Last month, the owner of a chain of British hi-fi shops did something unusual. Julian Richer, the founder of Richer Sounds, gave away control of the company to the employees, and even gave them each a £1,000 cash bonus for every year they’ve worked there. It’s a rare move for company owners to give up their wealth. Is this just generosity, or could it actually be good for business? And could it also be good economics, and even good for the planet? The New Economics Foundation is back for a brand new series of the Weekly Economics Podcast. Ayesha Thomas-Smith is joined by Marjorie Kelly, Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow of The Democracy Collaborative in the US, and Mathew Lawrence, director of the think tank Common Wealth and co-author of a NEF report about inclusive ownership funds.
Ayesha Thomas-Smith, Marjorie Kelly, Mathew Lawrence
Saving, spending, planning — you've got money questions and we've got answers. Every week host Alison Southwick and personal finance expert Robert Brokamp challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves. In this week's episode, whether they are doing it because they need to or because they want to, people are more often likely to work later in life or opt for a semi-retirement. We’re joined by AARP’s Susan Weinstock to talk about why this trend isn’t going to change, and how you can plan for the realities of a later retirement.
Georgie Frost is joined by editor Simon Lambert and reporter Tanya Jeffries to talk about wealth: are the rich getting richer and should we worry about inequality? How rich are you? Fear not, if the answer is: Not very. This is Money has a plan to help you out. Also there's a focus on the over 60s, what perks you get and what help is available to you, if you are struggling. Plus, what is going on at Metro Bank drama and what you can do if you fancy a house that’s not actually for sale. Don’t worry, it’s all legal!
The Green New Deal has rocketed to the top of the agenda in the US. It’s an ambitious plan, spearheaded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to decarbonise the US economy and eliminate economic insecurity at the same time. But in fact the Green New Deal has some of its origins at the New Economics Foundation. So what’s the story behind the development of the idea? And how would a Green New Deal actually work, both in the UK and across the pond? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined this week by: Ann Pettifor, director of Prime Economics and one of the co-authors of the Green New Deal report published by NEF in 2008; Miatta Fahnbulleh, chief executive of the New Economics Foundation; and Waleed Shahid, communications director of the Justice Democrats, who also worked on the campaign to elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Ann Pettifor, Miatta Fahnbulleh, Waleed Shahid
Oxfam reported that in the 10 years since the financial crisis, the number of billionaires around the world has nearly doubled. It’s fair to say, the economy isn’t working for everyone. Every week on this podcast we look at a different economic problem and how to solve it, but what if economics itself – the way we teach it, talk about it and think about it – is the real problem? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by three people working to democratise economics and change how it’s taught across the country: co-director of Rethinking Economics Maeve Cohen, Chief Exec of Economy Joe Earle, and Polly Trenow from the Women’s Budget Group.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Maeve Cohen, Joe Earle, Polly Trenow
The Windrush scandal outraged the nation last year. But last week the Home Office reinstated deportation flights to Jamaica for criminal offenders who they say are foreign nationals. Meanwhile, parliament passed a new immigration bill last month, promising to control the “number and type” of people coming to the UK. The home secretary came under fire for proposing a £30,000 income threshold for EU immigrants. A lot of the debate we hear about immigration is made in economic terms. But it’s also about identity, race and belonging. It can be hard at the moment to imagine that a more humane immigration policy might be possible, but that’s exactly what we’re trying to do this week. Guest host Dave Powell is joined by chief exec of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants Satbir Singh, executive director of War on Want Asad Rehman, and Maya Goodfellow, author of a forthcoming book on Britain’s immigration policies.
Dave Powell, Satbir Singh, Asad Rehman, Maya Goodfellow
Davos, the super-exclusive annual gathering of the world’s political and business elite displays all the features of a petri dish for the spread of “crony capitalism”. A tiny number of extraordinarily powerful individuals meet to discuss how the affairs of all seven billion human beings should be planned and co-ordinated. It represents an environment for the growth of regulation, intervention and enhanced barriers to entry for small businesses.
All too often what we see in criticisms of capitalism are actually examples of rent-seeking and corporations trying to game the system, which amounts to crony capitalism.
But has crony capitalism like that displayed in Davos become a catch-all term? The challenge for free markets, and for capitalism, is manifold: the message is tarnished, the frames are poor, and, fundamentally, the moral case for what they achieve is missing.
On this week's podcast, the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes is joined by the IEA’s Director General Mark Littlewood and the Director of the IEA’s FREER initiative Rebecca Lowe to discuss these challenges.
This year, Saturday November 10th was Equal Pay Day – the day the Fawcett Society calculates that women, on average, essentially start working for free, because of the gender pay gap. But Office for National Statistics calculated just a few weeks back that the pay gap is the lowest it’s ever been on record. Yet Equal Pay Day hasn’t moved. It’s the same day as it was last year. A new IEA briefing, written by Associate Director Kate Andrews and Chief Economist Julian Jessop, argues that this is a result of calculating the gender pay gap in order to obtain a figure nearly 60% higher than the official data. Kate Andrews has put together a podcast to provide ‘alternative listening’ for those who don’t want to engage in fear-mongering around women in the workplace. Kate brings together women from across the political spectrum, with diverse background and views, but who all agree on one thing – that’s that there’s a positive story to tell about women who work. She asks them all: ‘What positive message do you want to send to women today’, and also asks them for a practical policy proposal to help tackle the issues that working women still face.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, is reportedly obsessed with the issue of productivity; whilst most of the electorate remain baffled. We talk to Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser and board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), who draws on her experience of being ‘responsible’ for productivity targets under the last Labour Government. Numerous explanations have been put forward for the UK’s poor productivity performance since 2008. Recent research suggests we have a particularly long tail of poorly performing companies in the UK, who fail to adopt innovations of the leading 1%. We consider this diagnosis next to many others, and speculate on what a newly formulated Industrial Strategy might do to help.
In this special edition of the Weekly Economics Podcast from its Archive, the issue of climate change is back on the global news agenda. We explore some of the possible solutions, debate what real action looks like and how those most affected can be the most powerful agents for change. It’s easy to feel defeated when the environmental crises we face are so immediate and huge. But action is urgently needed.
David Powell, Environment Lead at the New Economics Foundation, takes over hosting duties and is joined by Alice Bell, Director of Communications at 10:10, and Asad Rehman, Executive Director at War on Want.