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
Public ownership is back on the agenda. Opinion polls show high levels of support for taking all kinds of things back into public hands, from the railways to water to energy, and the Labour party is committed to a vast expansion of public ownership. But if privatisation has failed, what kind of public ownership should replace it? As the critics of nationalisation are quick to say, British Rail wasn’t that great. What should be done differently this time? If these services were nationalised, would the state even know how to run them? And are there other ways of putting them back in public hands? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It campaign, Hilary Wainwright, co-editor of Red Pepper magazine and fellow of the Transnational Institute, and Sahil Dutta, lecturer in political economy at Goldsmiths University.
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
In the UK, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. And according to the latest stats, one in eight young people have a mental health problem. One big problem is access to treatment. Mental health services are underfunded, leaving many people stuck on waiting lists. But what are the wider social and economic factors that are causing poor mental health in the first place? Is the economy itself damaging our mental health? Is modern life making us sick? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith talks to Hana Riaz, who is researching the impact of gentrification on mental health, NEF organiser Becki Winson, and our wellbeing researcher Annie Quick.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Hana Riaz, Becki Winson, Annie Quick
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.
The Bank of England has moved interest rates to their highest level in almost a decade. If you’ve got a mortgage, it might get more expensive. If you’ve got savings, you might get a bit more interest on your money. Does this tell us anything about what the Bank of England thinks is going to happen to the economy? And was it the right decision?
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith speaks to Alfie Stirling, head of economics at the New Economics Foundation.
In between the resignations and the reshuffles, what have we learned about where Brexit will go next? Much of the focus has been on the response to the deal the prime minister reached with her cabinet at Chequers, but what was in the deal itself? How practical is the government’s position on Brexit? And what are the alternatives? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Marley Morris, senior research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, and Andrew Pendleton, NEF’s director of policy and advocacy.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Marley Morris, Andrew Pendleton
Happy birthday, NHS! That was the message from the prime minister, as she announced an extra £20bn of funding for the NHS in England by 2023. But is that enough? And where will the money come from? There’s been talk of a ‘Brexit dividend’ – does that mean the infamous battle bus promise has come true? Or will some of us have to pay more tax to keep our NHS on life support? And whatever happened to fixing our broken social care system?
This week, Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Sarah Bedford, head of social policy at the New Economics Foundation, and Andy Cowper, comment editor of the Health Service Journal.
New Economics Foundation weekly podcast is back with a hot topic: Environment. In this week podcast Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Dave Powell, head of environment at the New Economics Foundation, and Alice Bell, director at climate charity 10:10 to discuss one of the most fashionable economic ideas of the past decade: The idea that a little prod from government can encourage us to change our behaviour and be better citizens, maybe without even realising it. Meanwhile, good old-fashioned regulation seems to have been decidedly out of favour with recent governments – and leaving the market to just do its thing isn’t all that popular with campaigners.
When it comes to the environment, do all of these approaches have their place? What works best? And are there better or worse ways to make sure our economy doesn’t wreck the planet?
Universal basic income is now one of the most fashionable concepts in progressive politics. With automation increasing and wages stagnating, the theory is that giving everyone a set amount of money each year will liberate them to do what they want with their lives – and keep them out of poverty. But some people think universal basic income is an utopian impossibility. Others think it’s dangerous. So there’s a proposal for another solution: universal basic services. Instead of giving people money, why not guarantee all of the public services they need to live a full life? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith explores the two ideas with Barb Jacobson, Co-ordinator of Basic Income UK, and Anna Coote, New Economics Foundation Principal Fellow.