Episodes
Published 05/22/24
More than 1bn people around the world are obese. That means there should be extraordinary demand for drugs to cure or mitigate the condition. Novo Nordisk is now Europe’s most valuable company and Eli Lilly’s market value has more than doubled. Both make the “miracle” drugs that can help people shed up to a fifth of their body weight. But these drugs promise to do more than boost drug companies’ profits. How will they reshape the economy? Hosts: Alice Fulwood, Mike Bird and Tom Lee-Devlin....
Published 04/18/24
Amazon started with a plan to disrupt bookselling. It sold cheap books online, delivering them straight to customers’ homes. Three decades later it employs a million people in America and owns one hundred warehouses, each stocked with millions of products. More than a third of the US e-commerce market flows through it. Now, another company has spied an opportunity to disrupt Amazon: Temu. The Chinese e-commerce giant wants to undercut its US rival, delivering impossibly cheap stuff to...
Published 03/21/24
It's been two years since Russia brought war to Ukraine. America, Britain and the European Union may not have intervened by putting boots on the ground—but they have launched a massive financial counteroffensive. Vladimir Putin’s government, his cronies and the businesses profiting from the war are all subject to sanctions, yet the Russian economy has proved remarkably resilient. So, does financial warfare work? Hosts: Mike Bird, Alice Fulwood and Tom Lee-Devlin. Guests: The Economist’s...
Published 02/29/24
European firms dominate the global luxury landscape, accounting for two-thirds of sales and nine of the ten most valuable luxury brands. A strong emphasis on heritage and control of the supply chain have helped ensure success. But can Europe hold on to its crown? Hosts: Tom Lee-Devlin, Alice Fulwood and Mike Bird. Guests: Thomai Serdari, a professor of marketing at NYU Stern; and Ermenegildo Zegna, CEO and chairman of Zegna Group, an Italian luxury company. Sign up for a free trial of...
Published 01/18/24
We raise the curtain on the business of New York’s iconic theatre district. Broadway has been struggling with rising costs and falling sales since the pandemic, but its financial drama started much earlier. The economic plot just doesn’t make sense. Will the lights go out on the Great White Way? Hosts: Alice Fulwood, Tom Lee-Devlin and Mike Bird. Guests: The Economist’s Stevie Hertz; actor Leanna Rae Conception; Megan O'Keefe, executive vice-president of production company No Guarantees;...
Published 12/21/23
In five days OpenAI’s boss was fired by its board; hired by Microsoft, the startup’s biggest investor; and returned to his post at OpenAI. Yet things cannot be as they were: the shuffle will have consequences for the darling of the artificial-intelligence community and for the industry as a whole. Hosts: Tom Lee-Devlin, Alice Fulwood and Mike Bird. Guests: Benedict Evans, a technology analyst and former venture capitalist, and The Economist’s Arjun Ramani and Ludwig Siegele. Sign up for a...
Published 11/23/23
President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act promised $370bn for green infrastructure and industry. It has spurred a surge in massive construction efforts such as battery plants and electric-vehicle factories. Our correspondent goes on a road trip, visiting small towns with big new projects under way and gauging the success of Mr Biden’s economic policy so far. Hosts: Alice Fulwood, Tom Lee-Devlin and Henry Tricks Runtime: 44 min This is a free episode of Money Talks. To listen every week,...
Published 11/09/23
Last week, we spoke to the author Michael Lewis, who was embedded with Sam Bankman-Fried, as FTX, the crypto-trading empire he built, came crashing down amid allegations of fraud, which Mr Bankman-Fried denies. Mr Lewis credits Changpeng Zhao - the boss of Binance, a rival exchange - with bringing Mr Bankman-Fried to prominence. But CZ, as he’s known, may also have played a role in his downfall. This week, we speak to him about what the future holds for crypto.  Hosts: Alice Fulwood, Mike...
Published 10/26/23
In downtown Manhattan, what is perhaps the biggest event in the history of crypto is playing out: the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried. SBF, as he’s known, is accused of masterminding a fraud that left $8bn in customer funds missing; he has pleaded not guilty. This week, we hear from author Michael Lewis, who was there for the rise and fall of SBF’s crypto empire. Next week, we speak to the man who wants to take his crown. Hosts: Tom Lee-Devlin, Mike Bird and Alice Fulwood. Guests: Michael...
Published 10/19/23
It’s that time of year when an economist is woken by an early call from the Nobel Committee in Sweden. This year, it was the turn of Claudia Goldin, whose work has revolutionised our understanding of gender in the labour market. And on this week’s podcast, we speak to her. Hosts: Mike Bird, Alice Fulwood and Tom Lee-Devlin. Guests: Arjun Ramani, from The Economist; and Claudia Goldin. Sign up for Economist Podcasts+ now and get 50% off your subscription with our limited time offer. You will...
Published 10/12/23
Trouble is brewing in the world of customer service. After rising steadily for nearly two decades, customer contentment, as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), began plummeting around five years ago. But if it pays to keep customers happy, why are businesses getting worse at it? Hosts: Tom Lee-Devlin and Mike Bird. Guests: Darci Darnell, a senior partner at Bain; and Claes Fornell, architect of the ACSI. Sign up for Economist Podcasts+ now and get 50% off your...
Published 10/05/23
Insurers make their money betting against disasters. They wager that the premiums paid by policyholders will outstrip the losses caused by fires, floods and other catastrophes. But in parts of the US that winning formula is no longer working–and climate change is only worsening the odds for insurers.  Hosts: Mike Bird and Tom Lee-Devlin. Contributors: Aryn Braun, The Economist’s US West Coast Correspondent; Karen Clark, founder of risk modelling firm KCC; and Jean-Paul Conoscente, CEO of...
Published 09/28/23
One of the many aims of President Joe Biden’s signature legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, is to cut the cost of drugs prescribed by Medicare, a government health insurance programme for Americans 65 and over. But the policy could have some side-effects for patients far beyond the US. Hosts: Tom Lee-Devlin and Mike Bird. Contributors: Shailesh Chitnis, The Economist’s global business correspondent; Tricia Neuman, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-care think-tank; and David...
Published 09/21/23
Thousands of building projects across China have been halted or dramatically slowed as a rolling crisis engulfs the country’s property sector. The government’s “three red lines” policy sought to limit the leverage of property developers, but has now forced scores of them into default and restructuring. Confidence in the market has evaporated. And in a country where people buy their homes in advance, long before they are built, that wave of worry has sent sales tumbling. On this week’s...
Published 09/14/23
Wealth managers occupy a unique place in their clients’ lives. Not only do they advise on picking assets and tax-efficient investment strategies—they often find out about illicit affairs and which heirs might be a problem child. These services were once the preserve of those worth $10m or more but new technology means they are accessible to people with as little as $100,000 in the bank. And now banks are fighting to be the ones to advise the moderately wealthy.  On this week’s podcast, hosts...
Published 09/07/23
The mantra from the mid-2000s that “data is the new oil” is taking on a new sheen: tapping and refining it into personalised advertisements has become harder, thanks to increasing regulation and the self-serving policies of the tech behemoths. Meanwhile artificial intelligence is a data-guzzler, eschewing the pointedly personal in favour of the revealing aggregate. Both trends raise thorny questions about ownership of the precious underlying resource. On this week’s show, hosts Tom...
Published 08/31/23
Is a college degree worth it? That question hangs over millions of would-be students, as they prepare to apply to university. It is one that many graduates might be mulling over as they have to start paying off their college debts once more. America’s pandemic-era moratorium on student debt payments comes to an end in September.  On this week’s podcast, hosts Alice Fulwood, Tom Lee-Devlin and Mike Bird examine whether college is still worth the time and the money. Constantine Yannelis from...
Published 08/24/23
When is economic decoupling not economic decoupling? When it drives your allies to tighter commercial links with your adversary. That’s the situation the US finds itself in today, when it comes to its policies directed against China. Since the Trump administration put tariffs on Chinese imports in 2018, the US has been trying to extricate itself from commercial ties with the world's second-largest economy. President Biden has expanded the policy to keep China locked out of US supply chains in...
Published 08/17/23
Grocery shopping is a giant prize–accounting for around $800bn of spending a year in America. But it is also a notoriously tough business, with price-sensitive customers keeping a tight lid on margins. Add in online delivery and it often becomes unprofitable. Convincing customers to buy more of their groceries online is the holy grail for a digital-native company like Amazon, which is a newcomer to the business. But Amazon’s “technology first” approach hasn’t been enough to win over the...
Published 08/10/23
American economists are scratching their heads in confusion. The Fed’s aggressive rate hikes hasn’t produced the outcome many expected. Instead of recession and massive layoffs, the US economy now looks tantalisingly close to a fabled “soft landing” with the jobs market remaining resilient, and inflation tumbling. The unique set of circumstances of the post-pandemic US economy have perplexed almost everyone. The Fed's latest rate rise could now be the last for a while. What can this rate hike...
Published 08/03/23
The only action taking place in Hollywood is on the picket lines. Thousands of writers and actors have taken to the streets to protest the way that technology has affected their wages. At the top of their list of demands is a change to the way they are compensated when shows air on streaming services, like Netflix. But filmmakers' use of artificial intelligence is also in the spotlight as concerns mount about how companies might use actors’ likenesses.  On this week’s podcast, hosts Alice...
Published 07/27/23
Newspaper sports pages have - in recent years - often read more like business sections with reports of mergers, acquisitions and well-funded startups trying to steal market share. But those deals tend to be structured with the interests of team bosses and players in mind, rather than the fans. That got the “Money Talks” team wondering: where does the balance lie between commercial imperatives in sport and fan support?  On this week’s podcast, hosts Mike Bird and Alice Fulwood draft in The...
Published 07/20/23
Jamie Dimon runs America’s biggest and most successful bank: JP Morgan Chase. That makes him the boss of 300,000 people across more than 60 countries. He’s the only CEO of a major bank to have been in his role since before the financial crisis. But there is a question about what he does next—Mr Dimon’s enthusiasm to talk policy has led to speculation that his next act could be political. On this week’s podcast, Mr Dimon speaks to The Economist’s editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes about...
Published 07/13/23
The aviation industry is responsible for more than 2% of annual carbon emissions. That figure is set to rise as more passengers take to the skies. But the sector has set itself an ambitious target: to hit net-zero emissions by 2050.  On this week’s podcast, hosts Tom Lee-Devlin and Alice Fulwood ask if airlines can really go green. Tom discovers the limits of battery-powered flight when a trip in one of the world’s first electric planes ends in an emergency landing. Andreea Moyes, from Air...
Published 07/06/23