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Analysis

Analysis

Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics.

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Can we ever really tackle rising public spending?

Last week, the government unveiled around £30bn worth of cuts to public services as it attempts to plug a fiscal hole. Governments have attempted to rein in spending in the past and struggled to do so. Philip Coggan takes a look at why public spending tends to rise in the long run and the continuing political battle to contain it. Guests: David Gauke, former Conservative MP and Treasury minister from 2010 to 2017 Carys Roberts, Executive Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research Jagjit Chadha, Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research Jill Rutter, Senior Fellow of the Institute for Government Producer: Ben Carter Production co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross and Maria Ogundele Sound engineer: James Beard Editor: Clare Fordham
2022-11-21
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Why do we assume women care?

In spite of progress on men's involvement in childcare the statistics show that women are still doing far more caring of young children. That is extended throughout life to the caring of ill and elderly relatives. And 82 per cent of people working in social care jobs are women. Professor of Sociology at Oxford Brookes University Tina Miller asks to what extent women are still trapped by society and its structures, such as who gets paid parental leave, into caring roles and whether we simply assume that women will care? But as she finds out, in much later life the roles can be reversed. She asks what needs to change in order for men to take on more caring responsibility earlier on. Producer Caroline Bayley Editor Clare Fordham Sound Engineer: Neva Missirian Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross
2022-11-14
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Economic Growth - can we ever have enough?

As the twin storms of economic turmoil and worsening climate change grip the UK and many other countries around the world, Analysis examines the future of economic growth. Does it offer a route out of economic malaise, or have its benefits reached a ceiling for developed countries? And can further growth be environmentally justified, or do we urgently need to halt - or even reverse - growth to limit the effects of climate change? Can so-called ?degrowth? ever be possible? Edward Stourton talks to economists and thinkers from around the world to appraise whether there?s still a central role for growth in the 21st century. Presenter: Edward Stourton Producer: Nathan Gower Editor: Clare Fordham Programme Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross Sound Engineer: Neva Missirian
2022-11-07
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Is 'Political Blackness' gone for good?

Over the decades, a string of umbrella terms and acronyms have been used in the UK to describe people who aren?t white. ?Politically Black?, Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME), ethnic minorities, or people of colour. Virtually all of them have been rejected by the people they describe, but is there still value in a collective term for Britain?s ethnic minorities? Mobeen Azhar hears stories of solidarity and schism between different groups in modern Britain to find out whether any sense of unity still exists and whether we need a new label. Contributors: Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South Asad Rehman, Executive Director, War on Want Professor Jason Arday, Professor of Sociology of Education, University of Glasgow Ada Akpala, writer and podcaster Dr Rakib Ehsan, research analyst specialising in social integration and community relations Dr Lisa Palmer, Deputy Director of the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, De Montfort University Sunder Katwala, Director, British Future Presenter: Mobeen Azhar Producer: Dan Hardoon Editor: Clare Fordham Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross
2022-10-31
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Can Effective Altruism really change the world?

If you want to do good in the world, should you be a doctor, or an aid worker? Or should you make a billion or two any way you can, and give it to good causes? Billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried argues this is the best use of his vast wealth. But philosophers argue charitable giving is often driven not by logic, but by a sense of personal attachment. David Edmonds traces the latest developments in the effective altruism movement, examining the questions they pose, and looking at the successes and limitations.
2022-10-24
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How Xi Jinping did it

Just over a decade ago, President Xi Jinping was a virtual unknown. Few would say that now. In ten years, he?s reworked the Chinese Communist party, the military and the government so that he?s firmly in control. He?s also vanquished all of his obvious rivals. And now, he?s about to extend his time in office. Some say Xi might stay in the top job indefinitely. So how did Xi Jinping do it? Celia Hatton, the BBC?s Asia Pacific Editor, speaks to fellow China watchers to find out. Producer: Rob Walker Editor: Clare Fordham Researcher: Ben Cooper Studio Manager: James Beard Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross With special thanks to Kerry Allen. (Photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the art performance celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China in 2021. Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
2022-10-17
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Is ethical surrogacy possible?

Does becoming a surrogate mother exploit or empower a woman? UK surrogacy law is under review, and there's a renewed debate around how it should be regulated. The war in Ukraine highlighted this, as the spotlight shone on the surrogate mothers, the babies they'd given birth to, and the overseas parents struggling to collect the newborns. In the UK the numbers of children born through surrogacy are still relatively small but they're expected to rise, not just because of medical infertility but also as more gay male couples and single men look to have their own biological children. For some surrogacy is extremely contentious, for others it's life changing. Sonia Sodha asks whether surrogacy is the ultimate commercialisation of a woman's body or whether it's the greatest gift a woman can give. Producer Caroline Bayley Editor Clare Fordham Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross
2022-10-10
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What's the point of street protest?

Is a protest march worth your effort? About a million people attended the Stop the War street protest in 2003. About half a million had marched to protest against the fox hunting ban a year earlier. More recently, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against the decision to leave the EU. Nonetheless, the Iraq war happened, the hunting ban remains and Britain did leave the EU. James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford, finds out if street protests achieve anything, why people take part and what effect they have on politicians and voters. Produced by Bob Howard
2022-10-03
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Addiction in the age of the metaverse

Are we past the point of no return when it comes to our obsession with online technology? Elaine Moore considers her own tech use and explores our future in the metaverse. According to a YouGov poll, the majority of Brits can?t get through dinner without checking their phone. Children and young adults can now be treated on the NHS for ?gaming and internet addiction?. So, with the arrival of the metaverse, which promises to seamlessly blend our real and virtual worlds, are we facing a future which could potentially turbocharge this issue? Elaine asks if addiction to technology is real, and as it becomes more entwined in our everyday lives, what?s being done about it? Speaking to addiction specialists, tech experts, and others, she finds out how we can live more harmoniously with technology and develop healthier relationships with our screens. With contributions from: James Ball, author of 'The System: Who Owns the Internet, and How it Owns Us'. Anna Lembke, Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine and author of 'Dopamine Nation'. Dr Rebecca Lockwood from the National Center for Gaming Disorder. Catherine Price, science journalist and founder of ScreenLifeBalance.com. Professor of AI and Spatial Computing, David Reid. Producer: Craig Templeton Smith
2022-07-25
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Is the UK the new sick man of Europe?

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the United Kingdom was sometimes characterised as the 'sickman of Europe' due to industrial strife and poor economic performance compared to other European countries. Today, inflation is once again rising and growth is forecast to slow considerably and economists predict that the UK could suffer a greater hit to living standards next year than any other major European country. BBC economics correspondent Dharshini David asks just how hard the times ahead will be and how might we find a cure to avoid the mantle of 'sick man of Europe' once more? Producer: Caroline Bayley Editor: Richard Fenton - Smith Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross
2022-07-18
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What is childcare for?

Is formal childcare for pre-school children there to provide an early years education? Or to allow parents to go out to work? Politicians would say both, but many argue the UK?s system is failing to do either. Charlotte McDonald explores what improvements could be made and ask ? do we want a big overhaul of our current system?
2022-07-11
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Beyond the cost of living crisis

The Bank of England says inflation might reach 11 per cent this year. There are warnings that some people will have to choose between heating and eating. But what does it mean for the whole economy when prices just keep rising? In the 1970s inflation in the UK led to prices and wages spiralling as workers fought for wages that would keep up with prices. Those years were dominated by waves of strikes and social unrest as inflation became embedded in the economic system. The current situation is being exacerbated by Covid 19, the war in Ukraine and Brexit so is there anything that government can do to stop it? How bad could it get? And are the days of low inflation gone forever? Reporter Philip Coggan talks to: Manoj Pradhan consultant at Talking Macroeconomics Andy Haldane, Chief Executive of the RSA and former Chief Economist at the Bank of England Jagjit Chadha: Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium Ruth Gregory, Economist at Capital Economics Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics at Harvard University Producer: Claire Bowes Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production co-ordinators: Helena Warwick-Cross and Maria Ogundele Sound engineer: Neil Churchill
2022-07-04
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Cashing in on the green rush

Some countries have legalised cannabis, often with the hope of kick-starting a lucrative new source of tax revenue - but just how profitable has it been? Aside from a few fact-finding trips, the prospect of legalising cannabis is not on the political agenda here in the UK - but could it be missing out? Advocates say it's a bad call to let criminals continue to profit when legal businesses and the government could reap the financial rewards instead. Opponents counter that no amount of money is worth the associated public health risks. But in the past decade countries including Canada, Malta, Uruguay and parts of the United States have decided to embrace the so-called green rush. But how is it working out for them economically and what lessons could other places considering legalisation learn? Reporter Datshiane Navanayagam talks to: Christopher Snowden, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs Adam Spiker, executive director of a cannabis trade association in California Amanda Chicago Lewis, a US based investigative reporter covering cannabis Laura Schultz, executive director of research at Rockefeller Institute of Government in New York Rishi Malkani, Cannabis Leader at Deloitte Charlotte Bowyer, Head of Advisory at Hanway Associates Producer: Ben Carter Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production co-ordinators: Helena Warwick-Cross and Maria Ogundele Sound engineer: James Beard
2022-06-27
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Germany and Russia: It's Complicated

In late February, three days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made a landmark speech in the German parliament, the Bundestag. The invasion, he declared, represented a 'Zeitenwende' - a turning point. The speech has been much discussed since - was Mr Scholz referring simply to the fact of the invasion, or to the way Germany needed to respond to it? The speech contained a number of policy statements, the boldest of which was the commitment to set up a 100 billion Euro fund to re-equip Germany's outdated armed forces. The question now is whether Germany will live up to Mr Scholz' promises, or will the cultural, political and economic bonds that have tied Germany and Russia together get in the way? Presenter: Caroline Bayley Producer: Tim Mansel
2022-06-20
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The Advertising Trap

Digital advertising fuels the digital economy, but is it all based on smoke and mirrors? Ed Butler investigates what some claim is a massive collective deception - a trillion dollar marketing pitch that simply does not deliver value to any of those paying for it. He asks, do online ads actually work, or could it be that some of the biggest names in global tech are founded on a false prospectus?
2022-06-13
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Can Nationalism be a Force for Good?

Arguments over the value of nationalism seem to have been raging for centuries, even though the nation state as we know it has only become widespread in the last two hundred years. In this programme, David Edmonds tracks the emergence of the nation state and the debate surrounding it. From post-colonial Ghana to contemporary Britain, we hear what nationalism has meant to different people in different contexts, as well as the social and philosophical principles that underlie it. Contributors: Professor Michael Billig, Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences at Loughborough University, Professor Richard Bourke, professor of the history of political thought, University of Cambridge. Elizabeth Ohene, former Minister of State in Ghana. Dr Sandra Obradovic, Lecturer in Psychology, The Open University. Professor Tariq Modood, director of the Bristol University Research Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship. Dr Sarah Fine, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Cambridge Producer: Nathan Gower Studio Manager: James Beard Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Production Co-ordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross
2022-06-06
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From Russia with love

As Russia?s brutal war with Ukraine enters its fourth month, Edward Stourton asks who Russia's allies and friends are and looks at the nation's influence overseas. While President Putin has made no secret of his belief that Ukraine should be part of a ?greater Russia?, what is less apparent is how far Russia?s influence is spreading in other parts of the world. These include sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. With the West having left a vacuum in parts of Africa, President Putin has been able to offer military help in unstable countries such as Mali and the Central African Republic. This follows Russia's intervention in Syria's civil war on the side of Bashar Al-Assad's government, with implications for the wider geopolitics of the region. And in Latin America, Russia is accused of using soft power tactics through its media channels to polarise society and spread anti-US and anti-Western propaganda. Edward Stourton asks to what extent this shows that Russia is trying to rebuild the old Soviet-US spheres of influence of the Cold War. Producer: Caroline Bayley Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith Sound Engineer: James Beard Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick
2022-05-30
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The Court of Putin

In the wake of the greatest crisis to hit Europe since the Second World War, former Moscow correspondent Tim Whewell examines the president, people and processes that led to that momentous decision, and others like it. Radical advisers, tame oligarchs, intelligence agencies scared to tell Putin the truth and the domestic repercussions of NATO?s political moves - Tim brings together the variety of causes that have led to deep dysfunction and the concentration of power in a single man who risks becoming synonymous with the state itself. Interviewees include investigative journalists Catherine Belton and Andrei Soldatov, and former NATO Secretary General George Robertson. Producer: Nathan Gower Sound: Nigel Appleton Production Coordinators: Siobhan Reed and Sophie Hill Editor: Hugh Levinson
2022-03-21
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Can the UK ever be a low tax economy again?

As tax rises hit pay packets next month is this an end to traditional Conservative low tax policy? The UK government has so far defied calls from across the political spectrum to shelve the planned 1.25 per cent increase in National Insurance, despite millions of households grappling with a rising cost of living at a time of great economic uncertainty as war rages in Ukraine. A greater proportion of the nation?s income will go to the taxman than at any point since the 1950s. Yet Brexit was billed by some as the UK?s chance to go it alone and create its own economic model, a ?Singapore on Thames? ? a low tax, light touch economy to attract outside investment. Instead, corporation tax is to increase from 19 percent to 25 per cent by 2023, while a new £12 billion annual levy to fund the NHS and social care comes in from April, initially in the form of higher national insurance payments. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has broken his election manifesto pledge not to raise such taxes to meet, he argues, the cost of supporting the economy through the pandemic. His chancellor hopes this will permit future tax cuts. But with policy priorities such as levelling up and a transition to net zero, and the realities of an ageing population, BBC Economics Correspondent Dharshini David asks whether we're seeing a fundamental shift in traditional Conservative low tax philosophy and whether that's a temporary choice - or an unavoidable permanent reorientation? Guests: Sir John Redwood MP Sir Charlie Bean, professor of economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science Lord Nick Macpherson, former permanent secretary to the Treasury Dame DeAnne Julius, distinguished fellow, Chatham House Dr Jill Rutter, senior fellow, The Institute of Government Producer: Caroline Bayley Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Jacqui Johnson Sound: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Hugh Levinson
2022-03-14
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Ending Violence

Is a world without violence possible? Violence blights the lives of countless individuals each year. The Crime Survey of England and Wales suggests there were 1.2 million incidents of violent crime in the year ending March 2020. Sonia Sodha focuses on one category of violence ? gender-based violence ? and assesses the global progress in tackling this issue. Statistics show that most perpetrators ? and victims ? of violent crime are men. As a result, many violence prevention initiatives have traditionally focused on reducing men?s propensity for violence. But how effective is this gender-based approach? And does it provide any clues for the best way to reduce violence in society as a whole? Presenter: Sonia Sodha Producer: Dan Hardoon Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Jacqui Johnson Sound: James Beard Editor: Hugh Levinson
2022-03-07
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The case for public service reform

Chris Naylor asks if there's a better way to deliver public services. Many of these were designed nearly a century ago to address the challenges of that time; from cradle to grave, offering help and support during times of need - just enough to get you back on your feet. But as we approach the quarter-way mark in the 21st century, our context today is radically different to that of 100 years ago. Dig a little deeper and some of the other assumptions that underpinned Beveridge?s vision of a welfare state no longer hold either: full employment; economic and fiscal growth; the presumption of unpaid domestic care (then done by women) and of affordable housing. Little wonder that services designed to respond to momentary problems in a person or household life can?t cope with the tsunami of demand that comes when those problems last for decades. And if our public services can?t cope with collective demand, the worry is this is contributing to a collapse in the trust we place in our public institutions and therefore in our politics too. As the years go by, as trust declines, so the problems get harder and harder to resolve. So what are we going to do about this? Is there a better way to deliver public services? Chris Naylor, the former Chief Executive of Barking and Dagenham Council assesses the need for public service reform, meeting innovators and talking to those who design and use public services. Is it time for a radical rethink? Producer: Jim Frank Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Jacqui Johnson Editor: Hugh Levinson
2022-02-28
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Planning, Housing and Politics

How can the planning system adapt so we can build new homes without alienating voters? Barrister and author Hashi Mohamed investigates, focussing on the system in England. The government has pledged to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s to ease the country?s housing crisis and increase home ownership. But wide-ranging planning reforms to make it easier to achieve were shelved following the Conservatives? shock defeat in the Chesham and Amersham by-election last year. So is it possible to create a politically acceptable planning system in this country? Deadlock between local communities and big developers is commonplace, with planning policies taking years to realise through a local government system that lacks vital resources and expertise. And what has to change for enough new homes to be built? Hashi Mohamed asks how the planning system, and the way we live and build, needs to adapt. Producer: Caroline Bayley Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Jacqui Johnson Sound: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Hugh Levinson
2022-02-21
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Tackling Inequality

Probing the results of a major study into our unequal society. Faisal Islam, BBC Economics Editor, talks to two leading experts on inequality, who have together been working for several years on a research project for the Institute for Fiscal Studies. He asks Paul Johnson, IFS Director, and Nobel laureate Sir Angus Deaton what the findings reveal about the UK now, and how these issues can be addressed. Producer: Xavier Zapata Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Jacqui Johnson
2022-02-14
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Why worry about future generations?

What do we owe future generations? Everyone who is alive, has rights. And governments have obligations to their citizens. But what about people who are not yet born? Should their interests be taken into account - even though they don?t yet exist? David Edmonds draws upon the thinking of the late philosopher Derek Parfit to address this vexing question, which has consequences for real-world policy now in areas such as climate change. Presenter: David Edmonds Producer: Nathan Gower Editor: Hugh Levinson
2022-02-07
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Can we create a universal Covid vaccine?

Can scientists develop a vaccine which can combat the coronavirus and all its variants? There have been three lethal outbreaks caused by coronaviruses this century: SARS in 2002, MERS in 2012 and now SarsCov2. Scientists predict we will eventually encounter SarsCov3. That?s why the race is on to develop a universal vaccine to combat the coronaviruses and variants we know about, and the ones we have yet to confront. But attempts to create a universal vaccine for viruses such as influenza and HIV have been going on for decades - without success. Before 2020, proposals to create a vaccine against coronaviruses were not thought important enough to pursue since many just cause the common cold. Now that we understand their real threat, can scientists succeed in creating a vaccine to fight this large family of viruses,? Produced and presented by Sandra Kanthal Editor: Emma Close Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Jacqui Johnson Sound: James Beard and Rod Farquhar
2022-01-31
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Finding Things Out

Finding things out during the pandemic has been hit and miss: there?ve been miracles, and there?s been junk. What matters is not just what we think we know about how to intervene to improve human health, but how we think we know it. Methods can be inspired, flawed, or both. Michael Blastland tells the short and still-changing story of how science has been trying to get better at finding things out. Contributions from: Professor Sir Angus Deaton, Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. Maria Popp. Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care, Emergency and Pain Medicine, University Hospital Wuerzburg. Professor George Davey Smith, Director of the Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol. Sheena McCormack, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at University College London Producer: Ben Carter Editor: Jasper Corbett Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot
2021-11-15
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Baby Boom or Bust

Birth rates in many countries, including China, Japan, Italy and the UK have dropped below replacement level. Clare McNeil asks if we should be concerned about this, and the burden it will place on taxpayers and the young, or welcome it as a good thing for climate change, where some think that the fewer consumers and CO2 emitters the better. But with fertility rates of 1.58 in England and Wales, and only 1.29 in Scotland, society is aging, with the higher healthcare and pension costs to be borne by the taxpayers of working age. What role could or should the government play in increasing the birthrate? Presenter: Clare McNeil Producer: Arlene Gregorius Editor: Jasper Corbett Speakers: Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy, the University of Sheffield Lord David Willetts, President of the Resolution Foundation George Monbiot, environmental campaigner and author Felix Pinkert, Assistant professor of Philosophy and Economics, University of Vienna Jacob Hacker, Professor of Political Science, Yale University Jade Sasser, Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of California, Riverside Ronald Lee, emeritus professor of Demography and Economics, University of California, Berkeley
2021-11-08
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Revenge of the Workers

The shortage of HGV drivers has been hitting the headlines, but other sectors are affected by a lack of staff too, from care homes to restaurants. This despite wages going up, and the end of the furlough scheme. What's going on? Could it be that power is shifting away from employers to workers, for perhaps the first time since the 1970s? Since the 2008 financial crisis public opinion has increasingly been unfavourable towards globalisation, immigration and big corporations. This has been reflected in a shift away from an assumed pro-business stance among the mainstream political parties too. Philip Coggan speaks to a range of experts to find out what's been happening, whether workers really will gain more power, and what that might mean for the economy. Guests: Ben Clift, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick Dame DeAnne Julius, Distinguished Fellow for Global Economy and Finance, Chatham House Kate Bell, Head of Rights, International, Social and Economics at the Trades Union Congress Rob Ford, Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Policy at King?s College, London Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality Shereen Hussein, Professor of Health and Social Care Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Gerwyn Davies, Public Policy Adviser and Senior Market Analyst at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Producer: Arlene Gregorius Sound: Gareth Jones
2021-11-01
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Parental Alienation

Splitting up where children are involved is tricky. Especially when it ends up in the family courts. It?s even more tricky when a child decides they don?t want a relationship with one of the parents. Over the last two decades a controversial psychological concept has emerged to describe a situation where children - for no apparent reason - decide they don?t want to see one parent. It?s called parental alienation. Women?s rights organisations argue parental alienation is used to gaslight abused women. Fathers? rights organisations claim that some mothers make up allegations of abuse to prevent them from seeing their children. And children are caught in the middle. Sonia Sodha explores the polarizing concept of ?parental alienation? and asks how a contested psychological theory has evolved into an increasingly common allegation in the UK family courts. Producer: Gemma Newby
2021-10-25
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Look who's talking - the rise of ?voice cloning?

When you listen to a radio programme, watch an animated film, or even receive a phone call, it?s unlikely you?ll question whether the words you?re hearing are coming from the mouth of a human being. But all that could be about to change thanks to the rise of ?voice cloning?. Elaine Moore is a tech columnist at the Financial Times and she?s interested in the ramifications of this new technology. Thanks to artificial intelligence, cloning a human voice can be achieved with just a few minutes of recorded audio. As the technology becomes more sophisticated and its use more widespread, how will this affect our society, our politics and our personal interactions? And is it time we were able to control what happens to our own voice both now and when we die? With contributions from: Carlton Daniel, lawyer at Squire Patton Boggs. Tom Lee, co-founder of LOVO. David Leslie, Ethics Theme Lead at the Alan Turing Institute. Rupal Patel, founder & CEO of VocaliD. Tim McSmythurs, AI Researcher and creator of Speaking AI. James Vlahos, co-founder of HereAfter AI. Producer: Craig Templeton Smith Editor: Jasper Corbett
2021-10-11
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Who Defends Europe?

This summer's hasty and poorly executed withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan caused shock and profound unease among Washington's allies, just as they hoped the unilateralism of the Trump era had been left behind. But anxiety about America's position on defence only intensified with the unveiling in September of AUKUS - a trilateral security pact involving Australia, the US and UK covering the Indo-Pacific region. The exclusion of France from that deal not only enraged Paris but also further alarmed European allies about American intentions. So what next? Can the Biden administration be trusted to uphold the security guarantee which underpins NATO? Or, as France's President Emmanuel Macron argues, do these and other actions by the United States show that the 70 year-old Alliance is effectively "brain dead" and that Europe has to set about achieving "strategic autonomy" without depending on Washington's whims? In a lively forum with key players and thinkers about European security from both sides of the Atlantic, Edward Stourton considers what should happen now on European defence and whether seemingly divergent views about it can be reconciled. Those taking part: Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director of the Royal United Services Institute in London; Nathalie Loiseau, MEP, former French Minister of European Affairs and Chair of the European Parliament's Sub-committee on Security and Defence; Dr Constanze Stelzenmüller, expert on Germany and trans-Atlantic Relations in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.; and Linas Linkevicius, former Foreign and Defence Minister of Lithuania. Producer: Simon Coates Editor: Jasper Corbett Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
2021-10-04
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Reimagining the Nation

What keeps a nation together? For political scientist Benedict Anderson, it was the idea of the 'imagined community'. Although people from different backgrounds in a country might not know one another, they could imagine themselves as part of the same larger story. Peter Pomerantsev looks at how we can survive as a society when the idea of the 'imagined community' is under strain. Is it too late to find any commonality? Or are there other ways of imagining the future of the nation? Producer Ant Adeane Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-09-27
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Cancelling Colston

In June 2020 the statue of slaver trader Edward Colston was toppled and thrown into the harbour in Bristol ? one of the most visible moments of the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK. The statue now lies on its side in a museum, a testament to the dramatic re-evaluation of Bristol?s painful history at the centre of the transatlantic slave trade. Over the last year schools and buildings bearing Colston's name have been renamed. Colston has been cancelled. But what about the system of wealth, power and race that he represented? Bristol journalist Neil Maggs speaks to the people in Bristol dealing with Colston?s legacy. Current members of the Society of Merchant Venturers, a powerful charitable organisation which promoted Colston?s reputation as a philanthropist, have suddenly been thrust into the spotlight. School leaders are rolling out unconscious bias training. Elsewhere community leaders and politicians are navigating the potential for a backlash against terms such as white privilege as the national conversation on race continues. Producer: Lucy Proctor Editor: Jasper Corbett
2021-07-19
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Science in the Time of Cancel Culture

In an age of social media ?cancel culture? might be defined as an orchestrated campaign which seeks to silence or end the careers of people whose thoughts or opinions deviate from a new set of political norms. So if this threat exists for anyone expressing an opinion online in 2021, what?s it like for scientists working in academia and publishing findings which might be deemed controversial? In this edition of Analysis, Michael Muthukrishna, Associate Professor of Economic Psychology at the London School of Economics, assesses the impact of modern social justice movements on scientific research and development. Speaking to a range of experts, some who have found themselves in the firing line of current public discourse, and others who question the severity of this phenomenon and its political motives, Michael asks: if fear of personal or professional harm is strengthening conformism or eviscerating robust intellectual debate, can open-mindedness on controversial issues really exist in the scientific community? Or is rigorous public assessment of scientific findings helping to achieve better, more equitable and socially just outcomes? With contributions from: Emily M Bender, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Washington Pedro Domingos, Professor of Computer Science at University of Washington Caroline Criado Perez, writer and campaigner Brandeis Marshall, data scientist, Professor of Computer Science at Spelman College Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University David Reich, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School Producer Craig Templeton Smith Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-07-12
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Stalemate: Israel and the Palestinians after Gaza

After another round of violence, a two state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict appears farther away than ever. Edward Stourton examines the future. Guests include: Ahmad Samih Khalidi - Senior Associate Member at St Antony's College, Oxford Anshel Pfeffer - Senior Correspondent, Haaretz Dore Gold - former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations & President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Jake Walles - former US Consul General in Jerusalem Salem Barahmeh - Executive Director of the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy Sawsan Zaher - Deputy General Director, Adalah Shlomo Ben-Ami - former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs & Vice President of the Toledo International Center for Peace. Producer Luke Radcliff Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-07-05
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A Hundred Glorious Years?

The first, modest Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took place in late July 1921. Of the twelve original members, only Mao Zedong and one of his closest aides survived to take part in the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. The others were killed by political opponents, lost factional struggles or took up other creeds. And the CCP's history has been punctuated by in-fighting, purges, jailings, defections and sudden deaths. The Party itself sees things differently. Only it was able to push China into the future, the CCP claims, after earlier abortive attempts to modernise the country - and to secure the global eminence that it now enjoys. Its narrative also insists on the CCP's seamless triumph over obstacles placed in its path by malevolent foreign powers and reactionary domestic forces. A hundred years on from the CCP's foundation, the eminent China-watcher Isabel Hilton assesses the importance of the Party's centenary and asks why control of its view of its history is so important. She shows which events and ideological shifts the CCP prefers not to highlight or to ignore altogether. She considers why so much of the Party's history swings between periods of repression and liberalisation. And she explores how Xi Jinping, its current leader, is using the centenary. What will preoccupy the CCP in the years ahead? Producer Simon Coates Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-06-28
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A New Unionism?

Unionism in Northern Ireland is facing a highly uncertain future. Its divided party politics make the headlines. But beyond that, post-Brexit border rules and talk of a possible vote on Irish reunification is causing much anxiety. Even more profoundly, changes in the province?s population and attitudes among different generations are weakening traditional loyalties. Pessimists fear all this could be seriously destabilising. Others argue that a new kind of unionism, focused on the practical benefits of links to Britain, can revive the cause. Chris Bowlby listens in to a debate with major implications for the UK as a whole. Producer: Jim Frank Editor: Jasper Corbett
2021-06-21
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Funny Money

What is the money in your pocket really worth? Come to think of it now we?re virtually cashless, do you even keep money in your pocket? Maybe you?re worried about the growth of government debt during the pandemic you now store your wealth in commodities such as gold or silver? Or maybe you?re a fan of another asset class: bitcoin. Are cryptocurrencies the future of money or a giant bubble waiting to burst? Why are governments and companies such as Facebook so interested in developing their own digital currencies? Fifty years on from the ?Nixon Shock?, when President Richard Nixon changed global currencies forever by taking the US off the gold standard, the BBC?s Ben Chu is on a mission to find out what money means to us today. Where does its value come from in this increasingly online world? Are we witnessing a revolution in the transfer of value into the metaverse? And how should make sense of this funny money business? Guests include: Historian Niall Ferguson Economist and academic Stephanie Kelton Investor Daniel Maegaard Investment strategist Raoul Pal Financial commentator Peter Schiff Economist Pavlina Tcherneva Producer Craig Templeton Smith Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-06-16
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Marvellous Medicine

Most of us were blindsided by the novel virus SarsCov2, but infectious disease experts had been warning about the possibility of a global pandemic for some years. For them it was never a matter of if, but when. What did come as a surprise was the speed of scientific progress to fight Covid 19. The first effective vaccine, from Pfizer/BioNTech, was developed in under 300 days, followed in successive weeks by Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca. The results of the UK?s RECOVERY trial, which was organised in a matter of weeks, has saved an estimated million lives worldwide by identifying which treatments are effective in treating Covid 19. And regulators around the globe, like Britain?s MHRA, are using innovative programmes to get medical products to people faster. During the pandemic, the world witnessed how fast medicine can advance with an abundance of cash and collaboration. Is progress at this speed and cost sustainable? Sandra Kanthal asks if drug development is something which should still take decades, or have we learned how to permanently accelerate the process? Guests: Rod MacKenzie, Chief Development Officer, Pfizer Nuala Murphy, President Clinical Research Services, Icon Professor Sir Martin Landray, Co-Chief Investigator, RECOVERY Trial Nicholas Jackson, Head of Programmes and Technology, CEPI Christian Schneider, Interim Chief Scientific Officer, MHRA Hilda Bastian, Independent Scientist Producer and Presenter Sandra Kanthal Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-06-14
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The Zoomshock Metropolis

Our towns and cities are facing an existential crisis. The rise of online shopping has left gaping holes in high streets. And if hybrid working takes off, some economists predict a dramatic 'zoom shock' as workers spend less time and money in city centres. What seems like a crisis could be an opportunity to reinvent our cities and 'Level Up' struggling towns. But are we ready to seize this moment? Helen Grady meets local leaders embracing this moment of change - from the Teesside town bulldozing a shopping centre to create a park to the US community paying remote tech workers to relocate. She hears how big cities like Manchester are enticing people back to the office. And she asks if we're about to see a move away from city-led growth to a model where jobs and prosperity are more evenly spread between towns and cities. Producer and presenter Helen Grady Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-05-31
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What the Foucault?

Last December Liz Truss made a speech. The Minister for Women and Equalities spoke about her memories of being at school in Leeds. She was taught about sexism and racism, she said, but not enough time was spent on being taught how to read and write. "These ideas," said Truss, "have their roots in post-modernist philosophy - pioneered by Foucault - that put societal power structures and labels ahead of individuals and their endeavours." So do Foucault's ideas pose a real danger to social and cultural life in Britain? Or is he a "bogeyman" deployed by some politicians to divide and distract us from real issues? In this edition of Analysis, writer and academic Shahidha Bari tries to make sense of Foucault's influence in the UK - and asks whether his ideas really do have an effect on Britain today. Producer: Ant Adeane Editor: Jasper Corbett Contributors: Agnes Poirier, journalist and author of Left Bank: Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940-50 Michael Drolet, Senior Research Fellow in the History of Political Thought, Worcester College, University of Oxford Lisa Downing, Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality at the University of Birmingham Richard Whatmore, Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Co-Director of the Institute of Intellectual History Matthew Goodwin, Professor of Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent Clare Chambers, Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Cambridge Charlotte Riley, Lecturer in Twentieth-Century British History at the University of Southampton
2021-05-24
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Global Britain: is there substance behind the slogan?

Having left the EU, the UK is now re-branding itself as "Global Britain", but what does that actually mean? A key plank of the new foreign policy is a pivot to the "Indo-Pacific". How is this seen in India? And how should Britain deal with China, described as a "challenge" in the government's recently published Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy? And where does all this leave relations with the EU and US? Should "Global Britain" try to reassert itself as a major power on the international stage, or would the UK's interests be better served by acting as a broker between larger, or like-minded, countries instead, to help bring about beneficial agreements? And what effect could the reduction in the overseas development aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of Gross National Income have on Britain's "soft power" abroad, with the deep real-terms cuts to humanitarian and other programmes that this will mean for countries such as Yemen or Malawi? Presenter: Chris Morris Producer: Arlene Gregorius Editor: Jasper Corbett
2021-03-29
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Science in the Time of Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the best of science and the worst of science. New vaccines have been produced in less than twelve months. But at the same time we?ve seen evidence exaggerated and undermined, falsified, and flawed. Scientists arguing in public over areas of policy that have reached into all of our lives in an unprecedented way. There has never been so much ?science?. But the pandemic has seen science politicised and polarised in ways some of us could never imagine. In this episode of Analysis, Sonia Sodha explores what the pandemic has revealed about the practice of science, and our relationship with it. Producer: Gemma Newby Editor: Jasper Corbett
2021-03-22
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The Fine Art of Decision Making

Margaret Heffernan explores the fine art of decision making in times of uncertainty. We make decisions all the time which affect our personal lives, but what about the decisions which affect the lives of many others? How do you decide, when the well being of a nation or the success of a company are at stake, but the path is unclear because the risks cannot be quantified? A desire for more data, the temptation to procrastinate, a reluctance to admit mistakes and the outsourcing of decisions to machines can all lead to bad decision making, so what processes and practices, leadership qualities and attitudes of mind can serve as the best guides? Senior politicians, public servants, business people and academics share their insights based on past failures as well as successes, and suggest ways of better decision making in an increasingly uncertain world. Contributors: Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, Director emeritus, Max Planck Institute for Human Development Martin Gilbert, former CEO, Aberdeen Asset Management Sir Oliver Letwin, former Conservative MP and Cabinet Minister Dame Louise Makin, former CEO, BTG plc Baroness Eliza Manningham- Buller, former Director General MI5, Chair of The Wellcome Trust Professor Cathy O'Neill, founder O'Neill Risk Consulting and Algorithmic Auditing Jonathan Powell, former Downing Street Chief of Staff to Tony Blair Producer: Sheila Cook Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-03-15
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Levelling Up Wakefield

With its low-wage economy, Wakefield is the kind of place the government has promised to help level up. But what kind of help do people there most need? Anand Menon returns to his home city to find out. He meets someone who remembers the days when Wakefield was known for its vibrant nightlife. He hears about the council's plans to entice new people to the district through attractions like the Hepworth Art Gallery and the transformation of the Rutland Mills. He finds out what attracts - and hinders - private sector investment. And he discovers how communities built around mills and mines have lost their economic purpose and been left stranded by poor local transport links. Producer: Helen Grady Data research: Professor Christina Beatty from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University Editor: Jasper Corbett
2021-03-08
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Magic Weapons

There used to be a romantic notion of globalisation that all countries would simply have to get along as we were all so interconnected. Why fight when your interests are aligned? It?s an idea that has made direct military engagement less likely. But something very different has emerged in its place. We live in a new era of conflict, where states try to achieve their aims through aggressive measures that stay below the threshold of war. This is a strategy of statecraft with a long history, but which has a new inflection in our technologically charged, globalised world. Now a mix of cyber, corruption and disinformation is employed to mess with adversaries. China?s president, Xi Jinping, has referred to political influence activities as being one of the Chinese Communist Party's 'magic weapons'. In this edition of Analysis, Peter Pomerantsev looks at how political warfare works in a world where we?re all economically entangled - and what Britain could and should do to adapt. Producer: Ant Adeane Editor: Jasper Corbett
2021-03-01
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Boiled Rabbits of the Left?

George Orwell chastised the "boiled rabbits of the Left" for disliking what he called "the spiritual need for patriotism". He was writing in 1940 during Hitler's Blitz of London and other British cities. But Orwell also poses a challenge to those on the Left today who find patriotism redolent of flag-waving chauvinism, uncomfortably at odds with their cherished internationalism and an unwelcome diversion from other priorities. Since he was elected leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer has spoken of his love of country, determined to make a break with the legacy of his predecessor. Polling suggested Jeremy Corbyn was perceived to be cool in his patriotic sympathies. That view among electors in northern England and the Midlands was indeed so strong it was one of the main reasons former Labour supporters gave for switching to the Conservatives at the 2019 general election. In this edition of "Analysis", Edward Stourton asks how Labour can turn the page on its seemingly conflicted stance on patriotism. What would a distinctive Labour patriotism consist of? Could it appeal to different people in different parts of Britain when the Union now seems more fragile than ever? Is the task even so fraught with difficulty that Labour should simply leave this subject to its opponents? In short, what is Labour's answer today to the awkward challenge posed by Orwell eighty years ago and which stubbornly refuses to go away? Those taking part: Deborah Mattinson of BritainThinks; former Labour leader, Lord Kinnock; singer and author, Billy Bragg; Shadow Scottish Secretary, Ian Murray MP; New Labour loyalist, Lord Adonis; Labour MP, Florence Eshalomi; and Jon Cruddas, Labour thinker and MP for Dagenham & Rainham. Producer Simon Coates Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-02-22
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Flying Blind

What do we really know about the policy choices confronting us? Covid-19 has been a brutal lesson in the extent of our ignorance. We face hard decisions, and argue about them ferociously, when in truth we?re often in the dark about their full consequences. But Covid is not unusual in this respect - and we could learn from it. Other areas of life and policy are similarly obscured. Not that we like to admit it. How well, for example, do we know what the economy is up to? Quite possibly not nearly as well as you might think - even to the extent that it?s recently been suggested the first estimates of GDP can?t be sure of telling the difference between boom and bust - the problem really can be that extreme. Some recessions have turned out to be illusions. In this programme Michael Blastland examines our collective ignorance and how it affects policy and debate, asking if public argument needs a lot more humility. Producer Caroline Bayley Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-02-15
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Rogue Cops

Is it possible to identify rogue cops before they commit offences? Can we change police culture to improve police interactions with the public? The brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis shone a spotlight on how police treat suspects, particularly black suspects. In this Analysis, David Edmonds asks what the science of criminology has discovered about how such tragedies can be stopped. Producer Bethan Head. Editor Jasper Corbett
2021-02-08
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Personality Politics

Are we predisposed by our personality to be drawn to certain political policies or certain ideologies? And if so, should we take account of this when our views differ from other people? James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford University, talks to leading academics in the field about how this might help explain the current political polarisation seen in countries like the UK and the US. Producer: Bob Howard Editor: Jasper Corbett
2021-02-01
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