Understand: The Economy

By BBC Radio 4

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Description

From inflation to GDP, from the stock exchange to bonds, Tim Harford goes back to basics to explain the terms we hear every day, and what they mean for you.

Episode Date
Economy: 15. Energy market
923
The rising cost of living really brought home how those big, global economic shocks can mean some pretty bad bumps for our individual finances. Probably the most obvious, immediate and, painful way that global economic events hit our household budgets is through the price of energy. In 2022 we saw our bills almost double - causing the government to step in and guarantee energy prices, with the Treasury picking up the rest of the tab. Even with that support, many people are struggling and we’re all paying a bit more attention to our bills. How does the market for energy work? Exactly what are we paying for, who sets the prices and why are our bills so much higher? And where did it all begin: economic historian Dr Victoria Bateman gives us a brief history of the National Grid. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news such as Inflation, GDP, National Debt, energy markets and more. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. Guest: Mike Waterson, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: Beth Ashmead-Latham Technical Producer: Nicky Edwards Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Jan 30, 2023
The Economy: 14. Bankruptcy and insolvency
841
The cost of living crisis is putting more pressure on more people - but what happens when that pressure becomes too much, and is bankruptcy always a bad thing? Professor Diane Coyle explains the processes and wider economic impact of bankruptcy, and Dr Victoria Bateman takes us back to the very beginning of the idea in the time of Henry VIII. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news such as Inflation, GDP, National Debt, energy markets and more. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. Guest: Professor Diane Coyle, the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: Beth Ashmead-Latham Technical Producer: Nicky Edwards Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Jan 30, 2023
The Economy: 13. National Debt
895
Politicians talk about government debt a lot. When Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised to tackle Britain's five most pressing problems, he included making sure our debt was falling. But what is the debt? In this episode Dr Gemma Tetlow explains why we have the debt at all, how much we owe, who we owe it to, and whether we should worry about it. Plus Dr Victoria Bateman takes us back in time to hear about historical debts we are still repaying today. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news such as Inflation, GDP, National Debt, energy markets and more. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. Guest: Dr Gemma Tetlow, Chief Economist at the Institute for Government Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: Beth Ashmead-Latham Technical Producer: Nicky Edwards Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Jan 30, 2023
The Economy 12. Credit
844
Collectively, our individual financial decisions have a big impact on what the wider economy does. That includes how we manage our own money, including what we buy and how we buy it. One way we make large purchases, smooth out big bills and sometimes just spend some cash we can’t afford - is credit. In this episode Dr Victoria Bateman looks back to the Tallyman in the 19th century, a very early way of shopping with credit. We’ll explore what exactly credit is and how we use it. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news such as Inflation, GDP, National Debt, energy markets and more. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. Guest: Prof John Gathergood, Professor of Economics at the University of Nottingham Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: Beth Ashmead-Latham Technical Producer: Nicky Edwards Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Jan 30, 2023
The Economy: 11. Pricing and discounting
919
On one hand, we’ve all experienced the things we buy getting more expensive, from the price of fuel to a tub of butter. On the other hand, retailers desperately try to entice us to buy with discounts. Shops seem to constantly have their ‘best ever’ sales and there are days like ‘Black Friday’ when prices are slashed. How can prices go up and up, and at the same time drop? In this episode, Felicity Hannah speaks to Rupal Patel, Economist at the Bank of England, to de-mystify how prices work and figure out who has the power in the buyer seller relationship. Dr Victoria Bateman, economic Historian from the University of Cambridge brings us the history of bulk buying. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to help you understand the complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, National Debt, energy markets and more. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. Guest: Rupal Patel, Economist at the Bank of England and co-author of ‘Can’t we just print more money? Economics in Ten Simple Questions’ Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: Beth Ashmead-Latham Technical Producer: Nicky Edwards Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Jan 30, 2023
The Economy: 10. Inequality
914
Why are the rich, rich and the poor, poor, and was it always this way? Tim Harford explains what’s happened to inequality over the last 100 years in the UK and why things might be better than you think. Economic historian Victoria Bateman explains the surprising effect The Great Plague had on income and gender equality. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war hungry Kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with Silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Guest: Xiaowei Xu, Senior Research Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies Producer: Phoebe Keane Researchers: Drew Hyndman and Kirsteen Knight Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Nov 18, 2022
The Economy: 9. International Trade and Currency Markets
882
The reason we can eat pineapples and sell aeroplane parts. But why might the value of the pound fall and what does that mean if it does? Tim Harford explains who wins and who loses if the pound is cheap against the dollar and economic historian Victoria Bateman tells the story of a trade deal with Portugal that flooded England with wine and Port. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war hungry Kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with Silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Guest: Professor Richard Davies, The University of Bristol Producer: Phoebe Keane Researcher: Drew Hyndman Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Nov 18, 2022
The Economy: 8. Pensions
887
Why is it so hard to save for retirement? Will future generations even get a pension? Why is the pension age rising and what is the state pension age? Tim Harford explains the problem an aging population is causing for the state pension and explores the gender pension gap. Economic historian Victoria Bateman tells the story of the very first pensions in the UK. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war hungry Kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with Silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Guest: Dr. Rajiv Prabhakar, The Open University Producer: Phoebe Keane Researcher: Drew Hyndman Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Nov 16, 2022
The Economy: 7. Jobs and Unemployment
840
What happens when lots of people lose their jobs? Why might wages be low even though everyone who wants a job, has one? What do we mean by employment and unemployment and what does 'economic inactivity' mean? What is productivity and how does it relate to you and your job? Tim Harford explains, and Cambridge University Economic Historian Victoria Bateman tells the story of what happened when unemployment in the North East of England reached 70%. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war-hungry kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Guest: Professor Richard Davies, The University of Bristol Producer: Phoebe Keane Researcher: Drew Hyndman Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Nov 10, 2022
The Economy: 6. Recessions
840
What is a recession and what causes a recession? Whether something suddenly makes you poorer or just makes you worry about becoming poorer, when you cut your spending in the shops, this affects other people and ripples through the economy. Tim Harford explains the role a government can play in pulling a country out of a recession and Cambridge University Economic Historian Victoria Bateman tells the story of one of our longest recessions that started in 1921. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war-hungry kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Guest: Professor Richard Davies, University of Bristol Producer: Phoebe Keane Researcher: Drew Hyndman Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Nov 10, 2022
The Economy: 5. Banks
858
What are banks and what do they do with our money? Tim Harford explains where your money goes when you put it in a bank account and reveals that your bank might actually be a shadow bank. Economic historian Victoria Bateman tells the story of Priscilla Wakefield, one of Britain's forgotten female economists, who created the first saving bank for working-class women in a Tottenham grammar school. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war-hungry kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Guest: Professor Wendy Carlin, University College London and Director of CORE Econ (Curriculum Open-access Resources in Economics) Producer: Phoebe Keane Researchers: Drew Hyndman and Marianna Brain Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Nov 04, 2022
The Economy: 4. Bonds, Gilts, Stocks and Shares
896
Who lends the government money and why? And what exactly does the stock market do? All those people in the movies shouting at the screens are buying and selling something, but what? Tim Harford explains why government debt isn’t always a bad thing and why the prices agreed in a room in London affect the prices you pay for petrol and food. Economic Historian Victoria Bateman tells the story of the East India Company, one of the first companies to ask for money and in return, give people a share of their profits. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war-hungry kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Guest: Professor Wendy Carlin, University College London and Director of CORE Econ (Curriculum Open-access Resources in Economics). Producer: Phoebe Keane Researchers: Drew Hyndman and Marianna Brain Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Radio Current Affairs Production for BBC Radio 4
Nov 04, 2022
The Economy: 3. Economic Growth and GDP
901
What is economic growth, and what happens if there isn’t any? And what does that GDP figure stand for? Tim Harford explains how and why we measure everything. If the economy stops growing, that could mean things like job cuts, so measuring what’s going on is crucial. In this episode Tim Harford explains how the economy is measured and what is missed out. Economic historian Victoria Bateman tells us why people first started to measure this in the first place. Spoiler alert…. it’s to do with war! Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war-hungry kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Guest: Dimitri Zenghelis, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics Producer: Phoebe Keane Researchers: Drew Hyndman and Marianna Brain Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Radio Current Affairs Production for BBC Radio 4
Nov 04, 2022
The Economy: 2. Interest Rates and Mortgage Rates
882
Why does the interest you pay on your credit card or your mortgage rate go up and down? What’s the Bank of England got to do with it all? In this episode, Tim Harford explains why the banks need to charge you interest when you borrow money and explains why the Bank of England might put interest rates up. Economic historian Victoria Bateman tells us why the Bank of England first lent money to the government. Spoiler alert…. it was to wage war. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war-hungry kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Guest: Richard Davies, Professor of Economics at Bristol University Producer: Phoebe Keane Researchers: Drew Hyndman and Marianna Brain Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Nov 03, 2022
The Economy: 1. Inflation
871
What is inflation, why does it matter, and is someone to blame if it goes up? Understanding inflation will help you understand why your shopping is getting more and more expensive and why prices rarely seem to come down. Tim Harford explains why the inflation figure you see on the TV might not reflect the price rises you’re experiencing and economic historian Victoria Bateman tells us why having a boat load of silver coins isn’t always a good thing. Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war-hungry kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Guest: Richard Davies, Professor of Economics at Bristol University Producer: Phoebe Keane Researchers: Drew Hyndman and Marianna Brain Editor: Clare Fordham Theme music: Don’t Fret, Beats Fresh Music A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
Nov 03, 2022
Welcome to Understand: The Economy
77
Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war hungry Kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with Silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered. Producer: Phoebe Keane Researchers: Drew Hyndman and Marianna Bain Editor: Clare Fordham A BBC Radio Current Affairs Production for BBC Radio 4
Oct 31, 2022