Weekly Economics Podcast



Award-winning podcast about the economic forces shaping our world, with Ayeisha Thomas-Smith and guests. New episodes on Mondays.Produced by James Shield. Programme editor for NEF: Huw Jordan.Brought to you by the New Economics Foundation the independent think tank and charity campaigning for a fairer, sustainable economy.


  • Who owns the internet?

    16/05/2022 Duración: 46min

    What do you get the guy who has everything? A 44 billion dollar social media platform apparently. Elon Musk has already been accused of union busting, shot a car into space, and become the world’s richest man. So what’s next on his to-do list? Buying Twitter of course! From Mark Zuckerberg to Elon Musk, should we be worried that our online lives are in the hands of a few super-rich men? Will cryptocurrencies and Web3 make the internet good again? And what would a people-powered internet really look like? Ayeisha is joined by Dr James Muldoon, senior lecturer in political science at the University of Exeter and Head of Digital Research at the Autonomy think tank. You can grab a copy of James' book Platform Socialism: How to Reclaim our Digital Future from Big Tech here: http://www.plutobooks.com/9780745346977/platform-socialism/ ----- Researched by Margaret Welsh. Produced by Becky Malone. Music by Poddington Bear under Creative Commons license. Enjoying the show? Tweet us your comments and questions @N

  • What did Covid-19 reveal about how our economy is really run?

    03/05/2022 Duración: 45min

    In the early months of the pandemic, the government shut down whole sectors of the economy and started paying the wages of a huge proportion of Brits. Some worked from home, juggling homeschooling their kids and figuring out how to use Zoom. Others risked their health to travel to work. Meanwhile Big Tech and outsourcing companies raked in money through government contracts. What can we learn from moments when the predictable rules of economic life are suspended? Who wins and who loses in these points of crisis? And has the pandemic pushed us into a new form of capitalism? Ayeisha is joined by Sahil Dutta and Nick Taylor, lecturers in political economy at Goldsmiths University to discuss their new book "Unprecedented? How Covid-19 revealed the politics of our economy" - The book written alongside Will Davies and Martina Tazzioli is out now: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/691630/unprecedented-by-william-davies-sahil-jai-dutta-nick-taylor-and-martina-tazzioli/ - Find out more about Sahil and Nick's

  • What does the Sunak scandal tell us about our tax system?

    19/04/2022 Duración: 34min

    A few weeks ago the chancellor presided over a spring budget which ushered in the fastest drop in living standards on record, as he told us that we “can’t protect everyone”. But this week it was revealed that his wife has avoided paying around £20 million in tax, due to her non-dom status. Accused of “rank hypocrisy” by Keir Starmer, Rishi Sunak’s popularity has certainly been dented. The Sunak family hasn’t broken the law - but what does that say about the laws that govern who has to pay tax? What’s wrong with our tax system, when the chancellor can raise taxes on working people on one hand, and benefit from tax avoidance on the other? And what would fairer taxes really look like? Ayeisha is joined by Tom Peters, head of advocacy at Tax Justice UK. ----- Researched by Margaret Welsh. Produced by David Powell. Music by Poddington Bear under Creative Commons license. Enjoying the show? Tweet us your comments and questions @NEF! The New Economics Podcast is brought to you by the New Economics Foundation

  • The UK's response to the refugee crisis

    04/04/2022 Duración: 33min

    Since the start of the war in Ukraine, over 4 million people have fled the country. Earlier this month Priti Patel announced a visa application centre had been established en route to Calais for Ukrainians trying to come to the UK. But the centre never existed. Days later, the Home Office said it was actually in Lille, but would not reveal where. Officials then claimed that refugees in Calais could get free Eurostar tickets to travel to the centre - despite the fact that the Eurostar does not stop in Calais. A day later the centre was moved from Lille to a town 30 miles away. Why has the government response been so chaotic? What are the barriers for refugees travelling to the UK? And with an anti-refugee bill moving through Parliament, what does this mean for how we treat refugees in the future? Ayeisha is joined by Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action. Find out more about Detention Action and how you can support its work here: https://detentionaction.org.uk/ ----- Researched by Margaret Welsh. Pro

  • Are fossil fuels funding the war in Ukraine?

    21/03/2022 Duración: 40min

    At the time of recording, hundreds, and possibly thousands, of civilians have been killed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and more than 2.5m Ukranians have fled the country. The Russian army has been accused of war crimes after bombing a maternity hospital in the south. Allies of the Ukrainian president say that Russia will only back down if Europe bans the import of Russian oil and gas. But what do oil and gas have to do with the war in Ukraine? Will banning Russian fossil fuels really make Putin reconsider? And what does all this mean for soaring energy bills in the UK? Ayeisha is joined by Svitlana Romanko, Ukrainian environmental lawyer, climate activist and strategist, and spokesperson for Stand With Ukraine, and Tessa Khan, Founder and Director of Uplift, and previous guest of the podcast. - You can sign on to the Stand with Ukraine campaign here: https://www.with-ukraine.org/ - Find out more about the Putin100 campaign: https://putin100.org/#why - Read the IEA's 10-Point Plan to Reduc

  • Tackling the cost of living crisis

    07/03/2022 Duración: 44min

    2022 has been dubbed the ‘year of the squeeze’ by the Resolution Foundation. In April, soaring energy bills will collide with tax increases for working people. Last month grocery prices rose at their fastest rate in eight years, and inflation is at its highest level in almost three decades. When the media talk about the ‘cost of living crisis’, what do they mean? How did we end up in a country with more food banks than branches of McDonalds? And what can the government do to make sure everyone can afford life’s essentials? Ayeisha is joined by NEF's Alfie Stirling and Sabine Goodwin, coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN). Some of the clips used in this episode are from IFAN members, supporting people in food banks across the country. Thanks to Mairi McCallum, Joyce Leggate, Charlotte White, Betty Grant and Rajesh Makwana for sharing your experiences with us. - If you’d like to get involved in NEF’s campaign for income support, head over to the Living Income website: https://livingincome

  • Tackling the energy crisis

    21/02/2022 Duración: 41min

    Families are bracing for less and less money to get by as energy bills rise this spring. In the fifth richest country in the world, pensioners are skipping meals so they can afford their heating bills, and parents are only switching the heating on when their children are at home. At the same time, fossil fuel companies like BP and Shell made their biggest profit in years. What do these two things have to do with each other? Why are energy bills soaring? And what can the government do to make sure everyone can afford to heat their homes? We’re no longer the Weekly Economics Podcast because episodes will now be coming to you every fortnight. But as always we’ll be discussing the more important economic issues with a variety of interesting voices. For the first episode of the New Economics Podcast, Ayeisha is joined by Dr Joseph Baines, senior lecturer in international political economy at King’s College London and Abby Jitendra, principal policy manager on energy at Citizens Advice. -If you're worried abou

  • Closing the Covid-19 vaccination gap

    29/11/2021 Duración: 45min

    Coronavirus cases are once again rising in Europe and across the world. The World Health Organisation has said that countries shouldn’t be giving out booster jabs for the rest of the year, but in the UK we’re offering third shots to people as young as 40. Meanwhile, only 3% of people in low-income countries have had a single dose. Covid vaccines may have prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths in the UK, but who is missing out on the global vaccine rollout? Why can’t poorer countries get hold of the Covid vaccine? And how can we change the rules of our international economy so that everyone is protected during the pandemic? For the last episode of the series, Ayeisha is joined by Achal Prabhala, writer, researcher, and coordinator of the AccessIBSA project, and Saiorse Fitzpatrick, advocacy manager at STOPAIDS. - Listen to a previous episode on vaccine nationalism with Miriam Brett and Tahir Amin https://neweconomics.org/2021/02/weekly-economics-podcast-vaccine-nationalism - Read more about the WTO propo

  • The future of work

    19/11/2021 Duración: 37min

    A record number of employees have quit their jobs in recent months, in what’s been dubbed the Great Resignation. Newspapers report that it’s part of post-Covid demand for flexible working and better work life balance. After last year, where up to a quarter of the UK workforce was paid not to work through the furlough scheme, are we reassessing our relationship to our jobs? How does work impact our health and sense of self? And should we improve our working conditions - or try to abolish work altogether? Ayeisha is joined by Amelia Horgan, assistant lecturer at the school of philosophy and art history, University of Essex, and author of Lost in Work. - Grab a copy of Amelia's book: https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745340913/lost-in-work/ - Listen back to past episodes on outsourcing and the impacts of the economy on mental health: https://neweconomics.org/section/podcasts - Read Ayeisha's piece for the second issue of the New Economics Zine: https://neweconomics.org/2020/10/this-is-your-brain-on-neolibera

  • Is our digital economy breeding misogyny?

    12/11/2021 Duración: 47min

    In August this year Jake Davison, a 22-year-old from Plymouth, went on a shooting rampage that left six dead, including his mother and himself. In the aftermath it emerged that Davison had been a member of ‘incel’ forums online. He’s not the first mass shooter to have links to online groups espousing extreme hatred of women. Since Elliot Rodger killed six people in California in 2014, self-proclaimed ‘involuntary celibates’ have carried out multiple mass murders, mostly in North America. What’s driving this extreme misogyny? Is incel ideology on the rise? And are Big Tech companies to blame for allowing these groups to thrive online? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined Debbie Ging, associate professor in the school of communications at Dublin City University. - Find out more about Zizi Papacharissi's work on affective publics oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/1…999736 - Michael Kimmel's book Angry White Men is available here uk.bookshop.org/books/angry-white…era/9781568589619 - Read Amnesty's report on

  • Trans Liberation

    05/11/2021 Duración: 53min

    If you read mainstream media coverage of the issues facing transgender people in the UK, you’ll see a lot of fevered discussion of pronouns, bathroom access, and confusing legislation like the Gender Recognition Act. The media tells one story - but the other side of the coin is that half of trans people in the UK are unemployed and one in four have experienced direct healthcare discrimination. When we focus on bathrooms and pronouns, what other conversations are shut down? What are the economic issues facing trans people today? And is trans liberation really a class issue? Ayeisha is joined by Nim Ralph, community activist, writer, trainer and facilitator. - Read Fergal O'Dwyer's interview with Nim in the third issue of the New Economics Zine: neweconomics.org/2021/08/why-trans-liberation-is-a-class-issue - Read the Albert Kennedy lgbtq+ youth homelessness report: https://www.akt.org.uk/report - Find gal-dem's investigation into transphobia in the gender-based violence sector here: https://gal-dem.com/tra

  • Is austerity back?

    26/10/2021 Duración: 42min

    At the height of the pandemic, politicians promised to do whatever it took to keep the economy going, and introduced emergency support like the furlough scheme. But now those measures have been cut and the conversation has turned to “fixing the public finances”, ending “reckless borrowing'' and preventing “soaring debt”. The word austerity hasn’t featured yet but it’s all feeling a bit familiar, isn’t it? So, what do these phrases actually mean? Should we really be worried about things like government borrowing and public debt? And what are some of the alternative ways of thinking about our economy? Ayeisha is joined by Dora Meade, head of messaging at the New Economy Organisers Network (NEON), and Frank van Lerven, senior economist at NEF. ----- Researched by Margaret Welsh. Produced by Becky Malone. Music by Poddington Bear and Christian Bjoerklund under Creative Commons license. Enjoying the show? Tweet us your comments and questions @NEF! The Weekly Economics Podcast is brought to you by the New Ec

  • What really happens at a UN climate summit?

    15/10/2021 Duración: 47min

    In a few weeks’ time, 25,000 people will descend on Glasgow. They are coming for the UN climate summit, also known as Cop26. The delegates might not have the pleasure of sampling the city’s mac-and-cheese pies or a dram of whiskey. Instead they will meet with others from around the world to try and agree new ways to bring down greenhouse-gas emissions. So what happens at a UN climate conference? Are negotiators in an events centre really going to stop runaway climate change? And what should we look out for once the Glasgow conference begins? Ayeisha is joined be Nathan Thanki, co-coordinator at the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice. - Find out more about the COP26 Coalition: https://cop26coalition.org/ ----- Music by Podington Bear, used under Creative Commons licence. Researched by Margaret Welsh. Produced by Becky Malone. Enjoying the show? Tweet us your comments and questions @NEF! The Weekly Economics Podcast is brought to you by the New Economics Foundation. Find out more at www.newecon

  • The Great Homes Upgrade

    08/10/2021 Duración: 35min

    The UK has the draughtiest and oldest housing in Western Europe. And our gas boilers pump out twice as much carbon dioxide as all of the country’s power stations. Do we need to upgrade the UK’s homes? Why is our housing powering the climate crisis? And how can we make sure everyone’s home is warm, clean and green - whether we rent a flat or own a castle? Ayeisha is joined by Chaitanya Kumar, head of environment and the green transition at NEF, and Martin Heath, director of Basingstoke Energy Services Co-op. - Find out more about the Great Homes Upgrade campaign: https://greathomesupgrade.org/ ----- Music by Candlegravity and Podington Bear, used under Creative Commons licence. Researched by Margaret Welsh. Produced by Becky Malone. Enjoying the show? Tweet us your comments and questions @NEF! The Weekly Economics Podcast is brought to you by the New Economics Foundation. Find out more at www.neweconomics.org

  • Can we prevent living standards plummeting this winter?

    01/10/2021 Duración: 32min

    Over 11m people have been furloughed in the last 16 months, and almost 6m are currently on universal credit. But over the next week, the government’s main emergency policies to help people through the pandemic will end. People on furlough will find out if their jobs are still waiting for them, and people on universal credit will find their benefits cut by £20 a week. The government seems to be acting like we’re out of the woods of the pandemic - but are we really? With over a million people still furloughed, energy bills going up, and benefit cuts kicking in, what kind of winter are we facing? And how can we make sure everyone has enough to live on for the rest of the pandemic and beyond? Back with a brand new series, Ayeisha is joined by Kate Bell, head of rights, international, social and economics at the TUC, and NEF senior economist Sarah Arnold. - Read the TUC's proposal on a more progressive way to fund social care here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/research-analysis/reports/new-deal-social-care-new-deal-

  • Where did our immigration system come from?

    13/08/2021 Duración: 40min

    This week a controversial deportation flight took off for Jamaica. Legal challenges meant that only a tenth of the 90 people due to be deported were on the plane. The planned deportation included people whose lawyers said they had a right to stay in the UK under the Windrush rules, or who had arrived in the UK as children. Critics say that our immigration system is unnecessarily cruel. But what is its origin story? How has it changed over time? And what does it have to do with Britain’s colonial history? In this final episode of the series, Ayeisha is joined by Ian Sanjay Patel, LSE fellow in human rights and author of We’re Here Because You Were There: Immigration and the End of Empire. You can grab a copy of Ian's book here: https://www.versobooks.com/books/3700-we-re-here-because-you-were-there ----- Music by Blue Dots Session and Podington Bear, used under Creative Commons licence. Researched by Margaret Welsh. Produced by Becky Malone. Enjoying the show? Tweet us your comments and questions @NEF!

  • Fighting the climate crisis in the courts

    06/08/2021 Duración: 31min

    With the COP26 global climate conference coming up later this year, we’re spending five episodes this series looking at pressing climate issues. In this episode we’re talking about taking the fossil fuel industry to court. Last week, a government spokesperson said that we should freeze leftover bread and stop rinsing dishes before we put them in the dishwasher to tackle the climate crisis. Meanwhile, the government has approved a new oil field in the North Sea that we’d need to reforest the whole of England in order to offset. Greenpeace has threatened the government with legal action over the new oil field, and they’re not the only ones trying to fight the climate crisis in the courts. So what legal challenges should we be paying attention to? How do they work? And what do they have to do with the climate movement at large? Ayeisha is joined by Tessa Khan, international climate change and human rights lawyer, and founder and director of Uplift. -Support the Stop Cambo (https://twitter.com/StopCambo) and

  • Fast Fashion

    03/08/2021 Duración: 51min

    With the COP26 global climate conference coming up later this year, we’re spending five episodes this series looking at pressing climate issues. In this episode we’re talking fast fashion. Summer is here and Love Island is all over the telly. The show’s sexy singles are competing for big prize money, and the inevitable sponsorship deals with fast fashion brands like Shein, Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing. But these companies have been accused of exploiting their workers and polluting the environment. Our t-shirt label might say ‘made in China’, but the raw materials and finished product have often travelled around the globe before it ends up in our wardrobes. How have we ended up with such a complicated system? What are the costs for our environment, and the people who make our clothes? And what can the fashion industry tell us about how our global economy works? In this episode Ayeisha is joined by Maxine Bédat, director of New Standard Institute and author of Unraveled: the life and death of a garment.

  • How can we tackle the climate crisis while levelling up?

    23/07/2021 Duración: 36min

    With the COP26 global climate conference coming up later this year, we’re spending five episodes this series looking at some of the biggest climate issues. In this episode we’re talking about a just transition. Last week, the prime minister travelled to Coventry to set out his post-pandemic vision for the country. It was anticipated as a flagship moment for the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda, but critics decried the speech as all talk, no action. This comes a month after the Committee on Climate Change said the UK is facing a similar problem when it comes to achieving our net zero targets: lots of ambition, but no detailed plans to get there. So, we need more action on tackling inequality and the climate crisis, but can we do both at the same time? How do we ensure communities aren’t left behind in the move to a low-carbon economy? And what does a successful green transition actually look like for workers in high-carbon industries? Kirsty Styles is back in the presenting seat covering for Ayeisha. She'

  • A climate conversation between two generations

    09/07/2021 Duración: 42min

    With the COP26 global climate conference coming up later this year, we’re going to spend five episodes this series looking at some of the biggest climate issues. We kicked things off last week with Alice Bell explaining everything you need to know about greenwashing. This week the conversation is about the climate movement with activists from two generations. The modern environmental movement has been around for over 50 years. And over the last couple, it’s been reinvigorated by a new generation of young student climate strikers. After a deadly heatwave swept the western US and Canada, and temperatures in Jacobabad, Pakistan soared to a life-threatening 52 degrees last week, how can activists communicate the connection between these events and the climate crisis? Is the new wave of activists more willing to talk about colonialism and capitalism? And what challenges is the climate movement facing today? This week, we’re hosting a conversation between climate activists from two different generations. One is

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