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Podcast Overview

A weekly podcast that examines the inner workings of the global economy.

Podcast Episodes

You Just Missed Your Chance to Get Rich on Toronto Real Estate

Home prices in Canada's largest city have been on a tear. But the party could be on the verge of ending, at least temporarily. The Bank of Canada's decision this week to raise interest rates -- the first hike in seven years -- makes mortgages more expensive. A string of government tightening measures and a liquidity crunch at a Toronto mortgage lender are adding to concerns a price correction is around the corner. This week on Benchmark, Dan, Chris Fournier and Katia Dmitrieva speak to Phil Soper, chief executive officer at Royal LePage, a unit of Brookfield Real Estate Services, about what the latest developments mean for Toronto housing.  

The One Caveat Hanging Over Jobs in America

The U.S. labor market looked pretty strong in June, with more Americans getting jobs and unemployment close to a 16-year low. All strong, with one glaring exception: Wages still just aren't rising that quickly. The question is, why? Yelena Shulyatyeva, a Bloomberg Intelligence senior economist, helps Scott and Dan break it down.

The World's First Modern Financial Crisis: 1997 Edition

Twenty years ago this week, a momentous event more than a century in the making finally occurred: Hong Kong's handover to China. Turns out, that wasn't even close to the biggest story that year. What really did transfix the world in 1997 was the financial crisis that exploded a day after the handover -- in, of all places, Bangkok. Today on Benchmark, Dan, a former Malaysia bureau chief, and Hong Kong-based Malcolm Scott look back at the crisis and the wrenching economic and political changes it wrought. They're joined by Alec McCabe, who covered the drama from Hong Kong, and Lee Miller, then Bangkok bureau chief and now a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. One conclusion: Asia's convulsions were the first modern global financial crisis and a harbinger of a much greater shakeout in the U.S. a decade later. 

Why New York's Summer of Hell Matters to More Than Commuters

New York subway riders and commuters, already mired in a miserable year, are bracing for a summer like no other amid rising delays, service cuts and overcrowding. It all underscores the perils of under-investment in rail systems that should be key drivers of growth. What the heck is going on? Can anything be done? Two guests think they have the answers: Jim Venturi, creator of the ReThinkNYC plan to overhaul regional transport links, and Tracy Gordon, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Scott hosts along with Bloomberg City Hall reporter Henry Goldman.

Sushi Robots Show Way to Surprise Japanese Recovery

Surprise! Japan's economy is no longer down and out. Instead, it may just be the next big growth surprise. Almost three decades since the collapse of Japan's stratospheric property bubble, bank lending is back, the jobless rate is below 3 percent and corporate profits have never been fatter. Technology and AI are again leading the way, compensating for the nation's shrinking population. Investor Peter Tasker joins Dan and guest co-host Chris Anstey to share his reasons for optimism. Along the way, Tasker reminisces about Japan's go-go years in the 1970s and '80s -- how his fictional anti-hero Mori survived all those long years of economic stagnation.

Mafia Making a Racket With Chili-Pepper Inflation

Central banks tend to be more comfortable pulling levers of economic policy than being on the front line of crimefighting. For the monetary gurus of Indonesia, those two worlds have collided. Central bankers say the mafia is driving up the price of chili peppers, the Southeast Asian nation's favorite spice. This is one situation where raising interest rates -- the common tool to fight rising prices -- won't be enough. Dan and Scott talk with Karlis Salna, an economics reporter in Bloomberg's Jakarta bureau, to get the story.

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.

Brazil's Real Problem Is Economics -- Not Graft

What on earth is going on in Brazil? Less than a year after impeaching one president for fiddling fiscal accounts, her successor is on the ropes amid allegations of graft. Dig a little deeper and the real problem is a recession deeper than any the country has ever experienced. With Brazil one of the world's 10 largest economies -- and Latin America's largest -- it matters beyond the nation's borders. Sao Paulo native Vivianne Rodrigues, who runs Latin American political news at Bloomberg, joins Dan and Scott to explain what gives. We also hear that the gas station in Brasilia at the center of the scandal doesn't actually have a car wash!

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.

Why Labor Unions Don't Have the Clout They Used To

A major puzzle in the U.S. economy is why wage gains have been relatively subdued in the last couple of years, even as all signs point to a tight job market where employers are having trouble filling positions. One reason is that labor unions just don't have the clout they used to in America. While there are occasional victories, the situation is a far cry from the glory days of the 1970s, and it's also helping reshape the political landscape. Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden and an expert on labor economics, joins Scott and guest co-host Patricia Laya to explain.

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