigawatts of power on mining operations. Ed Butler visits a facility in Georgia run by a firm called BitFury. We’ll also hear why the breakaway Russian-speaking regions of Abkhazia and Transnistria are getting into ‘bitmining’ and what concerns that is raising for environment and corruption investigators. (Photo: A cryptocurrency mining centre in Kirishi, Russia, on August 20, 2018. Credit: Olga Mal...

Why Americans are loving trade unions again
Trade unions in the United States have seen a historic decline since their heyday in the mid-20th Century. But in many sectors labour organisation is making a come-back, particularly in new media and gig economy jobs. Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America East explains how they have helped a number of digital websites unionise, and Tyler Sandness, a Lyft driver and unionist in Los Angeles, explains the challenges facing gig workers. We also hear from Janice Fine, assistant prof...


Mental health in Africa
One of the continent's most neglected issues is finally getting some attention. Africa is affected by mental illness just like everywhere else, but with the added challenges associated with past civil wars and poverty, and a rapidly growing and urbanising population. Yet just 1% of government health budgets have typically been spent funding mental health services. Manuela Saragosa reports from the Mental Health in Africa Innovation and Investment conference, where policymakers, investors and practitioners ...

The fight over the Parthenon Marbles
Greece hopes to regain the ancient sculptures from the British Museum, which were taken from Athens two centuries ago by the Earl of Elgin. Tamasin Ford is given a personal tour of the marbles by the museum. But Dr Elena Korka of the Greek Ministry of Culture expresses the outrage felt by her country at the loss of these national treasures, including statues that were physically dismembered in order for sections to be carted away. Both sides assert a legal right to the marbles, although the matter has ye...

Africa's tech hub explosion
What impact has it had on the continent's tech startup scene? Tamasin Ford speaks to Bosun Tijani, founder of the CcHub in Lagos, about why tech hubs have been so important in driving innovation in recent years, and Ghanaian entrepreneur Charles Ofori Antipem who discusses what tech hubs can do better. The BBC's Massa Kanneh reports from Liberia on the challenges affecting tech hubs in Africa's less developed countries. (Photo: An IT professional in a server room, Credit: Getty Images)...


The scramble for Nollywood
The international companies investing in Nigerian cinema. France's Canal+ and streaming giant Netflix are among those who see potential for Nollywood, both inside and outside Africa. Are they right? Presented by Tamasin Ford. (Photo: Nollywood film DVDs on sale in Lagos, Nigeria, Credit: Getty Images)...

Live long and prosper?
The longevity industry aims to let everyone enjoy a healthy, active life well past the age of 100. But the question everyone will be asking is... will it happen in my lifetime? Manuela Saragosa reports from the Longevity Forum conference in London, where hundreds of researchers, investors, entrepreneurs and policymakers have gathered to try and answer this question. Among them, she speaks to billionaire investor Jim Mellon; London Business School economist Andrew Scott; the youthful venture capitalist Lau...

Quantum computers: What are they good for?
Google claims to have achieved a major breakthrough with "quantum supremacy". But what could quantum computers actually do, and how soon will they be useful? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Harvard quantum computing researcher Prineha Narang, who says that the devices she is working on are annoyingly "noisy", but could still make an important contribution to tackling climate change in the next few years. There are fears that quantum computers could one day crack modern encryption techniques - rendering privat...


The ethics of AI
One of the world's top thinkers on artificial intelligence, tells us why we should be cautious but not terrified at the prospect of computers that can outsmart us. Professor Stuart Russell of the University of California, Berkeley, tells Ed Butler where he thinks we are going wrong in setting objectives for existing artificial intelligence systems, and the risk of unintended consequences. Plus IBM fellow and computer engineer John Cohn talks about blockchain, deep neural networks and symbolic reasoning. ...

The Ethics of AI
One of the world's top thinkers on artificial intelligence, tells us why we should be cautious but not terrified at the prospect of computers that can outsmart us. Professor Stuart Russell of the University of California, Berkeley, tells Ed Butler where he thinks we are going wrong in setting objectives for existing artificial intelligence systems, and the risk of unintended consequences. Plus IBM fellow and computer engineer John Cohn talks about blockchain, deep neural networks and symbolic reasoning. ...

The billionaires who want to pay more tax
Liesel Pritzker Simmons and her husband Ian Simmons are billionaires who come from successful US business families. Liesel's family is best known for founding Hyatt hotels. Both say the the US government should be collecting more tax from super-rich people like them. We asked them why. And Dr Ted Klontz, associate professor of practice and financial psychology at Creighton University in the US, explains the psychology of a billionaire. (Photo: A gold Ferrari parked outside an expensive boutique in London, ...


Who wants to be a billionaire?
Should the richest be taxed out of existence? Manuela Saragosa hears from Emmanuel Saez, a US-based French economist advising US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren on a wealth tax targeting the super rich. The arguments against taxing billinaires more come from Chris Edwards, an economist at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington DC. (Photo: Bill Gates and Warren Buffet at an event in 2017, Credit: Getty Images)...

Who wants to be a billionaire?
Should the richest be taxed out of existence? Manuela Saragosa hears from Emmanuel Saez, a US-based French economist advising US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren on a wealth tax targeting the super rich. The arguments against taxing billinaires more come from Chris Edwards, an economist at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington DC. (Photo: Bill Gates and Warren Buffet at an event in 2017, Credit: Getty Images)...

Fake me an influencer
The murky world of fake Instagram followers, fake comments, fake likes. Edwin Lane turns to the dark side in his quest for more followers for his Instagram account, with help from Belgian artist Dries Depoorter. Evan Asano from the influencer marketing company Mediakix describes how a mass following of bots almost landed him a marketing deal, and Andrew Hogue, founder of a company called Authentique, explain how artificial intelligence is being used to spot fake influencers. (Photo: Instagram logo. Credit:...


Make me an influencer
How hard is it to make money on Instagram? Ed Butler hears from successful influencer Laura Strange, who makes a living from her Gluten-free food themed profile, and the BBC's Edwin Lane tries to become an influencer himself, with advice from Harry Hugo co-founder of the influencer marketing agency Goat, and Marie Mostad, influencer expert at the platform Inzpire.me. (Photo: Instagram logo displayed on a laptop. Credit: Getty Images)...

The Cambridge Analytica whistleblower
Brittany Kaiser was one of the whistleblowers who brought down her former employer, Cambridge Analytica. She helped to expose how the data analysis firm had collaborated with Facebook to profile millions of voters around the world, in order to target them with tailor-made propaganda. In an extended interview, she tells the BBC's Jane Wakefield how our data is still open to abuse by those seeking to undermine democracy by manipulating the way we vote. (Picture: Brittany Kaiser in Washington, DC; Credit: Bi...

The world's youngest Nobel-winning economist
Esther Duflo discusses her work on the economics of poverty, for which she won this year's Nobel prize, along with her husband Abhijit Banerjee and co-author Michael Kremer. The 46-year old French-American MIT economist is the youngest person ever to be awarded the prize, and only the second woman. Ed Butler asks her how she and her collaborators examined how people in poverty respond differently to economic incentives, and her views on how her profession could benefit from being less male-dominated. (Pic...


A hydro-powered Bitcoin boom in Georgia
How hydroelectric dams are powering cryptocurrency mining on the eastern edge of Europe. Ed Butler travels to Georgia to visit the Bitcoin mines benefiting from cheap electricity and tax benefits. (Photo: A hydroelectric dam on the Inguri River in Georgia, Credit: Getty Images)...

Tweaking your face
How social media is fueling the modern cosmetic surgery industry. The BBC's Regan Morris visits a Botox party in Los Angeles and Sarah Treanor investigates a cosmetic surgery industry event in London. Researcher Matt van Dusen from Alliant International University in San Diego discusses what the rise of cosmetic surgery tells us about how our identities are being defined by social media. (Photo: Botox treatment, Credit: Getty Images)...

The cancer scammers
How social media is being used to target cancer patients with fake cures. Tamasin Ford hears from cancer bloggers dealing with a flood of 'snake oil' salespeople. A former naturopathic doctor Britt Marie Hermes gives the inside story. British chemist and Youtuber Miles Power and researcher Corey Basch from Willian Paterson University in New Jersey describe how social media algorithms are facilitating the scams. (Photo: Pills and capsules on a keyboard, Credit: Getty Images)...


The diverse economy of the Lone Star State
Texas is the second-largest state economy in the United States and if it were a country it would be the 11th largest in the world. Although it produces more oil than any other state in the US, Texas is rapidly becoming known for renewable energy and a vibrant tech sector. Professor John Doggett at the University of Texas at Austin explains just what Texas is doing right. At the same time, the state retains a lot of its tradition, as Elizabeth Hotson finds out at the Texas State Fair. And Sarah Carabias-Rush...

The diverse economy of the Lone Star State
Texas is the second-largest state economy in the United States and if it were a country it would be the 11th largest in the world. Although it produces more oil than any other state in the US, Texas is rapidly becoming known for renewable energy and a vibrant tech sector. Professor John Doggett at the University of Texas at Austin explains just what Texas is doing right. At the same time, the state retains a lot of its tradition, as Elizabeth Hotson finds out at the Texas State Fair. And Sarah Carabias-Rush...

Can airlines pivot fully to biofuels?
As pressure grows on airlines to reduce their climate change impact, and “flight shame” grows among people concerned about their own impact, ever more research is being put into alternative, “cleaner” sources of fuel. Katie Prescott travels to Oslo to see new projects to bring more so-called biofuels into the system. Air BP’s commercial development manager, Tom Parsons, explains the difficulties in implementing and costing biofuels, while Dr Andrew Welfle at the University of Manchester describes the potent...


Goodbye Super Mario
This week marks a changing of the guard at the European Central Bank, one of the world’s most important financial institutions. The bank, under the stewardship of outgoing president Mario Draghi, was instrumental in averting a collapse of the Euro earlier in the decade, as the BBC’s Andrew Walker recounts. Now, with former IMF Chairman Christine Lagarde on her way in, veteran bond buyer Mohamed El-Erian says there will still be an uphill battle to keep the currency stable. One issue in particular, as Jana R...

A meatless future?
The food we'll be eating in the future may look the same, it may even taste the same, but it may well have been grown in a lab. In today's programme we're talking volcanic fungi, eggless scrambled eggs and meat that doesn't come from an animal. But will it all get past regulators and fussy eaters? Manuela Saragosa and Regan Morris investigate the California companies involved in the race to replace the meat we eat. (Photo: Non-meat burgers from Beyond Meat, Credit: Getty Images)...

Industry awards - worth the effort?
Does coming second in a prestigious professional competition still boost the bottom line? Is it worth the time, money and emotional investment? Manuela Saragosa visits Pied-a-Terre, a one-star Michelin restaurant, and speaks to its owner David Moore about what it would mean to him and his staff if they could regain a second star. Plus Sam Jordison of the small independent publishing house Galley Beggar Press tells of the joy, sales lift and resulting logistical nightmare of printing more books that they ...


What is the Green New Deal?
The radical plan to transform the economy and tackle climate change has taken off in Washington DC, with the backing of the left-wing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, as well as most of the Democratic candidates for the US presidency. But what is the plan? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Saya Ameli Hajebi, a 17-year-old spokesperson for the Sunrise Movement of young people lobbying for action, as well as to one of the plan's original authors, British economist Ann Pettifor. And Ms Pettifor isn't the onl...

Bringing Uber back to Earth
Investors are losing faith in Uber's promise of rapid growth and market disruption, and are demanding to see actual profits. Oracle's founder Larry Ellison has gone as far as to describe the transport app company as "almost worthless". Manuela Saragosa speaks to Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, who says the company's problem is that it is a great brand and great app that have been built upon a fundamentally unprofitable market - ride hailing. Meanwhile Patricia Nakach...

The business case for sleep
The demands of the working day and our 24-hour economy mean many of us don't get the recommended seven to eight hours sleep a night. Experts say all that sleep deprivation comes at an economic cost. Manuela Saragosa looks at the business case for sleep. Contributors: Danielle Marchant, Executive Coach. Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science. (Picture: Tired young businessman sleepin...


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. Producer: Laurence Knight (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. Producer: Laurence Knight (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...