Analysis
Analysis
BBC Radio 4
Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics.
Finding Things Out
Finding things out during the pandemic has been hit and miss: there’ve been miracles, and there’s been junk. What matters is not just what we think we know about how to intervene to improve human health, but how we think we know it. Methods can be inspired, flawed, or both. Michael Blastland tells the short and still-changing story of how science has been trying to get better at finding things out. Contributions from: Professor Sir Angus Deaton, Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. Maria Popp. Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care, Emergency and Pain Medicine, University Hospital Wuerzburg. Professor George Davey Smith, Director of the Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol. Sheena McCormack, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at University College London Producer: Ben Carter Editor: Jasper Corbett Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot
Nov 15
28 min
Baby Boom or Bust
Birth rates in many countries, including China, Japan, Italy and the UK have dropped below replacement level. Clare McNeil asks if we should be concerned about this, and the burden it will place on taxpayers and the young, or welcome it as a good thing for climate change, where some think that the fewer consumers and CO2 emitters the better. But with fertility rates of 1.58 in England and Wales, and only 1.29 in Scotland, society is aging, with the higher healthcare and pension costs to be borne by the taxpayers of working age. What role could or should the government play in increasing the birthrate? Presenter: Clare McNeil Producer: Arlene Gregorius Editor: Jasper Corbett Speakers: Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy, the University of Sheffield Lord David Willetts, President of the Resolution Foundation George Monbiot, environmental campaigner and author Felix Pinkert, Assistant professor of Philosophy and Economics, University of Vienna Jacob Hacker, Professor of Political Science, Yale University Jade Sasser, Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of California, Riverside Ronald Lee, emeritus professor of Demography and Economics, University of California, Berkeley
Nov 8
29 min
Revenge of the Workers
The shortage of HGV drivers has been hitting the headlines, but other sectors are affected by a lack of staff too, from care homes to restaurants. This despite wages going up, and the end of the furlough scheme. What's going on? Could it be that power is shifting away from employers to workers, for perhaps the first time since the 1970s? Since the 2008 financial crisis public opinion has increasingly been unfavourable towards globalisation, immigration and big corporations. This has been reflected in a shift away from an assumed pro-business stance among the mainstream political parties too. Philip Coggan speaks to a range of experts to find out what's been happening, whether workers really will gain more power, and what that might mean for the economy. Guests: Ben Clift, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick Dame DeAnne Julius, Distinguished Fellow for Global Economy and Finance, Chatham House Kate Bell, Head of Rights, International, Social and Economics at the Trades Union Congress Rob Ford, Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Policy at King’s College, London Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality Shereen Hussein, Professor of Health and Social Care Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Gerwyn Davies, Public Policy Adviser and Senior Market Analyst at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Producer: Arlene Gregorius Sound: Gareth Jones
Nov 1
28 min
Parental Alienation
Splitting up where children are involved is tricky. Especially when it ends up in the family courts. It’s even more tricky when a child decides they don’t want a relationship with one of the parents. Over the last two decades a controversial psychological concept has emerged to describe a situation where children - for no apparent reason - decide they don’t want to see one parent. It’s called parental alienation. Women’s rights organisations argue parental alienation is used to gaslight abused women. Fathers’ rights organisations claim that some mothers make up allegations of abuse to prevent them from seeing their children. And children are caught in the middle. Sonia Sodha explores the polarizing concept of “parental alienation” and asks how a contested psychological theory has evolved into an increasingly common allegation in the UK family courts. Producer: Gemma Newby
Oct 25
29 min
Look who's talking - the rise of ‘voice cloning’
When you listen to a radio programme, watch an animated film, or even receive a phone call, it’s unlikely you’ll question whether the words you’re hearing are coming from the mouth of a human being. But all that could be about to change thanks to the rise of ‘voice cloning’. Elaine Moore is a tech columnist at the Financial Times and she’s interested in the ramifications of this new technology. Thanks to artificial intelligence, cloning a human voice can be achieved with just a few minutes of recorded audio. As the technology becomes more sophisticated and its use more widespread, how will this affect our society, our politics and our personal interactions? And is it time we were able to control what happens to our own voice both now and when we die? With contributions from: Carlton Daniel, lawyer at Squire Patton Boggs. Tom Lee, co-founder of LOVO. David Leslie, Ethics Theme Lead at the Alan Turing Institute. Rupal Patel, founder & CEO of VocaliD. Tim McSmythurs, AI Researcher and creator of Speaking AI. James Vlahos, co-founder of HereAfter AI. Producer: Craig Templeton Smith Editor: Jasper Corbett
Oct 11
28 min
Who Defends Europe?
This summer's hasty and poorly executed withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan caused shock and profound unease among Washington's allies, just as they hoped the unilateralism of the Trump era had been left behind. But anxiety about America's position on defence only intensified with the unveiling in September of AUKUS - a trilateral security pact involving Australia, the US and UK covering the Indo-Pacific region. The exclusion of France from that deal not only enraged Paris but also further alarmed European allies about American intentions. So what next? Can the Biden administration be trusted to uphold the security guarantee which underpins NATO? Or, as France's President Emmanuel Macron argues, do these and other actions by the United States show that the 70 year-old Alliance is effectively "brain dead" and that Europe has to set about achieving "strategic autonomy" without depending on Washington's whims? In a lively forum with key players and thinkers about European security from both sides of the Atlantic, Edward Stourton considers what should happen now on European defence and whether seemingly divergent views about it can be reconciled. Those taking part: Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director of the Royal United Services Institute in London; Nathalie Loiseau, MEP, former French Minister of European Affairs and Chair of the European Parliament's Sub-committee on Security and Defence; Dr Constanze Stelzenmüller, expert on Germany and trans-Atlantic Relations in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.; and Linas Linkevicius, former Foreign and Defence Minister of Lithuania. Producer: Simon Coates Editor: Jasper Corbett Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Oct 4
28 min
Reimagining the Nation
What keeps a nation together? For political scientist Benedict Anderson, it was the idea of the 'imagined community'. Although people from different backgrounds in a country might not know one another, they could imagine themselves as part of the same larger story. Peter Pomerantsev looks at how we can survive as a society when the idea of the 'imagined community' is under strain. Is it too late to find any commonality? Or are there other ways of imagining the future of the nation? Producer Ant Adeane Editor Jasper Corbett
Sep 27
28 min
Cancelling Colston
In June 2020 the statue of slaver trader Edward Colston was toppled and thrown into the harbour in Bristol – one of the most visible moments of the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK. The statue now lies on its side in a museum, a testament to the dramatic re-evaluation of Bristol’s painful history at the centre of the transatlantic slave trade. Over the last year schools and buildings bearing Colston's name have been renamed. Colston has been cancelled. But what about the system of wealth, power and race that he represented? Bristol journalist Neil Maggs speaks to the people in Bristol dealing with Colston’s legacy. Current members of the Society of Merchant Venturers, a powerful charitable organisation which promoted Colston’s reputation as a philanthropist, have suddenly been thrust into the spotlight. School leaders are rolling out unconscious bias training. Elsewhere community leaders and politicians are navigating the potential for a backlash against terms such as white privilege as the national conversation on race continues. Producer: Lucy Proctor Editor: Jasper Corbett
Jul 19
27 min
Science in the Time of Cancel Culture
In an age of social media ’cancel culture’ might be defined as an orchestrated campaign which seeks to silence or end the careers of people whose thoughts or opinions deviate from a new set of political norms. So if this threat exists for anyone expressing an opinion online in 2021, what’s it like for scientists working in academia and publishing findings which might be deemed controversial? In this edition of Analysis, Michael Muthukrishna, Associate Professor of Economic Psychology at the London School of Economics, assesses the impact of modern social justice movements on scientific research and development. Speaking to a range of experts, some who have found themselves in the firing line of current public discourse, and others who question the severity of this phenomenon and its political motives, Michael asks: if fear of personal or professional harm is strengthening conformism or eviscerating robust intellectual debate, can open-mindedness on controversial issues really exist in the scientific community? Or is rigorous public assessment of scientific findings helping to achieve better, more equitable and socially just outcomes? With contributions from: Emily M Bender, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Washington Pedro Domingos, Professor of Computer Science at University of Washington Caroline Criado Perez, writer and campaigner Brandeis Marshall, data scientist, Professor of Computer Science at Spelman College Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University David Reich, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School Producer Craig Templeton Smith Editor Jasper Corbett
Jul 12
28 min
Stalemate: Israel and the Palestinians after Gaza
After another round of violence, a two state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict appears farther away than ever. Edward Stourton examines the future. Guests include: Ahmad Samih Khalidi - Senior Associate Member at St Antony's College, Oxford Anshel Pfeffer - Senior Correspondent, Haaretz Dore Gold - former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations & President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Jake Walles - former US Consul General in Jerusalem Salem Barahmeh - Executive Director of the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy Sawsan Zaher - Deputy General Director, Adalah Shlomo Ben-Ami - former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs & Vice President of the Toledo International Center for Peace. Producer Luke Radcliff Editor Jasper Corbett
Jul 5
28 min
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