April marks the first anniversary of the Nepalese earthquake, which killed over eight thousand people and injured more than twenty one thousand others. After the disaster the International Monetary Fund told the Nepalese authorities they would have to pay back the $3.5 billion of debt the country owes to its creditors. The IMF said the money can't be written off because Nepal doesn't qualify for relief from a special fund for countries hit by natural disasters. That decision outraged anti debt campaigners who claim that wealthy states are often responsible for the financial problems of poorer countries. For example Mozambique's debt, which is priced in currencies like the Dollar, has ballooned because of the weak exchange rate, forcing the government to use 13% of its revenue to pay back what it owes. So is it time for the creditors to ease up on the indebted? Tim Jones, of the "Jubilee Debt Campaign", joins Juliette Foster in the studio along with Professor John Weeks, Share Radio's regular economics commentator.
The House of Lords will consider a series of amendments to the government's controversial Trade Union Bill when it goes before peers on Wednesday. Condemned by critics as "undemocratic", the bill would only allow workers to go on strike if more than 50% of them voted for industrial action. Employers would also have the authority to hire agency staff to cover the jobs of workers who go on strike. However the greatest outrage has arisen from proposals to change the way that union members pay their dues, which according to Labour, could lose the party up to £8 million a year. Joining Investment Perspectives host Juliette Foster for more analysis of that story is Matt Wrack, Head of the Fire Brigades Union, and Professor John Weeks, Share Radio's regular economics commentator.
Next week the Chancellor George Osborne will unveil his spring budget to the House of Commons as speculation grows over whether he's likely to make any cutbacks or if he's course to pay down the nation's debts. Mr Osborne is saying nothing although he's dropped plans to end or alter tax relief on pension contributions in a move which campaigners believe is a missed opportunity to help the low paid. Yet regardless of what the Chancellor does on Wednesday, his calculations will have been influenced by an econimic model that critics claim is flawed and past its sell by date. Neo-classical economics may be Treasury's guding light, but has it done more harm than good? Is it time to look at the alternatives? Juliette Foster was joined in the studio by Professor John Weeks, Share Radio's regular economics commentator, and Professor Steve Keen of Kingston University London. Steve is also the author of the best-selling book "Debunking Economics".
Professor John Weeks, Share Radio's regular economics commentator, joins Juliette Foster in the studio to give his take on recent challenging times for Western economies - who are operating in an environment of weak growth, falling interest rates and lower than normal levels of inflation.
Not so long ago Brazil was THE star performer in the emerging market galaxy thanks to global demand for its commodity resources. In 2005 commodity exports totalled $118 billion - seven years later they more than doubled to $256 billion. However a weak global economy and falling Chinese growth has marked the end of the dance for Brazil. With a credit rating below junk status and GDP tipped to shrink by as much as 4% this year, Brazil is now the sick man of the G20. As President Dilma Roussef battles to hold the country together, her own grip on power is looking increasingly fragile as she leads a government ripped apart by scandal and lost credibility. Where does Brazil go from here? Professor Alfredo Saad Filho of London University, and Share Radio's regular economics commentator Professor John Weeks joined Juliette Foster in the studio to discuss the issues further.
Its time again for a look at the intersection of politics and economics, with our regular economic commentator John Weeks. Joining him, is Geoff Tilley, Senior Economist at TUC, and they unpack the CBI’s criticism of Osborne’s performance since the Autumn Statement.
The US President Barack Obama gave his reaction to the climate change deal brokered in Paris last December. Among the headline making initiatives was the promise to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius. Yet for some Green activists the deal was hardly a resounding success. Countries may be legally bound to have their emission reduction levels checked but there's flexibility on how they go about hitting their targets. And what about the economics of climate change? Did Paris make the link between excess human consumption and the impact on economies dependent on fossil fuels? Is it time to switch to a materialism that's environmentally friendly and economically kinder? We are joined in the studio by the author Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation and by Share Radio's regular economics commentator, Professor John Weeks.