Rank #1: Big Data's Lens Into the U.S. Economy
Most U.S. economic data, such as jobs and consumer spending, is based not on actual data, but on surveys of Americans and businesses. What if you could look at every single purchase that people make, or peek at the bank accounts of every small business? The JPMorgan Chase Institute is trying to do just that -- using the bank's vast customer data -- and sniff out trends in the economy that are invisible in the official numbers.
Nov 29 2018
Rank #2: Episode 2: Should You Be Freaking Out Over China?
(Bloomberg) -- When stocks crash in the world's second-largest economy, people pay attention. In this bonus episode, Brookings senior fellow Kenneth Lieberthal joins the team to discuss what's happening in China, where its economy is heading and what Dan discovered while back-to-school shopping for his son.
Sep 15 2015
Rank #3: Why Millions of Americans Still Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck
Millions of middle-class Americans face an unexpected reality in today's era of economic growth: their paychecks vary so much that paying bills and saving for the future is exhausting and challenging month after month. This week on Benchmark, Dan and Scott speak with Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider, whose book, "The Financial Diaries," vividly illustrates the financial struggles of more than 200 U.S. families.
May 31 2017
Rank #4: Big Data Goes Where Economies Fear to Tread
Figuring out the global economy has always involved looking at the data. But only in recent years has big data, such as that contained in satellite imagery, become a factor in helping understand what's going on. One place where it's particularly useful is China, where official figures are far less comprehensive than in the U.S. and most other developed nations. It's also provided badly-needed insight into poverty across Africa. Scott and Dan get the scoop from UC-Berkeley professor Joshua Blumenstock and Bloomberg China economy editor Jeff Kearns.
Nov 16 2017
Rank #5: How the Trade War Is Reshaping Supply Chains From Los Angeles to Vietnam
Economies represent the ultimate sum of millions of people and businesses making millions of decisions. And if enough of those businesses are frozen on how to respond to the U.S.-China trade war -- like the owner of a Los Angeles cosmetics company featured in this week's episode -- then the U.S. economy will be in trouble. Sarah McGregor, editor of Bloomberg's real-economy team, reports on how the businesswoman, Dara Venekeo, is being forced to consider whether to relocate her hard-built supply chains from China to another country, such as Vietnam.
The conversation on supply chains continues as host Stephanie Flanders visits Singapore this week and checks in with Asia economy reporter Michelle Jamrisko there on how the situation is playing out in Southeast Asia and particularly Vietnam. Stephanie also talks with Asia economy editor Malcolm Scott on how the China-dependent economies of South Korea, Australia and New Zealand might need to resort to unorthodox monetary measures to shore up growth.
Oct 31 2019
Rank #6: The Global Economic Preview for 2020
Will trade wars go the way of 2019 or keep on raging?
Is Europe’s economy finally on a rebound?
What does U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s election victory mean for U.S. President Donald Trump and the Democrats running to replace him?
These are just a few of the questions that Stephanie Flanders and our Bloomberg panel address in a special roundtable discussion.
Flanders is joined by Bloomberg Chief Economist Tom Orlik, senior trade and economy reporter Shawn Donnan, and European economy editor Jana Randow as they reflect on the key moments of 2019, and look ahead to 2020.
Jan 02 2020
Rank #7: Death and Despair in White America
We usually don't think about economics as a life-or-death subject. But for white Americans without a college degree, there's no other way to describe it. With job opportunities limited and an opioid epidemic in full throttle, death rates among this group are skyrocketing, an issue that probably helped elect Donald Trump as president. Anne Case and Angus Deaton, the married academic couple who brought this issue to the forefront, have just issued a followup paper to their groundbreaking 2015 study on the subject. Case returns to Benchmark to discuss the latest findings with Dan and Scott -- and offers her ominous take on what it portends for the future of the nation.
Mar 29 2017
Rank #8: Is Populism the End or Salvation of Liberal Democracy?
This week we bring you a special conversation between host Stephanie Flanders and Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf. They try to make sense of the rise in populism in recent years, what it means for the global economy, and whether it spells the end of liberal democracy. The event was recorded in London on July 1.
Jul 04 2019
Rank #9: Is It Curtains for the U.S.-China Economic Relationship?
Beneath the tariffs, counter-tariffs and on-again off-again negotiations between the U.S. and China over trade policy, a deeper confrontation is brewing—one with potentially bigger consequences.
In a punitive, short-term move, the U.S. is preventing Chinese companies from using some American technologies. But longer-term, the tactic may trigger a “Silicon Curtain” behind which China develops homegrown tech to rival America’s.
Carolynn Look reports from China on how this is playing out for businesses big and small, and host Stephanie Flanders talks with Bloomberg Chief Economist Tom Orlik about what it all means for China’s economy.
Then we switch gears, in more ways than one, and turn to a new list of the best (and worst) cities around for drivers. Flanders and Bloomberg economy editor Zoe Schneeweiss discuss what makes a metropolis great for automobiles. As it turns out, what’s good for driving can also be good for walking and bicycling.
Nov 14 2019
Rank #10: This Nation Has the Secret to Trump's GDP Goal
Donald Trump's road to 3 percent growth might run through New Zealand. The faraway nation is the only developed economy that's been expanding at such a torrid pace, thanks to the one factor that Trump railed against on the campaign trail: immigration. How did the land of "Lord of the Rings" become such a desired destination, and how are all those people squeezing into such a small country? Joining Dan and Scott is Tracy Withers, who has spent almost two decades covering the economy of his native land as a Bloomberg reporter in Wellington.
May 17 2017
Rank #11: What the Sanders or Warren Wealth Tax Means for Inequality in the U.S.
The 2020 U.S. presidential election may be a year away but one policy idea is already stirring fierce debate: a big-time tax on the richest Americans. Katia Dmitrieva reports on why Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want to implement a wealth tax, and how it might work. Many economists have also been warming to the idea of taxing wealth. But you can't help noticing that most of the European countries that have tried wealth taxes have later junked them. Host Stephanie Flanders talks with Bloomberg economists Johanna Jeansson and Maeva Cousin about the death of wealth taxes in Sweden and France and the possible lessons for the US.
Then Stephanie talks with Frankfurt-based economy editor Jana Randow about two major milestones in the region: Christine Lagarde taking over as president of the European Central Bank and the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Randow -- the co-author of a recent book about outgoing ECB head Mario Draghi -- explains how Lagarde is likely to differ from her predecessor. She then shares her personal memories of November 1989 from the standpoint of a child growing up in East Germany.
Nov 07 2019
Rank #12: Most Companies Talk Creativity; Few Walk It. Art Can Help
Western Capitalism is supposed to thrive on Joseph Schumpeter's idea of creative destruction. Yet few companies really nurture creativity. Beancounters loom, ready to take away the canvas that the next big thing is sketched on. Take heart: Thinking about art can help business and finance executives get to Point B. They don't always have to know what Point B looks like before they begin. New York University Professor and author Amy Whitaker explains why to Dan and Scott. Along the way she shares anecdotes about investment bankers in pinstripes mucking it up in a London studio. And how did Oscar-winning `Dallas Buyers Club' almost not get made?
Aug 31 2017
Rank #13: How Artificial Intelligence is Taking Over the Economy
From self-driving cars to robot-powered factories, artificial intelligence is taking over significant pieces of the global economy. But while this is good news for the businesses incorporating robots into their workplaces, it also means more and more people will lose their jobs to computers. Joshua Gans, co-author of the recent book "Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence," explains to hosts Scott Lanman and Christopher Condon what this shift means for the economy, and how it will also impact issues like inequality, monopolies and geopolitical competition.
Apr 26 2018
Rank #14: Episode 4: The Millennials Go Rogue
(Bloomberg) -- With Dan on vacation, Tori and Aki take the chance to talk about their generation: the millennials. They push past the stereotypes and fact-check some common assumptions using real data. Listen to find out if millennials are forever scarred by the recession, when they'll start having children, and just how big the consequences of their economic decision-making could be.
Sep 24 2015
Rank #15: North Korea's Unlikely Economic Boom
North Korea seems an unlikely place for capitalism to take hold. But markets are playing a bigger role in daily life in the country. While that's created a degree of economic stability in the short run, it's also inexorably undermining the power of the state and making ruler Kim Jong-Un more vulnerable over the longer term. What role does the economy play in the outcome of today's nuclear standoff? Professor and author Byung-Yeon Kim explains to Dan and Scott.
Sep 21 2017
Rank #16: A Crash Course in Refugee Economics
The biggest challenge refugees face is economic. A couple of financial market insiders are here to help and have recruited some of the biggest names on Wall Street. PIMCO's Greg Sharenow and Trailstone's Michelle Brouhard tell Dan and Scott about their foundation, Interfaith Refugee Project, and how to integrate refugees into the U.S. economic fabric. It's also personal: Greg describes his grandmother's flight from 1930s Germany through Panama.
Oct 26 2017
Rank #17: The Global Economy in 2019 and Beyond
With power-shifting elections, emerging-market turbulence and a trade war making waves, how does it all add up for the world economy in 2019? Catherine Mann, chief global economist at Citigroup, joins Benchmark for a tour of major economies including the U.S., China and Japan, highlighting what's going to be OK, what's not, and why it's wrong to think of "emerging markets" as their own entity.
Nov 15 2018
Rank #18: How Water Will Determine the Global Economy's Winners and Losers
For years, oil was the major determinant of which countries rose to -- and lost -- power in the global economy. Today, that commodity increasingly is water. This week on Benchmark, we hear about the water crisis in Cape Town, where authorities are warning they may need to turn off the taps, from local Bloomberg editor Robert Brand. Then, we take a journey through global water issues with Helen Mountford of the World Resources Institute. They speak with Scott Lanman of Bloomberg News and Daniel Moss of Bloomberg View.
Apr 19 2018
Rank #19: 38: The Quiet Epidemic That's Killing White Americans in Droves
After decades of progress in U.S. mortality rates, scores of white middle-aged Americans are dying or reporting that their health is deteriorating and life is increasingly painful. What does this have to do with the economy, and even the election? More than you might think. To discuss, Tori and Aki talk to Princeton professor Anne Case, whose work with husband Angus Deaton has documented the stunning regression.
May 18 2016
Rank #20: 35: Why Are We Still Fighting About Obamacare?
The Affordable Care Act is back in the news, as insurers around the nation complain they're losing money in exchanges designed to bring health coverage to millions of Americans. A host of economic woes have been ascribed to Obamacare, including a higher incidence of part-time work and sour business sentiment, which opponents cite as evidence the federal government shouldn't have tried to remake the health insurance market. Supporters, meantime, argue the law achieved its primary goals and just needs further refinement. They also point to a jobless rate of 5 percent and ask how on earth can it be hurting employment? For both sides of the story, Tori and Dan are joined by Kathleen Sebelius, the former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services who helped shepherd the law through Congress, and Jim Capretta, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who has spent more than two decades studying U.S. health care policy.
Apr 27 2016