300 episodes

Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics.

Analysis BBC Radio 4

    • Government
    • 4.5 • 2 Ratings

Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics.

    Addiction in the age of the metaverse

    Addiction in the age of the metaverse

    Are we past the point of no return when it comes to our obsession with online technology? Elaine Moore considers her own tech use and explores our future in the metaverse.

    According to a YouGov poll, the majority of Brits can’t get through dinner without checking their phone. Children and young adults can now be treated on the NHS for ‘gaming and internet addiction’. So, with the arrival of the metaverse, which promises to seamlessly blend our real and virtual worlds, are we facing a future which could potentially turbocharge this issue?

    Elaine asks if addiction to technology is real, and as it becomes more entwined in our everyday lives, what’s being done about it? Speaking to addiction specialists, tech experts, and others, she finds out how we can live more harmoniously with technology and develop healthier relationships with our screens.

    With contributions from:

    James Ball, author of 'The System: Who Owns the Internet, and How it Owns Us'.

    Anna Lembke, Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine and author of 'Dopamine Nation'.

    Dr Rebecca Lockwood from the National Center for Gaming Disorder.

    Catherine Price, science journalist and founder of ScreenLifeBalance.com.

    Professor of AI and Spatial Computing, David Reid.

    Producer: Craig Templeton Smith

    • 29 min
    Is the UK the new sick man of Europe?

    Is the UK the new sick man of Europe?

    Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the United Kingdom was sometimes characterised as the 'sickman of Europe' due to industrial strife and poor economic performance compared to other European countries.

    Today, inflation is once again rising and growth is forecast to slow considerably and economists predict that the UK could suffer a greater hit to living standards next year than any other major European country.

    BBC economics correspondent Dharshini David asks just how hard the times ahead will be and how might we find a cure to avoid the mantle of 'sick man of Europe' once more?

    Producer: Caroline Bayley
    Editor: Richard Fenton - Smith
    Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar
    Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross

    • 28 min
    What is childcare for?

    What is childcare for?

    Is formal childcare for pre-school children there to provide an early years education? Or to allow parents to go out to work?

    Politicians would say both, but many argue the UK’s system is failing to do either.

    Charlotte McDonald explores what improvements could be made and ask – do we want a big overhaul of our current system?

    • 29 min
    Beyond the cost of living crisis

    Beyond the cost of living crisis

    The Bank of England says inflation might reach 11 per cent this year. There are warnings that some people will have to choose between heating and eating.

    But what does it mean for the whole economy when prices just keep rising? In the 1970s inflation in the UK led to prices and wages spiralling as workers fought for wages that would keep up with prices.

    Those years were dominated by waves of strikes and social unrest as inflation became embedded in the economic system. The current situation is being exacerbated by Covid 19, the war in Ukraine and Brexit so is there anything that government can do to stop it? How bad could it get? And are the days of low inflation gone forever?

    Reporter Philip Coggan talks to:
    Manoj Pradhan consultant at Talking Macroeconomics
    Andy Haldane, Chief Executive of the RSA and former Chief Economist at the Bank of England
    Jagjit Chadha: Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)
    Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium
    Ruth Gregory, Economist at Capital Economics
    Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics at Harvard University

    Producer: Claire Bowes
    Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith
    Production co-ordinators: Helena Warwick-Cross and Maria Ogundele
    Sound engineer: Neil Churchill

    • 28 min
    Cashing in on the green rush

    Cashing in on the green rush

    Some countries have legalised cannabis, often with the hope of kick-starting a lucrative new source of tax revenue - but just how profitable has it been?

    Aside from a few fact-finding trips, the prospect of legalising cannabis is not on the political agenda here in the UK - but could it be missing out?

    Advocates say it's a bad call to let criminals continue to profit when legal businesses and the government could reap the financial rewards instead. Opponents counter that no amount of money is worth the associated public health risks.

    But in the past decade countries including Canada, Malta, Uruguay and parts of the United States have decided to embrace the so-called green rush.

    But how is it working out for them economically and what lessons could other places considering legalisation learn?

    Reporter Datshiane Navanayagam talks to:

    Christopher Snowden, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs

    Adam Spiker, executive director of a cannabis trade association in California

    Amanda Chicago Lewis, a US based investigative reporter covering cannabis

    Laura Schultz, executive director of research at Rockefeller Institute of Government in New York

    Rishi Malkani, Cannabis Leader at Deloitte

    Charlotte Bowyer, Head of Advisory at Hanway Associates

    Producer: Ben Carter
    Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith
    Production co-ordinators: Helena Warwick-Cross and Maria Ogundele
    Sound engineer: James Beard

    • 28 min
    Germany and Russia: It's Complicated

    Germany and Russia: It's Complicated

    In late February, three days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made a landmark speech in the German parliament, the Bundestag. The invasion, he declared, represented a 'Zeitenwende' - a turning point.

    The speech has been much discussed since - was Mr Scholz referring simply to the fact of the invasion, or to the way Germany needed to respond to it?

    The speech contained a number of policy statements, the boldest of which was the commitment to set up a 100 billion Euro fund to re-equip Germany's outdated armed forces.

    The question now is whether Germany will live up to Mr Scholz' promises, or will the cultural, political and economic bonds that have tied Germany and Russia together get in the way?

    Presenter: Caroline Bayley
    Producer: Tim Mansel

    • 29 min

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