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.
A nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury has led to a retaliation by the UK government – expelling diplomats and ramping up a war of words. With Putin winning another huge election victory last week, some people are worried that we’re entering a new Cold War. Meanwhile, UK gas supplies have run low thanks to the recent winter freeze. What if Russia were to switch off our gas? Has it done it to other countries? And how would we get by? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Dave Powell, who leads on the environment for NEF, and Dustin Benton, policy director for the environmental think tank Green Alliance.
It’s one of the biggest contradictions in British politics. Across the country, baby boomers who own a house cheer as the value of their property rises. Meanwhile their millennial children watch on in horror, as owning their own home increasingly falls out of their reach.
Politicians talk about building more homes but very few of them talk about directly reducing house prices. If house prices are too high for people to be able to buy houses, how can we bring them down? And can we do it without upsetting homeowners and crashing the economy? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Joe Beswick, who leads on housing for the New Economics Foundation, and housing campaigner Beth Stratford, a PhD researcher at the University of Leeds.
Universities up and down the country have been shutting down as lecturers have walked out, arguing that the changes to their pension schemes could leave them thousands of pounds a year worse off in retirement. So this week we’re breaking down what the university strikes are all about, and what they tell us about everyone else’s pensions too.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith speaks to two striking lecturers: Nadine El-Enany, co-director of the Centre for Research on Race and Law at Birkbeck, and SOAS Senate chair Meera Sabaratnam. They are joined by writer and researcher Christine Berry, who is also a postgraduate student at Sheffield University.
As the Guardian’s US correspondent, Gary Younge documented America’s social and economic challenges, the role of race in the country’s politics, and the deadly consequences of US gun laws. Now the Guardian’s editor-at-large, Gary took an unusual approach to covering the 2016 presidential election, reporting from one small town in Indiana, called Muncie, nicknamed ‘Middletown, America’. In this week’s podcast, Ayeisha Thomas-Smith asks Gary about Middletown today. Can it help explain a US election result that few people predicted? And do we have ‘Middletowns’ in the UK that can help us understand our own political upheaval?
Technology is transforming the world of money. Or at least that’s what the Bitcoin junkies would have you believe. They say digital currencies have arrived and are about to revolutionise the way we buy things. But recent downturns in their prices have led some to wonder whether digital currencies have fuelled a dangerous speculative bubble that needs to be curbed by regulators. Is the Bitcoin boom over? Or was it just the start for digital currencies? This week, Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Carl Miller from Demos, Fran Boait from Positive Money, and Duncan McCann from NEF.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Carl Miller, Fran Boait, Duncan McCann
There’s been a panic in the stock markets in recent weeks after the Dow Jones plunged more than 1000 points on a single Monday in the first week of February. When the stock market plunges should we all be worried? Or does it only affect those wealthy enough to be trading?
This week, Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Frank van Lerven, NEF economist, and Anna Isaac, economics correspondent at The Telegraph.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Frank van Lerven, Anna Isaac
Brexit dominates the news agenda. But with all the talk of the single market, impact assessments and trade deals, it sometimes feels as if this debate is only happening in the comment pages of newspapers, or the corridors of Westminster. What happened to the people? The Weekly Economics Podcast is back with a special episode: a discussion we recorded live in London at the end of 2017, between political theorist Maurice Glasman, activist Ruth Ibegbuna, and the academic Rob Ford. The question journalist Mary Riddell put to them was: where are the people in the Brexit debate?
Maurice Glasman, Ruth Ibegbuna, Rob Ford, Mary Riddell
The New Economics Foundation -the independent think tank and charity campaigning for a fairer, sustainable economy- brought you a new podcast from the its archive. This week
Polly Trenow from the Women Budget Group joins Kirsty Styles to discuss ways of measuring unpaid work.