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.
Rank #2: 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.
Rank #3: 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.
Rank #4: 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.
Rank #5: Benchmark's Look Ahead to the Biggest Economic Stories of 2018
What will be the most surprising economic development of 2018? Who will be the most influential people that you haven't heard of? What kind of non-economic developments will have biggest impact? Benchmark delivers answers from around the world in part two of our year-end special. Joining Dan and Scott to give their picks are three members of Bloomberg's global economy team: European editor Jana Randow, Latin America editor Vivianne Rodrigues and Asia correspondent Enda Curran.
Rank #6: Surprise! Your Cash Is Now Worthless
The nation's leader takes a sudden action that only a handful of people know about beforehand. His populist base loves it, even if it could disrupt the economy. Donald Trump's executive order on immigration? No, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move to invalidate more than 80 percent of currency in circulation, a bid to stamp out corruption. Three months later, do the benefits outweigh the costs? Or will the hit to the economy be felt for years to come? Cornell University professor Eswar Prasad and Bloomberg reporter Sho Chandra join Scott to share their recent firsthand experiences from India and help explain why the action might just end up working.
Rank #7: 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.
Rank #8: 64: Make France Great Again
First came Brexit. Then Trump. Now the world's attention turns once again across the Atlantic to France, where a presidential election is coming up and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen could be the next politician to upend the establishment. The nation is reeling from terror attacks, the economy is in lousy shape, and President Francois Hollande's popularity is dismal. Nicolas Veron, a scholar at think tanks Bruegel and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, joins Scott and Kate to gauge the odds -- and potential impact of -- this next political earthquake.
Rank #9: 70: Cafe Con Leche Can Track Hyperinflation in Venezuela
Everyone knows inflation is out of control in Venezuela. But the government long ago stopped publishing figures on a regular basis, leaving economists to dial up what are essentially wild guesses. Enter the Bloomberg Cafe Con Leche Inflation Index. It tracks just one item: A piping hot coffee at a bakery in eastern Caracas. Yet it provides a unique look at inflation in one of the world's most dysfunctional economies. David Papadopoulos, a Bloomberg managing editor in New York, and Fabiola Zerpa, a Bloomberg correspondent in Caracas, join Scott to talk about the gauge, and just how bad things really are in the nation.
Rank #10: Here's What Happens When a Chinese Firm Buys a Closed GM Plant
President Donald Trump spent plenty of time on the campaign trail accusing China of stealing American jobs by taking away factories and using unfair trade practices. But China is actually giving a lifeline in one hard-hit part of the Rust Belt. That makes things between the two nations more complicated than Trump might want to admit as he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time. Michael Davis, economic development director for Moraine, Ohio, and Case Western Reserve University professor Susan Helper explain the story to Scott Lanman and guest host Andrew Mayeda.
Rank #11: 46: Brexit Is Really All About China
China wasn't on the ballot when U.K. citizens made the surprise decision to leave the European Union. But it has played a major role in the forces of globalization that Britons rebelled against with their vote in June. How does one connect the dots from Deng Xiaoping's opening up of the Chinese economy in 1978 to Brexit in 2016? Marc Champion, a reporter for Bloomberg News in London, joins Dan and new co-hosts Kate Smith and Scott Lanman to talk all about it -- once Scott stops showing off his Mandarin skills.
Rank #12: Episode 3: Will You Get a Raise This Year?
(Bloomberg) -- Hosts Tori Stilwell, Aki Ito and Dan Moss talk paychecks. Why have Americans' wages been stagnant for more than six years, when will that change and which industries' workers are in the best position for a raise? The hosts use Labor Department data and a Magic 8 ball to get to the bottom of things.
Rank #13: Will Amazon Disrupt Health Care?
Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway recently announced they're joining forces to tackle America's expensive health care system. Health care is probably the most reliably growing piece of U.S. GDP -- and until recently, a strong driver of inflation -- but that could change as Amazon moves into that space. Scott Lanman of Bloomberg News speaks with Bloomberg reporter Spencer Soper and economist Laura Rosner of MacroPolicy Perspectives about Amazon's history of disrupting industries, and whether or not our current health care system could go the way of bookstores.
Rank #14: 55: The App That Runs China's Economy
Can a nation's entire economy fit on one smartphone app? In China, that day is almost here. More than 700 million Chinese -- more than double the entire U.S. population -- use WeChat. It's an all-purpose super-app that does the job of Facebook, Uber, Paypal, Tinder and many other apps, making it an invaluable tool for the Asian nation's rising middle class. That's helped give WeChat's parent Tencent, a stock-market valuation larger than any other company outside the U.S. -- even bigger than Wal-Mart. But does WeChat actually contribute to China's GDP? Or are there better ways to measure its value? Economist Gan Li, who splits his time between the U.S. and China, and Dune Lawrence, a former Bloomberg correspondent in Beijing, join Kate and Scott to pin down the answers.
Rank #15: How Argentina Ended Up With Interest Rates At 40 Percent
In Argentina, the cost of borrowing is shooting up to stratospheric levels with interest rates rising to 40 percent. The country's leadership promised a new era that put this sort of trajectory behind it. But now, Argentina finds itself in talks with the International Monetary Fund for loans to shore up its finances. Federico Kaune, head of emerging markets fixed income at UBS Asset Management, tells Scott Lanman of Bloomberg News and Daniel Moss of Bloomberg Opinion how Argentina got to this point, how the country can make it right and how this is part of a larger challenge facing emerging markets.
Rank #16: What Our Trump Time Machine Got Right -- and Wrong -- About the Economy
One year ago, the Benchmark crew ventured into the future -- July 2017 -- to imagine what was then all but unimaginable: How would the U.S. economy fare in the first six months under President Donald J. Trump? Now that it's all come to pass, Scott and guest co-host Jeanna Smialek speak with our seer from 2016, Neil Dutta from Renaissance Macro Research, to explain what we got right and wrong -- and what we can expect for the rest of the president's term.
Rank #17: The Trade War Didn't Happen. Here's Why and What's Next
Wait! There wasn't a trade war this year. Wasn't Donald Trump's election supposed to mean a rejection of open commerce between nations? Bloomberg's Andrew Mayeda explains the surprise increase in goods and services exchanged across national boundaries. Don't think the protectionist bullet's necessarily been dodged; there's more going on than just Trump. Arancha Gonzalez, executive director of the International Trade Center tells Dan and Scott what more needs to be done. Gonzalez shares her perspective on China's expanding role in the international system and opines on Xi Jinping's big speeches in Davos and Geneva.
Rank #18: There's a Crisis Brewing in the Coffee Industry
There's a crisis in coffee. On Java, the Indonesian island that gives your morning shot its nickname, the bean is struggling. A booming Asian middle class is spurring demand just as climate change is eroding farmland and changing the taste along the way. Indonesia is now being forced to import coffee from Brazil and Vietnam just to keep up. It's a bit like Saudi Arabia importing oil. Jamal Gawi, a climate change consultant in Jakarta, explains what's going on to Bloomberg News' Scott Lanman and Daniel Moss of Bloomberg View.
Rank #19: 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.
Rank #20: Benchmark's Look Back at the Biggest Economic Stories of 2017
What was the year's most surprising economic development? Who were the most influential people that you haven't heard of? What were the non-economic developments that had the biggest impact? Benchmark goes around the world to deliver the answers in part one of our year-end special. Joining Dan and Scott to give their picks are three members of Bloomberg's global economy team: European editor Jana Randow, Latin America editor Vivianne Rodrigues and Asia correspondent Enda Curran.