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The Inquiry

Podcast The Inquiry
Podcast The Inquiry

The Inquiry

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  • Can digital currency replace the cash system?
    We use digital currency every day whenever we use a credit card, bank online or shop for goods on the internet. We can use our phones as money and transfer cash to family and friends simply by using numbers. It’s not exactly cash we are using, but a digital representation of that cash. Some digital currencies, such as cryptocurrency, even exist outside of the traditional banking system. Recently the cryptocurrency trading exchange FTX collapsed leaving creditors owed billions of dollars. There’s not much chance any of that money can be returned because it wasn’t actually linked to a cash system. If so many of our transactions and speculations are now digital, can we ditch the cash altogether? This week on The Inquiry we’re asking Can digital currency replace the cash system? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Researcher: John Cossee Editor: Tara McDermott Technical producer: Craig Boardman Production support: Jacqui Johnson (Image: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies: Dado Ruvic/Reuters)
    12/1/2022
    23:45
  • Is it too late to avoid famine in Somalia?
    Somalia is in a state of drought following four failed rainy seasons, and a fifth predicted, with aid agencies declaring the country is in a state of famine. Despite this, the government has yet to declare a famine, insisting that certain thresholds have yet to be met. Instead, Somalia’s government believes that they would be more than able to deal with the current crisis, as well as prevent future episodes, had they been properly compensated by industrious nations for the damage caused by climate change. All this whilst the country continues to fight a near fifteen-year war with the Islamic terrorist group al-Shabab, a militant faction who wish to instil strict sharia law and impose heavy taxes on those who fall under their control. Only six months ago the hard-line Muslim faction were knocking on the door of the capital, Mogadishu. Since then, the different clans and Somalia's military, who all have their own demands and grievances, have put aside their differences and banded together to fight back, driving the terrorist group back. With support for the government currently high, some are fearful that announcing a famine could cause that support to drop away. How long the government can hold for, however, is up for debate as we ask is it too late to avoid a famine in Somalia? Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Ravi Naik & Christopher Blake Editor: Tara McDermott (Image: Somali woman affected by the worsening drought due to failed rain seasons, holds her child as her grandmother looks on: Feisal Omar/Reuters)
    11/24/2022
    24:24
  • Can a country live on renewable energy alone?
    The International Energy Agency says that the world is in the middle of the first global energy crisis. The price of natural gas has increased almost five-fold since the summer of 2020, and the main cause is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has cut supplies of gas to European countries that oppose the war, causing the wholesale price to shoot up everywhere. Many countries have turned to coal to fuel their power stations, also causing prices to triple in the last year. But as well as being expensive, coal is also the most polluting fossil fuel. The situation has accelerated the push towards renewables, but can they provide the all the power needed by a country – as well as providing energy security? So this week on the Inquiry, we ask: can a country live on renewable energy alone? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Ravi Naik Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty Editor Tara McDermott Technical producer Richard Hannaford Broadcast Coordinator Jacqui Johnson (Photo: Offshore wind turbine farm at sunset: Creit: Imaginima/Getty Images)
    11/17/2022
    24:23
  • Will computers put managers out of work?
    When we shop online, we don’t often think about what goes on behind the scenes. Clicking “pay now”, sets in motion a slick, computer-controlled chain of events, that ends with a parcel arriving at your home. These online shopping logistics are run by Artificial Intelligence, and there are plans for these systems to move from the warehouse to the wider workplace. “Digital Management” systems in development are able to autonomously hire people and oversee their work on a project from beginning to end. They also have the ability to manage much larger groups of workers than their human counterparts. But can a software boss really understand its human employees? Are managers obsolete? And are some of these systems already here? This week on the Inquiry, we ask: will computers put managers out of work? Presented by David Baker Produced by Jim Frank Editor: Richard Vadon Technical producer: Neil Churchill Broadcast Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson (Image: Artificial intelligence is showing the path: exdez/Getty)
    11/10/2022
    24:19
  • Is China’s economy in trouble?
    Xi Jinping has begun an unprecedented third term as Chinese president, after securing his position at the Communist Party Congress. But key economic data was delayed until after the congress ended. It was lower than government targets, causing Chinese markets to fall. The Chinese economy is floundering; unemployment is skyrocketing, and the housing market is collapsing. There’s also no sign of an end to COVID lockdowns – which have hamstrung business and manufacturing since the start of the pandemic. Since the start of this century, China’s economic growth was the envy of the world, but in 2022, it’ll be the first year since the 1990s that economic output will fall behind the rest of Asia. President Xi says the economy is now his top priority, but his focus in his first two terms was to consolidate power and increase political control. Will his new term be any different? This week on the Inquiry, we’re asking: Is China’s economy in crisis? Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producers: Ravi Naik and Ben Cooper Editor: Tara McDermott Technical Producer: Kelly Young Broadcast Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson (Image: Chinese yuan cash bills and Chinese flag: Javier Ghersi/Getty)
    11/3/2022
    23:49

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